Shropshire Routes to Roots
|Routes | Transport and communication | The Shropshire Union Canal|
7. The Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal
(Wolverhampton to Nantwich; Newport Branch)
The final link
The final link in the chain was the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal. The name expressed the canal's intention well: to provide a fast link between the manufacturing heart of the country (Birmingham) and the principal west-coast port (Liverpool).
One of the towns the canal passed through was Market Drayton, in the northwest corner of Shropshire. You can find out how the new canal affected the small market town and its inhabitants in the Transport and communication: The day the canal came theme.
Construction started in 1826 under the direction of Thomas Telford, but the embankment at Shelmore proved particularly troublesome. Telford died in 1834, and it was not until the following year that the canal was open to traffic.
The construction and maintenance of canals was rarely trouble-free. Big floods could sweep away structures such as the masonry aqueduct at Longdon-on-Tern. In addition, floods could cause a breach, such as that which happened in 1869, near Cheswardine. The event was witnessed by Thomas Langford:
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Page created January 2004 and last updated 1 August 2007