As we all know, the UK’s waterways are steeped in a rich history that spans over 300 years – in fact, we were the first country ever to have a nationwide canal network! With so much heritage between then and now, it’s no wonder that the waterways have changed greatly in appearance over the course of their history.

That’s why we’ve created a cutting-edge interactive site to showcase how much the appearance of the UK’s canal network has changed over the past 100 years. For the full, immersive experience, choose your region or click any of the points of interest locations on our UK map, where you can compare past and present photos of each one side-by-side. Not only that, but our site also provides a brief history, unusual facts and nearby curiosities for each location, bringing them to life even more.

history of the waterwaysHistory of the waterways


The historical insights have been provided by John Benson, who looks after The Waterways Archive, based at the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port. With over 25 years’ experience of studying the wonders that the UK’s canals have to offer, there’s no one better for some interesting insights!

The only thing left to do is explore the fascinating History of the Waterways for yourself – where will you be inspired to visit next?