With the advent of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, the need to transport large quantities of raw materials and goods concentrated the minds of industrialists and engineers. The existing road system was antiquated and the steam engine and railways were still years away. The Canal Age was born out of this acute need for reliable long distance transport. By the end of the 18th century Canal Mania had gripped England. Great canal engineers, includingThomas Telford, John Rennie and William Jessop, were soon engaged in the construction of hundreds of miles of waterways. At this time some of the major engineering features pushed known technology to its limits. For a few short years the canal companies flourished only to be quickly eclipsed by the coming of the railways. With the aid of the extensive archive collection of British Waterways, this book vividly portrays many aspects of life on Britain's canals from the late 19th century to 1960.