Here are a few photos of underground canal and chambers under the Great Northern Goods Warehouse, situated off Deansgate in Manchester city centre.
The Warehouse was completed in August 1899 but operations started in July 1898 when only the ground and first floors were complete such was the demand for the goods station. Inside was a spaghetti junction of rail lines with five platforms and twenty five cranes. To facilitate the movement of goods, wagon turntables were incorporated at the end of the lines to allow wagons to be turned round. The Manchester and Salford Junction canal, constructed in 1939, ran under the Warehouse, passing through a specially-built dock.
Two 40-cwt lifts shafts were used to transport goods to each of the building’s six levels, ready for dispatch to their next destination whether by canal or horse and cart.
During the Second World War, the canal, which had been operational until 1922, served a very different purpose. The canal was drained in order to provide an air raid shelter for the public. The walls built across the canals to stop any blast going right through the tunnels are still there.
The canal was less than a mile long, with 4 locks and a tunnel below the Deansgate area. It was built to let boats get between the Irwell and the Rochdale Canal without having to pass through the Bridgewater Canal’s Hulme link, the tolls for which were high.