The Shropshire Union Canal, by Peter Brown

The Shropshire Union Canal, by Peter Brown
Subtitled 'From the Mersey to the Midlands and Mid Wales'

Book published by the RCHS in 2018, 288 pages. Hardback - c.19cm by 25cm (N7093)

Brand New Book
From the rear side cover: The Shropshire Union was created in the 1840s by the amalgamation of the Ellesmere & Chester, Birmingham & Liverpool Junction, Montgomeryshire and Shrewsbury Canals to form a network some 200 miles in length.

The main line went from the north-western edge of Wolverhampton, through Market Drayton, Nantwich and Chester to the Mersey at Ellesmere Port, together with a branch to Middlewich. The long ‘Welsh Branch’ ran from near Nantwich via Whitchurch, Ellesmere, Llanymynech and Welshpool to Newtown, together with a branch to Pontcysyllte and Llangollen. A further branch served Newport, Wellington and Shrewsbury. The intention when the companies merged was to convert many of their canals into railways and to build further railways. In the event, only one railway was built, from Stafford to Shrewsbury. Not long after the merger, the Shropshire Union was leased to the mighty London & North Western Railway.

This book relates the history of the constituent companies all of which were originally formed in six decades from 1770, comparing their policies and progress. It follows the Shropshire Union under railway control, examines the reasons for the decline and closures, then brings the story up to date with nationalisation, revival and restorations. To keep the length of the book manageable, Ellesmere Port, Liverpool docks and the cross-Mersey trade are considered only to the extent that they relate to the canal network.

The emphasis is on the canals as businesses and as part of local history, the economic and social aspects being stressed. As far as possible, the reasons why decisions were made is explained. The final chapter discusses the changing role of the canals and considers the lessons to be learnt from the various restoration schemes.
Chapters include:

The First Canal Age
Between the Severn and the Mersey
The Chester Canal
The tub-boat canals of east Shropshire
The Shrewsbury Canal
The Ellesmere Canal
The Montgomeryshire Canal
The Ellesmere & Chester Canal
The Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal
Creating the Shropshire Union
The Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company
The First Canal Age
The Second Canal Age
Mileage and locks
Montgomery Canal: progress of restoration
Senior officers
The Egerton and Leveson-Gower families
The Plas Kynaston Canal

The book is illustrated throughout with several photographs, drawings and maps.