Memories of the Hollinwood Canal

Howard Bolton writes:

As a youngster in the early 60s I often used to walk the canal.

The website mentions the pumping station at the Fairbottom Branch Junction. You may be interested to know that I have a set of quite good photographs of this just before it was demolished. (see Old Photos)

Also, my uncle - who is now 84 - has a starting handle from this engine.

Now for the interesting bit... should anyone ever think of restoring the canal, they should take a close look in the bottom of the top lock of the staircase pair at Daisy Nook. The beam from the pumping engine is down there - buried when they filled it in...

In the early sixties I often used to walk from Hollinwood to Droylsden to see the steam engine at the Saxon cotton spinning mill which continued working until about 1967. In those days, the canal was virtually intact from behind the Roxy cinema all the way to the Ashton Canal - only the bridge into Crime Lake had been culverted. These journeys however became a little more difficult when the aqueduct over the railway was demolished.

Another feature which still existed at that time was a coal loading stage which stood on the opposite bank to the pumping station. It was at the end of a horse-tramway linking the canal to Bardsley colliery and although the track had long since been removed, it was quite easly to walk the whole length.

John writes:

The bridge at the top of Stannybrook Road off Newmarket Road was a hump back type of all brick construction. Never any boats in my time, going back to around 1950.

In fact there was very little water in that section of the canal. We kids used to be able to get across in our bare feet - a good place for finding frogs. There was a wooden swing bridge further on down towards Droylsden near the Lumb mill and the canal had water in it at that point but no boats.

Going in the other direction towards Crime Lake there were some old sunken barges in the basin but I never did see anything afloat on any of the canals around there in my time.

I was down Daisy Nook a couple of years ago, the hill is not as steep now as it used to be, it's as though they have taken the hump off the bridge or done something anyway, used to be very steep, horses had one hell of a job getting up out of the bottom, seen them down on their knees trying to pull a cart up there, especially hard in frosty weather.

Had a talk with my uncle Charlie yesterday who can remember back to the 30s. He says that the Stannybrook Road bridge was of a type where the horse pulling the barge was uncoupled, walked across the road on top of the bridge and then hooked up again on the other side, so there was no towpath through the bridge although I do think there was a narrow walk way because I seem to remember being underneath it on occasion.

Although this stretch of canal was not in use even in his day he says that it was always well maintained, with men doing the fences, trimming hedges, pointing brick and stonework etc.

Uncle Charlie went on to say a few words about Sammy Pearson who is mentioned on the site as being the water bailiff for a time and someone he knew, seems that Sammy was also the ARP warden for Woodhouses during the war, used to go around telling people to "Get that bloody light out!"

Sammy lived in a house by the Locks and had to cross over the lock on a narrow walkway to get to his door. One night coming home in the dark, pushing his bike over the lock he actually fell in but somehow managed to get himself out. On hearing this folk laughed and said "He should have had HIS bloody light on!"


Also read "A Droylsden Childhood and the Hollinwood Canal"..

If you have any memories of the canal that you would like to share please send them by email (see home page).