Walking tour: Wednesday 25 Mayv 2022, 10.30am.
Meet: Worsley Village Library
Booking: Private tour
Picturesque black-and-white timber-framed waterside buildings, Britain’s first man-made waterway, and underground canals running through the Delph, a dramatic 52 mile system of caves and tunnels.
Worsley is one of the wonders of the North-West and one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution. It was here in 1761 that the local landowner, the Duke of Bridgewater, and his ingenious engineers, John Gilbert and James Brindley, cut Britain’s first man-made canal independent of the river system – the Bridgewater Canal– to ferry the Duke’s coal to Manchester.
We visit the village’s key sites (without daring into the deep and dangerous Delph) on our Worsley explorer. There’s the 1760 Packet House, redesigned in the Victorian era into an elaborate black-and-white structure, outside which the world’s first steamboat was built in 1780 – some thirty years before the better-known New Orleans vessels that cross the Mississippi first appeared.
Also on our tour, St Mark’s Church, designed by the grand Gothicist George Gilbert Scott; the Alphabet Bridge; the Nail House; the boatyards and the old village green.
Who knows? We may see one of the famous locals: Ryan Giggs or Russell Watson. How can so much be packed into so compact a locale?
And then it’s along the Canal (optional) to stretch our legs, to hear the history of this grand waterway, finishing at the Trafford Centre where there are one or two shops and a new tram line.