The Rochdale Canal by Mair Potter and Brian Green It was four days prior to Christmas in eighteen hundred and four Then church bells rang, the band played loud and crowds began to roar The Rochdale now was open, boats used it by the score Carrying cotton, coal and limestone for a hundred years or more Chorus: Don’t let them fill the Rochdale in Don’t let them close the cut Will Jessop made the canal to last And be restored it must She leaves the Calder and Hebble and climbs the mountain side Through Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge she shows herself with pride She drops down into Rochdale, through Manchester she goes And finally at Castlefield, to the Bridgewater she flows There’s thirty-three miles of water from one county to another Through Denholme, Gauxholme, Todmorden, Long Lees and Littleborough She drops down into Slattocks, past many a mill she flows Past Boarshaw Lane and Tanners Field to Dale Street wharves she goes There’s ninety-two locks of rugged stone upon this broad canal Each known by name, there’s Wadsworth Mill, Punchbowl and then Pinnel They’ve bridges over tailgates and the locks are very wide With massive gates of solid oak with sluices at the side Some fellows up in London said the Rochdale had had its day So in nineteen hundred and fifty two it fell into decay They dropped the gates into the locks, rubbish filled the cut The paddle gear began to rust, this Pennine Way was shut In nineteen hundred and seventy one the aims were to restore One hundred boats sailed up the nine as in the days of yore And now in May of seventy eight boats gather once again It must be right to state our case, the fight we will maintain Written for the occasion of the Rochdale Canal Rally, May 20th/21st 1978.
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