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Feature

Is Manchester’s infamous ‘Canal Pusher’ real?

It’s been disputed…

Alex Watson

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Smabs Sputzer / Flickr

The Canal Pusher is easily one of the most famous characters from modern Manchester folklore.

In the past decade, an estimated 77 bodies have tragically been pulled out of Manchester’s canal and waterway network. Most of them are young men.

Many publications around the country eagerly jumped on the idea that Manchester is home to a serial killer, donned ‘The Canal Pusher’. The stories spread across the world, despite continued denial from the Greater Manchester Police.

Credit: Alarn Burnett / Flickr

So, why do people think The Canal Pusher is real?

It boils down to the connection between The Pusher and the definition of a serial killer.

Serial killers murder simply to murder without empathy or feeling and there is usually some sort of sexual gratification involved.

In the instance of a serial killer, victims are usually murdered in the same manner and have something in common which is usually to do with their appearance or gender.

Many but not all of The Pusher’s potential victims were young men. Of the 77 cases, only 12 were deemed to be in mysterious circumstances. In the majority of the victims, there were no signs of struggle or any evidence of suspicious injuries including sexual assault.

Credit: Patrick Robert Doyle / Unsplash

There are of course anomalies, such as Tony Scanlon who was found in the Ashton Canal in March 2007 with “cuts and bruises to his head”.

So, if all of these deaths are victims of The Pusher, why aren’t they all the exact same? Potentially, the person could be a ‘Thrill Killer’. Whereby they seek for the ‘adrenaline rush’ of killing, the attack is usually not prolonged and there is no aspect.

In these instances, the victims are usually strangers and the killer becomes more successful as they refine their murder methods.

But even serial killers make mistakes.

Credit: Kris Davis / Flickr

Which brings us to our next problem with The Canal Pusher theory, not one single person has survived and managed to tell the tale. Almost all serial killers mess up at least once. Mistakes are human nature so it’s unreasonable to assume the Pusher hasn’t made even one tiny error.

Of course, there is one report of the Canal Pusher. A cyclist on the towpath was violently thrown into the canal one night in April 2018. He gave a very vague description of The Pusher: a white male aged between 20-40, average height and wearing a black jacket.

Police pretty quickly dismissed this claim as completely unrelated to the other deaths as there was no evidence to suggest any link.

Credit: Paul Morgan / Flickr

Along with a lack of survivors, there’s also a lack of evidence to support the theory of The Canal Pusher. Manchester is littered with CCTV so unless this person has an invisibility cloak it would be near-impossible to operate almost 100 crimes without ever being caught, seen or so much as even arousing suspicion at any of the events.

What’s actually happening then?

In the most part, it’s believed these deaths are a long string of tragic accidents, which are typically put down to too much alcohol or drug use.

Such tragic deaths are pretty common in any other city where there is a large waterway. In the same time period, Amsterdam saw 88 drownings. Meanwhile, in London around 250 people a year are pulled out of the Thames.

Credit: Hugo Karpinski / Flickr

It goes without saying that there are many bars along the canal in Manchester so these accidents are quite likely given the intoxication levels about on a weekend – pre-lockdown, of course.

The fact that almost all the victims are men speaks volume too – with many men looking to the canal as the perfect opportunity to relieve your bladder when you’re drunk.

So with little to no evidence to support the theory, the more obvious conclusion is to say that The Canal Pusher is simply just an urban legend.

Credit: Salim Virji / Flickr

But while there’s likely no serial killer stalking the canals of Manchester, you should still be careful on the waterways, as those tiles can easily become slippery in this rainy city.

And don’t ever think about going down there after a few drinks, no matter how good of a swimmer you are – stay safe out there everyone.

Feature

Inside the Wigan home ‘frozen in the 1970s’ that’s on the market for the first time ever

This is ICONIC!

Alex Watson

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Regan and Hallworth

If you love the ’70s you’ll love this house that is going on the market for the first time, which will transport you to the decade of platforms, flares and shag pile carpet. 

The family home in Wigan is thought to be going on the market for the first time ever, but inside is a ’70s lover’s dream.

Throughout the entire house is décor from the decade, including a retro orange sofa, plenty of frosted glass and shag carpets of course. 

It’s three bedroom and is tucked away in Parbold on Croasdale Drive.

Regan and Hallworth
Regan and Hallworth

Estate Agent Regan and Hallworth say that ‘despite requiring extensive modernisation’ the house ‘has an undeniably timeless appeal’.

You’ll also find teak wood storage units in just about every room, and plenty of earth-toned accessories throughout. 

Regan and Hallworth

There’s a huge copper fire place in the living room complimented by dark brown walls and a patterned ceiling. 

The kitchen is covered with white cabinets with a wood trim, an unusual corner sink situation, plus a fitted microwave on the lower half of the cabinets. 

Regan and Hallworth
Regan and Hallworth

The bathroom is covered in dark marble tiles and a frosted window above the bath, complimented by gold furnishing and trims on both the toilet and sink – plus a gold shower! 

For all the quirky features the house is actually surprisingly minimalist, it’s bright and has a big open plan living room. 

Regan and Hallworth

It’s also been designed with an upside-down layout meaning the bedrooms are on the ground floor while the living room is on the second floor, taking advantage of the views over the trees. 

The house is located on a leafy lane and features a glass-front, extensive driveway space with a double garage and plenty of greenery to enjoy from your orange sofa.

Regan and Hallworth
Regan and Hallworth

Regan and Hallworth add: “We don’t believe that ‘Beech Hill’ has ever been on the open market before and offers an incredibly rare opportunity for a wide range of buyers to purchase a home of true distinction with tons of potential without having to pay the huge premium you normally expect to pay to live in one of West Lancashire’s most sought after locations.

“Available with the added benefit of no upward chain, early viewing is highly recommended.”

Offers are in excess of £400,000. Find out more info here

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Feature

A look back at Manchester’s greatest nightclubs and venues

How many have you been to?

Proper Manchester

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21 Piccadilly Friends And Clubbers / Facebook

Over the years numerous iconic nightclubs, bars and pubs have disappeared from Manchester. Some of these venues have been legendary, others, well, were just a bit dodgy.

Either way, if you visited one it will have left a lasting impression – whether this is positive or negative is another question entirely.

With that in mind, what better time to take a little trip down memory lane and remember some of the forgotten clubs of our city. Enjoy…

Piccadilly 21s

Piccadilly 21s was a ‘90s party paradise located in Piccadilly Gardens. It had a reputation for being very loud, very messy and very sticky, with cheap drinks to boot – there were even chandeliers in the bogs.

Unfortunately it also had a reputation for being rough as owt, after it managed to attract gang members and other unsavoury clientele in the late ‘80s and 90s, and it eventually shut down in 2004.

These days it’s a Premier Inn and a Nando’s – so the floors are probably just as sticky to be fair.

Manchester Past

Rotters

Besides having a name which would prove a branding nightmare for modern PR-led venues, Rotters boasted some of the best parties in the city, after it took over the site from Romanoff’s.

Located at the top of Oxford Road, in the ‘70s and ‘80s Rotters was a hugely popular nightclub, especi

It was housed inside the old Gaumont Cinema, and sadly the whole building was demolished in 1990 and replaced by an NCP car park.

Pips

Pips, located behind the cathedral, was a popular nightclub in the ‘70s, and was frequented by local musical celebs like Joy Division, Ian Brown, Morrissey and Johnny Marr.

It boasted four different rooms playing a variety of music, including a Punk room, Soul room and the infamous Roxy room with a huge Brian Ferry painting on the wall.

Pips closed in the early ‘80s before becoming a club called Konspiracy – which closed not long after.

Manchester Libraries

The Plaza

The Plaza was one of the city’s most popular venues to dance to the likes of Sinatra and Elvis in the ‘60s, and was located on Oxford Street.

Owned by Jimmy Savile, the disgraced DJ pioneered lunchtime disco sessions for the city’s young workers, where you could grab a quick lunch and soft drink while having a dance.

It later turned into Tiffany’s in the ‘70s, complete with fake palm trees and loads of disco balls, before finally becoming Tropicana, which closed in the late ‘80s. It’s now a Pizza Express.

The Hacienda

We couldn’t do a list of iconic Mancunian nightclubs and not include what is arguably one of the most famous venues in the world.

Founded by Tony Wilson in 1982, the Hacienda managed to define a whole era in the city, putting ‘Madchester’ on the map. Acid House and rave culture was born here – as were New Order and the Happy Mondays.

The club closed in 1997 and was demolished 18 months later, with a block of nondescript red brick flats now on the site – called The Hacienda Apartments.

Mikey / Flickr

Jilly’s Rockworld

Jilly’s was a Manchester institution. Originally called Fagin’s, it opened in 1970 on Oxford Road before being renamed Jilly’s in 1983, eventually adding Rockworld to the end.

The alternative club was always packed full with a cross section of people with a passion for guitar music, including punks, skaters, goths, metalheads, and indie kids.

Underneath was another club called the Musicbox – previously Rafters – but sadly both venues shut their doors back in 2010.

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Feature

There’s a hidden tranquil waterfall located in the hills above Rochdale

This looks so peaceful!

Alex Watson

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@thesijones / Instagram & @lockdownwalks / Facebook

If you’re after some tranquillity in your life (let’s face it – we all are), this is the perfect escape and it’s not too far away from Manchester. 

Tucked away in the hills above Norden in Rochdale is a beautiful waterfall surrounded by luscious woodland, and its the perfect weekend walk.

Naden Valley is home to four huge reservoirs Naden Higher, Naden Middle, Naden Lower and Greenbooth, which all offer perfect exploring options and ample walking opportunities.  

lockdownwalks/Facebook

From the top of the valley you’ll find stunning views of Manchester city centre’s skyline towering over the hills in the distance. 

The trickling waterfall is in the southwestern corner of Greenbooth reservoir, and is actually heading towards the United Utilities-owned reservoir after running through a housing estate. 

There are clear circular footpaths around each reservoir that are perfect for a gentle stroll and are mostly accessible. 

There are several flights of stairs to reach the waterfall which is slightly off path and requires a bit of careful exploring. 

If waterfalls are your thing, you could also head to Rivington Pike’s forgotten Japanese Gardens just outside of Chorley. 

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