Monday 22 June 2020

Coronavirus streets in Manchester - XI

Almost sleepwalking

With the drudgery of sleep in my legs, my mind was elsewhere, the supermarket visit I missed yesterday along with a somewhat purposeful walk in the cool of the evening. From my bed, I charted the shortest route to the Regent Retail Park, then set out to go shopping.
The trek was to take 32 minutes and it took me through Castlefield, the path that formed part of my return journey just over a week ago on Sunday. The queue was about 30 deep and I was soon in the shop, having laden my basket with goods, I was nigh on exhausted at the checkout till.
Packing the heavier bits into my rucksack, I had the rest in a shopping bag and made for home via a slightly different route and through the canal ways of Castlefield that I learnt was the birthplace of Manchester.
Castlefield as the birthplace of Manchester.
Coal and canals were the business.
Where inland waterways began
The Bridgewater name I have been seeing prominently around Manchester belonged to the Francis Egerton, the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater who happened to be a pioneer of canal building, this took navigation off rivers create courses of water for transport to strategic locations, first with Bridgewater Canal and then improving navigation between Manchester and Liverpool. He consequently made his larger fortune through his canal waterways and coal.
As I have written a bit about the River Medlock, I now have it on good authority that it was not always a malevolent force of nature. It was before the advent of steam-powered machinery used in the 18th Century on the wharves at the end of the Bridgewater Canal in Castlefield to drive cranes and hoisting machinery powered by waterwheels on the river itself.
River Medlock is not all notorious.
Overlooking Castlefield wharves.
On entry to Castlefield, but I was leaving.
Soon to come alive again
The social places, bars, restaurants, beer gardens are all deserted because of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is amazing how thriving all these venues would have been at a different time. The streets remain sparse, though I could not help but notice that down the road at Bridgewater House, people seem to be back to work and closing late.
For me, there is much more to discover about Manchester, even after over 6 years of living here. Until my next outing, we hope for the best and we look to a better future.
Castlefield on Google Maps.

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