Fenland Lighters and their Heyday c.1700-1850

By H.J.K. Jenkins, published May 1993


In the 17th Century systematic drainage of the Fenland freed large areas for agricultural development. To export products to the harbours of The Wash, the rivers Nene and Ouse together with their drainage canals were developed for the transport of goods by barge outwards, and for the import of coal, salt, hardware and wines as far from the sea as Northampton, Bedford and Cambridge. Fenland Lighters of distinctive type were developed for this work, until water transport was displaced by railways in the 19th Century. Today, their history is safeguarded by the Fenland Lighter Project.

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Filed under: Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

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