Largely as a result of substantial investment by the 3rd Earl of Egremont, a keen patron of the arts and perhaps the richest man in Britain at the time, the Wey & Arun Junction Canal opened in 1816.
To contemporary commentators, it seemed set for success as part of a new navigable route from London to Portsmouth and the Sussex coast. Sadly, though the countryside remained `beautiful and picturesque', the canal, after fifty-five years of modest trading, fell victim to competition from railways and problems with its own water supply.
The order for closure came in 1871, and for the best part of a century the Wey & Arun lay abandoned.
The derelict state of the canal as it lingered forgotten and crumbling, as well as the attempts being made since 1970 to reinstate it, are vividly evoked here by illustrations from the author's collection and those of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust.