The development of Birmingham into a major modern industrial city can be said to have begun in 1772 with the opening of its first canal. At that time Birmingham was a small and largely rural town with a growing manufacturing base. The growth of manufacturing within the town, however, was severely constrained by the lack of a cheap, reliable and efficient means of transport for the goods it produced. These difficulties were largely overcome by the building of the canal, in that it provided a cheap and efficient means of transport to convey the town's manufactured goods to markets beyond its boundaries. The why, when and how this first canal came to be built is explored in this detailed and highly referenced account. It tells the fascinating story of how a small group of innovative, determined and ambitious entrepreneurs joined together to plan and secure its construction, and thereby also secure the City's future progress and prosperity.