The opening of the Bridgewater canal is taken as the beginning of the “canal era” which was to be an important contributor to the British industrial revolution. The canal was built to carry coal from mines near Worsley to Manchester and would be extended to the River Mersey in 1776, enabling access to the port of Liverpool. Canals required the deployment of considerable capital and engineering skills but offered their promoters huge reductions in the cost of transport. They were notably important for moving bulk goods (coal, mineral ores, but also, later, corns) at a time when good roads incurred tolls and other roads would not bear heavy loads. By the late 1700s the various separate canal companies had joined together to …
Editors. "Bridgewater Canal opens". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 June 2005; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1570, accessed 27 April 2015.]