The Ellesmere Hotel – then the Royal Oak Hotel – played an important part in the canal coming to Shropshire.
In 1792 the Duke of Bridgwater called potential investors to a meeting at the hotel to raise money for a new canal that would link Ellesmere with the tiny port of Netherpool.
The fundraiser raised £1 million, an enormous sum in those days, and the Ellesmere Canal Company was formed. Ellesmere became a hugely important transport hub, and its terminal on the Mersey was renamed Ellesmere Port.
This event led to the construction of the two aqueducts at Chirk and Poncysyllte, with the extension of the canal to Llangollen. Today they are a World Heritage Site and well worth a visit.
The hotel was immediately renamed the Bridgwater Arms in honour of that night in 1796, a name it kept until it was re-named in the 1990’s to the Ellesmere Hotel.