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English and Bristol Channels Ship Canal



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Administrative /‚Äč Biographical history

Over a period of 70 years, several similar schemes were proposed to link the English and Bristol Channel. The earliest was put forward in 1769, when Robert Whitworth, under James Brindley's supervision, surveyed a line from the River Exe to Uphill, near Weston-Super-Mare. The 1824 incarnation saw Thomas Telford commissioned to make the survey, assisted by Captain George Nicholls and James Green. They recommended a route from Stolford on the Parrett estuary to Beer. There was fierce opposition to the Ship Canal Bill, but an Act was secured in 1825. However, a financial downturn ended the canal's prospects and despite a revised proposal for a line from the south coast to Burrow Bridge on the River Tone in 1828, the company faded away. For more details, see 'The Illustrated History of Canal & River Navigations' by Edward Paget-Tomlinson and 'The Canals of South-West England' by Charles Hadfield.