Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lancashire

Warrington, Lancashire, UKThe great manufacturing county of England for cotton and woollen spinning and weaving is Lancashire. Liverpool is the seaport for the vast aggregation of manufacturers who own the huge mills of Manchester, Salford, Warrington, Wigan, Oldham, Rochdale, Bolton, Blackburn, Preston, and a score of other towns, whose operatives work into yarns and fabrics the millions of bales of cotton and wool that come into the Mersey. The warehouse and factory, with the spinners' cottages and the manufacturers' villas, make up these towns, almost all of modern growth, and the busy machinery and smoking chimneys leave little chance for romance in Southern Lancashire. It was in this section that trade first compelled the use of modern improvements: here were used the earliest steam-engines; here labored Arkwright to perfect the spinning machinery, and Stephenson to build railways. To meet the necessities of communication between Liverpool and Manchester, the first canal was dug in England, and this was followed afterwards by the first experimental railway; the canal was constructed by Brindley, and was called the "Grand Trunk Canal," being twenty-eight miles long from Manchester to the Mersey River, at Runcorn above Liverpool, and was opened in 1767. The railway was opened in 1830; the odd little engine, the "Rocket," then drew an excursion-train over it, and the opening was marred by an accident which killed Joseph Huskisson, one of the members of Parliament for Liverpool. Let us follow this railway, which now carries an enormous traffic out of Liverpool, eastward along the valley of the Mersey past Warrington, with its quaint old timbered market-house, and then up its tributary, the Irwell, thirty-one miles to Manchester.

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