Members of Alfreton’s U3A group were visited by local historian David Ratner (pictured) who gave a talk on the history of the Cromford Canal.
A map of 1789 showed the route surveyed for engineer William Jessop, who was assisted in the project by Alfreton-born Benjamin Outram.
The canal linked manufacturers in the area to the Grand Cross – a canal system which stretched around the country and provided links to cities including Hull, Bristol, Liverpool and London.
There are no locks for the first 14 miles of the canal, from Cromford to Pinxton, the canal has two aqueducts, over the Derwent and Amber rivers, and four tunnels.
Before well maintained roads and the coming of the railways, the emergence of a cross-country canal system opened up the world to locally-made goods.
The group meets at 2pm on the second Thursday of the month, at the Catholic Church Hall, in Nottingham Road.