The picturesque area of Worsley Green is not actually the traditional village green it appears. Until around 1903 it was Worsley Yard, the centre of an industrial complex that mushroomed when work began on both the surface canal and the navigable level. It included a boat building yard, motor mill, timber yard, nail makers, wheelwrights, basketmakers and a warehouse. It is still possible to see the imprints in the grass where railway sidings ran.
Recclesia was commissioned to undertake a phase of masonry conservation and repair work to the monument, as well as other canal-related heritage features, as part of the £5.5M Bridgewater Canal Project. The work included the dismantling, repair and rebuilding of the top of the memorial, re-roofing the monument in lead, and repairs and repointing to the rest of the monument from top to bottom.
The monument is to Francis, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, "The Canal Duke". This was constructed from the base of the Works Yard chimney. It was originally a fountain, though sadly now dry. The base carries a Latin inscription:
A lofty column breathing smoke and fire,
Did I the builder's glory once aspire,
Whose founder was that Duke who far and wide
Bridged water through Bridgewater's countryside.
Stranger! This spot, where once did never cease
Great Vulcan's year, would sleep in silent peace,
But beneath my very stones does mount
That water's source, his honour's spring and fount.
Alas! That I who gazed o'er field and town
Should to these base proportions dwindle down.
But all's not over, still enough remains
To testify past glories, duties, pain.
Translation: Henry Hart Davies 1905
Information: Visit Salford
Photography: Nick Harrison