Are you a Gongoozler?
Canals are a natural tourist destination. Are you a Gongoozler? For centuries a Gongoozler has been someone who comes down to watch the goings on along the canal.
We Salford Bridgewater Canal Green Badge Guides all love to gongoozle! This is not a new phenomenon and has been happening since canals were first developed and especially the Bridgewater canal begun in 1761.
Early tourism had sent the nations young men out on the Grand Tour to see and experience new things in Europe and Frances Egerton, later the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater was no exception. The canals of Europe had a lasting effect on him.
When he developed his canal in Worsley, he wished that it should be as much use as it is ornament.
In the 18thC people were looking for something different to visit. Industrialists were travelling to see new inventions and techniques, visiting new ironworks and mills springing up across the country.
For ordinary people the lives in the new industrial cities were a wonder after an agricultural subsistence.
In 1851 Queen Victoria visited Worsley and officially put the Bridgewater Canal on the tourist map.
After WW2 the canals were in decline and at risk of being lost but still retained their charm.
The canals needed protection so the Inland Waterways Association was formed 1948 and the British Waterways Board in 1963. As Minister for Transport, Barbara Castle pushed through the Transport Act of 1968 in which the leisure value of canals was officially recognised.
Today with the Bridgewater Canal is a wonderful place to visit and there is a wealth of history in every spot along its length. The Bridgewater Way regeneration project has provided paths and info boards alongside the canal through Salford and will eventually connect a 39mile/65km leisure route for walkers and cyclists.
Why not visit the Delph, newly regenerated with interpretation boards and art works or stop in to one of Worsley’s café’s or bars for refreshments on route.