Monday, 14 September 2009

Jerusalem (Lancs.)

"Captain Ahab" on Wand'ring Bark recently left a comment on one of my posts bemoaning the loss of canalside industry. He should go to Leigh!

Leigh is where the Leigh branch of the Leeds & Liverpool meets the Leigh branch of the Bridgewater Canal, thus forming a through route between Wigan and Worsley. Its a small industrial town, of a sort found across the north of England, but unlike some of its larger neighbours - such as Manchester and even Wigan - its waterfront areas have not been gentrified or even developed very much. This part of south Lancashire was a mining and cotton spinning area so the canalside industries were collieries and cotton mills. The former have disappeared (although a canalside pit museum survives at Astley) but - in Leigh at least - the mills survive and are some are still in industrial use, although perhaps no longer for cotton spinning. Here are two of mills still visible to the boater passing through the town.

In the 1970s and '80s I used to drive regularly between Manchester and the West Riding of Yorkshire on the M62 and have vivid memories of the huge number of mills like these that were visible from the motorway firstly falling out of use and then being demolished, until today very few, if any, remain. It was good to see them surviving in Leigh: I never found them particularly dark or satanic but then I didn't have to work in one!

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