A Modern Marvel

by Chris While and Julie Matthews

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Adamson he made a vow in 1887
He'd build the greatest Ship Canal if he the men was given
16,000 raised their hands and dug a ditch to Mersey sand
And to the sound of marching bands they claimed a modern marvel

A century has passed away since came the son of Adam
And water trade has given way to miles of tarmacadam
But water parks and office blocks have risen from neglected docks
And newly renovated locks are now a modern marvel

Should you go by Salford Quays upon a summers evening
Or stroll around in Castlefield as pleasure boats are leaving
Close your eyes, recall the scene when all around was cloaked in green
'til 16,000 navvies keen carved out a modern marvel


This was written for a BBC radio documentary called 'Tales from the Towpath' about Daniel Adamson's vision and the building of the Manchester Ship Canal. Full details and a recording of the programme can be found here.