Portcities Southampton
UK * Bristol * Hartlepool * Liverpool * London * Southampton
*
You are here: PortCities Southampton > Life of a Port > Trade - lifeblood of a port > Moving Cargo > Canals and railways
* Text only * About this site * Site Map * Feedback
*
*
*
Explore this site
Start Here
About Us
Partners And Collections
Timeline
Get Interactive!
Help
Galleries
Image galleries
Biographies
Southampton
The Docks
River Itchen
Southampton at war
Flying Boats
Titanic
Finding Out More
Southampton speaks
Street Directories
Historic Buildings Survey
Registers and Records
Lloyd's Register
Official Sources
Other Records
Finding Out More
Wrecks and Accidents
Why accidents happen
Investigations
Improving Safety at Sea
Finding Out More
Wreck Reports
Life of a Port
How a port comes to life
At work in a port
Ports at play
Trade - lifeblood of a port
Finding Out More
On the Line
Company growth and development
Shipping lines
Transatlantic travel
Preparing a liner
Finding Out More
Sea People
Life at sea
Jobs at sea
Travelling by sea
Starting a new life by sea
Women and the sea
Finding Out More
Diversity of Ships
The variety of ships
What drives the ship?
Ships of ancient times
Ships in the age of sail
Ships of the steam age
Ships of today

Moving Cargo


Canals and railways

The work of a port does not stop once the passengers have disembarked or the container has been unloaded. Unless destined for somewhere local, they or it have to be carried to distant towns or factories. Prior to the 18th century, the easiest way to do this was by water. Roads were poorly built and maintained and travel on them slow and laborious. Hence many ports grew on or near rivers, which allowed the cargo to be transferred to smaller vessels which could penetrate far inland. An obvious way to extend the network of waterways was to build canals. The 18th century saw a number of these built. They usually connected manufacturing or mining areas with ports. For instance, the Trent and Mersey Canal linking Merseyside and the Midlands allowed china clay to be carried from the Mersey to the Potteries in Staffordshire. The Grand Union connected Birmingham with London. 

Solent Freighter goods train in Southampton docks

Magnifying glassSolent Freighter goods train in Southampton docks

When railways arrived in the first half of the 19th century, they often served ports: think of the Liverpool and Manchester and the Stockton and Darlington railways. The ports themselves would often encourage the people who promoted railways or canals, as they realised these transport arteries would expand their trade.

For passengers, travel to a port would originally have meant hitching a lift on a river boat, going by coach or horse for those who could afford it, or walking for those who could not. With canals, there were sometimes `fly boats`. These were pulled by teams of horses which trotted along the bank and were changed frequently to ensure fast journeys. The railways made fast travel possible for the first time, and passenger travel by sea expanded enormously, helped by the simultaneous development of the steamship. For ports handling large numbers of passengers, stations were built as close as possible to the ship`s berths. 

*
Search

Advanced Search
*
*
*
Southampton City Council New Opportunities Fund Lloyd's Register London Metropolitan Archives National Maritime Museum World Ship Society  
Legal & Copyright * Partner sites: Bristol * Hartlepool * Liverpool * London * Southampton * Text only * About this site * Feedback