It Was Not Easy to Build a Canal!

What were the main problems involved in canal building in the early 18th Century?

Canals are artificial waterways. They need to be filled with water. Every time a boat passes through a lock thousands of gallons of water pass from the higher level to the lower level. The highest point has to be regularly topped up. Finding ways to supply the summit (the highest point) was always a problem.
Most engineering experience was with rivers, constantly supplied with water by nature. When building a canal, somehow the water had to be prevented from leaking away. Canal engineers needed to solve this problem so that the canal system could work effectively.
There were very few engineers with any experience of canal building. Because of the poor communications few lessons were learned from the work of engineers abroad. Most engineers were self taught and had only worked on other types of engineering such as roads, coal mines, or mills.
The only way to obtain legal authority to build something like a canal was to persuade Parliament to pass a special Act. To obtain an Act took a lot of time, patience, and money. There were often many objections from people who would be affected by the planned canal.
Even with the permission of Parliament, landowners who objected to the canal passing through their land could cause a lot of obstacles. Land had to be bought for the canal and the talks were often difficult. Some landowners wanted to prevent the canal from being built or to obtain a very high price if they could.
There were no big banks, no large stock market. Private investors were deeply suspicious of an untested, new idea. They feared that their money could be lost. The risks were high and it was hard to say which schemes were sound and which were foolish.
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