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Old Green Murals

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The Monmouthshire Canal

The artery of industry...

The canal ran alongside the river, making it easy to transfer cargoes from barge to ship.

As demand for iron grew in the late 1790s, the ironmasters of the valleys had a problem – how to get their product to the market. 

Their solution was to build two 11-mile sections of canal terminating at Newport.  Horse carts running on tramways connected the furnaces and mines to the canalside.

When it opened in 1796 the Monmouthshire Canal was an engineering masterpiece, using locks and tunnels to carry barges over or through the hillsides. Thousands of tons of iron and coal flowed through Newport, which expanded from a small settlement of 1,000 people when the canal opened to a thriving town of 19,000 by 1851.

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