Waterways of England and Wales

1800 - 1810


Introduction to 1800-1810

Click on one of the coloured areas to see an enlarged view.

INDEX MAP area 11 area 10 area 9 area 8 area 7 area 6 area 5 area 4 area 3 area 2 area 1

These historical maps are the work of the late Dr. Mike Stevens

More Consolidation and Some Ambitious Plans

The main activity of the decade consisted of finishing some of the canals started in the previous one. Among those completed in this period were the Kennet and Avon, the Wilts & Berks, the Rochdale and the Oakham Canal.

The final line of the Ellesmere was also completed, passing rather further south than any of the earlier proposals, and joining the Chester Canal at Hurleston, near the latter's terminus at Nantwich. This is what we now know as the Llangollen Canal. By the end of the decade, the Ellesmere and Chester companies were discussing a possible amalgamation, which finally happened in 1813.

The Lancaster Canal was not yet complete, one of the "missing" bits being the aqueduct over the Ribble at Preston, connecting the incomplete northern length to the busy southern length to Wigan. The Leeds & Liverpool had resolved the problems of their route, in part by deciding to use this southern section of the Lancaster (which they were later to buy).

Further south there were more proposals to link the Fens to the rest of the system, of which the only one to be completed was the short link from Northampton to the Grand Junction. There were also proposals to link Bedford to the Grand Junction via Newport Pagnell, or to the Lee at Hertford, two proposals to link the Medway to the South Coast, the Basingstoke to the Kennet and to the Itchen, and a further plan for linking the English and Bristol Channels.

London saw the completion of the Croydon Canal, branching off the never-to-be-completed Grand Surrey (which, as built, functioned more as part of the Surrey Commercial Docks than as a conventional canal), and the proposal for the London Canal, later to be renamed the Regent's Canal.