Looking into the Distance

Historical Profiles: NarrowBoat, Summer 2022

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones studies an 18th-century document containing several distance tables

A document has recently come to light containing distance tables covering several canals mainly concentrated on the West Midlands. From the information in the document, it is possible to make an educated guess as to its publication date being about 1792. One fascinating aspect is that it was produced when certain canals had just been built and others were being planned. Contemporary information also shows an explosion of traffic, with both long-distance and local trades benefitting. All this was well over 40 years before the new railways started to make an impact. The distance tables were just part of a larger document, the bulk of which is ready-reckoner tonnage tables showing the pounds, shillings, pence and farthings for a given weight in tons, hundredweights and quarters over a specific distance measured in miles and half-miles, up to 28 tons over 50 miles. A separate tonnage table was given for one-sixth and one-eighth parts of a mile. There was also a conversion table to reduce …

To read the full article…

…you need to be a subscriber to NarrowBoat. If you are, you can login here. If not, you can buy a subscription here . If you are having trouble logging in, please contact support at subscriptions@wwonline.co.uk.

Looking into the Distance featured image