A Royal Route

Historical Canal Maps: NarrowBoat, Summer 2021

Richard Dean

Richard Dean explores the mapping of Queen Victoria’s visit to Worsley in 1851

To be honoured with a visit by the reigning monarch has always been the height of social respectability, and when Queen Victoria accepted an invitation to stay with the Earl of Ellesmere in the autumn of 1851, no pains were spared to ensure that every detail of the event was perfect. As the beneficiary of the wealthy Bridgewater Trust, the Earl arranged for the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Wellington, to arrive by train at Patricroft Station and travel to Worsley via the Bridgewater Canal in two specially constructed boats. The royal party then stayed at the Earl’s Worsley Hall, which served as a base for trips by carriage over the following days to Manchester and Bolton. To assist the internal organisation and policing of the event, a large-scale plan was specially prepared and lithographed in a book of nine sheets covering both the canal and road legs of the Queen’s journey, and marked at intervals with suitable locations for spectators. A montage of the canal porti…

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