As the seedlings of industrialisation took root, the revamped landscape of Cheshire’s infrastructure steadily took shape over the course of the 18th century. Key projects, including various canals, such as the Bridgewater Canal and the Trent and Mersey Canal, edged towards industrialisation and modernity. Cheshire’s important and iconic historical architecture was also revamped, including the Roman gates to the city and Chester Castle. Coinciding with this development of transport and infrastructure, other economic changes added to Cheshire’s growing profile. Cheshire Cheese production was in full swing, salt mining had increased and ironworkers and forgers were dotted around the county.
1700: Brine springs are discovered in Winsford
1735-1736: The New Cut is dug along the River Dee from Chester to Connah’s Quay due to silting in the river
1744: Charles Roe builds a watermill in Macclesfield and brings about the start of the silk industry
1763: The Cheshire Hunt is founded
1766: The Bridgewater Canal is complete, extending from Manchester to Runcorn – Used to transport coal from Francis Egerton’s mines, the Bridgewater Canal provided the fuel for steam engines which were instrumental in powering the Industrial Revolution.
1777: The Trent and Mersey Canal is completed – Part of a growing network of canals the T&M served to link crucial parts of a developing nationwide network.
1779: The Chester Canal, running between Chester and Nantwich is opened
1780: Chester Eastgate is rebuilt
1780: Marston salt mine opens
1781: Chester Northgate is rebuilt
1784: The first mail coach, running between London and Holyhead, passes through Cheshire
1788: Chester Westgate is rebuilt
1788-1815: Thomas Harrison orders a major rebuilding project for Chester Castle – Used today as Crown Courts and a military museum, the neoclassical buildings designed by Thomas Harrison revamped a historical monument that was in severe want of attention.
1795: The Chester Canal is extended to reach Ellesmere Port