This picture is of an occasion when the Bridgewater canal at Runcorn had been drained for some reason. The women are foraging in the water for coal which had fallen from the canal boats. The canal depth appears to be about 10ft.(3m). Note the men standing helpfully on the bank! The factory in the background is Runcorn Soap & Alkali Company (formerly Johnson's Soap Works). The Johnsons lost all their money by attempting to run the Union blockade and provide the Confederates with soap during the American civil war. All but one of their ships was lost. None of the buildings on the postcard exist today.
(Place your mouse on/off the picture to see the before/now scenes)
The reverse side of this postcard had not been used, and is not displayed