Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Lost Rivers of Manchester

The lost rivers of Manchester have an abiding fascination for me not least because there are so many of them and also so little evidence of where they run.

Until fairly recently I could name just a handful all of which were in the city centre and which  appear for just brief stretches before disappearing into dark culverts.

But there are plenty more and a lot of them are here on the south side of the city.  Some have fared better than others. Our own Chorlton Brook comes out into the light of day by Hough End Hall and can be seen as it flows on through the township to join the Mersey.  Others like the Longford Brook and the Black Brook are now completely buried while others like the Rough Leech Gutter have been pretty much forgotten.

I was reminded of this recently when I came across the Platt and Ley Brooks on a walk along the Fallowfield Loop.

Both flow openly along the old railway track and are just two of a network that crisscrossed south Manchester.

Most by the late 19th century had become polluted but there would have been a time when they would have been an important resource for all the rural communities.

And in beginning to track them down I discovered The Lost River of Manchester*.  It was written by Geoffrey Ashworth in 1987 and carefully tracks the streams, brooks and water courses which by and large have bricked over and gurgle their way along unseen.

Sadly it is now out of print and copies on Amazon are going for £60, but it is available from the library and may one day be republished.

*Ashworth, Geoffrey, The Lost River of Manchester, Willow Publishing, 1987

Pictures; courtesy of Willow Publishing,

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