Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

22/7/2007

A Brief History of English Canals

The development of a large inland water-transport network was, perhaps, the most important factor behind the industrial revolution in England during the eighteenth century. At first glance, the use of inland water transport in England, where rivers are not large, compared to elsewhere in Europe, seems unusual. In a country with nowhere further than about 100 kilometres from the sea, road transport would seem to be more viable. However, the small size of rivers and their water gathering grounds could have been an advantage. In the 18th century, hydraulic technology was still in its infancy, and the smaller scale of works necessary for canals and river navigations in England would certainly have made it easier for the engineers of the time to organise and construct them. Today, inland water transport is no longer widely used in England, with most goods being carried by road transport which is, perhaps, better adapted for short journeys. The small size of the country, once a reason for the success of canals, is now a reason for their decline. for more click here

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