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The charity making life better by water

Work to be carried out to protect 'The Undercroft' in Manchester

We are carrying out important repairs to protect and preserve the Grade II listed Lock 85 on the Rochdale Canal in Manchester City Centre.

Picture of an enclosed canal in an urban area

The works

The works to the Rochdale Canal are costing £400,000 and include new handcrafted lock gates for Lock 85 as well as other masonry repairs. Before work started a fish rescue was carried out by specialist contractors to carefully move the wildlife that lives in the canal to another part of the canal water. Essential works to several other locks along the 200-year-old Rochdale Canal are also taking place this winter and are part of our ongoing work to ensure the nation's historic waterways can continue to be navigated by boats and remain vital green spaces that are free to visit and benefit the millions of people who have a canal on their doorstep.

As part of the works, a big clean-up event will take place on Friday 3 March between 11am and 3pm meet at canal street and we are inviting you to help remove the debris and litter that's ended up in the canal. We will also have welcome stations where people can find out more about the charity and its work.

Open days

We're also hosting a series of creative lighting installations which will transform the Undercroft where the Rochdale Canal passes underneath Piccadilly. These unique events, which will challenge and change perceptions of this overlooked and underused space, will take place on Tuesday 7 March, Wednesday 8 March, and Thursday 9 March starting at 5.30pm-7pm. For further information and to book a place visit Rochdale Canal open day.

This is part of wider consultation work we're undertaking to ‘re-imagine the Undercroft' to see what improvements can be done to transform this underused section of the canal in the city centre.

Keeping the canal in working order

James Long, our engagement manager, said: “It's important the Trust carries out these vital repairs to ensure the canal in our wonderful city of Manchester is kept in great working order for everyone who loves and uses it.

“We're excited to host these transformative one-off light events in the Undercroft, which will allow people to experience a different view of this unique place. We would love people to come along and share their thoughts and perceptions of what they would like to see happen with the Undercroft.

“The canal offers an amazing, tranquil space, where everything slows down right in the city centre. With research telling us that time spent by the water can help us all to feel happier and more relaxed, it's vital that we keep these special places open and safe for us all to enjoy both now and for future generations.

“The nation's canals are facing real challenges as high levels of inflation, soaring energy costs, and the pressure of time on a 250-year-old network are all taking their toll and it's important for us to prioritise our investment to safeguard their future. The work our charity is doing this winter will help ensure that the region's waterways continue to bring real benefits to people's lives, and with your support, we can do so much more.”

This winter we're investing more than £50 million on waterways across England and Wales with nearly £13 million being invested across the North West.

Last Edited: 06 March 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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