The Process Begins
The Duke’s Bill, which received Royal Assent on 23rd March 1759, proposed two separate cuts from Worsley keeping north of the River Irwell, one via Patricroft to Salford and the other in the direction of Warrington to link with the River Mersey at Hollins Ferry.
The route towards Patricroft made good progress but the cut to Hollins Ferry ran into difficulties with peat deposits, forcing them the re-examine the route.
At the time James Brindley, who had established a reputation for mine and other workings involving water, was surveying the route of a proposed Canal from the Trent to the Mersey on behalf of Earl Gower, the brother-in law of the Canal Duke. Consequently, Brindley was invited to a meeting at Worsley Old Hall with the Duke and Gilbert and a complete change of plan emerged. The new route abandoned the Hollins Ferry line and the section which had reached Patricroft was altered to cross the Irwell by a Stone Aqueduct, therefore joining Trafford Park to Streford and Manchester.
Worsley Old Hall, a fine timbered house, was the scene of prolonged meetings between the Duke and his advisers when preparing to submit a change to the Bill which was being presented to Parliament. This was passed in March 1760 to give approval to the change of route. Brindley was able to appease any doubters in the Parliamentary Committee by demonstrating his ideas for Barton Aqueduct by making a model from a cheese.
This renowned engineering feat, ridiculed by many, crowned the success of the Opening of the Canal on 17th July, 1761.