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.