Canal and River Navigations National Overview: an appraisal of the heritage and archaeology of England’s present and former inland navigable waterways

Author(s): Keith Falconer

The navigable inland waterways that are subject of this Overview constitute an immense heritage resource that has developed over many centuries. It is a resource that has fundamentally changed in its use from a privately and commercially developed transport system for heavy goods to a public leisure and heritage resource enjoyed by wide range of users. It has been subject to periods of great expansion, prolonged decline, contraction and then renaissance. It has witnessed an extraordinary triumph of voluntary enthusiasm and campaigning zeal. From years of neglect, abandonment, dereliction and turmoil, a slimmed down waterways system which, through a remarkable partnership of official agencies working with voluntary bodies and with the support of Lottery funding, has emerged as a national treasure. The Overview includes: •Project background •A review of the literature about navigable waterways in England •Outlines of the historical development of the system •An appraisal of the protection of its infrastructure. •A Gazetteer, arranged alphabetically, of all navigations and canals operating in the 19th century identifying and evaluating their significant structures.

Report Number:
Research Report
Industrial Heritage Transport Canal


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