The Trent and Mersey Canal

Ray Shill
The Trent and Mersey Canal first came into use in 1777. A vital transport link for the industries of the midlands - indeed Josiah Wedgewood of the pottery was an early supporter - it carried coal, ironstone, limestone merchandise, pottery and salt. Despite the arrival of the railways and subsequently motorways, the carriage of freight continued up until 1970. After inevitable decline, various restoration programmes have been undertaken and the waterway is now popular with boaters. A working waterway for 250 years, the need to adapt to changing transport needs has been a constant factor in this canal's history. With over 100 archive and present-day photographs, maps and plans, the book describes the need for the canal and the key personnel who were involved in its inception. Engineering and constructions of the canal and its branches are looked at in detail along with further improvements to the canal and how these boosted trade. A century of ownership by railway companies, subsequent nationalisation and later decline is discussed. The book also looks at the people who lived and worked on the canal. Finally, restoration, rejuvenation and the future of the canal is covered.
The Trent and Mersey Canal by Ray Shill

About the author

Ray Shill hs produced histories on canals and railways and industries since 1980 when he first contributed to The Blackcountryman magazine, with his first book published in 1992. After attending Handsworth Grammar School and Liverpool University, he worked for British Railways and their successors Central Trains. In retirement he has continued his interest in industrial and transport history through writing articles, books and making contributions to the Special Interest Groups and the Journal of the Railway & Historical Society.

Press Reviews

The book is a testament to Ray Shill’s hard work and dedication, with attention to detail which is second to none. It can safely be described
as the bible of the Trent and Mersey Canal.

- Les Heath

The book is at its strongest when discussing engineering and commerce, and Mr Shill analyses improvements made over time to the canal's lockage, water supply and tunnels in impressive detail.

- Victoria Owens