Transport and the industrial city

Manchester and the canal age, 1750–1850

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Peter Maw
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This book is a study of canal transport during the British Industrial Revolution. Focusing on Manchester, it provides the first detailed regional history of canals, their trade and their economic impact during the first Industrial Revolution. Manchester provides an ideal case study for analysing the interplay between canals, transport and industrialisation. Manchester was the industrial and commercial hub of the British cotton industry and the most innovative and fastest-growing manufacturing centre. However, the town was also a pioneer developer of the new transport systems that carried the escalating local, national and international commodity flows generated by this period of significant industrial, commercial and urban development. The book provides a new look at the economic history of Manchester's canals in a way that is informed by T2M approaches. Three particular objectives can be specified. First, the book develops our knowledge of quantitative dimensions of the Manchester canal trade, drawing on a range of historical source materials to provide new estimates of the size and commodity configuration of Manchester's canals. Second, it evaluates the intermodality of transport provision in Manchester. The book emphasises the strengths and weaknesses of canals relative to rail and road transport, as well as the volumes of trades carried by particular carriers at particular periods. Third, it offers a new analysis of the impact of canals on the major processes of industrialisation, urbanisation and consumerism in Manchester.

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