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Canal Archive: Bridging the Years

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The Start of a New Era

Inspired by Marshall Stevens' vision Hooley wanted to have Stevens at his side. He offered the Ship Canal Manager an appealing wage which persuaded Stevens to leave his post and join Trafford Park Estates as its Managing Director in January 1897. With Stevens in post the Company began to focus on its new role. However, before the whole of the site could be developed for industry the new Company had to honour an earlier obligation. This was the use of part of the Estate for the staging of the Royal Agricultural Show, which was scheduled to run from June 1896 until September 1897.

During this period the Estate Company looked for other ways to generate income. The picturesque lake became a boating lake after being let to William Crooke & Sons, who already ran such services in other parks in the region. The lake became a popular spot for local people as well as for visitors from further afield.

The Estate also became a venue for the game of golf with Manchester Golf Club leasing some land near to the Hall. The course was around three miles long and the move benefited the Club with its membership numbers growing as a result.

In order for the Estate to be attractive to business the Company needed to provide various facilities. A transport network was an important factor and a start was made with the laying of a gas tramway across the Park which was in operation from 1897. Work on a railway system followed with various stages being developed including an essential link with the Manchester Ship Canal railway system. 1904 saw the passing of a significant Act of Parliament making the Estate Company the operating company for Trafford Park Estate's Railway. This meant they were free to extend the railway as required without the need to seek permission form Parliament for every new extension.

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This is page 5 of Trafford Park - The Early Years.
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A postcard showing the boating lake in Trafford Park

A postcard showing the boating lake in Trafford Park
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An early photograph of Trafford Park Industrial Estate showing the early stages of the transport network

An early photograph of Trafford Park Industrial Estate showing the early stages of the transport network
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