Waterways and Railways between Thames and Severn

Caen Hill Locks, Kennet & Avon Canal, Wiltshire

At the start of the Industrial Revolution linking London with Bristol overland challenged the greatest engineers of the canal and railway ages.

John Rennie’s work on the Kennet & Avon Canal and Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s engineering of the Great Western Railway are major monuments of industrial history. 

The protracted construction of the Stroudwater Navigation and the Thames & Severn Canal was one of a significant early attempt to provide a transport alternative to coastal shipping, and the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal is an example of a ship canal bringing vessels to an inland port by avoiding a difficult river passage.

This presentation shows many of the major engineering works of this important system of transport links, some of which are still in practical use, and highlights those sites which are preserved and maintained as historic monuments, such as the Gloucester Waterways Museum, the Claverton and Crofton Pumping Stations, and the SS Great Britain and the instructive museums at Didcot and Swindon.

For background information on this topic please click here.