Skip to main content

The charity making life better by water


In the days of the industrial revolution, mileposts helped boatmen and canal companies calculate how far boats had travelled.

Ellesmere Port, Shropshire Union Canal

Britain’s canals were the life blood of the industrial revolution and a largely commercial machine. It was necessary for boatmen and canal companies to be able to calculate precisely how far boats had journeyed along the waterways as these distances formed the basis of toll charges.

Many of the canal acts of Parliament required that mileposts should be placed at roughly mile-long intervals along the canals. Some canals also have intermediate, half and quarter mile posts. A few of these mileposts, which bore the names of the canals' terminal points, still stand today.

Stone examples can be seen in the north, along the Peak Forest Canal and the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal. Cast iron posts were common along the Shropshire Union and Trent & Mersey canals.

Kingfisher in flight with small fish in its beak

Support our work

We need your support to keep canals and rivers alive. Donate today to make a difference

Last Edited: 07 December 2023

photo of a location on the canals
newsletter logo

Stay connected

Sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about campaigns, upcoming events and fundraising inspiration