This site uses cookies, your continued use implies you agree with our cookie policy.

Keeping the barges moving

Pumping the canals, Crofton

Crofton Pumping Station house's the oldest working beam engine in the world. Part of the beam engine. The boiler at Crofton Pumping Station, around 1970. Caen Hill is the longest continuous flight of locks in the country.

Before the railway, canals were king – and the best way to transport goods quickly and cheaply across the country.

They needed clever engineering to solve problems in the landscape, like how to make boats float uphill!

Opened in 1810, the Kennet and Avon Canal was the industrial highway of its day. 

To maintain the water level between Crofton and Devizes, Crofton Pumping Station was built in 1812.

The Kennet and Avon also boasts a set of 29 locks rising 72 meters over 3 km, the ingenious solution of engineer John Rennie to getting barges over a very steep hill.


Images:  Copyright Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre - P12947, P43580, P50424, P56850 – A. Pingstone

This page is part of Industrial Hey-Day