The Planning of the Canal

Lesson Plan

By Lois Francis

Learning Intention

To learn how to select and combine information from historical sources.

Turnpike road systems

What was the state of the roads during the 1700’s?

This is an extract from Samuel Rudders ‘History of Gloucestershire’ published in 1770.

"..... surely there cannot be a more infamous turnpike road... for incredible as it may seem, the writer of this account, in the winter of 1776, saw a chaise mired in it, about half a mile from the Swan Inn (in Wheatenhurst), and was there told, that a horse had like to have been smothered in the same place two days before, but was luckily saved by some persons coming accidentally to the poor animal's assistance."

Photo:The meeting of two roads around Lypiatt Manor

The meeting of two roads around Lypiatt Manor

From these sources, children can imagine how difficult roads were to use if heavy loads were being carried, especially in the winter.

Children can use the following statements to add to the picture of the road skirting Lypiatt Manor. (Following the line of trees).

Poor surface
Road splaying across nearby fields
Ruts and pools
Road changing direction to avoid obstacles

Or they can create a class list of the problems facing commerce in obtaining raw materials and investigate how roads were managed at the time.

Children in groups could create a list of their own ideas for improving the transport system in the 1750’s, remembering that the mills in Stroud needed heavy coal from the Midlands and the Forest of Dean and also needed to be able to export their cloth to other parts of the world and especially to London.

The precious dye obtained from cochineal beetles that created the distinctive Stroud Scarlet colour had to be brought from London.

How did water transport help this?

Related Science Activities

This activity could introduce some science activities based on investigating and measuring up thrust in water. Children can weigh objects in air using Newton Metres and then weigh them in water comparing the two sets of data.

They could also investigate other floating and sinking activities at this point such as making a floater sink and making a sinker float using plasticine. Can the children sink a container using weights? How much weight will the container take? Does it matter where the weight is placed? Can they make a lump of plasticine float? Draw the forces involved. What happens when the forces become unbalanced?

Children could also investigate the shape of hulls of boats and the effect they have on movement through water.

Design and technology – textiles

(see the Globe)

Children could be investigating carding, spinning and weaving during this project along with, investigating vegetable dyes and how they are obtained.

Learning Intention

To link sources and work out how conclusions were arrived at.

Ask the children to look carefully at ‘The case for the Stroudwater Navigation’

Can they make a list of arguments for and against the building of the Navigation?

Photo:The Case for the Stroud Water Navigation

The Case for the Stroud Water Navigation

Now they could play the canal game/role play/debate in parliament.

Groups of children working in the classroom from different points of view, investigating the question: Why was the Stroudwater built and why that particular route?

Each group to have a set of cards with reasons for their point of view. Using maps, texts and stories from the time, they need to prepare a case to set before the rest of the class.

  1. Factory owners were in dispute with mill owners about how much water was used for power, so they needed more coal to power the machines.
  2. Mill owners were afraid that their mills would not be able to function without waterpower.
  3. Turnpike roads could not assure factory owners that they would get their coal.
  4. Rich landowners wanted to sell their land to the canal company.
  5. Boat captains found that Framilode Pill and Frampton-on- Severn Pill were difficult to negotiate, for their cargoes of coal and the River Frome was too shallow in places to take the cargoes further up the valley of the Frome.
  6. The canal company thought that by charging tolls to all canal users, they could make a lot of money and also the canal would generate more business.
  7. The mine owners of the Forest of Dean wanted to sell their coal and it would be cheaper than the coalfields of Shropshire, and the West Midlands.
  8. Ordinary tenants of rich farmers were worried about losing their orchards and fields.
  9. The engineers of the canal company wanted to use Framilode Pill as the River Frome already met the River Severn there. They also wanted to use the Frome valley, as there would be little need for locks. Also the river Frome had already been straightened in places to help small boat navigation.

Can the children write a canal play about the building of the Stroudwater?


This page was added by Iris Capps on 17/03/2010.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.