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★ Canal

Canal: see Venice & Engineering & Building & Water & Coal & Steam & Industrial Revolution & Cotton & Steel & Mining & Factory & Manufacturing & Wool & River & Transport & System & Egypt & Panama & Ship & Boat

Iain Stewart TV - Harold Nicolson - Tony Robinson TV - Anthony Eden - Clarissa Eden - Jeremy Black TV - Fred Dibnah TV - Mark Williams TV - Ronald Top TV - Rory McGrath TV - John Burke TV - Canals: The Making of a Nation TV - Great Canal Journeys TV - Panama Canal Revealed TV - Manchester’s Serial Killer TV - Michael Buerk TV - Dan Jones: Building Britain’s Canals TV - Jeremy Paxman TV - Why Ships Crash TV -

 

 

 

Nasser demanded control of the canal ... The Suez crisis as it came to be known.  Iain Stewart, Planet Oil: The Treasure That Conquered the World II, BBC 2015

 

 

Suez – a smash and grab raid that was all smash and no grab.  Harold Nicolson

 

 

In the 1950s Britain was reeling from a major financial crises brought about by the Second World War … We started suffering from a huge identity crisis as we entered this brave new post-war era.  Tony Robinson, Britain’s Forgotten Wars III: Suez, Channel 4 2011

 

Britain and allied France had no intention of giving up control of the Suez Canal.  When Egypt seized the canal, cool heads should have prevailed.  ibid.

 

The 1956 invasion of the Suez canal zone turned Britain from a global superpower into an international embarrassment all in the space of just nine days … The soldiers on the ground had to face the consequences.  ibid.

 

 

We are in an armed conflict; that is the phrase I have used.  There has been no declaration of war.  Anthony Eden, re Suez crisis

 

 

For the past few weeks I have really felt as if the Suez Canal was flowing through my drawing-room.  Clarissa Eden

 

 

The canals – the motorways of the eighteenth century.  Professor Jeremy Black, Why the Industrial Revolution Happened Here, BBC 2013

 

 

The eighteenth century saw the building of the first canals and with it the birth of civil engineering.  Fred Dibnah’s Building of Modern Britain: Building the Canals, BBC 2002

 

The canals were like the arteries of the industrial revolution.  ibid.

 

[James] Brindley was actually a mining engineer ... Work on the Bridgewater Canal started in 1759 ... It was opened in 1765.  It was an immediately success ... A major engineering achievement.  ibid.

 

His [Williams] Barton aqueduct which carried boats forty feet above the river was so amazing in its time it was considered one of the wonders of the world.  There’s not much of it left now.  ibid.

 

A canal across the Pennines from Leeds to Liverpool ... A hundred and twenty seven miles and climbed over the Pennine chain – the backbone of England.  ibid.

 

The whole enterprise was incredibly expensive.  ibid.

 

There’s more to lock gates than meets the eye.  ibid.

 

Elm is a beautiful timber for chucking in water and lasting for ever.  ibid.

 

It took six years to build this tunnel under atrocious conditions ... Cut and cover – where they dig a great tunnel through the hillside and then put in the centring ... Lay the masonry which had all been cut to shape ... Cover the whole lot up ... Withdraw the wedges from underneath the centring ... And keep advancing like that ... A beautiful stone arch tunnel.  ibid.

 

Those early civil engineers who built the Leeds and Liverpool Canal helped to revolutionise transport in Britain.  They made cheap travel across the Pennines possible, and laid the foundations for the Industrial Age.  They helped turn Britain into the Workshop of the World in the Victorian Age.  ibid.

 

 

The canals were like the arteries of the Industrial Revolution.  They helped to provide cheaper goods and raw materials.  Fred Dibnahs World of Steam, Steel and Stone: Changing the Landscape, BBC 2005

 

 

Why not use the water?  Why not treat it as a resource?  In the same way you treat the coal you’ve so heavily won underground.  Why not use it to create a canal so that you can transport your coal to your points of sale?  Mark Williams, Industrial Revelations s1e1: Boom Time, Discovery 2002

 

As early as 1500 Leonardo da Vinci was designing locks like this with mitre gates.  ibid.

 

 

Just like the Romans, Brindley built his aqueduct in stone.  ibid.

 

Replaced by this – the Barton Swing Aqueduct.  Designed by another great engineer Edward Leader Williams.  ibid.

 

The Duke of Bridgewater has built himself a super-efficient transport system to get his coal to Manchester.  ibid.

 

Arkwright’s canal: but the irony was he died two years before it was completed.  And it wasn’t enough.  They still needed more routes out of the valley ... The Peak Forest canal was the other side of the peak district and ran to Manchester.  ibid.

 

Cotton was the first industry to be revolutionised.  ibid.  

 

 

Brindley had some serious problems to overcome ... It was an extraordinary feat of engineering.  And it took great courage and huge bravado to even conceive of doing this: the newspapers called it the Eighth Wonder of the World ... His extraordinary tunnel is now disused.  Mark Williams, Industrial Revelations s1e3: Clocking On

 

Because he’d already set the dimensions of the tunnel at seven feet wide all boats now on this system are the dimensions of this working boat, about seventy by seven, a ratio of ten to one: a narrow-boat.  ibid.

 

 

The Leeds and Liverpool canal links two counties that have never quite seen eye to eye.  Across the spine of England – the Pennines.  And it made them – Lancashire and Yorkshire – very rich indeed, thank you very much.  Mark Williams, Industrial Revelations s1e4: Pennine Passage

 

Lime also makes great mortar.  And so as the building increased so did the demand for lime carried on the canal.  But it also became an important trade route for another cargo: woollen goods.  ibid.

 

Finally it was finished in 1816.  All one hundred and forty one miles of it.  With the canal came a massive increase in trade and industry to Yorkshire and Lancashire.  ibid.

 

 

And it was local [Birmingham] traders who took the initiative.  In 1769 they commissioned James Brindley to build a canal connecting the local coal mines to the canal.  The price of coal halved, cutting costs in the metal workshops.  Mark Williams, Industrial Revolutions s1e6: Coining It

 

 

This is the Caledonian canal.  And it is the most beautiful canal in Britain.  It was built for ships of 400 tons, designed to transform the Highlands economy.  It employed hundreds of men for years and makes the English canals with their narrow boats seem half-hearted.  But it was never successful.  Mark Williams, Industrial Revelations s1e9: Highland Flop

 

 

In seventeenth-century France they built one of the greatest engineering feats of its time: a massive canal across the country from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea.  Ronald Top, Industrial Revelations: The European Story s3e2: The Canal King, Discovery 2005

 

By 1668 Riquet’s reservoir and mountain channel were well under construction.  He had solved the problem of how to fill the canal with water.  ibid.

 

This was no ordinary sized canal.  Riquet’s ambitious plan was to build a canal with twice the volume of any built before, so that it would be deep enough to carry ocean-going boats.  ibid.    

 

Riquet employed 12,000 workers to carve out the canal ... They even received sick-pay.  ibid.

 

No-one had ever built a tunnel for a canal before.  It was nicknamed Le Mal-Pas (the bad step).  ibid.

 

 

Soon an extraordinary canal network, the most extensive in the world, fanned out creating a new industrial Britain.  Rory McGrath’s Industrial Revelations: Best of British Engineering s5e6: Transport Networks, Discovery 2008

 

The golden age of canals was short-lived.  By the mid-nineteenth century a new invention had revolutionised transport: the steam engine.  ibid.

 

 

The Suez Canal: the high-tech amazement of the age.  A hundred miles long ... Twenty-five thousand labourers, ten years to build.  James Burke, Connections s3e3: Drop the Apple, BBC 1997

 

 

Canals changed and shaped our modern world, carrying huge volume of goods and fuel, they were a stimulus to Britain’s great industrial revolution.  Liz McIvor, Canals: The Making of a Nation, BBC 2016

 

The canals are often meandering ribbons of calm.  ibid.

 

A different sort of cargo altogether – tourists, diners and party-goers.  ibid.

 

 

Venice: founded fifteen centuries ago from a cluster of malaria-infested mudflats, the city rose to become Europe’s richest trading empire.  Great Canal Journeys, Channel 4 2016

 

 

Through the rain-forest of South America stretches one of the biggest man-made marvels on the planet.  It’s the mother of all short-cuts – the Panama canal ... It’s a masterpiece of canal construction.  Panama Canal Revealed, National Geographic 2016

 

Over a thousand heavily laden ships sail through it every month.  ibid.

 

Once the huge gates are shut, over a million bath-tubs’ worth of water floods into the lock chamber lifting the ship.  ibid.  

 

The expansion project is about to double their workload.  ibid.

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