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Navvy is a shorter form of navigational engineer (USA) or navigator (UK) and is particularly applied to describe the manual labourers working on major civil engineering projects. The term was coined in the late 18th century in Britain when numerous canals were being built, which were also sometimes known as "navigations". Canal navvies typically worked with shovels, pickaxes and barrows. The construction of canals in Britain was superseded by contracts to construct railway projects from 1830 onwards, which developed into… read more

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