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Is Manchester’s infamous ‘Canal Pusher’ real?

It’s been disputed…



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.


Take a look inside the creepy abandoned Belle Vue Showcase cinema

Who else has great memories of this place?



Mark Gardener

The Belle Vue Showcase cinema was somewhat of an iconic venue in Manchester, however, it is set to be demolished and replaced. 

The news came late last year that the cinema would be demolished to make way for a new secondary school.

The school, ran by the Co-op, is planning on having its first year sevens students in by September, although they’ll be placed in temporary buildings.

Sir Robert McAlpine / Space Architects

The new Co-Op Academy Belle Vue school is set to be finished in 2023, and a first glimpse of what it will look like has now been released. 

Newly released documents show a modern L-shaped building, which will be split into three different ‘zones’, including a two-storey sports block – complete with a sports hall, auditorium, and drama studio.

Mark Gardener
Mark Gardener

The iconic cinema first opened its doors in 1989 boasting a huge 14 screens in the entertainment complex.

Closing its doors back in March 2020, the cinema had been left abandoned all last year and started to look seriously creepy. 

Mark Gardener
Mark Gardener

The timeline for demolition hasn’t been given yet, and parents had to have applied for their child’s place in the new school by November 2nd last year – in case you were wanting to. 

Once the grounds of Belle Vue zoo and amusement park, the area will definitely have some stories to tell.

Mark Gardener
Mark Gardener

The Belle Vue Showcase cinema was one of the first multi-screen complexes to open up, bringing American films, no queues and car parks to fit a 1,000 cars – it was unlike anything that had ever been seen before when it first opened back in 1989.

Back in February last year when rumours began to circulate the cinema would be closing, Mark Barlow, general manager at Showcase Cinemas UK, said: “As the leader in UK cinema innovation, Showcase Cinemas remains committed to operating a cinema in Manchester and as such are in active discussions about future opportunities for a new, state-of-art cinema in the city.”

If you’re going to miss this iconic venue, the company are said to be looking into a new unnamed location for another cinema. They added that they ‘remain fully committed to the city’. 

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The 12 retro chocolate bars that need to be brought back immediately

Nostalgia guaranteed…



Sadly many of the chocolate bars we were once delighted to see in our lunchbox no longer exist, snatched from us way before their time.

And I’m not the only one upset. Hundreds of petitions have been set up to bring back some retro classics and a handful have even been successful.

Last year, Cadbury announced it’s bringing back the Marble bar (only in Australia, unfortunately), proving that nagging works.

We’re still upset about a few other discontinued chocolate treats though…

White Maltesers

These delicious honeycomb and white chocolate balls were last tasted in 2014 and Mars have confirmed they have no intention of bringing them back. It’s a crime against humanity.

Poundland does its own version if you can’t go another minute with eating one. Sure, it’s not the original but they are almost as good.

Credit: Cadbury

Cadbury Dream

This white chocolate revelation from Cadbury was taken from us too soon. It first graced the shelves back in 2002 and fizzled away just a few short years after.

You can still get the original in Australia and New Zealand and import it over if you’re that dedicated to the cause. Personally, I’d like to see this in corner shops all around the UK.

Credit: Galaxy

Galaxy Truffles

There was nothing quite like the feeling of dunking your hand in a box of Celebrations and pulling out a Galaxy Truffle.

That feeling was pure happiness and frankly, we all need it back. They’ve released some sort of knock-off Nigel version but I’m not buying it. We want the originals.

Credit: Cadbury

Time Out

It wasn’t until I started researching this that I discovered Time Out bars had sneakily been taken off our shelves and replaced with a single wafer version called Time Out Wafer.

Clever but you’re not fooling me with this smaller alternative.

Credit: Cadbury

Cadbury Snaps

Two words we didn’t know we needed putting together; chocolate and crisps. Essentially these bad boys were chocolate Pringles and how iconic were they?

We lost these to the discontinued pile back in 2010 and things haven’t been the same since.

Credit: Mars

Mars Delight

The Mars Delight led a short life, just 4 small years. In part due to the fact that it was one of the most calorific bars ever made and it was released just when we were all getting fit – unfortunate timing.

6,423 signed a petition to bring these back in 2016 but there was no luck.

Credit: Cadbury

Flake Snow

She is beauty, she is grace! Another bad decision from Cadbury was to remove the Flake Snow from our lives.

Nothing beats the promo of this either, a sponsored photoshoot at Anthea Turner’s wedding?! ICONIC.

Credit: Fox’s


Fox’s Echo bars were classic lunch box biscuits. They were discontinued and replaced with an inferior bar that we won’t even give any limelight.

Absolutely partial to a mint one but nothing could beat that mix of white and milk chocolate that would just melt in your mouth.

Credit: Cadbury

Cadbury Marble

Cadbury Marble is only back in Australia so it is definitely going in the list of things we need back in the UK.

Marble is quite possibly one of the most missed creations of Cadbury, complete with swirls of milk chocolate, white chocolate and hazelnut praline. Dribbling already. 

Credit: Cadbury

Wispa Mint

These rivalled Aero Mint (easily) but unfortunately never proved popular enough, being taken from our shelves back in 2003. Something about that velvety chocolate though… 

Credit: Cadbury

Cadbury Taz

The best thing you could get with the spare change you’d find down the sofa was a Cadbury Taz or a Freddo. The Taz has been replaced with a caramel Freddo instead, and I’m sorry but it’s just not the same.

Credit: Cadbury

Cadbury Spira

This is like an ’80s version of a Twirl. Because I was born in 1996 I can’t comment on this bad boy, but I’ve heard good things and there is a petition to bring it back so they must’ve been popular enough to create an army of fans.  

Have we missed any? Let us know in the Facebook comments…

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There’s an abandoned bar hidden underneath Manchester’s Victoria Station

Would you dare explore underneath Victoria Station?



Finest Media &

The Urban Collective search cities and urban landscapes for hidden, unexplored derelict sites, filming the process so we get to see. 

Recently, The Urban Collective headed underneath Manchester’s Victoria Station to see the inner workings beneath the station.

Manchester’s Victoria Train Station opened all the way back in 1844, and was designed to help connect Leeds with the port city of Liverpool via train. 

The initial building was designed by the ‘Father of Railways’, George Stephenson, who was heavily involved in the UK’s early rail networks. 

Finest Media
Finest Media

The original building was a long, single-storey structure that you can still see just next to the large Arena steps. 

By the early 1900s, the station had 17 platforms and a huge façade, designed by William Dawes, which still exists today.

The Urban Collective headed underneath the station via the old station offices in the main building, and descended into the now derelict B.R.S.A club.

Finest Media

The club was an underground bar owned by the British Railway Staff Association, and operated as a typical working men’s club during the ’70s and ’80s.

It’s tucked away below the station and the street itself, with punters heading down for a pint near the top station entrance.

You could also get in via the glass building over the road, which later became a barbers.

The bar, topped with glass, as well as wooden floors and other original features are still intact. There’s even a creepy cellar full of crates and thousands of discarded lager bottles.

Old posters are still on the walls, plus there’s even electricity still supplied which makes the fan above the dance floor occasionally spin. 

Members nicknamed their fave spot ‘The Vic Bars’, and train staff regularly attended day and night to see organists and cabaret acts throughout the week.

The club was eventually closed in 1992 and has remained derelict and forgotten ever since. 

However, the club unit is now under offer as a potential new club, pub or retail unit, despite the considerable amount of work that needs to be undertaken. 

You can check out The Urban Collective on YouTube here.


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