The research I have included here includes some key information about each canal. My particular area of interest is the WW1 era, especially those canals which were under the control of the Canal Control Committee, and the soldiers of the Transport Workers Battalions, who worked on the canals as well as the docks.
By the beginning of the 18th century, the Aire and Calder Navigation had made the River Calder navigable as far upstream as Wakefield. The aim of the Calder and Hebble Navigation was to extend navigation west (upstream) from Wakefield to Sowerby Bridge near Halifax.
The Wyrley and Essington Canal is nicknamed the Curly Wyrley, at it was built entirely on the level, following the contoyrs of the land. This has the advantage of allowing over sixteen miles of lock-free navigation.
The Aire and Calder Navigation was conceived as an improvement to navigation on the River Aire (from the River Ouse at Airmyn via Castleford to Leeds) and on the River Calder (from Castleford to Wakefield). The proposal was principally motivated by wool traders in Leeds and general merchants in Wakefield.