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More miles of canal than Venice

More miles of canal than venice photograph

With a population of over a million and a size of over 10 miles across Birmingham dwarfs the Italian city state of Venice, so comparisons of canal length are not very helpful! However just as Venice developed as a renaissance powerhouse because of its trade and transport links, so Birmingham grew rapidly from the mid eighteenth century because of its canal networks.

The first canal was built in 1768 and at one time the Birmingham Canal Navigations had about 160 miles of canal across its network. Canals are now a popular tourist attraction, carrying recreational and residential boats across the region.

Reference: The Canal viewed from Livery Street Bridge, Birmingham (1913), WK/B11/5868

You can continue to explore some of our rarest and most valuable items in the Treasures of the Library gallery.

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