Iron and coal were too heavy and bulky to carry on horse-drawn wagons over bad roads - it would have been far too costly.
Canals (man-made waterways for carrying boats on) became very popular in the Georgian period and were used to move large amounts of raw materials and finished goods around the country and to the ports.
The barges and narrowboats were pulled along by a horse walking on a towpath at the side of the canal.
An engineer named James Brindley helped construct the first major canal - the Bridgewater Canal in Manchester - before going on to build a total of 365 miles of canals across Britain during his lifetime.
In Staffordshire, the famous potter Josiah Wedgewood used canals to easily bring in bulky cargoes of clay to his factory doors and to transport his fragile finished goods to markets in: Manchester, Birmingham or further afield with few breakages.