Manchester and Salford Junction Canal – Manchester, England - Atlas Obscura

Manchester and Salford Junction Canal

An abandoned canal route lies hidden under the streets of Manchester. 


Hidden tunnels lurk beneath the streets of Manchester, England. These lost veins of transportation were once part of a much-anticipated local canal.

Opened in 1839, the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal was created to link together two of the city’s main waterways. Doing this would help speed up the transportation process, as without the canal, the cargo had to be carted via land between the Mersey and Irwell Navigation and the Rochdale Canal.

But unfortunately for the canal, its timing wasn’t quite right. It was built during the rise of the railways, which rendered it largely unnecessary not long after it opened. It was abandoned in 1922. Its ends were sealed, and parts of it were later buried beneath Great Northern Warehouse and Granada Studios 25 feet underground, drained and converted into tunnels.

These tunnels still exist, almost forgotten due to their concealed nature. During World War II, sections were converted into air raid shelters, with evidence of this history still adorning the tunnel walls to this day.

Know Before You Go

The entranceways of the canal can still be seen today but, while it was possible for a time to visit the tunnels as part of an organized tour, they can no longer be accessed due to health and safety concerns.

The restored basin off the Rochdale canal passes through the original locks. They can be found below the Rain Bar.

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