Early Canal Classics

From the Archives: NarrowBoat, Summer 2022

Gordon Biddle examines three classic canal books from the 18th and 19th centuries

In the 112 years from 1792 to 1904, three classics of canal literature were published. In 1969/70 they were reprinted by the former David & Charles (Publishers) Ltd, each with an introduction by that doyen historian of the inland waterways, the late Charles Hadfield. Inland Navigation The first was John Phillips’ Inland Navigation, the short title for “A General History of Inland Navigation, Foreign and Domestic; containing a Complete Account of canals already executed in England with Considerations of those Proposed”. As Hadfield commented in his introduction to the 1970 reprint, Phillips could be called the first canal enthusiast. He was an engineer and surveyor by profession who visited the Bridgewater Canal during its construction, and he published his book in 1792 at the beginning of what became known as Canal Mania. It ran into five editions, each with additional contents, and it was the 1805 edition that David & Charles reprinted. Phillips had an int…

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.

Early Canal Classics featured image