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The Irwell rapidly became one of the most polluted rivers in the worl Edward Corbett, the Borough Engineer of Salford, wrote in his 1907 book The River Irwell of his father's experiences around 1819, of seeing "large shoals of fish, chiefly gudgeon but also other fish, rising to the flies" from a vantage point on New Bailey bridge, (now Albert Bridge) in Manchester. Local industry dumped toxic chemicals into the river, such as gas-tar, gas-lime and ammonia water, and by 1850 fish stocks had all but disappeared. In 1860 the Irwell was described as "almost proverbial for the foulness of its waters; receiving the refuse of cotton factories, coal mines, print works, bleach works, dye works, chemical works, paper works, almost every kind of industry."


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