The Glamorganshire and Aberdare Canals, Volume 1, by Stephen Rowson and Ian L. Wright

The Glamorganshire and Aberdare Canals, Volume 1, by Stephen Rowson and Ian L. Wright

Published by Lightmoor Press in 2001, 272 pages. Large Hardback - c.28cm by 22cm (N7640)

Brand New Book

This book is volume 1 of a two volume history of these most interesting of waterways. Whilst the Aberdare Canal mostly struggled throughout its 88 year existence, the Glamorganshire Canal which it fed into was, for a time, financially the most successful waterway in Britain. Although built on the cheap by the Merthyr ironmasters, it was a triumph of design, a tribute to the ability of its engineer Thomas Dadford. It qualifies as a contour canal, despite the fact it rose some 568 feet in its 25.5 mile length but Dadford's genius was not appreciated by his masters and he left the canal under a cloud. Sadly, today almost all of the routes of both canals have been obliterated due to pressure of space in the narrow valleys they occupied.

Heavily illustrated, with a wealth of maps, plans, paintings, prints and photographs, most of which have not previously been published, this promises to be one of the best canal histories ever compiled. Covered are the inception and building of the canals; their architecture, bridges and water supply; the connecting tramroads; the traffic carried; and the ironworks, mines, quarries and other industries they served.

Volume 1 covers the Glamorganshire from Merthyr down to Pontypridd and the whole of the Aberdare Canal. The book concludes with 'A View from the Boat', which describes a journey down the Glamorganshire from Merthyr to Abercynon in 1898 and from there to Pontypridd in 1914. A down journey on the Aberdare Canal to Abercynon in 1898 is also described. These are illustrated with a series of maps hand-drawn by Ian Wright, who walked the whole of the canal in the 1940s in the company of a GCC boatman, and his interviews with ex- GCC men make him one of the last links with the working canal!