Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Montgomeryshire Canal
  Before the railway arrived  

A single horse pulling a canal barge could transport 15 or more times the weight of goods it could pull in a wagon on the rough roads of the canal-building years.
There were still no railways in mid-Wales when there was a rapidly growing network of lines in most other parts of Britain. By 1854 the nearest railway lines were still only in north and south Wales and over the English border in Shropshire and Herefordshire.
The Montgomeryshire Canal was still carrying goods to many places well into the "Railway Age" which began in many areas in the 1840s.

As the Industrial Revolution took hold there was a growing need to transport coal, iron, timber, manufactured goods and many other bulk loads as cheaply as possible. This was the reason for the huge growth in the canal network between 1760 and 1816.
This is from Slater's Directory of 1858, and it advertises the canal boat service from Welshpool for "Conveyance by Water" of goods to many parts of England.
Directory entry,1858
Town wharf
at Welshpool
Canal wharf at Welshpool,1901
The Town Lock can be seen in the background, with the water-wheel of a corn mill next to it.
The wharf building on the right is now the
Powysland Museum.

The Montgomeryshire Canal was very much a rural waterway, which served only two towns - Welshpool and Newtown - along its route. It was built mainly to help the county's agricultural output by transporting lime for fertilising the land.

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