Scotland inland waterways 250 year history soon to be available to the public

Scotland's inland waterways - Details of the machinery of the proposed inclined plane at Blackhill
Scotland’s inland waterways – Details of the machinery of the proposed inclined plane at Blackhill

The public will soon be able to delve into the 250-year-old tales of Scotland’s inland waterways as Scottish Canals’ historic records are transferred to the National Records of Scotland for the first time.

The archive features an array of hand-drawn plans, maps and other records stretching back to when the canals were industrial highways carrying coal, goods and people across Scotland.

Among the collection’s items of national significance are the diagram for the Monkland Canal’s Blackhill Inclined Plane – a precursor to The Falkirk Wheel which carried boats over a height difference of almost 100ft via a rail system and a notice from the British Office of the Admiralty ordering the Crinan Canal to ‘extinguish all lights’ at the outbreak of WWII. The collection contains thousands of records dating from 1790 to the present day.

“Our records stores hold some incredible documents that give a real insight into the elegant engineering and unforgettable stories of Scotland’s inland waterways,” said Angharad Stockwell, records manager at Scottish Canals.

“From the notice to extinguish the lights of the Crinan Canal at the outbreak of World War II to the original designs for the ingenious Blackhill Inclined Plane, our collections provide a snapshot of pivotal moments in both the history of our inland waterways and Scotland itself.”

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