What Was A Navvie?


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Gillian Smith answered
From around 1660 in Britain the expansion and opening up of waterwys took place.
This artificial construction involved the widening of rivers to make them more navigatable for boats in order to transport goods nd materials more easily on inland routes.
By the early C18 the term Navigators was usued to describe the men employed in the construction of these workings and was also later applied to railway workers.
By around 1830 labourers were constructing anals and railways, they too were called navvies.
Navigator was shortened to navey, navie or navvy and was regarded as a derogatory term.
The term was often used when refering to Irish workers but in fact the majority of this class of worker was not Irish.

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