Steel engraving by J Shury after an original drawing by N Whittock, showing the Aire and Calder Canal at Leeds. The Aire and Calder rivers in West Yorkshire were canalised in the early 18th century in order to allow goods to be transported from the towns of West Yorkshire to ports on the Humber, and by connecting the waterways to other canals, to Liverpool. The canals were an important factor in the rapid growth of West Yorkshire in the Industrial Revolution, providing the landlocked factories and mills with a cheap means of transporting their output to ports and markets. The Aire and Calder was constantly extended and modernised, and the canal remains an important trade artery today, with over 2 million tons of freight carried on it each year.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library