Canals, rivers, and the industrial city: Manchester's industrial waterfront, 1790-1850

Pete Maw, Terry Wyke, Alan Kidd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents new data on mill location in Manchester in 1850 to show that water-transport infrastructure played a key role in determining the intra-urban pattern of factory development. The shift from water to steam power introduced new patterns of industrial water use, rather than the relocation of factories away from waterways. Five new public canals and 23 private canal branches activated a major expansion of Manchester's waterfront, providing the majority of the manufacturing sites that enabled the town to become the world's foremost factory centre. Without effective municipal water supplies, canals were the best available water source for steam engines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1495-1523
JournalThe Economic History Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Canals, rivers, and the industrial city: Manchester's industrial waterfront, 1790-1850'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this