The Politics of Canal Construction: The Ashby Canal, 1781-1804
2013-03-12T12:15:20Z (GMT) by
Between 1781-1804 the residents of a number of parishes in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire found themselves on the receiving end of the promotion and construction of the Ashby Canal. As with most new developments, especially those that have an impact on the landscape, the local inhabitants had to decide whether they supported or opposed it, while outsiders had to consider what gains could be made from any involvement in the project. In this instance those in favour of the waterway won the day and the building process began in 1794. However, this was by no means an end to the negotiations as the canal company had to deal with continual internal disagreements and disputes with landowners over various issues such as damage, route changes and late payments for their land. Using sources which include contemporary newspapers, canal company records, a Parliamentary Act, and the diary of a local constable this thesis provides a micro-study of the complex politics of canal construction. It examines the considerations affecting participation in the process, the numbers of people who were involved, the workings and internal structures of the canal company and the exchanges of opinions within the organisation and between its supporters and opponents. Its findings reveal that the Ashby Canal had a significant and variable effect not only on the residents of the parishes the canal cut through, but also on people who were considered outsiders, such as non-local investors, Members of Parliament and the engineers, contractors and labourers who relocated to gain employment.