River Medlock


River Medlock

The River Medlock is a river of Greater Manchester in north west England that flows for 10 miles before joining the River Irwell in central Manchester.Infobox River
river_name = River Medlock


caption = River Medlock running under Oxford Road, Manchester
origin = Pennines
mouth = River Irwell
basin_countries = England
length =
elevation =
mouth_elevation =
discharge =
watershed =

ource

Rising in the hills that surround Strinesdale just to the east of Oldham it flows through the steep-sided wooded gorge that separates Lees from Ashton-under-Lyne and the Daisy Nook Country Park with its 19th century aqueduct carrying the disused Hollinwood Branch Canal over the shallow river. Along its course, the valley provides a welcome respite from the urban sprawl of the east Manchester suburbs, and is perennially popular with locals.

Lower Reaches

The final miles of the river's flow to the River Irwell have been extensively modified. The river is culverted underneath the car park of the City of Manchester Stadium (the site of a former gasworks), beneath the former UMIST campus (London Road to Princess Street), and again at Hulme Street, appearing briefly at Gloucester Street before flowing under the former gasworks at Gaythorn, reappearing at City Road East. At Deansgate (Old Chester Road) the river meets the Bridgewater Canal head on, where a sluice gate (a listed structure) allowed water to feed the canal, until the water quality of the Medlock became too polluted for canal use. Normally the level of the river is several feet below the level of the canal, and the river is carried in a tunnel under the Castlefield canal basin, reappearing at Potato Wharf, where it is supplemented by excess canal water draining into a circular weir. When the river is in spate the tunnel cannot cope and river water enters the canal, flows across the basin, and exits via the weir and manually operated gates. A quarter of a mile further on the Medlock enters the Irwell adjacent to the bottom gate of the disused Hulme Lock.

Navigation

In the latter part of the 18th century the river was navigable at least between the Bridgewater Canal (at Deansgate) and India House (on Whitworth Street). At India House was the entrance to a tunnel used to carry coal to a wharf at Store Street (by Piccadilly station)Geoffrey Ashworth, "The Lost Rivers of Manchester", Willow Publishing, Altrincham, 1987, ISBN 0-946361-12-6.] . The tunnel mouth is still visible. The tunnel was rendered obsolete by silting of the river and the construction of the Rochdale Canal.

Notable Features

The area just south of Oxford Road station enclosed by the railway line and the loop in the river was known as Little Ireland, and was discussed by Friedrich EngelsFriedrich Engels, "Condition of the Working Class in England", 1845 (multiple publishers; [http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/condition-working-class/ online edition] ).] .

Tributaries

*Thornley Brook
*Taunton Brook
*Lumb Clough Brook
*Lords Brook

References


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