1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mersey

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MERSEY, a river in the north-west of England. It is formed by the junction of the Goyt and the Etherow a short distance below Marple in Cheshire on the first-named stream. The Goyt rises in the neighbourhood of Axe Edge, south-west of Buxton, and the Etherow in the uplands between Penistone and Glossop, watering the narrow Longdendale in which are several reservoirs for the Manchester water supply. The Mersey thus drains a large part of the Peak district of Derbyshire and of the southern portion of the Pennine system. The general direction from Marple is westerly. At Stockport the river Tame joins from the north, rising in the moors to the north-east of Oldham, and the Mersey soon afterwards debouches upon the low plain to the west of Manchester, which lies on its northern tributary the Irwell. The Bollin joins from the south-east near Heatley, and the main river, passing Warrington, begins to expand into an estuary before reaching Runcorn and Widnes, which-face each other across it. The estuary, widening suddenly at the junction of the Weaver from the south-east, 2½ m. below Runcorn, is 3 m. wide off Ellesmere Port, but narrows to less than ¾ m. at Liverpool, and hardly exceeds a mile at the mouth in the Irish Sea. The fall of the Mersey is about 1600 ft. in all and about 300 from Marple; its length, including the Goyt, is 70 m. exclusive of lesser windings, and it drains an area of 1596 sq. m. The estuary is one of the most important commercial waterways in the world. (See Liverpool and Birkenhead.) The Manchester Ship Canal (q.v.) joins the estuary through Eastham Locks, skirts its southern shore up to Runcorn, and crosses the river several times. From the name of the river was taken the title of Lord Mersey in 1910 by Sir John Bigham (b. 1840), on his elevation to the peerage after serving as a judge of the high court from 1897 to 1909 and president of the divorce court 1909–1910.