Essay by deathawaitsuuA+, November 2003

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Canals were needed for the Industrial Revolution which was creating huge amounts of heavy produce which had to be moved. Roads simply could not handle such weights and the vehicles needed to move this produce did not exist. Canals were the answer to moving heave objects large distances.

Canals were human made rivers which were deep enough to cope with barges which were capable of moving nearly forty tonnes of weight. This was far more than a pack of mules could carry or a horse and carriage!

The man most associated with early canals was the Duke of Bridgewater. He owned coal mines in Lancashire but he needed to get the coal to the big market of Manchester which was nearly six miles away. The Duke gave the task of designing and building the canal to James Brindley - an engineer who at this time had never built a canal before.

As such, the Duke was taking a great risk and he even had to borrow £25,000 to pay for the project - which was a vast some of money then. It took two years to build the canal which was completed in 1761. The canal had a series of tunnels which were linked directly to the coal mines. But its most famous section was the Barton Aqueduct which took the canal over the River Irwin.

The canal was a huge success because:

*It made the Duke a lot of money

*The price of coal fell in Manchester by 50% therefore making it cheaper and the cheaper it was the more coal was sold.

*Brindley gained fame and a lot of work

*Other people saw the success of the Bridgwater Canal and decided to do likewise thus opening up Britain even more with a series of canals that linked...