The Stroudwater Canal Company and its Role in the Mechanisation of the Gloucestershire Woollen Industry, 1779-1840

Feb 1996 | 004

Authors: Philip Grover

It is commonly accepted that the decline of the Wests woollen industry was in large part due to the greater employment of steam power by the Yorkshire industry. Using the account books of the Stroudwater Canal Company, the article examines the role of the Stroudwater Canal in bringing coal to the mechanising woollen industry in the Stroudwater region of the Gloucestershire industry. It is shown that distance was not the main factor in the movement of coal, but that the toll levels were more important. The article shows that the toll levels significantly affected the amount of steam power employed in the Gloucestershire woollen industry, and that the Stroudwater Canal Company therefore played a significant role in the industrys decline during the early nineteenth century.

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