36 Miles away from the sea - Matthews / While
Written for the BBC Radio 2 documentary ‘Tales from the towpath – the building of the Manchester ship canal’

The decline of the city was cruel
But not for the lack of the tool
What broke the back was the lack of the means
To transport her trade away from the sea

Daniel Adamson nurtured a dream
To build a canal the likes never seen
And as Liverpool traders they scorned
In Manchester town, a vision was born

36 miles away from the sea
Building a dream a gateway a quay
From the sea to the city, a sight to be seen
36 miles away from the sea

Well the money and time it was tight
But Manchester rose to the fight
And as the deadline dissolved into days
Resolved to the cause three million was raised

Boys and men 16 thousand in all
From town and country they answered the call
To work 60 hours a week for a pound
Removing the earth to channel the ground


Bonfires and flares turned the night into day
160 lives lost on the way
But the toil it was never in vain
And the months turned to years, till 94 came

And how Manchester gathered with glee
When Victoria opened the quay
Manchester city would rise once again
City of dreams, your ship has come in