Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and canal consists of a continuous group of civil engineering features from the heroic phase of transport improvements during the British Industrial Revolution. The canal brought water borne transport from the English lowlands into the rugged terrain of the Welsh uplands, using innovative techniques to cross two major river valleys and the ridge between them. It was built between 1795 and 1808 by two outstanding figures in the development of civil engineering: Thomas Telford and William Jessop. Through their dynamic relationship the canal became a testing ground for new ideas that were carried forward into subsequent engineering practice internationally.
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal are outstanding monuments of the canal age in the United Kingdom, which flourished from 1760s until the establishment of a network of locomotive railways form the 1830s. Canal building reached its zenith after 1790, during the so called ‘Canal Mania’ that saw 1,180 miles/1,900 kilometers of new waterways completed in just 20 years. The construction of a network of canals in Britain to provide transport for raw materials and goods represented a new phase in the history of inland navigation and was a fundamental factor in the Industrial Revolution, enabling and promoting rapid economic growth, regional specialisation and urbanisation.