James Brindley, one of the most notable engineers of the 18th century, was the brains behind the seven-mile Droitwich Barge Canal, which linked the town to the River Severn north of Worcester. 

The canal, completed in 1771, was conceived as a more reliable way of transporting salt to the river and bringing in coal for the factories that produced it.

In total, Brindley built 365 miles of canals, including the Trent and Mersey Canal, the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, the Coventry Canal and the Oxford Canal.

The canal-side Brindleyplace mixed use development in Birmingham is named after him.

The ‘Wych Barges’ were unique and much larger than today’s narrowboats, designed to carry 60 tonnes of cargo.

Sadly, none survive but in Vines Park there’s a partial reconstruction of the last barge to travel from Droitwich, in 1918.