|The Melksham, Calne and
|HISTORY OF THE WILTS & BERKS CANAL
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In 1793 it was agreed to build a canal which would link Bristol and London via the market towns of Melksham, Chippenham, Calne,Wootten Basset, Swindon, Wantage and Abingdon
After various setbacks, financial problems and legal arguments, the canal was finally opened in 1810.
The canal enjoyed a period of brief prosperity and parts of it operated for about 100 years. It linked the market towns of Wiltshire and (then) Berkshire, and made travel possible between these places and Bristol or London.
Decline and Closure
The railways provided a quicker and cheaper method of transport, causing a terminal decline for most canals, including the Wilts & Berks. Vital repair work ceased, and the canal became a public danger. It was finally abandoned by Act of Parliament in 1914.
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