Aspects of working life on the canal during the period of commercial operation.
The construction of the Stroudwater Canal was financed by selling shares to members of the public, who were later paid dividends when the Company was making a profit.
The Stroudwater Canal was built between 1774 and 1779 by gangs of navvies digging out the channel and by teams of craftsmen constructing the locks and bridges.
The Company of Proprietors of the Stroudwater Navigation was managed by a Clerk and a Surveyor who reported to a Committee of shareholders.
To keep the canal working efficiently, the Stroudwater Company employed a small number of lock keepers, wharfingers and maintenance men.
The accounting system of the Stroudwater Company developed according to the nature of activities being undertaken, changes in personnel and response to suspected fraud.
Most cargoes carried on the Stroudwater Canal comprised a single consignment of a bulk material such as coal, road stone, grain or timber.
The Stroudwater Canal was used by Severn barges (sometimes called trows), narrower Stroud barges and narrowboats (usually called boats).
High tonnage rates were charged in the early days, but these had to be reduced in stages to meet increasing competition from the railways.
As property owners, the management of the Stroudwater Company spent much time dealing with the structures they owned, their tenants and their neighbours
A series of adjustable weirs controlled supplies of water into the canal from the Painswick stream at Lodgemore and from the River Frome at Ebley and at Whitminster.
The Stroudwater Company did not encourage leisure activities, but they did allow some non-commercial uses subject to strict conditions and payment of a fee.
After working well together initially, relations between the two canal companies became more difficult when faced with competition from the railways.
The archive of the Stroudwater Navigation Company includes much information about their dealings with other canal, railway and utility organisations.