New radio series tells story of “the engineering of the first modern city”

ICE North West has teamed up with Manchester-based community and internet radio station ALL FM 96.9 to make a new radio series celebrating the infrastructure behind the world’s first industrial city.

The Etihad Statium in Manchester. Photo credit: Sean Maher.
The Etihad Statium in Manchester. Photo credit: Sean Maher.

Making Manchester: The engineering of the first modern city, presented by Spencer Fitz-Gibbon, has developed from ICE's This is Civil Engineering campaign, and will be broadcast weekly during January and February as a series of programmes on infrastructure themes.

In the year which sees the 300th anniversary of the birth of James Brindley – the civil engineer who designed the Bridgewater Canal to move coal from deep inside the Duke of Bridgewater's mines right into the heart of the city – the initial Making Manchester programme tells the story of the city's canals.

Titled Venice of the North after the nickname Manchester gained due to its plethora of canals, the first programme will initially air at 0900 GMT on Monday 11 January 2016. The programme broadcasts simultaneously via the internet at, and a listen-again facility will be provided via so that anyone interested will be able to listen anytime, indefinitely.

Each of the programmes, broadcast weekly during January and February, will be accompanied by a video hosted on ICE's YouTube channel, telling a shorter version of the story.

The Making Manchester programmes will cover historical engineering achievements, describe current projects and look ahead to major future infrastructure developments affecting the city and its surrounding region. Example will include:

  • The building of Britain's first modern canal, and the renaissance of Greater Manchester's canal network in recent years.
  • The world's first intercity railway line, plus the regeneration of today's railways around Greater Manchester and the coming of HS2.
  • The story of how Britain's longest aqueduct began supplying Manchester with drinking water in 1894, and how the city's sewerage is now dealt with by ICE award-winning innovative green technology at the Davyhulme Wastewater Treatment Works.
  • How the Manchester Ship Canal turned an inland city into a seaport, and how the multi-billion-pound Atlantic Gateway project is set to bring a resurgence in the region's sea freight in conjunction with Liverpool 2, Port Warrington and Port Salford.

Presenter Spencer Fitz-Gibbon commented: "There are so many fascinating stories to tell about how civil engineering has shaped civilisation, and Manchester provides a great showcase for it. The series includes interviews recorded at historic sites, such as the world's oldest intercity railway station, and regenerated sites like Salford Quays, but we'll also be looking at things like the civil engineering behind one of the world's great sporting cities. So altogether we hope the series will help spread awareness of how much society owes to civil engineers."

Further information can be found at