The role of Sir Joseph Banks, K.B., P.R.S., in the promotion and development of Lincolnshire canals and navigations
Sir Joseph Banks, K.B., P.R.S., was Lincolnshire's foremost
figure of the late 18th. century and his influence within the
county was such that few public works were undertaken with
which he was not connected. Included in these public works
were canal and navigation promotions and major works of
drainage of the fenlands which had a secondary navigation
function associated with them.
This thesis begins with a brief biography of Sir Joseph
which places him in his historical setting both nationally
and internationally and is followed by a consideration of his
life in his home county. In this his waterways' connections
For Sir Joseph to understand waterways~ promotion he had to
learn and this process is discussed in detail~ Most of this
took place outside Lincolnshire and before the periods of
'Canal Mania' and, therefore, he was ideally placed to make
use of this acquired expertise for the ben~fit of his county
when the pressure for canal promotion began in Lincolnshire.
The heart of the Lincolnshire systems of canals and
navigations is now, as in his day, the River Witham and
Banks' role as a Commissioner for drainage and navigation is
considered. Included here is his part in the promotion of the
drainage of the fens to the east of Boston and the formation
of the 'Witham Navigable Drains'.
Each of the Lincolnshire waterways with whic.h he had some
connection is discussed as are the details of the various roles he assumed. On the Sleaford Navigation, for example, he
was a promoter; on the Horncastle Navigation he was
'President' of the company, while on the Grantham Canal he
was a protector of the Witham Trusts'
interests during the
In his different capacities Sir Joseph was often in contact
with the most important canal engineers of his time. With
them he developed different relationships and those with
William Jessop, John Rennie and George Maxwell are especially
investigated in depth.
Finally, an assessment is attempted of the part he played
and the significance of his contribution to the promotion and
development of the Lincolnshire waterways.