A look at the origins and operation of the canal, from construction to commercial trade.
The construction of the Stroudwater Canal was financed by selling shares to members of the public, who were later paid dividends.
In the 1770s. the main channel was dug out by navvies while craftsmen constructed the locks and bridges.
How the business of building and running the canal was handled by the Company of Proprietors of the Stroudwater Navigation.
Keeping the canal running smoothly was the job of lock keepers, wharfingers and maintenance men.
The accounting system of the Company developed to suit the activities being undertaken and practical experience.
Most cargoes carried on the canal comprised a single consignment of a bulk material such as coal, road stone, grain or timber.
The Canal was used by a variety of barges and narrowboats, mostly built, owned and crewed by local men.
High tonnage rates were charged in the early days, but these had to be reduced to meet increasing competition from the railways.
The Clerk and Surveyor spent much time dealing with the Company's structures, tenants and neighbours.
How adjustable weirs at Lodgemore, Ebley and Whitminster helped manage water flows into and out of the canal.
Though public access to the canal was initially restricted, arrangements were made for boating, angling and even bathing.
From the 1840s relations between the two canal companies were strained by increasing competition from the railways.
Our archive includes much information about the Stroudwater Company’s dealings with other canal, railway and utility organisations.