List entry

World Heritage Site Summary 

World Heritage Site inscribed by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in 2009.

Name: Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal

Brief Description:

Situated in north-eastern Wales, the 18 kilometre long Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal is a feat of civil engineering of the Industrial Revolution, completed in the early years of the 19th century. Covering a difficult geographical setting, the building of the canal required substantial, bold civil engineering solutions, especially as it was built without using locks. The aqueduct is a pioneering masterpiece of engineering and monumental metal architecture, conceived by the celebrated civil engineer Thomas Telford. The use of both cast and wrought iron in the aqueduct enabled the construction of arches that were light and d strong, producing an overall effect that is both monumental and elegant. The property is inscribed as a masterpiece of creative genius, and as a remarkable synthesis of expertise already acquired in Europe. It is also recognized as an innovative ensemble that inspired many projects all over the world.

Criteria:

This entry is compiled from information provided by UNESCO who hold the official record for all World Heritage Sites at their Paris Head Quarters. This entry is provided for information only and those requiring further assistance should contact the World Heritage Centre at UNESCO. Criterion (i): The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a highly innovative monumental civil engineering structure, made using metal arches supported by high, slender masonry piers. It is the first great masterpiece of the civil engineer Thomas Telford and formed the basis of his outstanding international reputation. It bears witness to the production capacities of the British ironmaking industry, which were unique at that time. Criterion (ii): The intensive construction of canals in Great Britain, from the second half of the 18th century onwards, and that of the Pontcysyllte Canal in particular in a difficult region, bear witness to considerable technical interchanges and decisive progress in the design and construction of artificial waterways. Criterion (iv): The Pontcysyllte Canal and its civil engineering structures bear witness to a crucial stage in the development of heavy cargo transport in order to further the Industrial Revolution. They are outstanding representatives of its new technical and monumental possibilities.

Statement of Significance:

Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

This was approved in 2009 by the World Heritage Committee in Seville Brief Synthesis The Pontcysyllte Canal is a remarkable example of the construction of a human-engineered waterway in a difficult geographical environment, at the end of the 18th century and the start of the 19th century. It required extensive and boldly conceived civil engineering works. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a pioneering masterpiece of engineering and monumental architecture by the famous civil engineer Thomas Telford. It was constructed using metal arches supported by tall, slender masonry piers. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal are early and outstanding examples of the innovations brought about by the Industrial Revolution in Britain, where they made decisive development in transport capacities possible. They bear witness to very substantial international interchanges and influences in the fields of inland waterways, civil engineering, land-use planning, and the application of iron in structural design. Criterion (i): The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a highly innovative monumental civil engineering structure, made using metal arches supported by high, slender masonry piers. It is the first great masterpiece of the civil engineer Thomas Telford and formed the basis of his outstanding international reputation. It bears witness to the production capacities of the British ironmaking industry, which were unique at that time. Criterion (ii): The intensive construction of canals in Great Britain, from the second half of the 18th century onwards, and that of the Pontcysyllte Canal in particular in a difficult region, bear witness to considerable technical interchanges and decisive progress in the design and construction of artificial waterways. Criterion (iv): The Pontcysyllte Canal and its civil engineering structures bear witness to a crucial stage in the development of heavy cargo transport in order to further the Industrial Revolution. They are outstanding representatives of its new technical and monumental possibilities. Integrity and Authenticity The integrity of the waterway has been maintained in hydraulic and civil-engineering structures that have remained in their original form. However, the historic embankments, made of rubble, have raised significant problems of stability and waterproofing, particularly in the second half of the 20th century. The repairs have involved the use of technical solutions that are different from the simple initial backfills, both for structural resistance and waterproofing: concrete, steel pilings, geotextiles, etc. From the point of view of integrity, these works have made it possible to maintain the hydraulic operation of the waterway and to conserve its overall morphological characteristics. The integrity of the landscapes and the buffer zone of the property contributes to the expression of the value of the property. The property has all the elements of integrity necessary for the expression of its value, as a major historic canal of the Industrial Revolution. The few structural changes that have been made to the two large aqueducts have remained secondary, contributing to maintaining the property in use. Changes in materials have remained restricted over the history of the property. During the 20th century repairs to masonry did not always use the original types of mortar or stone. The buildings associated with the canal and its immediate environment usually achieve a good degree of authenticity. Management and protection requirements The technical and monumental management by British Waterways is satisfactory. The management plan is acceptable; it clearly defines the objectives of conservation, but it would be improved by a unified approach to the preservation of the buffer zone and the drafting of a plan for tourism development and site interpretation.

Justification for Inscription:

Date of Inscription: 2009

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Other Information:

This site is a trans-national cultural site as part of the site is in England and part is in Wales. It is located at N52 58 13 W3 5 16 and measures 105 hectares. Its buffer zone measures 4,145 hectares. There is a World Heritage Site Management Plan for the World Heritage Site (2009) and implementation of the objectives and action plan is undertaken by a World Heritage Site coordinator in Wrexham County Borough Council. A Steering Group made up of key stakeholders oversees World Heritage activities.

Map/Chart

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This copy shows the entry on 02-Sep-2014 at 08:05:17.