Guest blog from Insure4boats

Insure4boats introduce their new website featuring the history of the waterways.

Pontcysyllte wide for places to visit Pontcysyllte wide for places to visit

It’s no secret that the UK’s waterways are steeped in rich history – over 300 years in fact. And did you know we were the first country ever to have a nationwide canal network? With this much heritage, it’s no wonder the waterways have changed so much over the course of their colourful history.

Insure4Boats have created a new interactive site to showcase just how much the appearance of the of the UK’s canal network has changed over the past 100 years. To give you a full immersive experience, you can choose your region or click on any of the points of interest locations on the UK map. You’re then able to compare past and present photos side-by-side – the perfect way to give life to our canal network.   

As well as these captivating visual aids, the History of the Waterways also provides a brief history and nearby curiosities for each location, bringing them to life for us even more. There are even remarkable ‘did you know’ facts about the many points of interests that are peppered along our waterways.

From the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct being the tallest in the world, to the grand opening of Bingley Five Rise which 30,000 people attended. From a live band waiting for the first boat to pass through Standedge Tunnel, to the Caen Hill Locks needing restoration after being left derelict following World War II. Whatever the point of interest, there’s bound to be a nugget of information that you didn’t know before.  

The historical insights have been provided by John Benson, who looks after The Waterways Archive, based at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port. The National Waterways Museum houses the most comprehensive collection of artefacts that tell the story of Britain's canals, navigable rivers and people who worked on them over the last 300 years.

Now you’ve been given a taster of just how much history there is to explore, the only thing left to do is discover the fascinating History of the Waterways site for yourself. Who knows, you may even be inspired to visit somewhere new and see these living museums of our industrial past for yourself.

Last date edited: 1 February 2018