The Info List - River Medlock

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The River
Medlock is a river in Greater Manchester, England, which rises near Oldham
and flows south and west for ten miles to join the River Irwell
River Irwell
in Manchester
city centre.


1 Sources 2 Lower reaches 3 Navigation 4 Notable features 5 Tributaries 6 References 7 Further reading

Sources[edit] Rising in the hills that surround Strinesdale just to the east of Oldham, the Medlock flows through the steep-sided wooded gorge that separates Lees from Ashton-under-Lyne
and the Daisy Nook Country Park with its 19th century aqueduct carrying the disused Hollinwood Branch Canal over the shallow river.[citation needed] Lower reaches[edit] The final miles of the river flowing to the River Irwell
River Irwell
have been extensively modified. The river is culverted underneath the car park of the City of Manchester
Stadium (the site of a former gasworks). It is visible under a bridge on Baring Street, close to Piccadilly station, before running again in a culvert beneath the former University of Manchester
Institute of Science & Technology campus (London Road (A6) to Princess Street), then under Hulme Street, until it appears briefly at Gloucester Street before flowing under the former gasworks at Gaythorn, reappearing at City Road East. At the point where Deansgate
and Chester Road (A56) meet (under the Bridgewater Viaduct) the river meets the Bridgewater Canal
Bridgewater Canal
head on, where a sluice gate (a listed structure) allowed water to feed the canal, until the water quality of the Medlock became too polluted for canal use. Normally the level of the river is several feet below the level of the canal, and the river is carried in a tunnel under the Castlefield
canal basin, reappearing at Potato Wharf, where it is supplemented by excess canal water draining into a circular weir. When the river is in spate the tunnel cannot cope and river water enters the canal, flows across the basin, and exits via the weir and manually operated gates. A quarter of a mile further on the Medlock enters the Irwell adjacent to the bottom gate of the disused Hulme Locks. Navigation[edit] In the latter part of the 18th century the river was navigable at least between the Bridgewater Canal
Bridgewater Canal
(at Deansgate) and the site of India House (on Whitworth Street). At India House was the entrance to a tunnel used to carry coal to a wharf at Store Street (by Piccadilly station).[1][2] The tunnel mouth is still visible. The tunnel was rendered obsolete by silting of the river and the construction of the Rochdale
Canal. Notable features[edit] The area just south of Oxford Road railway station enclosed by the railway line and the loop in the river was known as Little Ireland, and was described by Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels
as "the most horrible spot" of the area.[3] It is commemorated by a red plaque in Cambridge Street near New Wakefield Street.[4][5] The telephone exchange name, and subsequent dialling code for the area around Strinesdale, Moorside, and Grains Bar, was Medlock Head, abbreviated to MED for dialling. This was so at the time of the introduction of Subscriber Trunk Dialling to the area in the 1960s. The name owed less to local geography than to technology. The code MED was rendered as 633 on the telephone dial. MAI, the code for Oldham Main, was 624. Post Office Telecoms equipment of the day worked better when discrete local geographical areas, then with relatively few subscribers, had similar prefixes. These numbers, and others beginning with 6, remain in use in Greater Manchester, prefixed by 0161. Tributaries[edit]

Tib Shooter's Brook

Newton Brook

Lord's Brook Lumb Brook Taunton Brook Holden Brook Little Bankfield Brook Rabbit Brook Rowton Brook Thornley Brook

Ashes Brook Wood Brook

Sheep Washes Brook Roebuck Low Brook


^ N.B. India House was built more than a century later ^ Geoffrey Ashworth, The Lost Rivers of Manchester, Willow Publishing, Altrincham, 1987, ISBN 0-946361-12-6. ^ Friedrich Engels, Condition of the Working Class in England, 1845 (multiple publishers; online edition). ^ Site of Little Ireland
Little Ireland
Large numbers of immigrant Irish workers lived here in appalling housing conditions Built c.1827 Vacated c.1847 Demolished c.1877 ^ Hartwell, Clare (2001); p. 179

Further reading[edit]

Ed Glinert, The Manchester
Compendium, Allen Lane, 2008. ISBN 978-0-7139-9971-6. Andrew Taylor, Manchester
City Centre Map at a scale of 1:3500, 7th edition, Andrew Taylor, 2011. ISBN 978-1-905250-09-7

Next confluence upstream River
Irwell Next confluence downstream

Irk (East) River
Medlock -

v t e

Ceremonial county of Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester

Statutory City Region

Greater Manchester
Combined Authority Greater Manchester
Statutory City Region Mayor of Greater Manchester

Metropolitan districts

City of Manchester City of Salford Metropolitan Borough of Bolton Metropolitan Borough of Bury Metropolitan Borough of Oldham Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough of Stockport Metropolitan Borough of Tameside Metropolitan Borough of Trafford Metropolitan Borough of Wigan

Major settlements

Altrincham Ashton-in-Makerfield
(part) Ashton-under-Lyne Atherton Audenshaw Blackrod Bolton Bredbury Bury Chadderton Clifton Denton Droylsden Dukinfield Eccles Failsworth Farnworth Golborne Heywood Hindley Horwich Hyde Kearsley Leigh Littleborough Manchester Marple Middleton Milnrow Mossley Oldham Partington Pendlebury Prestwich Radcliffe Ramsbottom Rochdale Royton Sale Salford Shaw Stalybridge Standish Stockport Stretford Swinton Tyldesley Urmston Walkden Westhoughton Whitefield Wigan Worsley See also: List of civil parishes in Greater Manchester


Beal Bollin Croal Dean Brook Douglas Etherow Goyt Irk Irwell Medlock Mersey Roch Spodden Tame Tib Tonge


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