Between 1750 and 1850 the British landscape was transformed by a transport revolution which involved engineering works on a scale not seen in Europe since Roman times. While the economic background of the canal and railway ages are relatively well known and many histories have been written about the locomotives which ran on the railways, relatively little has been published on how the engineering works themselves were made possible. This book brings together a series of papers which seek to answer the questions of how canals and railways were built, how the engineers responsible organised the works, how they were designed and what the role of the contractors was in the process.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Part One: Canals: Canals and river navigations before 1750, A.W. Skempton; The Waltham pound lock, K.R. Fairclough; Rivers and canals, C. Hadfield; The construction of the Huddersfield narrow canal, 1794-1811: with particular reference to Standedge tunnel, R.B. Schofield; John Pinkerton and the Birmingham canals, S.R. Broadbridge; Managerial organisation on the Caledonian canal, 1803-1822, A. Penfold; Along the water: the genius and the theory. D'Alembert, Condorcet and Bossut and the Picardy canal controversy, P. Redondi; Poverty, distress and disease: labour and the construction of the Rideau canal,1826-1832, W.N.T. Wylie; Hugh McIntosh (1768-1840) national contractor, M.M. Chrimes; Part Two: Railways: Some railway facts and fallacies, C.E. Lee; The Influence of landowners on route selection, F.A. Sharman; England's first rails: a reconsideration, R.S. Smith; The Butterley Company and railway construction, 1790-1830, P.J. Riden; Cast iron edge-rails at Walker colliery, 1798, A.W. Skempton and A. Andrews; Embankments and cuttings on the early railways, A.W. Skempton; The railway navvy - a reassessment, D. Brooke; Railway contractors and the finance of railway development in Britain, H. Pollins; The origin of American railroad technology, 1825-1840, D.H. Stapleton; Tracks and timber, J.H. White; Index.
'The aim of Ashgate's twelve volume series is to bring together collections of important papers on particular topics from scholarly journals, conference proceedings and other hard-to-access sources. This is a wholly laudable objective. Some of the papers in the volume under review [The Civil Engineering of Canals and Railways before 1850] cannot be found even in abundantly-resourced academic libraries. The series opens up, directly or indirectly, debates over the nature of historical evidence which arise from the profoundly different approaches to the past of historians of technology, whose works are principally represented in these volumes, industrial archaeologists and social and economic historians.' Industrial Archaeology Review, Vol. XXI, No. 1 'This is a collection whose sum is greater than its parts. It goes beyond the nuts and bolts of canal and railway construction to connect their technology with business and labor history. Perhaps most significantly, by juxtaposing material on canals and railways in a single volume, it pushes home the central truth that the technology of railway engineering developed directly out of the experience of the canal builders.' Technology and Culture, Vol. 41 'Each chapter is by an expert in his own field and the writing is of an accurate and meticulous nature, as one would expect from the eminent historians who have contributed....Altogether this is a magnificent book, well researched and documented...' The Structural Engineer, vol. 78, no. 19,