Book Review – ‘The Ships that Came to Manchester: From the Mersey and Weaver sailing flat to the mighty container ship’ by Roy Fenton

By Roy Fenton, published October 2020


Those visionaries who wanted to turn Manchester into a sea port had two major struggles. The first was to overcome the fierce resistance of Liverpool and other interests in order to obtain a parliamentary bill to construct a ship canal. The second was to persuade reluctant shipping lines to use the canal which had created the new Port of Manchester. The story of the fight for an Act of Parliament is reasonably well known, but the second struggle has been less well documented. Only Farnie has addressed the development of the port’s trade in The Manchester Ship Canal and the Port of Manchester, a volume which also considers the economic effects of the Manchester Ship Canal on the city and its region.

Nick Robins’s book takes a less academic approach than Farnie’s, but provides much more detail of the companies that traded to the Manchester Ship Canal, and their ships. Indeed, the ships are the main focus of the work, and in the case of a number of well-known companies Robins goes on to chronicle their ships’ careers and particularly their losses in wartime. Nevertheless, the story of those who foresaw the Ship Canal, and the engineering that enabled it, are the subjects of two chapters. A further ten chapters trace the development and final decline of the Ship Canal’s trade …


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Filed under: Irish Sea
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

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