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William Jessop and the River Trent: mobility, engineering and the landscape of eighteenth-century ‘improvement’

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This paper considers relationships between landscape, transport technology and mobility in order to explore how the making of landscape, engineering practice and geographical knowledge are mutually constituted in landscapes of improvement. It examines work by the engineer William Jessop (1745–1814) and focuses specifically on his plans to make the River Trent navigable in the period 1781–91. The paper adopts metaphors of region, fluid and network from the sociology of mobility. It argues that these metaphors usefully inform the study of transport technologies and their related practices and knowledges, in the context of landscape as a mode of governance.
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Keywords: civil engineering; geographical knowled¥ge; improvement; landscape

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Science, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, Email:

Publication date: 2007-04-01

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