'Dudgrove Double Lock', Thames & Severn Canal, Gloucestershire, 1814.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by W B Cooke after an original drawing by S Owen. The double lock at Dudgrove was one of 67 locks required on the Thames & Severn Canal, which was completed in 1789 and allowed goods to be transported by water from London to the Severn. Britain's canals enjoyed their commercial heyday from the late 18th to the mid 19th century, when increasing competition from the railways began their decline. The Thames & Severn Canal carried its greatest tonnage of freight, over 89,000 tons, in 1841.