The Swansea Canal and its Early Railways
The Swansea Canal and its Early Railways
The Swansea Canal and its Early Railways
The Swansea Canal and its Early Railways

The Swansea Canal and its Early Railways

Regular price £45.00 Sale

Arteries of Sustainable Industry: The Swansea Canal and its Early Railways

The Swansea region was one of the earliest intensive industrial landscapes in the modern world and at its centre was a Canal authorised by Act of Parliament (1794) providing a transport system that enabled a series of international industries to develop and thrive – copper, iron and steel, tinplate, and coal. This waterway was the central artery of a larger circulation system that included a railway network using a variety of early steam locomotives. This book charts the history and importance of the canal which ran for over 16 miles (26km) from the port of Swansea to Aber-craf.  This new history of the Swansea Canal is a large-format book of over 300 pages and is beautifully illustrated with over 100 specially prepared reconstruction drawings by the author which show what the Canal originally looked like and how it operated.

Arteries of Sustainable Industry: The Swansea Canal and its Early Railways by Stephen Hughes published by RCAHMW and the Swansea Canal Society. viii + 328 pages with 564 illustrations.  ISBN 978-1-871184-65-5.  Price: £45



Chapter 1 International Importance

  • Introduction
  • The Global Context of Navigable Waterways
  • The ancient world
  • Medieval canals and navigations
  • The birth of the large canal system
  • Canals and inland navigation in Wales
  • Early industrial canals of Wales
  • Context to the Swansea Canal: Inland Navigation in Wales
  • Topography
  • Prehistory
  • Roman period
  • Medieval
  • Canals, quays and docks
  • River navigation
  • The Modern Period
  • Water management
  • Navigable rivers - trade
  • Navigable rivers - improvements
  • Navigable rivers traffic - decline
  • Industrial Canals
  • Underground canals
  • Industrial canals
  • Railways
  • Early Railways in Context
  • Early iron railways - edge-railways and plateways
  • Railways underground
  • Conclusion

Chapter 2 Building the Swansea and Trewyddfa Canals

  • Investors and Promotors
  • The Neath Canal
  • The Swansea Canal
  • Routes and surveys of the Swansea and Trewyddfa Canals
  • Builders and Contractors
  • Return on investment
  • The Water Channel
  • Waterproofing
  • Earthworks
  • Aqueducts and Culverts
  • The Culverts
  • Locks and Inclines
  • Bridges and Tunnels
  • List of original bridges on the Swansea and Trewyddfa Canals
  • The Water Economy
  • Water Supply and Disposal
  • Swansea Canal Steam-pumps
  • The Waterpower Usage of the Swansea Canal
  • The Canal Boats and Boatmen

Chapter 3 The Swansea Canal and Economic Growth

  • The Coal Industry
  • Iron
  • The Copper Industry
  • Brass, Zinc, Copper Slag, Arsenic, Silver, Nickel, and Lead Works
  • Tinplate Works
  • Limestone and Other Quarries
  • Potteries and Brickworks
  • Timber
  • Chemical Works
  • Breweries
  • Corn
  • Truck-shops, groceries, and general goods
  • Agriculture
  • Building Materials
  • People
  • The Swansea and Trewyddfa Canals Operational Buildings and Structures
  • Canal company buildings
  • Limekilns
  • Wharves
  • Docks
  • Dry-docks
  • Branch Canals
  • Railways
  • Early canal railways in the Swansea Valley
  • Early steam-powered locomotives
  • Incline Plans
  • Further Use and Development of Steam Locomotives in South Wales and Swansea Valley
  • Swansea Valley Locomotive-worked Public Railways Built under Independent Acts of Parliament
  • The Longevity of Railways
  • The Swansea Canal Railway Network
  • The Development Phases of the Swansea Canal Railways System
  • 1794-98 The Trunk canal speculation
  • 1799-1805 The first years of trunk-canal workings
  • 1806-14 The Swansea Bay speculation
  • 1815-30 The Brecon Forest speculation
  • 1831-38 Consolidation of the system
  • 1839-60 The expansion of the metalliferous works
  • Summary Tables of Railways Connected to the Swansea and Trewyddfa Canals
  • Railways Rolling stock
  • Traffic Density

Chapter 4 Conclusions

  • The Importance of the Copper Trade
  • Tinplate
  • Coal
  • Iron
  • Canals Underground
  • An Early Centre of Railway Development
  • Canal Effects on Settlement in the Lower Swansea Valley
  • Canal Settlements in the mid-Swansea Valley
  • Heritage Management
  • Present Community and Cultural Tourism Use
  • Places to visit
  • Future Potential
  • Potential for Regeneration

Illustration acknowledgement
Glossary of terms used in this book


Author Stephen Hughes, 2023
Cover Hardback
Size 222 x 285
Pages 328
Illustrations 564