Wikipedia:Main Page history/2012 July 19

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The Stolt Kittiwake heading toward the Mersey Estuary, 2005

The Manchester Ship Canal is a river navigation 36 miles (58 km) long in the North West of England. Starting at the Mersey Estuary near Liverpool, it generally follows the original routes of the rivers Mersey and Irwell through the historic counties of Cheshire and Lancashire. Major landmarks along its route include the Barton Swing Aqueduct and Trafford Park. By the late 19th century the Mersey and Irwell Navigation had fallen into disrepair and was often unusable, and Manchester's business community viewed Liverpool's dock and the railway companies' charges as excessive. A ship canal was proposed as a way of giving ocean-going vessels direct access to Manchester. Construction began in 1887; it took six years and cost about £15 million. When the ship canal opened in January 1894 it was the largest river navigation canal in the world. Although it enabled the newly created Port of Manchester to become Britain's third busiest port—despite the city being about 40 miles (64 km) inland—the canal never achieved the commercial success its sponsors had hoped for. Ships often returned to sea loaded with ballast rather than goods for export, and gradually the balance of traffic moved to the west, resulting in the closure of the terminal docks at Salford. As of 2011, traffic had decreased from its peak in 1958 of 18 million long tons (20 million short tons) of freight each year to about 7 million long tons (7.8 million short tons). The canal is now privately owned by Peel Ports. (more...)

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July 19: Burmese Martyrs' Day

SS Great Britain in 2005

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Slate pencil urchin

The slate pencil urchin (Eucidaris tribuloides) is a species of sea urchin that inhabits littoral regions of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a nocturnal bottom-dweller: during daylight hours, the slate pencil urchin uses its large primary spines to anchor itself under or atop rocks or to lodge itself in crevices.

Photo: Nick Hobgood

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