One of the benefits of travel on the English canals is that it takes you places you would never think to go, some by routes hardly ever used. Why else would you think to go to Runcorn. The branch that leaves the Bridgewater at Preston Brook once connected this stretch of inland water to the much grander Manchester Ship Canal but, no more. The locks that connected Runcorn’s Waterloo Basin with the Mersey and later, the Manchester Ship Canal have been filled in but their outlines remain and it is still possible to walk much of the route. The Unlock Runcorn website provides the full history and the hope that one day this route will return to navigation.

It is not the Bridgewater Canal that predominates in Runcorn, it is the bridges – the Runcorn Railway Bridge opened in 1868 (also known as the Ethelfleda Bridge) and the Silver Jubilee Road Bridge opened in July 1961. The bridges span both the Manchester Ship Canal and the River Mersey at Runcorn Gap – I suspect most speed across without being aware of the town beneath. It isn’t pretty but it has its attractions:

Silver Jubilee and Railway Bridges, Runcorn

The bright side of Runcorn

Waterloo Bridge, Runcorn

Silver Jubilee Bridge, Runcorn

The Clarendon, Runcorn

The Chambers Building, Runcorn

The ‘beach’, Runcorn


  1. Maureen Sudlow · June 27, 2017

    Nice tour thanks

  2. J.D. Riso · June 28, 2017

    It’s that time of year again. 😉It does look sort of godforsaken, but there’s something intriguing about such places. The photos are so eerie. Love the colors on the last one, especially. Enjoy your drift, Robin.

    • northumbrianlight · June 28, 2017

      Thanks Julie – the Mersey Gateway will open later this year. A bridge, similar to the new Forth crossing, will relieve congestion on the Silver Jubilee taking the majority of canal/river crossing traffic away from Runcorn. I’m don’t know if this will be a good or a bad thing for the town:

  3. Cate Franklyn · June 28, 2017

    The Silver Jubilee Bridge does look like “my” Hell Gate Bridge!!!! The Waterloo is gorgeous! Just love bridges. Great shots all around. 🙂

    • northumbrianlight · June 28, 2017

      Many thanks Cate – remarkable feats of engineering every one. According to Wiki Hell Gate inspired the Tyne Bridge and Sydney Harbour Bridge. However, the lesser known and smaller Wylam Railway Bridge, built in 1876, is also said to have inspired the Tyne Bridge – who knows 😉

  4. restlessjo · June 28, 2017

    Never been to Runcorn, Robin, but I must have been close. I do know that I’ve overflown that new bridge and it looks rather grand. 🙂 🙂

    • northumbrianlight · June 28, 2017

      Hi Jo – it looks a magnificent piece of civil engineering. Hope all is well with you and yours. All the best, Robin

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