Written by: Victorseager

Explain changes that took place in Canals during 1750 – 1900

Water transport was a lot quicker than road transport, the only problem was that rivers meandered and flooded, some places were too shallow for boats to go through. A lot of trade was done by sea, coal mainly came to London by sea. Before 1750 improvement schemes were planned but the rivers still flooded travelling by land with goods ment they would get damaged and broken. IN the 18th century the main rivers were; The River Themes, Dee, Trent, Severn, and Humber.

Here is a table of when the canals opened:

Baltic-White Sea, Russia 226.91 / 141.00 1933
Suez, Egypt 162.13 / 100.76 1869
Albert, Belgium 130.36 / 81.00 1939
Moscow, Russia 128.75 / 80.00 1937
Nord-Ostsee, Germany 96.56 / 60.00 1895
Gцta, Sweden 86.91 / 54.00 1832
Panama, Panama 81.63 / 50.72 1914
Houston Ship Channel, United States 80.47 / 50.00 1914
Amsterdam-Rhine, Netherlands 62.76 / 39.00 1952
Manchester Ship Canal, England 57.13 / 35.50 1894
Chicago Sanitary and Ship, United States 48.28 / 30.00 1900
Welland Ship, Canada* 44.42 / 27.60 1932
Juliana, Netherlands 33.80 / 21.00 1934
Chesapeake-Delaware, United States 30.58 / 19.00 1829
North Sea-Amsterdam, Netherlands 28.97 / 18.00 1876
Cape Cod, United States 28.16 / 17.50 1914
Kronshtadt-Leningrad, Russia 27.36 / 17.00 1885
Lake Washington Ship, United States 12.88 / 8.00 1916
New Orleans Industrial, United States 9.66 / 6.00 1923
Sault Sainte Marie (N.), United States 2.57 / 1.60 1919
Sault Sainte Marie, Canada 2.09 / 1.30 1895

* Reconstructed from the old Welland Canal, which was originally completed in 1833.

In 1757 the first canal was built, it was called Sankey Cut, it went from St. Hellans to the river Mersy to let barges carry coal from Lancastershire mines to Liverpool. The Duke of Bridgewater built a canal to get coal from his colliery in Worsley to Manchester, a few km away. He employed an engineer (James Brindley) to do so. The Duke made a profit of Ј100,000 a year. James Brindleys most famouse canal was the Grand Trunk canal, it links the river Trent to the river mersy and runs through potteries, it was finished in 1777. By 1790, a canal network linked four major ports; Bristol, Liverpool, Hull and London.

Enthusiasm continued in the 1790’s so canals were built in rural areas and never made very much profit from them, even if they did benefit people who live near them. Between 1760 and 1840 almost 6,500 km of canal had been built. Some people converted their barges to carry animals to market. From 1774 and comfortable passenger service ran from Altrichham to Manchester. Businessmen hired people like James Brindly, Thomas Telford and William Jessop to build canals to raise the money they set up campaigns. Shares in the Birmingham canal company were first issued at Ј140 each, by 1792 shares were sold at around Ј1,170.

Coal mines, cotton mills and iron works used canals because they were cheaper, one barge with 50 tons = one hours; on road 2 tons = 1 hours. The Leeds to Liverpool canal was finished in 1810. Barges were pulled by hours on a tow path next to the canal until about 1880 boats started to be powered by steam engines. Canals have locks to take the boats up and down to higher or lower levels, they control these by having two gates, about the length and width of two boats, if you want to go down they would open the small gaps at the bottom of the gate which is on the side with the higher level of water until the lock fill with water to the same level as the high side of the canal, then the would open the gate on the high side of the canal and put the boats in the lock, then they would close the gate and open the small gaps on the gate on the lower side of the canal, with the water level is equal to the lower side they would open the gate on the lower side and let the boats out. The Manchester ship canal is 58km long, 36m wide, and at about 7m deep.

Barges on canals go a lot faster than karts on road and also hold a lot more. I think that the canals made most peoples lives better, if not they wouldn’t have been made worse, it was quicker and cheaper so the people who owned them got more profit. People thought that all the changes were good because it made it easier to trade and to ship goods around without them getting damaged.

I think that all these changes were important but people would have managed without them but just not as well, they were profit making, helped businesses and for people who live by the gave them comfort in their homes with the views and everything.

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