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Author of " Our Iron Eoadii/' 

'■ Let the country make the railroads and the railroads will make the country. 

Edwahd Pbase. 




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Mr. Charles Dickens was accustomed to account for 
his fondness for books by the fact, that when he was a 
child a pile of ponderous and learned folios used, at 
dinner time, to be placed on the chair on which he was 
seated ; and it was thus that he contracted his early 
literary tastes. And if the Author were asked why he 
should write the present volume, he is prepared to assign 
reasons equally philosophical and profound. He has 
ascertained that both the Midland Railway and himself 
were born about the same time and near the same place ; 
and doubtless there thus arose, even in their tender 
years, certain occult but powerful affinities, which 
strengthened with advancing time, — affinities which the 
advances of biological science will before long satisfac- 
torily account for ! And if, unhappily, such an expla- 
nation should not, in the judgment of some, justify what 
they may deem an irrelevant predilection, the Author 
can only add, to borrow the humour of another, — Hie 
non meus sermo. 

The last forty years have witnessed a mighty and 
beneficent revolution in the midlands of England. A 
few men of enterprise have led others on to a work 
which has revived trade, created new industries, en- 
riched at once the landlord and the peasant, the manu- 
facturer and the merchant, and promoted the happiness 


and well-being of the nation. And in this service the 
Midland Railway has been especially concerned. 

How all this came to pass the Author has now to tell. 
How the Midland Railway originated at a village inn 
in the necessities of a few coal-owners ; how it has 
gradually spread its paths of iron, north and south and 
east and west, through half the counties of England, till 
they stretch from the Severn to the Humber, the Wash 
to the Mersey, and the Thames to the Sol way Firth ; how 
a property has been created that has cost £50,000,000 
of money, and that l)rings in a revenue of £5,000,000 a 
year; and how there lies before it a limitless future of 
usefulness, — these are facts which, in the judgment of 
the Author, are worthy of record. Yet it so happens 
that tlie men who have been most deeply engaged in this 
work have been so busy with their work that they seem 
never to have thought of explaining why or how they did 
it; and so the Author has been led to try, before it is too 
late, to weave together, from the fragmentary records of 
the dead and from the fading recollections oP the living, 
a narrative of modern enterprise which has been honour- 
able to those engaged in it, and has been wide spread 
and beneficent in its results. Accordingly the first part 
of this book is historical. 

The second portion of the work is descriptive of the 
Midland Railway — of its engineering works, and of the 
country through which the line passes. The roads 
which Roman hands have made and Roman legions have 
trodden ; the ancient manor houses of Winsffield, HnrI- 


don, and Rowsley; the abbeys of St. Albans, Leicester, 
Newstead, Kirkstall, Beaucbief, and Evesliam; the 
castles of Someries, Skipton, Sandal, Berkeley, Tam- 
worth, Hay, Clifford, Codnor, Ashby, Nottingham, 
Leicester, Lincoln, and Newark ; the battlefields of Bos- 
worth, St. Albans, Wakefield, Tewkesbury, and Eves- 
ham, — these, and a thousand spots besides on the route 
of the Midland line, ought to be familiar to every 

The third part is administrative. It endeavours to 
indicate the machinery — comprehensive, intricate, and 
exact — by which a great system of railway is kept in 
motion by day and by night, in summer and in winter. 

The Author begs to tender his grateful acknowledg- 
ments to the numerous officers of the Company, and 
other gentlemen, who have rendered him cordial and 
valuable aid in his work — aid to which the following 
pages bear testimony. To the Chairman, to Mr. Allport, 
and also to his able Chief Secretary, Mr. Robert Speight, 
he is under special obligation for the kind and courteous 
assistance they have frequently rendered him. It is 
right, however, to state that he is solely responsible for 
any statements of opinion or fact which this volume 

He will only add the expression of his hope that 
the reader may find as much pleasure in following the 
thread of this remarkable narrative as the Author has 
had in unravelling it for himself. 


I. The Midland Counties Railway ... 1 
II. The North Midland Railway ... 39 
III The Birmingham and UnRny Railwat ... 60 
IV. The Birmingham and Biiistol Railways ... 72 
V. Leicester to Swannington, Peterborocoh and Bedford 88 
VI. Temporary Rise, Culmination, and Decline of Pros- 
perity 118 

VII. Extensions to Manchester and Londo.v 152 

VIII. New Lines to Sheffield, Bath, and Liverpool 180 

IX. Settle and Carlisle Railway Projected . . 208 
X. Amalgamation with Glasgow and Sooth Western 

Proposed 224 


XI. Conflict with Great Northern Company . 

XII. Lines to Knottinglet, Wioan, and Swansea 

XIII. Line from L indon to Manchester Described 

XIV. Line krdm Trent to Barrow-in-Furness Described 
XV. Settle and Carlisle Line Described . 478 

XVI. Line from Derby to Baih and Bristol Described 544- 

XVI T. Notts, Leicestershire, and We.stern Lines Described 575 

XVIII. Shareholders, Directors, and Executive Establish- 
ments, ETC. ...... 607 


village inn. — The Ei'ewash* Valley. — The coal owners of the Ere- 
■wash. — N"avigable highways. — The river Soar. — An accident. — 
The Charnwood Forest Canal. — A new competitor. — Mr. John Ellis. 
— " Old George." — The Leicester and Swannington Railway. — 
Cheap coals at Leicester. — Conferences of the Canal Committees. — 
The Midland Counties Railway projected. — Earliest subscribers. — 
Meeting at Leicester. — Mr. Jessop's report. — Identity of the earliest 
scheme with that eventually carried out. — Mr. George Rennie's 
report. — Mr. Vignoles appointed engineer. — Excellence of the route. 
— Trent Bridge. — Proposals of Northampton people and others. 
— Financial arrangements of the Midland Counties Company. — 
Evidence submitted to Parliament concerning the trade and trad- 
ing facilities of the Midland counties. — Private Bill legislation of 
the time. — Objections to Railways. — Opposition to the Erewash 
Valley Railway project. — The North Midland. — " A slip 'twixt the 
cup and the lip." — Fii'st general meeting of Midland Counties share- 
holders. — Progress of the works. — A curious incident. — Opening 
of the Nottingham and Derby portion. — Opening of the whole 
line. — Prospects of the undertaking. — Threatened competition. — 
The Birmingham and Derby. — Mr. Hutchinson's protest. — Fierce 
contest. — Disappointment. — Reduction of 
expenditure. — After war, peace. — Amalga- 
mation proposed and effected. 

LITTLE group of plain practical 
men were, on the morning of the 
16th of August, 1832, sitting round 
the parlour table of a village inn in 
Nottinghamshire. They were coal- 
masters — deep in mines, in counsel, 
and in pocket. Once a week they 
were wont to meet at " The Sun," 
at Eastwood, to ponder their dark 

* The initial letter represents the source of the Erewash, at Kirkby, in 




designs; and, when business was over, they solaced 
themselves with the best fare the landlord could provide, 
and with wine from their private cellar, for the safe 
custody of which mine host levied a toll of half a crown 
for every cork he drew. From that hill-top could be 
seen the valley of the river Erewash, with its rich 
meadows and doddered willows by the water-courses, 
its grey uplands and scanty timber : that valley then, as 
now, one of the great highways of England, beneath 
which, centuries before, the lead-miners of Derbyshire 
had come to delve for coal, and where many a deep shaft 
had since been driven, and whence many a working 

Five miles to the north of Eastwood, a tramway, 
worked by horses, had for twelve years or more wound its 
devious way among the hills, carrying coals and cotton 


from the Piuxton wharf of the Ci'omford Canal up to 
jNIansfield, and bringing back stone, lime, and corn to 
the canal. And many a deeply-laden barge floated from 
thence down the broad coal valley of the Erewash, past 
the hills and pits of Eastwood, across the Trent, up the 
Soar, and on to Leicester and the south, bearing comfort 
to many a hearth, and bringing back gold in return. 


The coal-owners of the Ere wash were a very prosperous 
race, and they won their prosperity by an accident. 
From time immemorial the coals that any district yielded 
had usually been consumed within that district ; for pack- 
horses and mules could not bear so heavy a commodity 
very far from home. Thus the pits of Nottinghamshire 
had supplied Nottinghamshire, and those of Leicester- 
shire, Leicestershire. But when the last century was 
drawing to a close, and inland navigation was spreading 
its watery highways far and wide through the land, 
canals were projected down the Erewash Valley to the 
Trent, and it was proposed to make the Soar navigable 
on to Leicester, so that the products of Nottinghamshire 
and Derbyshire might be conveyed, not only into the town 
of Nottingham, but on to the Leicestershire markets and 
the south. The Leicestershire coal-owners were alarmed. 
They saw how, if these plans were carried out, it would 
soon be cheaper to bring coals by canal from the north- 
ward, than by road from the pits in their own county, 
and that their trade would be ruined. Resistance was 
organized. Nor was it stayed until the projectors of the 
Soar navigation undertook to make, not only their canal 
from the Trent to Leicester, but also a branch canal from 
Loughborough, across Charnwood Forest, to the Leices- 
tershire pits at Coleorton and Moira. Thus, it was 
thought, equal facilities would be secured for each com- 
petitor : there would henceforth be water-carriage for 
both counties and from both coal-fields. 

Events, however, issued otherwise. In the year 1798, 
the Loughborough Canal and the extension to Coleorton 
were made. But in the succeeding winter a very deep 
snow-fall was followed by a rapid and disastrous thaw, and 
the embankments of both the reservoir and the canal vv^ere 
broken down, and much property was destroyed. The 
works were never restored ; and, in 1838, an Act was 


obtained to autliorize the abandoninent of the line and 
the sale of the land. And " The Charnwood Forest 
Canal " may still be traced among the wooded hills 
and dales of Leicestershire : anon a dry ditch, tangled 
over with briers and underwood, and then carried across 
massive bridges and along lofty embankments, the sides 
of which have been planted with saplings and burrowed 
by rabbits ; here it has been levelled down by the plough - 


share and is fruitful with grain, and there it is over- 
shadowed by trees half a century old. 

lyieanwhilo the Loughborough Canal prospered ; and 
well it might. " There was only one Soar to be had," 
as the ^lidland Chairman remarked to us the other day. 
" It had easily been turned into a canal; it obtained the 
monopoly, and kept it." The shares, on which £140 had 
been paid, rose to £4500 each, and were considered to be 
as safe as consols. And so matters continued for more 
than thirty years. 

But at length the monopoly even of canals began to be 
threatened. A new competitor was coming into the field. 
The Stockton and Darlington Railway had been completed, 
the Liverpool and Manchester line was in course of con- 
struction, and the idea was spreading that railways were 


likely to succeed. Two or three enterprising men in 
Leicester shared these impressions, and they conferred 
on the subject with Mr. John Ellis, their townsman. He 
replied that he had no practical acquaintance with the 
making or working of railways ; but he did not dis- 
courage the project. At that time he was associated 
with some other gentlemen in the reclamation of a part 
of Chat Moss, — that vast morass over which George 
Stephenson was then carrying the Liverpool and Man- 
chester Railway ; and Mr. Ellis promised that he would 
ask the advice of his friend Stephenson. Accordingly, a 
week or two afterwards, Mr. Ellis went from Chat Moss 
in search of the great engineer, and found him very busyj 
and, we must add, very " cross," in Rainhill Cutting. 
" Old George," as he was familiarly called, refused to 
discuss the matter. Mr. Ellis for a while forebore with 
his friend's infirmity, and at length induced him to go 
to a village inn hard by, that they might have a beefsteak 
together for dinner. Here good humour soon returned ; 
Mr. Ellis explained his plans, and George Stephenson 
undertook to go over to Leicester and see the country. 
He did so ; and his report as to the practicability of a 
railway being carried through it was favourable. He 
was then requested to undertake the office of engineer. 
This he declined. " He had," he said, " thirty-one miles 
of railway to make, and that was enough for any man at 
a time." But, being asked if he could recommend any 
one for this service, he mentioned the name of his son 
Robert, who had recently returned from South America, 
and the father added that he would himself be respon- 
sible that the work should be well done. The matter 
was so arranged ; and when, not long afterwards, a diffi- 
culty arose in obtaining the requisite capital for the new 
undertaking, — in consequence of many of the well-to-do 
Leicester people being already interested in canals, — 


GeorgG Stephenson further showed his practical interest 
in the work. *' Give me a sheet of paper," he said to 
his friend Ellis, " and I will raise the money for you in 
Liverpool." In a short time a complete list of sub- 
scribers was returned. 

Tlie Leicester and Swannington line was commenced 
about the latter end of the year 1830 ; and one spring 
morning in 1332 Mr. Ellis said to his son, then a lad of 
fifteen, "Edward, thou shalt go down with me, and sec the 
new engine get up its steam." The machinery had been 
conveyed by water from Stephenson's factory at New- 
castle-on-Tjme to the West Bridge Wharf at Leicester ; 
it had been put together in a little shed built for its 
accommodation; it was named *' Tlie Comet;" and it was 
the first locomotive that ever ran south of Manchester. 

Oil the 17th of July, 1832, amid great rejoicings, and 
the roar of cannon that had been cast for the occasion, 
the new line was opened — a line which brought the 
long neglected coalfields of Leicestershire almost to the 
doors of the growing population and thriving industries 
of the county town. 

These events could not but exercise a decisive in- 
fluence on the position and prospects of the Nottingham- 
shire and Derbyshire coal trade ; and when the coal- 
masters met at the *' Sun Inn" on the IGth of August, 
1832, a shadow rested on their faces. The dry ditch in 
Charnwood Forest could no longer shut Leicestershire 
coal 'out of the Leicestershire market ; the Swannincrton 
line had been five weeks at work ; George Stephenson 
had opened his new pits at Snibston, and was delivering 
coal at Leicester at less than ten shillinjrs a ton ; and 
the people of Leicester would soon be saving £40,000 a 
year in fuel — enough to pay all the parochial and govern- 
ment taxes of the town. The Nottinghamshire coal 
trade had, of course, immediately suffered; and it was 


obvious that, unless the cost of carriage southward 
could be reduced, the coal masters of Eastwood and of 
all that country side would be excluded from their chief 
markets, and the mining population would be thrown out 
of employment. 

Conferences had already been held with the committees 
of the Erewash, the Soar, and the Leicester canals ; 
and the latter had admitted that they were " very 
desirous to endeavour to agree on such a reduc- 
tion of tonnage on coals as would enable the Derby- 
shire and Nottinghamshire coals to be sold in the 
Leicester market in fair competition with the coals 
brought by the Leicester and Swannington Railway." 
It was indispensable, however, that a reduction of 3s. 6d 
on every ton of coals delivered at Leicester should 
be obtained : the only question was whether the coal- 
owners or the canal proprietors were to make the sacri- 
fice. "After a consultation of two hours" the canal 
committees offered to lower their rates Is. Qd.; but they 
insisted that the coal-owners should consent to reduce 
their prices 2s. a ton. " To this proposition the coal- 
masters did not see right to agree;" and they contended 
that each of the three canals ought to lower their 
rates a shilling, and the coal-owners would reduce their 
coals a shilling; a reduction, they astutely suggested, 
" which would have the effect of not merely enabling the 
Derbyshire coals to compete on equal terms with the 
Bagworth and other coals brought by the railway, but 
would have a great effect in deterring persons from in- 
vesting capital in sinking to other and better beds of 
coal." In answer to this proposal, the canal committees 
gave in their ultimatum — that they would each allow a 
drawback of sixpence a ton "on such coals only as 
should be delivered at Leicester at 10s. a ton." This 
"extraordinary proposal" — as the coal-owners pro- 



nounced it — was " at once rejected," and the meeting 
broke up. 

Such were the reports that were presented when the 
coal-masters met on the memorable 1 Oth of August, 1832. 
After anxious deliberation upon all the facts before them, 
they proceeded to enter on their minutes the declaration, 
that " iliere remains no oilier plan for their adoption thait 
to attempt to Jay a railway from these collieries to the to7cu 
of Leicester." A committee of seven gentlemen was ap- 
pointed to give effect to this decision l)y taking " such 
steps as they may deem expedient." Such was the origin 
of the Midland Counties Railway ; and the " Sun Inn," 
at Eastwood, was thus the birthplace of the earliest of 
those lines which afterwards became united into what i< 
now known as the Midland Railway. 


Further consideration served only to strengthen the 
resolution at which the coal-masters had arrived. 


Eleven days afterwards — August 27tli — at the neigli- 
bouring town of Alfreton, it was decided that the public 
should be invited to co-operate for a continuation of the 
Mansfield and Pinxton line from Pinxton to Leicester; 
and on the 4th of October, at a special meeting at the 
"Sun Inn" at Eastwood, it was unanimously decided, 
that a "railway be forthwith formed from Pinxton to 
Leicester, as essential to the interests of the coal-trade 
of this district." "Words were succeeded by deeds, and 
the following gentlemen put down their names and 
promises of subscriptions for the accomplishment of the 
object contemplated : 

Messrs. Barber and Walker £10,000 

Mr. E. M. Mundy 5,000 

Mr. John Wright 6,000 

Mr. Francis Wright 5,000 

Mr. James Oakes 2,500 

Mr. Brittain 1,500 

Messrs. Coupland and Goodwin .... 1,500 

Messrs. Haslam 1,500 


It was also directed that steps should be taken for giving 
the requisite notices preliminary to an appeal to Par- 
liament in the ensuing session. It was subsequently 
announced that the Duke of Portland, Mr. Morewood, 
and Mr. Coke had each subscribed £5000 ; and depu- 
tations were appointed to endeavour to secure the co- 
operation of the Dukes of Newcastle and Pichmond, of 
Lord Middleton, and Sir F. Freeling. It is significantly 
added in the Eastwood minutes that " a report on the 
subject of carriage by locomotive power was laid before 
the meeting :" no decision having then been arrived at 
on that essential matter. 
A meeting also was held in Leicester, October 4th, 1832, 


of subscribers to tlie projected line; Mr. Mundy occupy- 
ing the chair. " The construction of a railway from Lei- 
cester to Swannington," said the local journal, " and the 
speculations in progress for bringing the coal of the con- 
tiguous district into the Leicester market, having threat- 
ened the collieries of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire 
with the loss of that portion of their trade which they 
have hitherto enjoyed along the navigation of the Soar, 
amounting to a quantity perhaps not less than 160,000 
tons annually," an effort had been made to induce the canal 
proprietors so to lower their charges that " the trade, or 
at least a portion of it," might be retained in its "antient 
channells." These attempts, however, had failed, and 
the coal proprietors had adopted the only alternative left 
to them, of proposing the construction of a railway to 
Leicester; in which, on account of the benefits it would 
confer on the town, and also as a profitable investment 
of capital, the co-operation of the public was invited. 

It was added, that, ** in the approaching session of 
Parliament, the legislative sanction is confidently an- 
ticipated for the formation of a railway from London to 
Birmingham," which, " on the completion of the Midland 
Counties Railway, would admit of a grand central com- 
munication being eflfected from London to Mansfield." 

In February, 1833, Mr. Jessop, the engineer, reported 
to his friends at Eastwood that there had been " no 
possibility of bringing a bill into Parliament " during 
that session ; but that they " had met with much en- 
couragement in London to prosecute the measure before 
the next session." It has, indeed, been suggested that, 
at this period the original project of the Eastwood coal- 
masters was abandoned ; and that the scheme eventuall}' 
carried out was entirely new. " The former company," 
said Mr. J. Fox Bell, the secretary of the Midland 
Counties Railway, ** now wound up its affairs and died." 

EENNIe's EErORT. 11 

" The first line failed," he added, " because it stopped at 
Leicester, and did not go on to join the London and 
Birmingham line of railway." But though, as Bishop 
Butler shows, it is sometimes difficult to apply the 
doctrine of personal identity, and though, for forensic 
reasons, it may have been convenient to separate in 
thought the original Pinxton and Leicester project from 
the Pinxton and Rugby line, yet it is unquestionable 
that the promoters of the former undertaking were the 
promoters and directors of the second ; that the route 
selected (with the exception of the extension fi^om 
Leicester to Rugby) was the same ; that the subscribers 
of capital were the same; that the solicitors were the 
same ; that the interests involved and the objects kept 
in view were the same ; and that nothing was done to 
disconnect in the public mind the scheme of the beginning 
of 1833 from that of the end of the same year. Moreover, 
we can find no trace in the minute-books of the Eastwood 
coal-masters of any indication of any break in their course 
of action : on the contrary, the continuity of the whole 
is plainly implied. In August, Mr. Jessop reports, in 
the same breath, the increase of the Swannington coal 
trade, the decrease of their own, the necessity for a re- 
duction of price, and the result of a meeting just held at 
Leicester in the interests of the intended railway ; and 
before the year had closed, the Eastwood coal-masters ex- 
pressly requested those of their number who had " sub- 
scribed for shares in the Midland Counties Railway," to 
enter their names in the subscription list, and " to pa}' 
their deposit money." 

Meanwhile, Mr. George Rennie, the civil engineer, was 
requested by the Provisional Committee to examine the 
line which Mr. Jessop had proposed, to report upon its 
eligibility, and to point out any improvements that could 
be efi*ected. Accordingly, Mr. Rennie accompanied Mr. 

12 eennie's report. 

Jessop over the route, and minutely compared the plans 
and sections of the projected line with the natural fea- 
tures of the country. He at length reported that the 
district through which it was intended to carry tlie railway 
inchided " portions of the valleys of the rivers Soar, 
Derwent, Erewash, and Trent. These valleys converge 
together from almost opposite points of the compass, 
resembling in figure a bent cross." Three of them fall 
from three to five feet in a mile, and the Erewash 
descends twelve feet in a mile. " Their width," he 
continued, *' is sufficient to allow a line of railway to be 
carried in nearly a straight direction. In selecting a 
line, therefore, little else seemed to have been required 
than to preserve the natural inclination and direction of 
the country; but as, practically, there were obstacles to 
be overcome, it was found not only necessary to raise the 
surfiice of the line above the heights of the floods, but 
to regulate the levels by the existing bridges and roads. 
This Mr. Jessop has done very judiciously, and the line, 
though sufficiently elevated, still follows the natural in- 
clination of the country. From the direct course of the 
valleys, the length of the line in the distance of thirty- 
fiMir miles between Leicester and Pinxton is only two 
and a half miles more than a straight line from point to 
point. In like manner the line from Derby to Notting- is only one mile longer than a straight line." The 
line from Leicester to Rugby, though passing through a 
more varied and irregular country, could be made with- 
out " any difficulty which could not be overcome at a 
comparatively moderate cost." 

Mr. Rennie concluded by saying that, " taking all 
these circumstances into consideration, its locality in an 
extensive and populous manufacturing and mining dis- 
trict, and the very important communications it would 
effect from its central position," he was of opinion that 


tlie project was one that " presented advantages wliicli 
seldom occurred in similar undertakings." 

In November, 1833, the parliamentary notices for the 
Midland Counties Railway were deposited, and the usual 
documents were lodged with the clerks of tlie peace of the 
counties through which the line was to run ; and shortly 
afterwards it was publicly announced that the projected 
line was "intended to connect the towns of Leicester, 
Nottingham, and Derby, with each other, and with Lon- 
don : a junction for this latter object being designed 
with the London and Birmingham Railway near Rugby. 
Abranch would also extend to the Derbyshire and Notting- 
hamshire collieries, and to the termination of the Mans- 
field Railway at Pinxton." It was added that, " from a 
very careful estimate of the sources and amount of in- 
come on this railway, it appears that a clear annual re- 
turn of twenty per cent, might be expected from the 
capital invested." The works north of Leicester might, 
it was thought, be completed within two years from the 
passing of the Act, and the portion between Leicester 
and Rugby would be ready by the time the London and 
Birmingham line was opened. 

But these encouraging anticipations were not realized. 
Though, by the March following (1834), application had 
been made for shares to the amount of more than£] 25,000, 
this was insufficient to justify an appeal to Parliament in 
the ensuing session. Accordingly, the notices previously 
given were repeated, the plans were again deposited, 
and several thousand additional prospectuses were 
issued; but the enterprise itself remained for another 
year in abeyance. 

The delay thus occasioned was not without advan- 
tages. Opportunities were secured for reconsidering 
some of the contemplated arrangements, and in the 
summer of 1835 it was suggested by certain of the 


Lancashire sliarelioldcrs that the entire route should be 
re-surveyed, in order " to find out the very best line to 
join the London and Birmingham Railway ; combining 
as much as possible the communication to the west Avith 
the best line to London ; " and it was proposed that Mr. 
Charles B. Vignoles, now the President of the Institu- 
tion of Civil Engineers, should be employed in this ser- 
vice. That gentleman had acquired much experience as 
an engineer in the construction of the Kingstown and 
Dublin, and other public roads ; he had laid out several 
I'aihvays, and he was favourably known in the north 
when engaged under George Stephenson on the Liver- 
pool and Manchester line. Accordingly in August, 1835, 
^fr. Babington, the chairman of the projected Mid- 
land Counties Railway, requested Mr. Vignoles to meet 
him in Liverpool to arrange the terms on which his 
professional services might be secured ; in the following 
month Mr. Vignoles became the responsible engineer 
of the line ; the apjiointment was officially confirnKMl 
about the close of the year; and he undertook, as he ex- 
pressed it, to prepare the line for Parliament " as thougli 
no other engineer liad been enfrawd on it." 

Mr. Vicfnoles had not been lon^: at work before he 
found that the estimates previously made would not, in 
his judgment, be suflicient for the proper completion of 
the undertaking ; and in the following January (183G) 
his official report confirmed this opinion. He accord- 
ingflv recommended that, at some additional cost, a tun- 
nel, which it had been intended to make between Rugby 
and Leicester, should be avoided, and that other material 
improvements should be effected ; and eventually it was 
decided that the capital previously estimated at £600,000 
should be increased to £800,000. 

The line as thus planned was excellent. The quantity 
of materials required for embankments and cuttings ba- 



lanced eacli other. There was a uniform gradient falling 
from Leicester to the Trent of only 1 in 1000, which was 
practically equal to a level. There was no curve of less 
than a mile radius. The bridge over the Trent was pro- 
vided for at an estimated expense of £9000. The line 
from Derby to JSTottingham also was pronounced to be on 
a " remarkably favourable " gradient. There were no 
tunnels on the whole system except the archway near 
Leicester, and a short tunnel under Redhill, near the 
Trent. Embankments of sufficient but not serious 


wii '-'•'Hi lifi">«Bfc^"''vi' ('•■:,«— «^ 


elevation would raise the line above the flats and the 
floods of Lougliborough meadows, and of the valley of 
the Trent. 

In the month of November of the same year, an 

* The entrance to Eed Hill tunnel, and also the junction of the river 
Soar with the Trent, are seen on the right. 


important change was suggested in the policy of the pro- 
moters of the new line. The people of Northampton had 
begun to repent of the opposition they had previously 
given to the London and Birmingham Railway — an 
opposition which had driven that line four miles to the 
west of their town, and had compelled the construction 
at enormous cost of the Kilsby tunnel; and some in- 
fluential residents now addressed a letter to the com- 
mittee of the new undertaking inquiring whether it was 
"yet open for consideration" to alter the course of the 
projected Midland Counties line so as to pass through 
Northampton instead of to Rugby, '* if a certain num- 
ber of shares were subscribed for in some degree to 
meet the additional expense incurred." It was intimated 
that by crossing Northamptonshire a large trade, es- 
pecially in cattle, would be secured to the railway, and 
tliat it was " altogether a better route for traflBc than 
the one now selected." 

The re})ly was unequivocal. 1l had ))een " decided," 
said Mr. Bell, for the Midland Counties Railway to join 
tlie London and Birmingham Railway at Rugby ; the 
plans and other documents as required by Parliament 
had been prepared, and they would bo deposited on the 
following Monday, " the last day allowed for that pur- 

But the advocates of the Northampton extension were 
not silenced by this rebuff"; and when, in the following 
February, 183G, a town's meeting was held at Leicester 
to support the Midland Counties project, a dej)utation 
from Northampton came upon the field. In fact, three 
opponents, in tliree different interests, appeared. One 
person moved a resolution condemning the line altogether. 
But he was soon disposed of, for " only one finger was 
held up for his motion." Others advocated a change in the 
route : that it should be carried to the west of Leicester 


instead of to the east, that it should have a junction, 
with the Swannington line, and then proceed northward 
through Wanlip and Quorndon. But this alteration was 
objectionable to the friends of the Midland Counties Hne 
for several reasons. The western route would have had 
inferior levels ; it would have entered the outskirts of 
the worst part of the town ; it would have been a mile 
from the market-place, and from the principal inns and 
warehouses; it would in its course have interfered some- 
what needlessly with private residences ; its cost would 
have been considerably greater because its embankments 
would have required 300,000 cubic yards, and its cuttings 
500,000 cubic yards more material, and its masonry 
would have been much heavier than on the eastern route, 
besides leaving a deficiency of earth with which to make 
the embankment that must be carried across the Lough- 
borough meadows. In addition to all this, there was the 
fact that a junction with the Swannington line would 
have enabled the Leicestershire coal to compete with 
that from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire wherever the 
Midland Counties line ran : and this was to its projectors 
a sufficient objection to the proposed change of route; 
though it was an argument which they, rather than the 
public, might be expected to appreciate. On this subject 
the Leicester meeting appears to have been agreed : only 
one hand was held up for the amendment. 

On the third point — the Northampton route — its 
advocates were allowed to say their say. But one fact 
outweighed all their arguments. It was, that the 
Leicester traders were anxious for an outlet not only to 
London and the south, but also to Birmingham and 
the west of England, and this the Northampton route 
would not have supplied. Though the proposed North- 
ampton line would have been more than t'svice as long 
as the extension to Rugby — and would have cost, accord- 



ing to tlie estimate of Mr. Vignoles, £500,000 addi- 
tional — it would, on a journey through Northampton to 
London, have been only four miles shorter than through 
Rugby ; while the distance from Leicester to Birmingham 
by way of Nortliarapton and Blisworth would have been 
so circuitous as in the opinion of Leicester men to have 
been practically valueless. In fact the feeling of the 
meeting was so decided that the amendment was witli- 
drawn without being put to the vote. " The proposal," 
said some who were present, *' was scouted by the meet- 

After five hours' discussion the meeting drew to a close, 
the last speakers being interrupted by cries of "Question I 
question ! Dinner ! dinner ! " And eventually, as a local 
chronicler records, the " worthy ratepayers " of Leicester 
hurried home to their " beef over-roasted ami {)uddings 

The financial arrangements of the Midland Counties 
Railway project, were, when laid before Parliament, satis- 
factory. The proposed capital was £1,000,000, with 
borrowing powers for a third more; it being estimated, 
however, that the works could be completed for £S00,00< >. 
Of this amount £786,500 had been subscribed in shares 
of £100, on each of which a deposit had been paid of 
£2, and a call of £5. It is worthy of notice that the 
directors, — who included the names of T. E. Dicey, 
Matthew Babington, AVilliam Jessop, E. M. Mundy, and 
J. Oakes, — held more than £05,000 of shares ; and also 
that among the earliest supporters of railway enter- 
prise were the then Prime Minister, Viscount Melbourne. 
" Downing Street," whose name is on the shareholders" 
list for £5,000; John Cheetham of Staley Bridge. 
£10,000 ; and Thomas Houldsworth, Manchester. 
£15,000; while among those who were considered tc 
have had a local interest in the line were — 



John Ellis, Beaumont Leys, Farmer 500 

William Evans Hutchinson, Leicester, Druggist . . 1,000 
Thomas Edward Dicey, Clayhrooke Hall .... 2,000 

Josej)h Cripps, Leicester, Draper 2,000 

George Walker, for Barber, Walker & Co., Eastwood 10,000 

To aid in obtaining so large an amount of support, Mr. 
Bell, the Secretary, had visited several of the towns in 
the midland counties, and also in the north of England ; 
and partly as a result of these efforts, Manchester had 
subscribed no less than £356,200 ; Yorkshire had con- 
tributed £7,000 ; Bath, £500 ; and Cheltenham, £1000. 
Ireland also had taken £1,800 of capital ; South America, 
£2,000, and the West Indies, £2,000. On returning from 
this circuit Mr. Bell announced that the subscription list 
was full. , The shares, too, were at a premium. 

" Should you consider," — ingenuously suggested one of 
the counsel for the bill, when it was before Parliament, — 
"Should you consider it any objection to a scheme of this 
kind, that it has commanded the favour and support of 
the whole world ? " 

With equal naivete the witness replied, " Certainly 

It is due to these early friends of the Midland Counties 
Railway to add that " the railway mania " had not at 
this period begun to make the projection of new lines 
a fashion and a passion in the land. 

The benefits that were likely to be conferred by the 
contemplated railway, will, perhaps, be better under- 
stood, if we ascertain, from the evidence formally 
submitted to Parliament, the nature of the trade 
and of the trading facilities at that time possessed 
by the midland counties of England. Nottingham, 
Derby, and Leicester were then, as now, important 

20 *' rr.Y WAGGONS " axd coachf.?. 

centres of industry, receiving and distributing large 
quantities both of the raw material and of the pro- 
ducts of their manufacturing skill, and holding constant 
communication with the metropolis, with Birmingham, 
with the West of England, and with each other. 

But the only modes of conveyance at that time were 
three: the canal, the fly waggon, and the coach; and the 
charges made were proportionate to the speed. Wool, for 
instance, required two days to travel the fifteen miles 
between Leicester and Market Harborough, and the ex- 
pense was sixpence a hundredweight, the distance being 
it was said " so short, and the traffic so unimportant that 
they are obliged to charge an extra price." Only three 
coaches ran daily each way from Leicester to Notting- 
ham, in addition to those that passed to and from more 
distant points, and on which little reliance could be 
placed by local travellers. Similarly many of the " fly 
waggons " were long stagers, and were of secondary 
benefit to the intermediate towns. Meanwhile the charge 
for haberdashery, from London to Leicester, was £2 156'. 
a ton by canal, 5.'?. a hundredweight by waggon, and a 
penny a pound by coach. 

Such means of communication and such prices could 
not but cripple a growing trade. Thus Mr. James Raw- 
son, of Leicester, stated that he employed from 1,000 to 
1,400 people in the staple trade of that town — the manufac- 
ture of worsted andof stockings; that it was indispensable 
to obtain the wools of the West of England, " because th(i 
wool grown in Leicestershire would not supply a twentieth 
part of the quantity required ; " yet that the canal com- 
munication between Leicester and Birmingham was 
double the distance of a direct route ; and the land car- 
riage cost 30.*r. a ton. 

The respective conveyances, too, were often unable to 
carry the quantity of goods offered. Thus, a woolstaplcr 


stated tliat he frequently had from 200 to 500 bags of wool 
lying at Bristol which could not be brought forward by 
land, and he had to divide the bulk and send it by different 
routes; that which went by road occupied from seven to- 
ten days in the transit, and that by water from three weeks 
to a month. Further west, the difiBculties increased, so 
that goods for instance from Plymouth, had to come 
by sea to London, and were in consequence not unfre- 
quently a great length of time on the voyage and the 
land journey, and often arrived in a wet and damaged 

Similar difficulties were experienced in the Nottingham 
lace trade. Many of the largest manufacturers of lace 
hved in Devon and Somerset, and they sent the products 
of their industry to Nottingham for sale, the costliest 
fabrics having to run all the risks by land or water. 

Leicester had also intimate business relations with the 
north. That town was a sort of depot for the wool trade of 
the adjoining counties, and to it Yorkshire dealers resorted. 
Their purchases had then to be conveyed northward, from 
whence machinery was brought in return. Yet the route 
by water from Leicester was first via Nottingham to 
Gainsborough, and thence to Leeds and the West Riding 
generally, the voyage occupying from twenty-four days to 
a month. 

Complaints of inadequate facilities came also from 
Derby and Macclesfield. " Our heavy goods," said a wit- 
ness, " must go through two or three different channels 
by water — the Trent, the Soar, and the Leicester Navi- 
gation, so that they cost nearly £1 a ton average from 
Derby to Leicester ;" while the expense of carriage of 
Mansfield stone, though it is of a remarkably fine quality, 
was such as " to amount almost to a prohibition" of trade. 
Such were some of the data laid before the Com- 
mittee of the House of Commons, when, with Mr. 


Gisborne as cliairman, it sat for some seventeen days to 
consider tlie claim of the Midland Counties Bill on the 
sanction of Parliament. Meanwhile the original pro- 
jectors of the undertaking had vigilantly regarded the 
great interests of their trade; for, in the minute-book 
of the Eastwood coal-masters, it is recorded that on 
February 4th, 1S3G, Mr. Tallents had engaged " tei 
watch the progress of the Midland Counties Railway 
Bill in Parliament, with a view of protecting the 
mineral property and rights of coal-owners and les- 
sees, and to attend generally to their interests ; " and 
on the 2Gth of the following April, " Messrs. Mundy 
and Potter reported to the meeting that they had suc- 
ceeded in their mission to London, and had procured 
insertion in the Midland Counties Railway Bill of every 
necessary clause for protecting and securing the rights 
of the owners of mineral property." And " the thanks 
of the meeting were given to those gentlemen." 

But the diihculties with which the friends of the Mid- 
hmd Counties Company had to contend, did not cease 
when the Bill entered Parliament. Railway enterprises at 
that time were novelties, not only to the counties, but to 
the legislature. Several important towns had resisted 
the intrusion of railways ; and many a member of either 
House regarded himself as bound by the most sacred 
obligations of patriotism to protect his innocent urban 
constituents against such wild innovations, and to defend 
the farmers against having their crops burned up and 
their cattle frightened to death by whistling engines and 
rushing and roaring trains. Instead, too, of railway bills 
being, as they were subsequently, relegated to the scrutiny 
of small but impartial bodies of members, the com- 
mittees were then open to the members of tlie bo- 
roughs and counties, and of adjoining counties througli 
or near which the projected line was to be carried, 


and members sometimes attended solely for the pur- 
pose of voting on tlie preamble, or on a particular clause, 
and in some instances, we are assured, "tlie whip applied 
was tremendous." 

The Midland Counties Bill survived the ordeal of 
the House of Commons, only, however, to encounter 
more searching hostility in " another place." The 
Erewash Valley projectors of the undertaking had, to 
their sorrow, to learn that for great coal-masters, as well 
as for common mortals, there is many a slip 'twixt the 
cup and the lip. Powerful foes were in the field. The 
Midland Counties line had been originated with the 
avowed intention of breaking up canal monopoly, and 
the local canal interests were not unready for any re- 
prisal. The North Midland Company had been formed 
to construct a line from Derby to Leeds, and had lent 
their influential patronage to a projected extension 
fi^om Derby and Birmingham, by means of which an 
additional and independent outlet could be obtained to 
the west and the south ; and the North Midland re- 
garded the Erewash Valley portion of the IMidland 
Counties line with special jealousy, because it ])ointed 
)iorth, and therefore looked suggestive of competition 
and aggression. The Midland Counties Company, too, 
had spoken of extending their Erewash line up the valley, 
over the ridge near Clay Cross, and on to Chesterfield ; 
and it was very doubtful whether Parliament, which at 
that time was scrupulous in its cession of railway powers, 
would sanction the construction of two parallel lines, one 
through the Erewash Valley towards Chesterfield, and 
the other from Derby to Chesterfield ; in which case the 
North Midland Company might be required to eff"ect its 
junction with the Erewash Extension of the Midland 
Counties near Clay Cross ; to lose some twenty miles of 
line, of rates, and of profits ; and to abandon its intended 


direct connection with Derb}^ with Birmingham, and the 
West. These were, to the North Midland, serious con- 
siderations. It has been suggested that George Stephen- 
son was also influenced by a desire that the products of 
his projected coal-works at Clay Cross should find their 
way direct to Derby and the West, rather than through the 
Erewash Valley ; but at this period Clay Cross was not 
in contemplation. Yet when he found opponents arise 
to advocate a plan which, on other accounts, he regarded 
as undesirable, he exclaimed, in his native Doric, " This 
warn't do." 

But in addition to powerful opponents who had to be 
resisted, the Midland Counties Company had entered 
into an alliance with powerful fi'iends whose judgment 
must be deferred to. It is true that the necessities of 
the Erewash Valley coal-masters had given birth to the 
Midland Counties Company; but the original subscribers 
to that undertaking had had, as we have seen, to call in 
the substantial assistance of moneyed men -of the North, 
whose oidy anxiety was to secure a great through route 
to the South, and who cared little for the solicitude of a 
few coal-owners in a remote Nottinghamshu'e valley. 
When, therefore, " the Liverpool party," as it was 
called, saw that, by the double pressure of the North 
Midland Company and of the canal interests, there was 
danger of the Midland Counties Bill being rejected ; 
when the alternative was, " Shall the Erewash Extension 
be sacrificed, or the bill be lost ?" — it was replied that the 
little coal line might be made at any time, or be made 
independently; and so it was abandoned. And thus it 
came to pass that the Midland Counties Bill became law, 
minus the portion that was most dear to the hearts of 
the original projectors of the Company ; minus that very 
part which they had fondly hoped would have restored 
their languishing fortunes by opening a cheap and ex- 


peditious route from their pits to Leicester and the 
South. " Oakes and Jessop," as Mr. Yignoles remarked 
to us the other day, "were disgusted and angiy; but 
they could not help themselves. Their line and them- 
selves were left out in the cold." 

The first general annual meeting of the Midland Coun- 
ties Eailway was held at Loughborough, June 30, 1837, 
a httle more than a month after the first sod of the 
Derby and Nottingham line was^ turned. Mr. Thomas 
Edward Dicey occupied the chair. The directors " could 
not refrain from observing at the outset," that " the 
result of their exertions had been such as to afford them 
a sure and well-founded cause of congratulation to the 
shareholders," concerning the position and prospects of 
the Company. Action, it was stated, must now be taken 
to give effect to the parliamentary powers that had been 
obtained ; and this was done. The necessary arrange- 
ments for commencing^ the line were soon afterwards 
made by Mr. Vignoles, assisted on the Leicester and 
Trent portion by Mr. Woodhouse, the resident engineer ; 
and on the Nottingham and Derby line by Mr. William 
Mackenzie, who had been the confidential assistant of 
Telford; and so successfully were their labours prose- 
cuted, that, by the close of 1837, nearly all the contracts 
were let, and some of the works were in full operation. 
The contract for the Leicester and Rugby portion was 
confided to Mr. Mackintosh, who had been only a few 
years previously a ganger or sub-contractor in Scotland, 
but who was now " supposed to be worth £1,000,000 of 

Early in the year 1838, important negotiations arose 
between the boards of the Midland Counties and of 
the North Midland for a future interchange of traffic. 
The Midland Counties contended that their route, by 


Rugby, to the Soutli, was nine miles shorter than that 
which the projected Birmingham and Derby line could 
offer; and they hoped that they should be able to 
secure almost a monopoly of the through traffic be- 
tween the great towns of Yorkshire and the metropolis. 
Eventually an agi'eement was made for seven years, and 
was unanimously ratified at a meeting of the Midland 
Counties proprietors, at Loughborough, in the following 
March (1838). On that occasion a favourable report 
of the financial prospects of the Company was presented, 
and Captain Huish, who had been residing at Notting- 
ham, stated that, whereas the directors had estimated 
that the probable traffic on the line would yield rather 
more than £99,000 a year, his calculation was £101,000. 
" I am inclined to believe," he adcled, " that the most 
sanguine expectations of the proprietors can scarcely 
tail to be realised." 

In the following month (April, 1838) the whole line- 
was under contract. Between Nottinj^ham and Derby 
1 000 men were directed to press on with the work, be- 
cause that portion of the line was the easiest to complete, 
and because it would bring an immediate return for 
the cajMtal expended. In the course of the spring, 
nearly 3500 men and 328 horses were in full emj)loy- 
ment on various parts of the Midland Counties line. 

In carrying on these works, a curious incident occurred 
at Spondon, three miles from Derby. The railway had 
here to be conducted between the river Derwent and the 
Nottingham Canal, over a space so narrow that a diver- 
sion of the canal was necessary. I^ut tliis could not be 
effected without temporarily suspending tlie navigation, 
for which a penalty was demanded of £2 an hour. In the 
month of August, the contractor was preparing to under- 
take the work, and, of course, to pay the price, when 
suddenly the canal itself had to be stopped in order that 


some indispensable repairs might be made. Mr. Macken- 
zie immediately mustered his men from various points 
of the railway, and while the repairs of the canal were 
being effected, he succeeded in effecting his diversion 
of the line, — to the great diversion of the neighbourhood, 
who came to watch the relays of 200 or 300 men, fed 
most bountifully, and labouring most energetically to 
complete, within the given time, the novel task. 

At the second annual meeting of the Midland Counties 
Railway, held at Loughborough, in June, 1838, Mr. T. 
E. Dicey, the chairman, stated that at that time 4000 
men were employed on the works ; and that the agree- 
ment with the North Midland for the exchange of traffic 
had been ratified. He mentioned that as many stone 
sleepers and rails, and as much rolling stock, had been 
contracted for as would be required for the Derby and 
Nottingham portion of the new line ; the Nottingham 
station had been let; agreements had been made with 
the directors of the North ]\Iidland and Birmingham 
and Derby Companies for the erection of contiguous 
stations at Derby; and a station to be jointly used by 
the London and Birmingham and the Midland Counties, 
was to be proved at Rugby. It was also intended that 
a branch should be formed to connect the main line 
with the granite quarries of Mount Sorrel. 

The engineer expressed his belief that the permanent 
way between Nottingham and Derby would be better than 
any hitherto made. Some fourteen miles of it were to 
be laid on blocks of Derbyshire millstone grit, each of 
them containing five cubic feet, and the bearings being 
five feet in length ; the rest were to be on transverse 
larch sleepers, kyanized, and three feet nine inches apart. 
All the rails were to be seventy-seven pounds to the 3'ard, 
which was heavier than any previously employed. The 
ends of the rails were to be secured in " joint chairs," 


eacli weighing twenty-eiglit pounds. Nearly 550,000 
cubic yards of earthwork was to be made ; the deepest 
cutting was to be thirty feet ; the highest embankment, 
twenty feet; and one, approaching JSTottingham, would 
be three miles in length. 

The cofferdam for the deepest pier of the bridge 
over the Trent was in course of construction, and as the 
bottom of the river was found to consist of strong red 
marl, it would furnish an excellent foundation for the 
masonry. A short tunnel, through the adjoining ridge, 
called Red Hill, had been commenced; and at several 
parts of the line, where the works were heavy, gangs of 
men were employed both day and night. The cutting 
at Leir Hill, between Leicester and Rugby, was the most 
serious earthwork on the line ; and here, to facilitate his 
operations, the contractor had erected a steam engine, 
and had made an inclined plane from the cutting to an 
embankment where the material was to be deposited, the 
plane descending in the direction of the embankment, at 
an angle just sufficient to enable the wagons to riin down 
with their burdens to the plane of their destination. The 
empties were drawn back by an engine. The building of 
the Avon Viaduct, consisting of eleven arches of fifty 
feet span had been commenced, and, despite unusual 
delays, arising from the severity of the weather in the 
early part of the year, would, it was anticipated, be com- 
pleted by the winter. And "it is somewhat remarkable," 
said Mr. Woodhouse, the engineer, "that in many con- 
tracts to the amount of nearly £500,000, they should 
have been let within less than £5000 of the estimates." 

About two years after the first sod of the Midland 
Counties line was turned, on Thursday, the 30th of Ma}^, 
1839, the opening of the Railway took place. The occasion 
was celebrated with honour. The day was bright. The 
bells of St. Mary's Church, Nottingham, pealed merrily. 


Thousands of people took their places on the eminences 
of the Park, on the tops of houses, or on the route of the 
line, to see the first train pass ; and even opposition 
coaches came into being under the inspiration of the 
event. Special privileges were provided for five hundred 
favoured guests. Each of them received a ticket of 
admission, emblazoned with gold, bearing the arms of the 
Company ; and each passenger found a card affixed over 
a seat specially reserved in the train for his accommoda- 
tion. " The busy hum of the assembly, the threading 
and bustling of railway-guards and policemen in their 
new uniforms, the several elegantly painted carriages, 
with the Company's arms richly emblazoned on the 
panels," each carriage mounted with a Union Jack or 
an ensign : and we have "a scene " which the modesty of 
a local chronicler compelled him to " confess his inability 
adequately to do justice to." At length the passengers 
were seated ; and then " amid the slamming of carriage- 
doors, the blowing of horns, and the roar of the steam," 
the signal was given to start, and "at no drawling pace 
either." At every station along the line, and on the 
roads that crossed it, were crowds of spectators, some of 
whom had climbed to dang-erous eminences in their love 


of science or of curiosity. 

At Derby also, a wondering and cordial w^elcome was 
afforded. Here the train stayed an hour, and then re- 
turned to Nottingham, accomplishing the journey in 
forty-two minutes. And here, according to British 
usage, a sumptuous entertainment had been provided, to 
which all parties endeavoured to do justice ; and then, 
once more, the train returned to Derby, running the 
distance in thirty-one minutes, part of it at the rate of 
forty miles an hour. The festivities of this occasion 
were considered, we presume, to have lent a sort of an- 
ticipated lustre to the whole undertakiug ; for when, in 



the following summer, the remainder of the Midland 
Counties line was opened, the Directors merely made 
a private excursion over it the day before. 

The benefit conferred by the railway on both the tra- 
velling and trading classes were, however, none the less 
real. " For some time," remarked a Leicester journal, 
"we certainly had our doubts relative to the success of 
this great and expensive undertaking, but from daily 
increasing experience, we have no doubt of its paying 
the shareholders, judging as we do from the increase of 
Dassenofers and merchandise, too;ether with a laro^e con- 
cern shortly to be opened in the traffic of coal." A 
number of wharfs had already been built and let, and a 
large warehouse for corn was about to be erected ; 
while at Loughborough, Syston, AVigston, Crow Mill, 
Ullesthorpe, and Rugby, wharfs were being made near 


to the various stations for the purpose of selhng coal, and 
which would be found of great convenience to the farmers, 
many of whom had to send their teams to Leicester. 
Meanwhile the shares advanced from 77 to 80. 


Tims, one of the earliest, and, as it proved, one of the 
most important lines of railways in the country, was com- 
pleted. Its cost fell within the amount of capital 
authorized by the Act; and the line was, as the 
Directors remarked, " one of the lowest per mile of 
any similar work of the same extent." But it soon 
began to be suggested that it would not " be matter 
of any surprise to those who are conversant w4tli 
what has occurred " elsewhere, that " additional require- 
ments for the accommodation and safety of the public, 
as well as for ultimate economy in the working of the 
railway," would have to be made at an expenditure of 
additional capital ; and before long it was announced 
that the amount needed would be £150,000. 

At the annual meeting in 1841, it was proposed that 
for the future, though not required by the charter of 
incorporation, the meetings of proprietors should be 
held half yearly, instead of annually; and a resolution to 
that effect having been carried in Feb. (1842), the prac- 
tice was established, and has since been continued. A 
copy of the balance-sheet also was now for the first 
time sent to each proprietor previously to the meeting. 
That document showed that the gross receipts of the 
Company were increasing ; that there had been a reduc- 
tion of about twelve per cent, in the working expenses ; 
and that the balance enabled the Directors to declare a 
dividend at the rate of four per cent, per annum, and to 
carry forward a surplus of £2000. In a discussion that 
followed, it was stated that " in a new line like the Mid- 
land Counties, the cost of maintenance was sure to be 
higher than on old lines, from slips and other repaii'S ; " 
an opinion somewhat at variance with that expressed 
about the same time by railway authorities elsewhere. 

But while the Midland Counties line was thus endea- 


vouring to overcome the unavoidable difficulties, and to 
earn the reward, of its new position, it had been gradually- 
drifting into the midst of the anxieties and perils of that 
great enemy to the financial prosperity of all railways — 
competition. The alliance it had formed with the North 
Midland for the exclusive interchange of northern and 
southern traffic, had, from the outset, been regarded b}' 
the Birmingham and Derby Company, which had opened 
its line to Hampton-in-Arden, as a tocsin of war. It 
was of little avail that the Midland Counties Board 
uttered a disclaimer against any hostile intention. They 
alleged, what indeed was correct, that the standing orders 
of Parliament required a declaration whether any given 
line would be competitive or not ; that the projectors of 
the Birmingham and Derby had declared that their line 
was non-competitive, and only a link between East and 
West. But the Midland Board complained that, no sooner 
had the Birmingham and Derby obtained tlieir act, than 
they neglected their communications with Birmingham 
and the West; that they hastened to complete that portion 
of tlieir line which — bending southward from Whitacre — 
])rought them at Hampton-in-Arden, ten miles south of 
Birmingham on the way to London ; and that they then 
commenced a competition with the Midland Counties 
for the traffic between the North and the Metropolis. 
This was, in the judgment of the Midland Counties 
Board, to act " evasively and delusively." 

But these arguments and appeals did not avail to check 
the asperity of controversy and competition. Before 
long the directors of the Birmingham and Derby began 
to proclaim that they had special facilities for carrying 
on the trade to the South ; an announcement which was 
energetically challenged on behalf of the ^lidland Coun- 
ties by ^Ir. W. E. Hutchinson. "Is it not," he said, "ab- 
solutely ludicrous for a Company whose line possesses so 


small a population between its termini as tlie Birmingham 
and Derby, to talk of abstracting traffic from its direct 
channel by a ciixuitous route of ten or eleven miles, and 
conveying it 'at a remunerating charge very much 
less than that which the Midland Counties must make,' 
and because, forsooth, they have constructed their line 
* entirely for other purposes'!" 

The conflict, having thus commenced, waxed hotter and 
hotter, till at length it was conducted by both parties in a 
manner that showed they were regardless of any loss 
they suffered so long as greater loss was inflicted 
upon their opponents. The Midland Counties Directors 
complained that the Birmingham and Derby Company 
was attempting " to divert the traffic between London 
and Derby from the direct line, and to force it along 
an indirect and circuitous one, possessing no advantages 
whatever over that of the Midland Counties ; but, on the 
contrary, being about eleven miles farther round. It 
will suffice to sa}^," they continued, " that the Birming- 
ham and Derby Company, for the purpose of attracting 
to their line, and withdrawing from the natm^al and direct 
channel the London and Derby traffic, have adopted the 
altogether unprecedented course, of charging in respect 
of persons travelling between Derby and London only 2s. 
for a first class, and Is. 6d. for a second class passenger, 
for the whole distance of thirty-eight miles from Derby 
to Hampton; " while "they continue to exact from all 
other passengers, though in the same carriages and going 
exactly the same distance, their original fares of 8s. each 
for first class, and 6s. for second class passengers. To 
correct " this singular mode of charging," the Directors 
stated that they had applied to the Court of Chancery 
for an injunction ; and though this application had been 
unsuccessful, they believed that " a very different result 
would attend " an appeal to the Court of Queen's Bench. 


Meanwhile the Directors had resolved that their own 
fares between Derby and London should be " invariably 
charged at rates not exceeding those charged by the 
Birmingham and Derby Company." It was believed that 
very low fares might have the counterbalancing advantage 
of encouraging additional traffic ; and " even if the 
anxiety of the Birmingham and Derby Company to obtain 
business on any terms should lead them to make still 
further reductions, and to convey passengers over their 
line ivWiout any charge lohatever" yet, since the Midland 
Counties delivered its passengers to the London and 
Birmingham line at a point somewhat farther south than 
its competitor, it would have the advantage in the conflict. 
At one time apprehension was expressed lest the London 
and Birmingham Company should provide special faci- 
lities to Birmingham and Derby passengers for reaching 
the Metropolis ; but a Midland Counties proprietor stated 
that at a recent meeting of the London and Birmingham 
Company, he had himself put a question on this subject 
to the chairman, and that he had received " the distinct 
avowal of one of the most honourable men in existence 
that they would preserve a strict neutrality." Ungene- 
rous feeling towards the Birmingham and Derby Company 
was, by the Midland Counties Board, publicly disclaimed, 
and it was declared that the existing rivalry was *' a 
scandalous reproach to the railway system, and no less 
detrimental to the dignity and respectability of the re- 
spective Companies, than inimical to their real interests." 

At the half-yearly meeting, held August 13th, 1842, 
the chairman, ]\Ir. T. E. Dicey, stated that the bill for 
raising the new capital had received the Royal assent ; 
but that it was now for the first time required by Parlia- 
ment that the authorised amount of shares should be 
subscribed for before the power to borrow could be 
allowed to take effect. A diA-idend was proposed at the 

WAR. 60 

rate of tliree per cent, per annum. A long and, even- 
tually, stormy debate followed. Mr. James Heywortli, 
whose family held about a twentieth part of the shares 
of the Company, stated that many of the shareholders 
were " disappointed, nay, irritated with, the position of 
the Company. They recommended the Directors to make 
a searching inquiry, and wherever curtailment could bo 
made, consistent with the safe working of the line, he 
hoped they would carry it out." He suggested that the 
number of the Directors might be reduced to twelve, 
with an allowance of £600 a year instead of £1200; 
and that, if the maintenance of the way were under- 
taken by contractors, some economy might be effected. 

The dissatisfaction thus expressed led to the summon- 
ing, in the following November (1842), of a special 
meeting of the shareholders — " one of the most memo- 
rable of railway meetings," as it was characterized at the 
time. It had been intended to hold it at the Derby 
station, but for more adequate accommodation it was 
adjourned to the Athengeum. In a lengthened speech, 
Mr. Hey worth contended that, without intending the 
slightest disrespect to the Directors, he thought that the 
time had come at which a Committee of Investigation 
should be appointed to examine into " the past, present, 
and probable future expenditure of the funds of the 
Company (both on the capital and interest account), also 
with reference to the rates and freights charged, and 
proper to be charged," for passengers and goods, and 
to the general management of the Company's affairs. 
He hoped that this resolution would not be regarded 
by the Board as any infringement of their rights. " The 
sooner," he said, " such a doctrine is repudiated, and the 
practice abolished, the better. By-and-by, should the 
doctrine of non-interference be sanctioned, it will lead 
to this, — that a mercantile man, on going into his count- 


ing-house, and wishing to inspect his ledger or Ms cash- 
book, will be told by some fastidious and upstart clerk, 
that he had no right to interfere with his department, 
that the books are his clerk's, and that any investigation 
of them would show want of confidence." 

An animated debate ensued. The Directors opposed 
the resolution ; but to show that they did not cling to 
office, stated that at the meeting of the Company in the 
following February, they would " place in the hands of 
the proprietors the free choice of a new Board, and that 
they would immediately after make such arrangements 
as would at once transfer the direction from their 
own hands into those of the persons chosen by the pro- 
prietors." In the course of the discussion, it transpired 
that the secretary, Mr. Bell, had voluntarily relinquished 
£200 a year out of his salary of £800, and that other 
economics had been practised. Eventually, the resolu- 
tion, appointing a committee, was carried by a majority 
of about three to one. 

Meanwhile, with only one brief interval, the competi- 
tion with the Birmingham and Derby Company continued. 
Amalgamation was indeed proposed ; but the Birmingham 
and Derby Company laid down the proviso that the 
market price of the stock of the two Companies should 
be taken as the value of the respective properties, — an 
arrangement that Avould give £40 to the Birmingham 
and Derby to each £60 of the Midland Counties. The 
latter, however, replied, that the then price of stock did 
not represent the intrinsic worth of the respective pro- 
perties ; and that it would be better that the amount 
should be determined by a year's independent working 
of the two lines, at the expiration of which tlieu' true 
value could be ascertained. 

These negotiations failed, and at the half-yearly meet- 
ing, in August, 1843, the Directors of the Midland 


Counties Company stated that " the attempt to divert 
from the Midland Counties Hne, by a reduction of fares, 
the traffic which would naturally flow along it, was still 
carried on," by the Birmingham and Derby Company, 
" with unabated activity," even though " at prices which 
could yield no profit whatever." The Midland Counties 
Directors announced that they were advised, on eminent 
legal authority, that the mode of charging practised by 
the Birmingham and Derby Company was " as illegal 
as it was unfair and unreasonable." Acting upon these 
opinions, the Directors had made application to the 
Court of Queen's Bench for a mandamus to compel the 
Birmingham and Derby Company to equalize their fares. 
A rule nisi had been obtained, and subsequently a man- 
damus had been " served upon the Birmingham and 
Derby Company, requiring them to charge all persons 
equally who travel between Derby and Hampton." The 
Directors stated that they entertained the most perfect 
confidence in securing a decision which would render it 
" impossible for the Birmingham and Derby Company 
to persevere in their present mode of opposition." 

But as with kings and nations, so with railways, — after 
war comes peace ; after rivers of blood or of gold have 
been wasted, come negotiations, treaties, and alliances. 
So when the owners of both these two costly and valuable 
properties had exhausted one another and themselves 
with protracted conflicts, they began once more to think 
of rest and union. Amalgamation was again proposed, 
and wise counsels at last prevailed. But concerning 
these we shall have hereafter to speak. 

Such were the circumstances under which the ]\Iidland 
Counties Railway took its rise, and such were the cir- 
cumstances which gradually, but irresistibly, brought it 
to the eve of amalgamation — that amalgamation which 



loci on to the formation of the jNIidland Railway Company 
of to-day. AYe retrace with interest and instruction the 
good example of " the difficulties, discouragements, and 
disasters encountered by the enterprising men who, at 
that date, undertook the arduous duty of constructing, 
from private capital, these great public works, unaided, 
even discountenanced, by the legislature and the govern- 
ment; regarded with hostility, and even with hatred, 
by the owners of the land they were destined so mate- 
rially to benefit ; and considered, even by juries of theii- 
own countrymen, as proper objects of unlimited and 
legitimate plunder. Yet did these brave men carry on 
their undertaking steadily, and stoutly, and manfully, 
with sagacity, tact, and courage of no common order, till 
they accomplished their great work." Such enterprises 
and such men confer honour and strength on a country, 
and they enlarge the sources of its wealth and the causes 
of its material and moral prosperity. 

And while to-day we watch the flood which pours its 
volume of beneficence and wealth through the midland 
counties of England, is there not an air of romance in 
the story that tells how we can retrace through upwards 
of forty years the course of the earliest of the tributary 
streams, and can discern how it took its rise at a little 
homely inn in a remote village among the hills of 
Nottinghamshire ? v 

But we must now go back mn\ see how other events, 
contemporaneous with some we have narrated, have been 
running their course. 


The yellow post-chaise. — The Xortli Midland Railway.- -George" 
Stephenson's preference for the valley route.— Opposition from 
advocates of a high level line. — Surveying for the line. — Perils 
of engineers. — The engineer and the baronet. — Mr. Waterton's 
sanctum. — Amusing interview. — Battles in Parliament. — Opposi- 
tion by Messrs. Stiutt and the Aire and Calder Navigation. — 
Commencement of the works. — Bird's-eye view of the line. — 
Ambergate Tunnel. — Bull Bridge. — Opening of the North Midland. 
— The traffic then and now. — Additional capital required. — Re- 
duction of expenditure. — Generous offer of Mr. Robert Stephenson. 
— Improved arrangements. — Coal rates then and now. — Dis- 
appointment. — Committee of Inquiry. — ProjDosed amalgamation of 
North Midland with Midland Counties, and Birmingham and 
Derby Companies. 

On a beautiful morning in tlie autumn of 1835 (three 
years after the memorable meeting at The Sun Inn, 
at Eastwood), a yellow post-chaise might have been seen 
emerging from the New Inn, at Derby, and taking its 
way up the Duffield Road into the country. It contained 
two gentlemen : George Stephenson the engineer, who 
had come over from his residence at Alton Grange in 
Leicestershire, and his secretary Mr. Charles Binns. 
They had started on an enterprise of no common im- 
portance — to find the best route for a new line 72 miles 
in length, from Derby to Leeds. The project was, we 
believe, one of the fruits of George Stephenson's fertile 
brain ; but the responsibility of carrying out the w^ork 
had been undertaken chiefly by Leeds and London men. 
Mr. G. C. Glyn, the banker, Mr. Kirkman Hodgson, 
Mr. Frederick Huth, the German merchant, Mr. Josiah 
Lewis, of Derby, and others, were on the first directorate, 
and in such hands the work was likely to succeed. 

It is true that the inside of a post-chaise did not 
seem the likeliest place for surveying the hills and dales, 
the roads and rivers, of more than 70 miles of country, 

40 " OLD GEORGE." 

and the lop of tlie vehicle might, on some accounts, have 
been prefei']-ed ; but it was the only means of conveyance 
then available for any such purpose. Ever and 
anon the travellers would alight, and walk for miles, 
surveying the various routes, examining the landscape 
from different points of view, recording the result of 
their observations on the old fashioned county map 
they carried, and storing away fragments of the stones 
that indicated the clianging geological formations over 
which they passed. And as the engineer and his secretary 
journeyed on together, many a problem would " Old 
George " curiously and laboriously solve, and many an 
anecdote would he tell of other days, — of the toils of his 
boyhood, of his tender love of all things living, fostered 
when, as a little lad, he was wont to take his father's 
dinner to the engine in the wood, where he lingered and 
watched birds and beasts and fishes ; tales of how he 
at one time had resolved to emigrate to America ; of 
how he narrowly escaped, as he playfully said, of being 
made a Methodist ; and of how he intended to carry on 
the vast and varied projects whicli he had then in hand 
on the Birmingham and Derby, tlie York and North 
Midland, and the Manchester and Leeds Railways. 

In determining the route which the North Midland line 
should follow, George Stephenson had to decide between 
strongly conflicting claims. From Derby to Leeds is a 
series of valleys, through which flow the rivers Derwent, 
Amber, Rother, Don, Dearne, Calder, and Aire, affording a 
route from south to north, available for the conveyance 
of the vast mineral traffic which the district would 
eventually yield. To the west of these valleys, among 
the great hills of Yorkshire, were the towns of Sheffield, 
Barnsley, and Wakefield, to approach which by the main 
line would involve enormous earthworks, bad gradients, 
and vast expenditure. The engineer made his choice: he 


preferred minerals to men : lie would take the lower or 
valley route ; the towns must be satisfied with branches. 

Having thus decided, another problem awaited solu- 
tion. Should he skirt the ranges of hills which on either 
hand closed in the valleys along which his line should run, 
and curve to the left or right according to the ground and 
the gradients ? But such a course would involve this 
serious inconvenience: that the collieries in the bottom of 
the valley, and those on the slopes of the opposite range 
of hills, would have to drag their heavy loads up to the 
level of the line ; whereas by placing the railway itself in 
the middle of the valley — raised only to the point necessary 
to avoid the floodings of the rivers, both sides of its 
course would be equally served, and the branches from 
the pits on the higher ground would all slope downwards 
to the line. Such an arrangement would obviously be the 
best for all mineral purposes, and would also supply a 
short and level course from south to north. To these 
opinions George Stephenson inclined, and the more so 
because he had laid it down as an axiom that no gradient 
on a mineral line ought to exceed 1 in 330, or 16 feet in 
a mile. Eventually the North Midland Kailway was laid 
out at that gradient, except for a short distance south 
of Clay Cross Tunnel, where the gradient is slightly 
increased. And George Stephenson always, and not 
unnaturally, regarded the North Midland as one of his 
favourite lines. 

The decision of the engineer, however, was not adopted 
without a fierce contest both within Parliament and 
without. Mr. Vignoles avowed his preference for a 
high level route ; and he proposed a line which should 
serve as a continuation of the Erewash portion of the 
Midland Counties, through the ridge up to Clay Cross 
and down to Sheffield. He also had surveys taken 
northwards to Leeds and southwards to London; for 


as engineers were at tliat time tlie chief promoters of 
railway extension, it was expected that they should be 
prepared to justify to Parliament the comprehensiveness 
and practicability of their proposals. The arguments 
for and against the high and low levels were submitted 
to the committee, not on lodged plans for competing 
schemes, but on the Xorth ^lidland Bill proper. 

The views of Mr. Vignoles were supported by Lord 
AYlinrncliffe and by other influential persons interested 
in Sheflk'ld, some of whom announced their preference for 
a line to run from Cliesterfield direct tlirough Sheflield, 
and thence over the hills to the north ; but the plans 
proposed involved " excavations and embankments from 
90 to 100 feet deep and high," from one end of the 
route to the other. Some engineers of less adventurous 
spirit urged that the line should, a few miles north of 
Chesterfield, bend westward, and, having touched Shef- 
field, should turn again eastward along the valley of the 
Don. Mr. Leather, the engineer, was a chief advocate 
of this scheme ; and the war of opinion thus waged, at 
length induced George Stephenson to reconsider whether 
some more adequate accommodation could not be pro- 
vided for Sheffield ; and ^Ir. Frederick Swanwick, " the 
resident," was instructed to endeavour to find an avail- 
able route to tliat town. A local committee also was 
appointed to promote the same object. But after once 
more trying tlie levels by way of Drou field, it was 
ascertained that the gradients would be so severe that, 
according to the power of locomotives in that day, the 
route would be impracticable. In fact, the tcnour of 
the engineer's report was — that to take the line througli 
Sheffield witli gradients equal to those of the valley 
route would necessitate the formation of 8 or 10 miles of 
tunnels. Since that decision was pronounced a third of 
a ceutury lins passed away: the impracticable has been 


achieved, and a direct line runs to-day via Dronfield. 
over the high level route, into Sheffield. 

In making even the surveys for the new railway many 
difficulties and some adventures were encountered by the 
engineers. Thus when Mr. Swanwick was running his 
levels a few miles south-east of Wakefield, he learned 
that numerous watchers had been placed across his j^ath, 
and that other precautions had been adopted, to prevent 
his intrusion on the estates of Sir William Pilkington. 
But the inventive genius of the engineer was not unequal 
to the occasion. Kunning the risk of being brought 
before the magistrates, as Mr. Yignoles had been not 
long before, on a charge of night poaching and trespass- 
ing, the engineer gathered together a large staff of 
assistants, and made his survey while Sir William, his 
watchers, and all other honest folk were supposed to be 
safe asleep in bed. It subsequently happened that, in 
some negotiations that took place in the library of the 
unsuspecting baronet — who meanwhile had become more 
propitious to the undertaking — he opened a drawer for 
a plan of the part of his estate through which he under- 
stood the projected line was to pass, " and," he added, 
" no other survey has ever been made of it." His sur- 
prise may be imagined when the representatives of the 
Company, as blandly as they could, at the same time 
unrolled their own documents, and showed that they 
were perfectly familiar with every acre of the district 
which he had so jealously protected. 

On another occasion, when making their surveys in the 
same neighbourhood, the engineers found their course 
obstructed by a high wall. Over it Mr. Swanwick at once 
climbed, in order to ascertain his whereabouts, and he then 
saw a fine wooded park spreading out before him. This 
proved to be the sacredly-preserved domains of the cele- 
brated traveller and naturalist, Mr. Charles Waterton, 


who prided himself that here he could give " a hearty 
welcome to every bird and beast that chose to avail itself 
of his hospitality ; and by affording them abundant food 
and a quiet retreat, induce them to frequent a spot 
where they would feel themselves secure from all ene- 
mies ; " a spot where the " shyest birds were so well 
aware of their security that they cared no more for 
spectators than the London sparrows for passengers." 
No wonder that instinctively the engineer shrank from 
the commission of so fragrant an impiety as even to linger 
there with thoughts of a railway in his breast, and ho at 
once decided to carry his line further to the west. 

He was fortunate, as events proved, in this determina- 
tion ; for Mr. Waterton was peculiarly susceptible on 
the matter of the inviolable sanctity of the homo he 
had provided for himself and his feathered friends, 
and he liad odd and energetic modes of expressing 
his wrath. ]\Ioreover his anger had been especially 
excited because the Barnsley Canal had dared to 
wind its way, and to climb up and down by sundry 
locks, almost at the very gates of Mr. AVaterton's 
park. One day, not very long after Mr. Swanwick 
had concluded his surveying expeditions, it devolved 
upon him and upon Mr. Hunt, tlie solicitor of the pro- 
jected line, to wait upon Mr. AVaterton, in order, if 
possible, to secure that gentleman's concurrence in t\w 
undertaking. On approaching the house by the draw- 
bridge over the moat, the visitors rang the bell ; Mr. 
"Waterton himself answered it, and curtly demanded their 
errand. The solicitor in his gentlest tones intimated its 
nature. " Come in," said Mr. AVaterton. The visitors 
obeyed ; and Mr. Hunt explained the object they had in 
view. Mr. AVaterton answerel only with a portentous 
grunt. " We are anxious," said Mr. Hunt, *' to ol)tain 
the favour of your assent to the Hue passing through 

MR. waterton's sanctujj. 45 

your property." Mr. Waterton gave another grant. 
'MVliat reply may we return?" inquired Mr. Hunt, one 
of the blandest of men, in his blandest manner. " You 
may say," exclaimed Mr. Waterton, "that I am most 
confoundedly opposed." " May I be allowed to record 
that as your decision?" continued the solicitor. Mr. 
Waterton once more grunted. *' I trust that if you 
cannot give your assent to the bill you will be neutral?" 
^' Well," replied Mr. Waterton, " I will be neutral on 
condition that you will faithfully promise me one thing." 
" Pray, sir, what is it?" " It is that you take care that 
your railway, when it is established, shall ruin those 
infernal canals." Mr. Hunt could only in his most 
winning accents assure the irate naturalist that, while 
he could perhaps scarcely pledge himself to the entire 
destruction of the canal property, yet that those whom 
he represented would, he had no doubt, be delighted to 
do their best for the attainment of so laudable an end." 

" And now," said Mr. Waterton, who had by this time 
aired his amiability, " come, gentlemen, and see my mu- 
seum." They did so ; and after examining a number of 
curiosities, which Mr. Waterton had brought from 
various parts of the world, the little party came to the 
top floor of the house, and there Mr. Waterton threw 
open a window, and looked out upon the grounds. 
" That," he said, " is a safe refuge for all the birds of the 
air. Everything is secure. No gun is ever fired here. 
I understand," he added somewhat abruptly, "that a fellow 
of the name of Swanwick, one of your engineers, once 
came into my park intending to bring the line this way. 
As sure as I am alive I would have shot him." " Allow 
me," gently interposed Mr. Hunt, " to introduce to you 
my friend Mr. Swanwick." " A good thing you didn't 
come," added Mr. Waterton, laughing ; " I should have 
shot you !" 


The bill and tlie plans of the North Midland Railway 
were completed amid the intense excitement involved in 
the preparation of a vast number of other schemes. 
George Stephenson and his engineers had several impor- 
tant works on hand; 3'et everything had to be finished 
by the date so inexorably defined by Parliament. Early 
and late they laboured on, till flesh and blood could 
liardly bear the strain. But within six hours of the time 
at which the documents must be deposited, an experienced 
draughtsman might have been seen working upon North 
Midland plans with the most painstaking love of his task, 
adding foliage to the trees in the parks, and touches of 
beauty to his handiwork generally. Suddenly several 
post-chaises dashed up at the door. The engineer leaped 
out, snatched up the daintily finished plans, laid them on 
the gi'ound, remorselessly stitched them together, as 
quickly as possible corded them up in bundles, and then 
sent them flying away to Wakefield, Leeds, and other 
towns at which, before the clock struck twelve, they had 
all to be delivered. 

When the bill came before Parliament, serious difli- 
culties had to be encountered. It had originally been 
intended that the line should be carried up the valley to 
tlie left of Belper, and on through the village of Mil- 
ford ; but the ^fessrs. Strutt expressed apprehension lest 
the works should interfere with their supply of water 
from the river, and they succeeded in driving the line 
to the east of the town, through a long dismal cutting, 
where nothing can be seen either of the railway or 
from it. 

The Aire and Calder Navigation, too, was a formidable 
antagonist to the new undertaking. " That body," said 
Mr. G. C Glyn, " was perhaps the most 0})ulent and in- 
fluential of all that were connected with canals. They 
might be said to possess almost a monopoly of the traflic 


of a great part of Yorkshire. They were naturally very 
unwining to encounter rivalry; and he did not blame 
them for it. They had accordingly met the Company 
with the most inveterate opposition from the very first, 
both in Parliament and elsewhere." 

Eventually, in the House of Commons, the North Mid- 
land Company carried its bill ; but in the House of Lords 
the canal interest so far prevailed as to secure the insertion 
of clauses which would have cramped the energies of the 
Company, and been seriously injurious to its prosperity. 
After the bill had passed, the Railway Company endea- 
voured to come to terms with the canal. But the latter 
insisted, at the outset of the negotiations, that they should 
be reimbursed all the expenses they had incurred in re- 
sisting the Railway Company in Parliament. "This," said 
Mr. Glyn, " was like the conduct of the schoolmasters who 
extracted from the pockets of the pupils the cost of the 
rod wherewith they themselves were to be flogged. The 
Directors did not feel themselves at liberty to accede to 
terms so unjust and so extravagant ; and, therefore, the 
negotiations were for the present in abeyance." The}' 
hoped, however, by deviation from the parliamentary- 
line in the neighbourhood of Leeds to overcome all 
difficulties, and an explanation of the course of action 
to be taken by the Company would hereafter be given, 
should the Navigation persist in its " extortionate de- 

In the early part of the following year (Feb. 1837), it 
was announced that arrangements for the commence- 
ment of the North Midland Railway had been made. 
The Clay Cross Tunnel, and other heavy works, were let. 
A site had been obtained for the terminus at Derb}', 
which gave easy access to the Birmingham and Derby, and 
Midland Counties lines and station. Application was about 
to be made to Parliament for powers to effect some modi- 

48 A bied's-eye view. 

fications of the line, at BeljDer, and elsewlicre, and to 
secure increased land for station purposes at Leeds. 
" The proprietary," said the report of the Directors, witli 
pardonable complacency, " is highly respectable, and 
affords an undoubted proof of the estimation in which this 
undertaking is held by the public." The executive 
engineer's office was established in Chesterfield; and 
arrangements were completed for the successful prosecu- 
tion of the work. 

In the summer of 1838 a bird's-eye view of the course 
of the North Midland line would have presented many a 
scene of interest. Thousands of men were at work ; 
nearly all the contracts were proceeding with energy ; 
and where it was otherwise, " steps had been taken to 
remove all cause of future complaint." The station at 
Derby had been marked out ; the embankment near it 
was coming into shape ; the Derb}' and Nottingham turn- 
pike was being lowered; the tunnel at Milford was being 
made. At Belper Pool, the temporary bridge over the 
Derwent was finished, and the masonry was proceeding 
rapidly. At Wingficld, the heavy earthworks, comprising 
350,000 cubic yards, were being excavated ; and at 
Clay Cross 400 yards of tunnel had been completed, and 
six 15-horse whinseys were at work at the six shafts, 
from the bottom of which men were tunnelling at twelve 
different faces, besides the ends. To bore through a 
hill full of wet coal-measures was of course, in effect, to 
make a vast drain into which enormous volumes of water 
poured, which had to be pumped away ; while at night 
the hucfe fires that blazed on the summit of the ridofe lit 
up the rugged outline of the gangs of men, gave a strange 
and lurid colouring to the spectacle, and helped to make 
the spot the great wonder of that country side. 

In other parts of the line difficulties had to be encoun- 
tered, difficulties which have since become the common- 
places of the profession, but wliicli then taxed the inge- 



nuity of the engineer. Immediately to the nortli of what 
is now the Ambergate Station is a bold eminence, through 
which a cutting and a tunnel had to be carried. "While 


making the excavations it was ascertained that the upper 
half of the hill rested on an inclined bed of wet shale, as 
slippery as soap. The mass was too lofty and too steep 
to allow of the removal of the whole ; yet the ordinary 
shape of a tunnel would not afford sufficient strength 
to resist the enormous pressure. Accordingly it was re- 
solved so to construct an elliptical tunnel of blocks of 
millstone grit that the flat arch of the ellipse should 
receive the weight. But the work had not been long 
completed when it was found that the solid stonework 
was splintered to such an extent as to endanger the 
safety of the structure. Fresh means had therefore to 
bo provided : first, by the removal of some of the super- 



incumbent mass, and by the drainage of tlie shale bed, 
that the material should be in part deprived of its 
unctuous character; and then, by lining most of the 
tunnel with iron ribs, it became, in fact, a double tunnel, 
— of milestone and of iron. 

About a mile north of this work a perhaps more 
serious difficulty had to be overcome. xVcross the 
patli of the future railway lay the Amber River and 
the Cromford Canal, so near together but at such 
different levels that the line must pass over the one 
by an embankment and bridge, and almost at the same 
moment under the other ; and yet the works must be, 
if possible, so constructed as to avoid stop|)iug the 
navigation for more than a fow hours. As the line 
where it passes under the canal was itself to be an em- 
bankment, the foundations of the piers which were to 
carry the aqueduct overhead had necessarily to be laid 
at a considerable depth, and thence they must be 
raised to a sufficient height to support an iron trough 


wliich was to can-y the water. This trough was made 


the exact shape of the bottom of the canal, was fitted 
together closely, was then floated to its destination, and 
was finally sunk on to its resting place without disturbing 
the navigation, or being thencefi^rth itself disturbed. At 
this point, known as Bull Bridge, we have, therefore, a 
remarkable series of works. At the bottom is a river, 
and over it there are in succession a bridge, a railway, 
and an aqueduct ; on the top ships are sailing, and under- 
neath trains are running. 

Among the heaviest earthworks on the line were the 
Oakenshaw cutting and embankment, which required the 
quarrying and tipping of some 600,000 yards of rock. 
There was also the Normanton cutting, from which 
400,000 yards of stufi" had to be removed. Yet the whole 
line, with its 200 bridges and seven tunnels, was completed 
in about three years, at an outlay of about £1,000,000 a 

The North Midland line, as thus constructed, has two 
summit levels. It ascends nearly all the way from Derby, 
until, at the south end of Clay Cross tunnel, it is 360 
feet above the sea. It then falls till it reaches Mas- 
borough, where it again begins to rise, and it continues 
to do so as far as Royston, from whence it slopes down- 
ward to Leeds, 

The opening of the North Midland Railway, which 
took place on the 11th of May, 1840, was celebrated 
in a manner similar to that adopted by the Midland 
Counties Directors. A train, consisting of thirty-four 
carriages, containing some 500 passengers, and drawn 
by two engines, left Leeds at eight o'clock in the morn- 
ing, was joined near Wakefield by a number of carriages 
from the York and North Midland line, and arrived at 
Derby at one o'clock. Here it was welcomed by the 
cheers of a crowd of spectators ; and here, on the station 
platform, two long lines of tables had been spread with 


ample provisions, at wliicli the visitors, solaced by 
music, stood to take their luncheon. After duly cele- 
brating the honours of the occasion they returned home, 
"well satisfied that they had witnessed the commencement 
of a new era in the history of English locomotion. 

Those who are familiar with the North Midland Rail- 
way as it is, and who see the enormous traffic that rolls 
through the busy and growing population that environ 
it, may have some difficulty in understanding what the 
district was only thirty years ago. When many of its 
largest and richest iron fields had been untouclied ; when 
the Ambergate lime-works, and the Clay Cross collieries 
were unknown ; when Staveley was only a name ; when 
Sheffield was but half the size it now is ; when neither 
South Yorkshire nor Derbyshire had sent, except by sea, 
a ton of coals to London ; and when the new Nortli 
Midland quietly ran over sixty miles of almost undisturbed 
coal-fields, — the line was but a pliantom of what it is 
to-day. Since then, slowly and painfully, often under 
the pressing needs of its own poverty, yet constantly 
inviting and rewarding the enterprise of others around, 
the new Company has had to live on from hand to mouth, 
and gradually to develop for others the wealth it might 
some day be permitted huml)ly to share. 

In the early part of 1841 the Directors were able to 
report that the traffic on their line was increasing. 
" The quantity of minerals conveyed along this railway," 
said one of the journals of the time, " is almost outstrij)- 
ping t]\Q accommodation at the disposal of the Company; 
but this inconvenience will easily be remedied. Very 
considerable additions to the traffic may be expected 
from the Clay Cross collieries and coke-works, which are 
on an extensive scale; the latter will, moreover, afl'ord 
the Company the means of obtaining coke at a much 
lower cost than heretofore, and so be ])roductive of a 



material saving in the annual expenditure. Mr. Ste- 
phenson's lime-kilns also, at Ambergate, are likely to 
supply to a great extent the midland counties with an 
article of great value in agriculture, the lime which is 
found in those counties being inconsiderable and of in- 
ferior quality. The North Midland Eailway will also be 
used for conveying the produce of these kilns as far 
north as Barnsley." 

The increase of accommodation thus required of course 
involved an increase of capital. A new station was re- 
quired at Normanton, for the joint use of the Xortli 
Midland, Manchester and Leeds, and York and North 
Midland Companies, and additional appliances were needed 
in the locomotive and carrying departments of the North 
Midland. To meet this outlay the Directors now proposed 
that an amount of £300,000 should be raised by shares, 
and £100,000, if necessary, by the exercise of their 
borrowing powers. The new shares would be " offered 
to the present proprietary in equal proportion to the 
number of shares respectively held by them ;" and if 
they were not all accepted, the remainder would be dis- 
posed of to the public for the benefit of the Company. 
The new shares would be issued at 35 per cent, discount. 

Meanwhile strenuous efforts were made to diminish 
expenditure. It was reported by a committee which 
was entrusted with this special duty, that a considerable 
number of the Company's servants — some of whom 
had been engaged in a work the cost of which would 
be properly chargeable to capital — might be discharged 
without detriment to the service ; and that some of the 
salaries had been fixed at too hig^h a scale. The com- 
mittee therefore proposed that the allowance to the 
Directors be reduced one half; and that 10 per cent, 
be deducted from the salaries of all officers who had 
more than £110 per annum, the station-masters alone 


excepted; and that 5 per cent, be taken from all 
salaries amounting to less than £110. It was also 
recommended that certain workpeople at the locomotive 
department at Derby should be discharged, so as to make 
a reduction of £3000 ; that the five superintendents of 
the Company's police should be dismissed, and the men 
be placed under the inspector of the line ; that sundry 
other officials should be dispensed with ; that the office 
of architect to the Company, which cost upwards of 
£1000 a year, should be abolished ; that £3343 paid 
for the engineers' sUiff should be reduced to the extent of 
£2000 or thereabouts ; that no assistant engineer should 
be retained on the staff of tlie executive engineer; and 
that the wages of porters, police, and " flagmen," should 
be slightly diminished. These reductions would amount 
to a total of £13,000. The committee added that they 
had been guided in the discharge of "a duty neither 
grateful to their feelings, nor light as to the time, anxiety, 
and labour expended," by the necessity that had arisen 
for " a strict observance of economy, so far as it could 
be secured without impairing either the efficient working 
of the line, or the convenience or safety of the public." 

The spirit in which some who were connected with 
the Company laboured to improve its position, may be 
illustrated by a fact that ought to be mentioned. When 
Mr. Robert Stephenson had retired from the general 
management of the North ^Midland, it was considered 
desirable that he should be retained as superintendent 
of the locomotive department, at a salary of £1000 a 
year — a sum which was secured to him by agreement. 
But when the committee, who proposed the reductions 
to which we have referred, hrld tlioir meeting, Mr. 
Stephenson not only gave valuable suggestions as to the 
best course that should be pursued, but, to set an example 
of the economy he wished to be practised, he wrote a 


letter to the cliairman of the Company, requesting that 
half of a considerable balance due to him might be 
cancelled, and that £400 a year might be deducted from 
his salary. These sacrifices were the more to be com- 
mended, because Mr. Stephenson had recently incui^red 
losses to the amount of £10,000. 

At this meeting, held in August (1841), a motion was 
introduced, that proprietors should be permitted to travel 
free to the half-yearly meetings of the Company. The 
chairman replied, that it was most desirable that these 
meetings should be largely attended, but that there 
was no precedent for the course recommended; the 
matter, however, was one which the proprietors must 
decide for themselves. In a conversation that followed, 
some gentlemen suggested objections to the proposal, 
and requested that the motion might be withdrauTi; 
but Mr. Bradley insisted that it should be put to the 
vote, not as a matter of personal saving, but because 
it was likely to effect the end which he had in view — 
of endeavouring: to secure a larQ-e attendance at the 
meetings of the Company ; and he was satisfied that the 
more this was the case, the greater would be the in- 
terest, and the better the management of affairs. The 
motion, however, was rejected by a majority of about 
100 to 17. 

During this year it was decided that for the future 
the report and accounts should be circulated a few hours 
before they were formally submitted to the proprietors. 
" There were, however," said the chairman, " strong 
objections to an earlier publication, principally as taking 
ofi" from the interest of the meetings." In those days 
it was also the practice for the shareholders to be sum- 
moned simply by advertisement; and when it was 
proposed that each proprietor should have a circular 
forwarded him, the chairman, Mr. G. C. Glyn, demurred. 


on the ground tliat such an arrangement would be 
"unusual." We advert to these subjects to show how 
much more satisfactorily these matters are now arranged. 

At the spring meeting, in 1842, the Directors were able 
to report "a continued increase in every branch of the 
revenue," notwithstanding " the unexampled distress 
which still pervaded the commercial world." They 
recommended that £3000 should be set aside from profits 
to provide for the renewal of locomotive and other stock ; 
but they stated that a larger sum would hereafter be 
required. The dividend declared was at the rate of 
3 per cent, per annum. It was stated that the manage- 
ment of the Company would for the future be carried on 
at Derby, instead of being conducted also in Leeds and 
London, ^fr. CJ. C. Glyn now retired from the office 
of cliairinan, and was succeeded by Mr. Newton. 

At this meeting an important debate took place on the 
subject of mineral trafl^c. A memorial had been presented 
by certain coal-owners and others, asking for a reduction 
of the rate from three halfpence to a penny a ton a mile, 
as an experiment for a year, from November, 1841 ; and 
this had been acceded to. M i-. Alston, one of the auditors, 
now expressed grave doubts whether the new rate yielded 
any profit whatever to the Company. lie stated that 
the (print ity carried during the previous six months had 
increased but little ; and he believed that " the whoh* 
emolument from this coal traffic was a very bagatelle." 
^[r. Hranker supported this opinion by saying that 
he had the authority of Mr. Booth, the secretary of the 
Liverpool and Manchester line, a gentleman of great 
practical experience, to the effect that unless coal paid 
twopence a ton a mile, *' it was not worth having, and 
even at that it was very questionable." Of a penny rate 
Mr. Booth had declared that if " you take the wear and 
tear into consideration, you have nothing h^ft ; in fact, 


you do not get your own money back again." The 
chairman rephed, that though the Directors had made 
no contract, they were, he thought, bound in honour to 
continue the experiment for the year. Thereupon a 
resohition was proposed, that at the expiration of that 
period the charge for coals should be'increased to three 
halfpence a ton ; but the meeting considered it unadvis- 
able to forestall the future action either of the Board 
or of the Company ; and the motion was withdrawn. 

It is interesting, however, to recall these discussions, 
now that the Midland Company has so large a mineral 
traffic, and earns a profit at even a greatly reduced rate. 
They serve also to account for the fact that an important 
suggestion, oiffered about this time, was disregarded. It 
was made by Mr. Swanwick, the engineer, and was 
to the effect that extensions should be made from the 
North Midland to the vast coal districts lying to the 
west of Swinton and Wath ; in fact, to the great South 
Yorkshire fields that have of late years fed the Great 
Northern system with mineral and profit. Had the 
advice been followed the destinies of both the Midland 
Company and the Great Northern would doubtless have 
been powerfully aff*ected ; but the North Midland Directors 
did not at that period consider the coal traffic of any 
special value, and did not deem themselves in a financial 
position sufficiently favourable to justify any large ad- 
ditional expenditure of capital. 

The early part of 1842 was a time of disappointment 
to the shareholders. Complaint was made of extravagant 
outlay in the erection of unnecessary premises, and in 
the furnishing of refreshment and waiting rooms, some 
of which, it was declared, with the hyperbole of dis- 
appointed proprietors, were " more like drawing-rooms 
in palaces, than places of comfortable accommodation ;" 
and chagrin was expressed that, notwithstanding much 


retrencliment of expenditure, the dividend was at the 
rate of only two per cent, per annum. The board could 
only share these regrets, and consent, however reluctantly, 
to the appointment of a committee of seven shareholders 
to examine "the position and future management" of 
the Company. 

The report of this committee was presented in the 
following November (1342). It stated that delay in 
its presentation had originated from the fact that, though 
it had been forwarded to the chairman of the Directors 
two months previously, with a request for its immediate 
publication, the Board had declined to comply until they 
had prepared an answer which could be circulated at the 
same time. A lengthened debate followed, in which it 
was insisted upon that, as the Committee of Investigation 
had recommended deductions to the amount of nearly 
£18,000 a year, and the Du-ectors had since admitted 
that £11,000 might be saved, the case of the committee 
was substantially proved, and that the administration of 
the Board was not deserving of confidence. This view 
of the matter was generally accepted ; but Mr. Newton 
replied, that his colleagues were unanimously of opinion 
tliat the recommendations of the committee could not 
be carried out witli safety to the public. " Then, may I 
ask," said a shareholder, "the intentions of the Directors?" 
The chairman answered that he really could not tell; 
aiul ill tlie midst of confusion he declared tlie meeting 
dissolved, and vacated the chair. 

The Directors ap})ear however to have done their best 
to carry into effect the wishes of the proprietors. Six of 
the old Directors resigned their seats, and were replaced 
by the members of the late committee of inquiry ; and 
the new Board endeavoured to accomplish various reduc- 
tions of expenditure which had been previously proposed. 
But these efforts were resisted at the outset by the 



engine-drivers and firemen refusing to consent to any 
diminution of their numbers. This emergency was 
promptly met by the substitution of another set of men, 
who, with some exceptions, proved efficient. One serious 
accident, however, occurred, which created much public 
alarm. Further reforms were reported at the autumnal 
meeting of the year (1843). A reduction of one per cent, 
on loans falling due also relieved the finances of interest 
to the amount of £5000 a year. But the independent 
existence of the Company was now drawing to a close. 
Proposals were made, and not long afterwards negotiations 
were opened, for the amalgamation of the North Midland 
with the Midland Counties and Birmingham and Derby 

To the precise nature of these arrangements we shall 
have hereafter to advert. 



Influence of the Erewash Valley project on tlie politics of railway 
enterprise. — Origin of Birmingham and Derby scheme. — Meeting 
of " the inhabitants of Derby." — Sir Robert Peel's speech at 
Tamworth. — " Peel's Railway." — Cordial support of the new 
undertaking. — The Stonebridge branch. — Curious episode. — 
Abandonment of proposed Stitchford junction with London and 
Birmingham line. — Commencement of the works. — Course of the 
line. — Opening of the line to Hampton-in-Ardcn. — Discouragement. 
— Committee of investigation. — Completion of direct line to 
Birmingham. — Competition with Midland Counties Railway. — 
Proposals for amalgamation with Midland Counties and North- 
umberland Companies. — Terms proposed. — Objections. — Share- 
holders' meetings of the several Companies. — Final adjustment of 
terms. — First meeting of the Midland Railway Company. — !Mr. 
Hudson's speech. — Resolutions for consolidating the three proper- 
ties. — Fii'st General Meeting of Shareholders, July 16th, 1844. — 
Hopefulness of October Meeting. — Large increase of capital 

The coal-owners of the Valley of the Erewash were 
destined to exercise a powerful influence on the politics of 
railway enterprise in the Midland counties of Enghmd. 
It is true that their own pecuHar project, which would 
have brought a line to their pit mouths, was, to their 
infinite chagrin, placed for years in abeyance ; but the 
very fact that that Pinxton branch was projected, was 
sufficient, as we have seen, to arouse the jealousy of the 
North Midland Company, and even led to the construc- 
tion of yet a third line, — the Birmingham and Derby. 

In September, 1835, — the same autumn that Stephenson 
and his secretary went in the yellow post-chaise on their 
surveying expedition to Leeds, — "Old George" came 
over to Birmingham, and took up his quarters at the 
Hen and Chickens, in order to make arrangements for 
commencing his new undertaking, by which to con- 
nect the centre of the hardware district of England with 
Derby and the North. Here he found no difficulty in 

"the inhabitants of deeby." 61 

associating with liiinself a number of influential persons 
who showed a practical interest in the enterprise. Mr. 
Henry Smith, — a manufacturer, of high social standing, 
who might have represented Birmingham in parhament, 
had he been so disposed, consented to be the first chair- 
man of the Company. Mr. Wilham Beale, — one of the 
oldest and most respected inhabitants of the town, — whose 
son Mr. Samuel Beale subsequently became chah^man of 
the Midland Eailvvay Company, — and other gentlemen of 
similar position became directors, and they constituted, 
as was lately remarked by one who knew them well, "a 
first-rate board." 

But the circumstances under which the undertakino- 


was first publicly submitted to the consideration of the 
people of Derby, were more amusing than encouraging. 
An announcement had been made, in terms of befitting 
dignity, that a deputation from the promoters of this 
great enterprise were about to confer with " the inhabit- 
ants of Derby," and to seek the support of the said 
" inhabitants " in carrying it out. The deputation ac- 
cordingly, at the appointed time, arrived at the hotel, and 
proceeded to prepare for the duties that lay before them, 
by dining together. This important part of the pro- 
gramme being concluded, a messenger was despatched to 
the room, to ascertain in what number " the inhabitants 
of Derby" had responded to the invitation; and he re- 
turned with the intelligence that only three persons were 
present : three persons, out of a population of many 
thousands, were all who had thought it worth their while 
to ascertain on what terms direct railway communication 
might be obtained with Birmingham and the West of 
England. The deputation waited half an hour; and then 
another messenger was despatched, who reported that 
now twelve people in all had arrived of " the inhabitants 
of Derby." The folding doors that separated the dining- 


room and the liall were now withdrawn. The deputation, 
with all the dignity they could muster, advanced to the 
platform, and proceeded to unfold their budget to the 
twelve men of Derby. Fortunately there were some in 
that audience who were able as well as willing^ to render 
efficient assistance in starting so great an enterprise. 

At Tamworth a more fitting assembly was convened 
to express their interest in the project. Sir Robert Peel, 
one of the members for the borough, spoke in warm 
approbation of it, and took a comprehensive view of the 
various similar undertakings then in contemplation. 
"At the close of the next session," he said, "we shall 
probably start them. Besides the lines of railway from 
London to Liverpool, through Birmingham, there will be 
a line between Birmingliam and Gloucester, effecting a 
direct communication with the port of Bristol, and, 
tlirougli it, to the West Indies. We shall also find a line 
connecting Derby ^nth Leeds. Supposing this to be the 
case, I thiuk, under such circumstances, 3'"0u cannot 
entertain a doubt, when you consider the wealth, intel- 
ligence, and commercial enterprise of the people of 
Yorkshire and the North, that they will, by some means 
or other, effect a communication with Birmingham and 
its important adjacent districts, as well as the other 
parts of the kingdom, by an union of these great lines." 
He then expressed his approval of the route that had 
been selected ; his belief that " on account of the valleys 
and the natural levels of the country, it will be found 
that the line could be executed at considerably less ex- 
pense than any other ; " and concluded by saying, — " I 
most cordially hope this project will succeed ; I shall give 
it my assent as a landed proprietor, and I shall support 
it in my place in parliament." We need scarcely add 
that at that time the name of Sir Robert Peel was itself 
a tower of strength ; and so much interest did he mani- 


fest in tlie undertaking, tliat it was come to be familiarly 
designated " Peel's Railway." 

The project had also substantial support from other 
quarters. The great landowners — the Marquis of 
Anglesea, Sir Oswald Mosley, Bart., and others, also gave 
in their hearty adhesion ; and the brewers at Burton-on- 
Trent, and the towns and the population on the line of 
road, cordially supported the undertaking. So popular did 
it become, that as soon as the £100 shares were issued, 
they rose to 19 premium. " The thing," said one who 
was connected with it, " took fire like a match." 

The Birmingham and Derby line was, as we have seen, 
originally projected in the interest of the North Midland, 
and avowedly to connect Derby and the manufacturing 
districts of Yorkshire with Birmingham and the West. 
Such an undertaking was of course a serious discourage- 
ment to the hopes that had been cherished by the Mid- 
land Counties that their connection with the London and 
Birmingham at Rugby would secure the western trade 
for themselves; but probably they would have borne 
their disappointment with tolerable composure had not 
the other proposed branch line from Whitacre junction 
to Hampton-in-Arden — the Stonebridge branch, as it 
was called — of the Birmingham and Derby Company 
threatened the Midland Counties with direct competition 
for the traffic with London and the South. 

Before any of the three Companies had obtained the 
sanction of parliament to their projects, a curious episode 
occurred. The Midland Counties board Avas urged by the 
Birmingham and Derby to abandon their Pinxton branch 
on condition that the Stonebridge branch also was with- 
drawn. These negotiations were carried so far that they 
were regarded by the representatives of the Birmingham 
and Derby Company as concluded ; and on the last day on 
which the advertisements required by parliament could 


be issued, the Stonebridge branch was omitted from the 
BirmiDgham and Derby project. To the chagrin of the 
latter, however, they found that the Midland Counties 
Company had retained the Pinxton branch in the an 
nouncement of their undertaking. What was to be doner 
Country newspapers were then published only once a week, 
and it was now too late to amend the advertisement of the 
Birmingham and Derby line in all the newspapers of the 
district through which the rail way was to run. Fortunately 
for themselves — though not for their rivals — the acute- 
nessof the solicitors was sufficient for the emergency. They 
suggested that another company might yet be projected. 
Another line might be proposed from Whitacre to Hamp- 
ton-in-Arden, along the precise route of the proposed 
Stonebridge branch, and this might be afterwards incor- 
porated with the Birmingham and Derby. Their plan 
was adopted. Three days afterwards, a Birmingham 
paper contained an announcement that a new Company 
was about to be formed to make a line, to be called " The 
Stonebridge Junction Railway ; " and eventually, when 
the projects were before parliament, this undertaking 
was united with that from which it had been temporarily 
severed, and the consolidated body was entitled " The 
Birmingham and Derby Junction " Railway Company. 

Thusdid these two little branch lines — the Pinxton and 
the Stonebridge — vitally affect the position, the policy, 
and the fate of the three great Companies with which 
they were connected. Had the Pinxton branch been un- 
attempted, the North Midland would not, at any rate at 
that period, have thought of urging the formation of the 
Stonebridge branch, and even of the Birmingham and 
Derby itself ; yet, eventually, as we shall find, it was the 
Stonebridge branch that enal)led the Birmingham and 
Derby to carry on a fierce and effective competition with 
the Midland Counties, and finally to insist on terms of 


amaloraraation that otlierwise would uover have been 

In the original bill it Avas provided that the new line 
should join the London and Birmingham Railway at a 
place three or four miles south of Birmingham, called 
Stichford. Subsequently it was determined to secure an 
independent entrance to Birmingham, and powers were 
accordingly obtained for the line to follow the course of 
the Yalley of the Tame, to a separate terminus at Lawley 
Street — now the low level goods station of the Midland 

In August, 1837, it was announced to the share- 
holders that the work of constructing the line had 
been commenced. The land had been taken; the 
bridges at Derby over the canal, and the Derwent, and 
the viaduct over the Anker, had been commenced ; and 
the important works at Tamworth had been let to an ex- 
perienced contractor. Mr. Henry Smith, the chairman,, 
also stated that the Company had endeavoured to obtain 
an amendment of the Act to authorize them to make a 
line from Tamworth to Rugby, but that the proposal had 
encountered such severe opposition that it had been with- 
drawn. Failing in this, the directors had decided to 
begin without delay the Hampton branch of their line, 
by means of which they would be brought near to Rugby 
and have their course opened to the South ; and it was 
estimated that this part of their works might be completed 
within twelve months of the opening of the London and 
Birmingham Railway. 

By Midsummer, 1838, the whole of the land required 
between Derby and Hampton had been purchased, and at 
a cost in excess of the grant by estimate of only about 
£10,000. The cuttings and embankments were found to 
be nearly equal in amount, and only about 55,000 cubic 
yards to the mile ; and most of the excavations being in 



red marl or gravel, abundance of excellent material was 
supplied for the formation of the permanent way. Each 
of the three Companies had bought ground near to Derby 
for a general station ; on this subject all had agreed, and 
we may add — they agreed on nothing else. 

The contractors undertook that the line should be 
ready to receive the trains as early as the 30th of June, 
1839, and it was opened from Derby to Hampton-in- 
Arden in an unusually early period for so considerable 
an undertaking. The line of country is however very 
favourable for a railway. No tunnel was required ; the 
only important embankment is that in the neighbourhood 
of Tamworth, and the gradients of half the lines are slight, 
and on the other half are level. The chief works of the 




engineer were at the Anker viaduct, near Tamworth, 
formed of eighteen arches at 30 feet span, and one oblique 
arch of 60 feet span. There was a viaduct of neq,rly a 
quarter of a mile in length, which rested on 1000 piles, 
near Walton. 

The period that followed the opening of the line was 


however discouragfino*. Coaclies were still runnino^ be- 
tween Birmingham and Derby. Additional capital had 
also been spent. Only a small dividend was paid, and 
the hope of future prosperity was dependent on the 
completion of the North Midland and other lines, which 
miofht brinof an accession of traffic. 

Thus thingfs dra2:2:ed their slow leno^th along: till, at 
the general meeting* held at Birmingham in August, 1841, 
the chairman stated that, though the receipts had im- 
proved, and the prospects of the undertaking were 
encouraging, he thought that it would be desirable for 
the shareholders to appoint a committee to investigate 
the condition of the Company. The suggestion was 
adopted, and the report was shortly afterwards pre- 

This document indicated several methods in which the 
administration of affairs might be improved ; and with 
regard to the future the committee expressed themselves 
hopefully. They stated that Mr. Robert Stephenson 
agreed with them that the local traffic would increase ; 
that the opening of three new stations on the direct line 
between Whitacre and Birmingham would produce at 
least £20 a week each additional ; that the traffic of Tam- 
worth, Atherstone, Coleshill, and the adjoining districts, 
when brought by the new route nearer to Birmingham, 
would be considerably augmented ; and that the opening 
of the direct route to Birmino-ham would relieve the 
Company from the toll paid to the London and Birming- 
ham, — an amount equal to one per cent, on the whole 
capital, — and would provide improved facilities for the 
transmission of goods and minerals. 

Every effort was now made to press forward the 
completion of the main line into Birmingham. Pas- 
senger stations also were established at Castle Bromwicli, 
Water Orton, and Forge Mills (for Coleshill), and it was 


intended to add one or two more. The traffic, too, in- 
creased 16 or 1 7 per cent. The total expenditure at Christ- 
mas, 1841, amounted to rather more than £1,000,000; 
the cost, including two terminal stations and rolling 
stock, averaging £24,000 a mile. In the following June, 
£100,000 additional capital, besides the usual proportion 
by means of borrowing powers was raised by the 
allotment of new shares pro rata among the shareholders 
at a heavy discount. 

The events that followed the separate history of this 
company were of little moment. Some economies were 
made ; expectations were raised with regard to the 
effects of a proposed connection with the Birmingham 
and Gloucester line so soon as it should be finished, and 
with other railways to the north, and the discussions 
with tlie ]\lidland Counties Company on the subject of 
the mandamus dragged their slow length along. The 
contention of the Birmingham and Derby was, that 
their line was the first opened ; that it conveyed pas- 
sengers from Derby to London for a year before the 
Midland Counties was able to do so ; that it had then 
carried 200,000 passengers in perfect safety ; that 
previous to the opening of i\\Q Midland Counties the 
directors of the Birmingham and Derby had commenced 
negotiations for an " equitable division " of the traffic to 
the south; that the first reduction of fares had been 
made by the Midland Counties ; and that the Birmingham 
and Derby board had offered to refer the whole question 
to the arbitration of Mr. George Carr Glyn, the chair- 
man of the London and Birmingham and North Midland 
railways. " Our line, too," said Mr. Kahrs, " is incapa- 
ble of being interfered with by new lines, except for its 
benefit. Not so the others. He had been for some time 
expecting the announcement of a more direct line between 
London and York, by way of Peterborough and Tiiiicoln ; 

amalga:mation phoposed. 60 

and that morning's post brought news that this was 
already talked of on the Stock Exchange. And what," 
lie asked, " would then be the position of the Midland 
Counties and North Midland lines ?" 

At length, however, this controversy drew towards a 
close ; and the directors of the Birmingham and Derby 
Company announced that with an earnest desire to develop 
the resources, and to reduce the cost of working the line, 
they had " approved of a proposition of the directors of 
the North Midland Railway for an amalgamation of the 
three lines of railway which centre in Derby, as a measure 
that would be highly beneficial to them all ; " and event- 
ually it was decided that the proprietors should be urged 
to sanction such an arrangement. The chief feature 
of it, so far as the Birmingham and Derby Company was 
affected, was, that its shareholders should receive a smaller 
dividend on each £100 share than those of the other 
Companies. To this it was replied that inasmuch as the 
Birmingham Company and also the Midland Company 
were suffering from the effects of competition, they 
ought first to have the opportunity of testing the value 
of their property when freed from such influences, and 
that then, and not till then, the relative worth of each 
could be fairlv ascertained. 

This opinion was supported by Mr. Dicey, the chairman 
of the Midland Counties meeting, held September 21st, 
1843. The proposal for amalgamation having been moved 
by Mr. John Ellis and seconded by Mr. William Hannay, 
the Chairman stated that he had " the misfortune to 
differ from the plan which had been proposed," on the 
ground that while the chief, if not the whole, benefit 
in the economy of expenditure and the increase of re- 
ceipts would be secured by the cessation of hostilities 
between the two lines south of Derby, yet the North 
Midland would secure for itself thousands a year of addi- 


tional revenue, of which it would not "earn one penny." 
Mr. Dicey contended that the profits of the two southern 
lines, freed from competition, ought to be divided between 
them ; and that when the two properties had thus risen 
to their fair market value, an equitable basis would be 
supplied on which to form more intimate relations with 
the North Midland. These objections were, however, 
after protracted discussion, overruled, and the majority 
in favour of amalgamation was found to be overwhelming. 
A joint committee was now arranged — consisting of 
members from each board — to complete the details of 
the amalgamation, and to secure the general and final 
sanction of the several bodies of proprietoj-s. In the 
course of these negotiations it was determined that 
Birmingham and Derby shareholders should receive 
27 d. Gd. per annum less dividend per £100 share than 
the proprietors of the other two Companies. These and 
(jther terms were approved at meetings of the three Com- 
panies held on the IGth and 17th of April, IS 11-. 

The first general meetin<x of the shareholders of the 
now consolidated Midland Railway Company was held at 
Derby, on Tuesday, July IGth, 184k Mr. Hudson, Chair- 
man of the Board of Directors, presided. He stated that 
up to the 30th of June the accounts of the three Com- 
panies had been kept separate, and that the profits to 
that period would be divided among the proprietors of 
those Companies as if no consolidation had taken place. 
It had been found that the increase of receipts of the 
three Companies, as compared with those of the cor- 
responding period of the previous year, already amounted 
to more than £21,000; that the decrease of payments 
• was nearly £9,000 ; and that the net increase of divisible 
profits, exclusive of the last balance in hand, was about 
£33,000. The reduction of expenditure would not, how- 


ever, be complete until after tlie expiration of tlie current 
quarter, wlien the salaries of many members of the three 
staffs would cease. "This reduction," said the directors, 
"of many useful and valuable officers has been the most 
painful part of our duty ; and it will afford us great 
pleasure should we be able to assist them in speedily 
procuring appointments." The last dividends for the 
half-year of the three separate Companies were as fol- 
lows : — 

North Midland £100 shares .... 
Midland Counties £100 shares 
Birmingham and Derby original shares . 

It will be interestinof to note that the total returns for 
the now united line for the week amounted to a little 
over £10,000. 

We have now reached a memorable period in the his- 
tory of our subject : the Midland Railway Company, as 
we understand it, had now been formed. 

£ s. 


2 2 

2 2 


1 6 



l^irmin^ham and Gloucester railway. — The Society of Friends. — Early 
difficulties of the new project. — The route chosen. — Tramway from 
Cheltenham and Gloucester. — Progress of works. — The Lickey 
incline. — Norris's engine. — Opening of part of the line. — Railway 
tickets adopted. — Carriage of coals. — Committee of inquiry. — A 
Money bill. — Report of the committee. — Proposed amalgamation 
with Midland Company. — Bristol and Gloucester. — Coal-pit Heath 
tramway. — Cheltenham and Great Western union. — Bristol and 
Gloucester a broad gauge line. — Overtures for a union with 
the Birmingham and Gloucester. — Opening of the line. — An early 
break down. — Inconveniences of the break of gauge at Gloucester. 
— Ncgociations with Birmingham and Gloucester resumed. — 
Rival claimants for a western belle. — Terms of the settlement. — 
Amalgamation with the Midland Railway Company. — Access of 
^Midland Company to New Street Station, Birmingham. — Mr. 
John Ellis's successful negotiations. 

The Hue of Midland railway that now connects Birming- 
liam and Bristol is the result of the amalgamation of what 
were originally four distinct undertakings. It is true 
that, so far back as 1824, it was proposed that a through 
line should be made by a single company ; that a meet- 
ing, "respectably and numerously attended," was held at 
the White Lion Hotel, Bristol, to carry out the idea; 
that a large sum of money was subscribed ; that a deposit 
of 40s. was ordered to be paid on each share within 
forty-eight hours; and that, at the end of that time, 
there was not a defaulter. " Then, why," asked Mr. 
George Jones, twenty years afterwards, when chairman 
of the Bristol and Gloucester Company, " why was not 
the scheme prosecuted ? Because," he replied, " the 
thing was not then well understood. AYe had not then a 
Brunei, nor the Stephensons, nor others who might be 
named. A partial survey of the proposed line was made, 
and legal and other expenses were incurred, but after 
some mouths the intention was abandoned ; and, to the 
credit of the parties concerned, and especially of the 


solicitors, the deposits were returned with less than 
half a crown a share deducted for costs." 

This scheme for a united through railway having thus 
fallen into abeyance, the work was left to be undertaken 
in fragments by various parties, and at different times ; 
but chiefly in two portions — from Birmingham to Glou- 
cester, and from Gloucester to Bristol. To the former of 
these we have now to advert. 

It is here worthy of remark that several of the pioneers 
of English railway enterprise have been connected with 
the Society of Friends. The far-sightedness in business 
matters with which that body is not undeservedly cre- 
dited, led several of its members at an early period to 
anticipate that these paths of iron would some day 
become the highways of inland communication. No 
sooner was this conviction formed, than action was taken ; 
and while Edward Pease at Darlington, James Cropper 
at Liverpool, Edward Fry at Bristol, and John Ellis at 
Leicester were labouring to solve the early joi'actical 
problems connected with their several railway under- 
takings, the Sturges — Joseph and Charles — were* simi- 
larly engaged at Birmingham. As early as 1832, they 
employed Brunei — then almost a youth — to make a 
survey for a cheap line between Birmingham and Glou- 
cester. Any further action was, however, suspended; 
and before long Brunei was taken into the service of the 
Great Western Company. 

The chief difficulty with which the friends of the 
Birmingham and Gloucester railway had from the outset 
to contend, was the commonplace one of lack of funds. 
Canvassing for shareholders went on for years, and the 
promoters of the undertaking were only too thankful to 
persuade now one person and now another to become a 


subscriber. Even when the success of railway enter- 
prise elsewhere gave an impulse to the movement, all the 
arrangements of the Company, and the very route along 
which the line was taken, were cramped by considera- 
tions of economy. Captain Moorson, the engineer (the 
Ijrother of the late chairman of the London and North 
Western Company) was engaged on the modest terms of 
" no success — no pay." Though the best course for the 
proposed line would have been through the towns of 
Stourbridge, and perhaps Dudley, Bromsgrove, Droit- 
wich, Worcester, and Tewkesbury, all these places had 
to be avoided in order to diminish expense; and in the 
first instance the direction chosen was such that even 
Cheltenham should not be touched. The outcry was, 
however, so energetic, that this part of the arrangement 
had to be modified : £2UU,UUU additional capital had 
to be raised, the line was taken more to the east ; and, 
though AYorcester was left out, Cheltenham was ap- 
l)roached. We may add that the Birmingham and 
Gloucester was the earliest railway bill that was sanctioned 
the first time it was submitted to Parliament. One dis- 
advantage of the route finally adopted was that it passed 
down what is known as the Lickey Incline. To avoid 
this, Mr. Brunei had proposed that the line should be 
carried farther to the east, by which he would liave 
secured, what was then deemed indispensable to a heavy 
traffic, a gradient of 1 in 300. Such a course would, 
however, have been to give a yet wider berth to the 
towns and the population, and it was rejected. 

In laying out the Birmingham and Gloucester line, the 
promoters resolved to avail themselves of an old tramway 
that ran from Cheltenham to Gloucester city and docks. 
It had cost about £50,000, had been in use for mineral 
and goods traffic for some 30 years, and had been worked, 
at first by horses, and subsequently by locomotives built 


by J. J. Tregelles Price, of Neatli Abbey, near Swansea, 
another "Friend." This tramwaj'- was purchased and 
incorporated with the new undertaking ; it was, however, 
aofreed that in the event of a hne beinor brouofht from 
Swindon to connect the Great Western Railway with 
Cheltenham, the two Companies should share in the use 
and in the cost of the tramway. Meanwhile th^ hopes 
of the proprietors were stimulated by the estimate that 
their profits would amount to " 14 per cent, nearli/." 

The first half-yearly report of the Company was pre- 
sented on Februarv 1st, 1837. Some of the eno-ineerinor 
works had been commenced, and shafts had been sunk 
for an intended tunnel at Moseley ; but there had been 
difficulty at some points in consequence of the exorbitant 
demand of the landowners. The directors expressed 
their gratification that the capital of the Company had 
been " forthcoming with a commendable alacrit}', which 
left no doubt of the whole being obtained at the various 
periods at which it might be required." But this satis- 
faction was shortlived ; for in the autumn of the same 
year it was announced, that in consequence of a period of 
unexampled monetary difficulty, and a reaction in public 
opinion with regard to such undertakings, there had 
been an inadequate response to the appeals of the 
directors. It was, however, hoped that by some im- 
provements that had been made in the arrangements, the 
works would be pushed vigorously forward ; and it was 
believed that when the line was finished the traffic would 
be little inferior to that of any railway in the kingdom. 

In 1838 the works were rapidly advancing. The con- 
tracts for the various descriptions of earthAvork, masonry, 
iron, and fencing, had been divided and let to parties 
more conversant with each. The geological formation 
of the country also had been found to be favourable. 
" The line of junction between the new red sandstone 



formation and that of tlie lias runs for several miles par- 
allel to the line of the railway, affording excellent build- 
ing materials within a few hundred yards of the line, while 
the railway excavations and embankments are kept within 
the dry and good materials furnished by the marl and soft 
sandstone." Nearly 500 acres of land had been required. 

iiw Ki;Maiiv. 

Some time previous to the opening of the line, ar- 
rangements were in contemplation for conducting its 
traflBc up and down Lickey Incline by means of locomo- 
tives. This was, by both Brunei and George Stephenson, 
declared to be impracticable. Captain Moorson, however, 
when in America, had seen engines mount inclines equally 
steep, and twelve or fourteen of them were accordingly 
ordered from a Ijuilder, one Norris, of Philadelphia, the 
chief peculiarity of which was that their driving wheels were 
only 3 feet in diameter. On arriving in this country, and 
being tested, they did all that was expected from them. 
Subsequently, Mr. Bury, the well-known engine builde", 


declared that whatever American engines could do liis 
could do ; and he sent one with a five-foot driving wheel 
for trial. Mr. Bury and Mr. Charles Sturge, of Birming- 
liani, mounted the "Buiy" at Bromsgrove, and as it 
passed through the station, Mr. Sturge humorously called 
to Gwynn, w^io had come w^itli the American engines, 
to join him. " ISTo," he said; "it's no use; you'll soon 
come back again ; " and " back again " they came ; for by 
reason of some conditions which are not easily to be 
explained, the larger wheels would not "bite" the rails 
like the smaller ones, and the engine could not mount the 
incline. The Americans have, however, since been 
superseded ; and the incline is now worked by ordinary 
engines, aided by a " pilot," with perfect efficiency and 
success. The last American locomotive was used for 
some time on the Tewkesbury branch. 

On the 24th of June, 1840, the portion of Hue between 
Cheltenham and Bromsgrove, 31 miles in length, was 
opened for passenger traffic. It appears that the 
directors did not wait for the sanction of the Board of 
Trade, who were needlessly suspicious of the safety of 
some of the works. At the ensuing meeting of the 
shareholders it was stated that the financial results of 
the enterprise were so far satisfactory that " the cheering 
inference might be fairly drawn that when the whole 
line was in operation the traflBc would be increased to an 
amount far exceeding any calculations that had hitherto 
been made." 

Railway tickets, as we now know them, were first 
adopted on the Birmingham and Gloucester line. Mr. 
Edmundson, of Manchester, who invented them, consented 
for a trifling consideration that they should be used by the 
compan}^, in order that their advantages might be fairly 
tested and publicly known. 

Among the earlier problems of railway administration 


was whether coal coukl be carried to any great distance 
from the pits at a profit. This question came under the 
consideration of the Birmingham and Gloucester directors 
as early as the year 1842, when some coal merchants 
intimated that they wished to open a trade on the new 
line. Accordingly "a small quantity was conve^-ed by way 
of experiment, at a price which barely reimbursed the cost 
of conveyance ; " but as the result it was reported that 
" till a return traffic could be found, the coal trade down the 
line would not be remunerativ^e to the Company." 

A special meeting of the proprietors was hold on the 
18th of January, 1843, at l^irmingham, in compliance 
with a requisition to the directors signed by nearly 1000 
shareholders, for the purpose of '* considering and deter- 
mining as to the appointment of a committee of share- 
holders, not being directors of the said Company," who 
should ascertain the state of the Company financially, 
materially, and otherwise. Captain ^loorson, Chairman 
of the directors, who presided, said thnt the number of 
shares represented by the document fell short of those 
which were required to make it legal, but that the 
directors had waived that consideration, and had con- 
vened the meetino:. He stated that the directors saw no 
objection to the appointment of a joint committee, con- 
sisting of an equal number of shareholders and direc- 
tors ; but that the appointment of a committee from 
which directors were excluded was to raise the question 
of confidence. A lengthened discussion followed, in the 
course of which it was declared that the estimated cost of 
the line had been largely exceeded, and that there had 
been many mistakes in its administration. At High 
Orchard, at Gloucester, for instance, said one of the 
critics, there is what is called a wet basin, " so ingeniously 
constructed as to be fed by a stream of water which is 
fast filling it up with murl, and so ndmirnbly situated as 


to be inaccessible. The presumption would be that this 
is a receptacle intended for traffic, and that it will be 
surrounded by sheds and warehouses for the reception of 
goods ; but the only buildings contiguous are six large 
coke ovens, which are not at work because the coke 
could be contracted for elsewhere on better terms. The 
wet basin," continued the speaker, " is a melancholy 
spectacle ; especially when it is considered that at the 
bottom of its foul waters lie something like £14,000 of 
our money." 

It was also stated at the meeting that the rates re- 
quired careful reconsideration, that the communication 
between Spetcliley and Worcester was unsatisfactory, 
and that terms might be made with the Bristol and 
Gloucester line which would be advantageous to the 
Company. It was not unnaturally added that, " until 
the proprietors obtained a dividend they would never 
cease to be discontented." The Chairman replied to 
some of these criticisms, and eventually stated that the 
directors would concede to a proposition of four share- 
holders on the committee to three directors ; and a reso- 
lution to that effect was carried unanimously. 

At the half-yearly meeting held in the following 
month, a dividend was recommended of 26s. a share. 
It was understood that the committee of inquiry was 
slowly proceeding with its work. Another special meet- 
ing was convened for the following month, to consider 
the provisions of a " Money Bill," under which a sum of 
£250,000 (with the usual permission to borrow one third 
more) would be raised, the amount being required for 
making a branch to Worcester, for water connection at 
Gloucester, for tlie completion of the works at High 
Orchard, and for other purposes. Some shareholders, it 
was said, might counsel delay in obtaining this bill; but, 
" delay," said the directors, "would oblige the Company 


to continue borrowing on the inferior security of loan 
notes, and therefore at a higher rate of interest than 
would be demanded on the security of mortgage bonds. 
Delay would leave the High Orchard branch open to a 
competing company, which w^ould be interested in ob- 
structing the communication of the railway with the 
water — a connection indispensable, in the opinion of the 
carriers, to a full development of the goods traffic. 
Delay would continue the loss and inconvenience arising 
from the defective communication with Worcester. Delay 
would bring over again the expenses already incurred, 
and which always unavoidably attend an application to 
Parliament. Delay, on the other hand, presents no ad- 
vantajres commensurate with the evils before enumerated." 
Eventually, by a nai-row majority, the money bill was 

The committee of inquiry presented tlieir I'eport in 
the following June. It was of considerable length, 
and many of the matters with which it dealt have little 
interest now. Its conclusions may therefore be briefly 
epitomised. The committee approved of power being 
taken to raise the £3:):5,:]:]3 G.s-. 8(/. additional capital ; 
they considered the outlay of £14,000 on the High 
Orchard property to have been injudicious ; they had 
instructed the directors to ])roceed with a branch line to 
Worcester, the passenger traffic for which had hitherto 
been carried by omnibus from Spetchley ; and they put 
on record their regret that in the first design of the 
railway effort had not been made to secure better 
acconnnodation for towns so important as Worcester, 
Tewkesbury, and Cheltenham. They reported fully on 
the position and prospects of the traffic ; and although 
they had no hesitation in stating their opinion that on 
the completion of the Bristol and Gloucester line the 
passenger traffic would be equal to the parliamentary 


estimates, yet that meauwliile there was a serious 
deficiency. As the year (1843) passed on the position 
of the company did not improve. Expenses were large, 
trade languished. So doubtful did the prospects of the 
future appear, that application was made to parliament 
for powers to " sell or to lease their railway, or parts 
thereof," to the London and Birmingham, the Grand 
Junction, the Great Western, or the Bristol and Glouces- 
ter Companies. Meanwhile, it was intimated that the 
Great Western Company would not be unwilling to pur- 
chase or lease the whole of the Birmingham and Glouces- 
ter line; but on a deputation being appointed to meet 
a deputation from the Great Western, it was found that 
the intentions of the latter had been misunderstood. 

In 1846 the directors announced that they had made 
arrangements with the Grand Junction, the Birming- 
ham and Derby, and the Manchester and Birmingham, 
for the reciprocal interchange of goods " on terms which 
must promote the mutual interest of the companies 
so working together." Mr. Robert Stephenson had 
been directed to survey the ground for a branch to 
Worcester, and " he had presented a very able and satis- 
factory report, by which the board were willing to 
abide." The line between Tewkesbury and Ashchurch 
was now worked by engine instead of horse-power. No 
event of special interest marked the brief remainder of 
the annals of this line as a separate affair. We shall 
have shortly to see, in another connection, the circum- 
stances under which the Company lost its individuality 
and became merged in a larger and comprehensive 

AVe now turn to the second principal portion of the 
Birmingham and Bristol line, that which extends from 
Gloucester to Bristol. 


In doing so we must go back to the year 1838, and by 
a mental effort try to realize the then condition of affairs. 
A tramway had been made, extending a few miles to 
the north-east of Bristol to a point now known as the 
Westerlcigh Junction ; here it turned away to the left, 
and tlirew off several branches, one of wliich continued 
to Coalpit Heath. This tramway was called the Coalpit 
Heath line, and it was proposed that the greater part 
of it should now be incorporated into the new railway 
to Gloucester. 

Again, at the northern end of the projected line 
another railway was in contemplation. It was to bo 
called " The Cheltenham and Great Western Union." 
It was not at that period identified with the Great 
Western ; but it was to be made on the broad gauge, 
to start from Swindon, to climb up and then to 
descend the Stroud Valley, to emerge into the open at 
Stonehousc, and thence to pursue its way to Gloucester 
and Cheltenham. 

The Bristol and Gloucester line being thus flanked on 
the east and south by the broad gauge, it became com- 
mitted to broad fraujxe interests ; the line was made as 
a broad gauge line ; and the engineer was tliat dauntless 
champion of broad gauge schemes, Brunei himself. In 
this arrangement there were important advantages : the 
same railway from Stonehouse to Gloucester could be 
used by both the new companies ; the same station at 
Gloucester was available for both ; a junction could be 
effected at Bristol with the Bristol and Exeter system ; 
and negotiations were at one time entertained by which 
the Great Western Company should work the Bristol 
and Gloucester line. In recognition of these benefits it 
was arranged that a rent should be paid to the Chelten- 
ham and Great Western Union for the use of the line 
between Stonehouse and Gloucester of £11,000 a year; 


for the portion between Gloucester and Chelteuliam, 
£4000 a year; and for the three stations, £3500 a year; 
these charges to include the maintenance of the permanent 
way, parochial and police expenses, and wages. After 
five years the rent was to be raised £1000. The Bristol 
and Gloucester Company also agreed to subscribe £50,000 
towards the purchase of shares in the capital of a pro- 
jected extension of the Bristol and Exeter line to Ply- 

But though the Bristol and Gloucester line was thus 
originated in broad gauge interests, there were per- 
sons of influence who began to recognise the fact that 
its chief value would be found as part of a through 
route to Birmingham — a link of connection between the 
west, the south-west, and the midlands and the north 
of England. It was with this view that important 
improvements were effected in the gradients and course 
of the line within the parliamentary limits of deviation ; 
involving, fortunately, a saving in earthworks to the 
amount of one-fifth of the original estimate. As early, 
too, as 1840 — four years before the railway was com- 
pleted — direct negotiations arose between the boards of 
the Birmingham and Gloucester and Bristol and Glouces- 
ter Companies, with a view to a union on equal terms 
of the two properties ; and it was proposed that the 
portion that belonged to the Cheltenham Company should 
be obtained by purchase. 

The first half-yearly meeting of the Bristol and Glou- 
cester line was held Sept. 29th, 1842, at Bristol. It was 
reported that the contracts between Westerleigh and 
Stonehouse were proceeding satisfactorily. The depressed 
state of the iron trade had enabled the board to supply 
themselves with rails on favourable terms. Continuous 
timber bearings were to be used for the support of the 


On the 8th of July, 1844, the new line was opened for 
passenger traffic. A large number of persons assembled 
at Gloucester to welcome the arrival of the first train ; 
but, unfortunately, it did not approach with the dignity 
of demeanour befitting so august an occasion. On round- 
ing a rather sharp curve within half-a-mile of its destina- 
tion, in consequence of a defect in bolting one of the 

i§& -^^fu. 

.-_.i>ti. t»i. 



-"^i:^?^ - 


sleepers on which the rails rested, the engine went off the 
rails, and dragged several of the carriages after it. The 
train was proceeding slowly; the passengers alighted 
uninjured, and were able to reach the terminus on foot. 
Here a large party partook of a late breakfast, and 
speeches were delivered in honour of the occasion. 

In the year 1845 the negotiations for a union of the 
Birmincrham and Gloucester and Bristol and Gloucester 
lines, Avhich had previously been unsuccessful, were 
resumed. It had been found that the meeting of two 
independent lines with different gauges had involved 
serious disadvantages and losses to both companies ; and 
with a view of introducing uniformity of system and of 


gauge, it was resolved that there ought to be identity 
of interest. At present, however, it was undetermined 
whether the broad gauge should be carried through to 
Birmingham, or the narrow gauge be continued to 
Bristol : an issue which might appear of secondary 
moment, but which really involved the question whether 

the Great Western system 
was to surround the mid- 
land counties of England, 
and whether it was to 
^"'"'^"'- perpetuate a conflict of 

gauge between the north and the west. This was a 
rivalry, too, in which — though the Midland and the 
Great Western Companies were the chief competitors 
— all existing railways were concerned. And thus it 
came to pass that the two western lines which had been 
struggling for existence found that they were engaging 
national attention, the objects of national interest, a prize 
to be contended for by eager rivals. All this was very 
flattering to a hitherto unappreciated western belle, who 


began to feel liow pleasant it was to flirt now witli one 
admirer and anon with another, to weigh their respective 
claims, and eventually to secure for the honour of her 
alliance a very substantial settlement. The rivalry was 
close and keen. The endowment offered by the Great 
Western was in share capital ; that of the Midland was 
in cash — a guaranteed six per cent, dividend. The terms 
proposed by Mr. Saunders for the Great Western would 
have been accepted had not Mr. Ellis, on the very same 
day, submitted his offer on ])ehalf of the Midland, and 
carried off the palm. 

The narrow gauge lookers-on were delighted. The 
London and North AVestern Company had been es- 
pecially anxious to keep the broad gauge in the west ; 
and, with the view of backing up the Midland Company 
in its conflict, undertook for a time to share in any loss 
the Midland might incur by its somewhat onerous terms 
of purchase. The aid thus promised by the London and 
North Western was subsequently altered, by arrange- 
ment, into permission for the Midland to use the New 
Street Station at Birmingham, which had cost an enor- 
mous sum of money, for the nominal rent, besides 
charges for porters, of £100 a year. 

The terms of agreement were sanctioned by the 
different companies in the usual manner. At the Mid- 
land meeting, August 12th, 1845, Mr. Hudson, in com- 
mending the lease to the adoption of the shareholders, 
said : " I take no credit to myself, gentlemen, for having 
originated this arrangement. My friend, Mr. Ellis, to 
whom I wish to give all the credit which is so justly his 
due, suQforested to the board this bold course ; and I 
candidly confess that, at first, I shrank from incurring 
further liabilities on the part of the Midland Company. 
On looking, however, more closely into the matter, and 
reflecting on the greater accommodation which by means 


of this arrangement we could offer to tlie public, feeling, 
too, that small and independent companies could not 
supply such advantages, and having examined carefully 
the accounts, I concurred most cordially in the views of 
mj excellent colleague, Mr. Ellis, and I am here to-day 
to take whatever share of the responsibility may attach 
to me." 

On a subsequent occasion, Mr. Ellis remarked that 
when, by force of circumstances, it had devolved upon 
him to negotiate the arrangements with the Birmingham 
and Bristol Company, he had not the opportunities he 
could have desired of consulting his colleagues ; " but 
having since deliberated on the matter for weeks and 
months, he was more firmly convinced than ever of the 
wisdom of the step which had been taken, and which it 
would have been a dereliction of duty on his part to 
have neglected." 

We may add that at the time these negotiations were 
concluded, the two western lines were not earning so 
much as the Midland Company agreed to give for them, 
and in the first eighteen months there was a deficit of 
£27,500. Subsequently the accounts of the several lines 
were not kept separately, and therefore the loss or gain 
could not be exactly determined ; but by a special exam- 
ination it was ascertained that by the end of 1848 the 
Western lines had paid their way, or nearly so. From 
that time to the present the financial advantages of the 
amalgamation to the Midland Company have been un- 
doubted; to say nothing of the indirect benefits that 
have been derived from securing an unbroken uniformity 
of gauge in the midland districts of England. 


The Leicester and Swannington Railway. — The Leicesterhhire coal fields. 
— Coal below granite. — "Old George's" sagacity. — Metal tickets. — 
The first steam whistle. — West Bridge station, Leicester. — Amal- 
o-amation of Swannington line with Midland. — Proposed Erewash 
Valley Railway. — Line from Syston to Peterborough — The battle 
of Saxby Bridge. — "The Railway Mania." — Competition. — A 
rival line proposed from London to York. — Mr. Hudson's indig- 
nation. — " Unusual expedients." — Parliamentary battle. — Pro- 
posed line from Matlock to the Midland system. — Remarkable 
special general meeting. — Countless new projects. — Enthusiasm of 
the shareholders. — The South Midland and Leicester and Bedford 
schemes. — Animated meeting at Bedford. — Proposed lease of 
Leeds and Bradford line. — Protracted debate. 

The Leicester and Swannington, as we have already 
remarked, was the first railway made in the midland 
counties of England. While it was in course of con- 
struction, George Stephenson entered into an arrange- 
ment with Mr. Joseph Sanders, the " father " of the 
Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and Sir Joshua 
"Walmesley, for the purchase of a colliery estate at 
Snibston, near what is now the Coalville station, and not 
far from the extinct volcano of Bardon Hill. Here a 
shaft was sunk, and coal was got. Stephenson, however, 
arrived at the conclusion that, by going deeper, he 
should reach a better seam than any heretofore dis- 
covered in that district. He set to work accordingly. 
But suddenly, his sinkers, to their dismay, touched the 
granite. " Granite," every one said, " was the earliest 
of all the formations ; coal could never be below granite." 
"You're w^rong," replied old George, in homely words 
and Doric accent, but with the insight of genius, " you're 
wrong. When Bardon hill was on fire, the pot boiled 
over, and this granite is only the scum. It is no great 
thickness. We shall go through it, and find the best 
coal below." He was right. After proceeding down- 


instance, to the then Ashby Road station, " perhaps No. 
22 " would be issued to him, and the circumstance would 
be duly recorded by the clerk in a book kept for that 
purpose, the page of which resembled the "way-bills " of 
coaching days. When the passenger arrived at his desti- 
nation, the guard would place the ticket in a leathern 
pouch he carried at his side, which looked like a modern 
collecting box, and take them back to be used again. 

For six or eight months from the opening of the 
Leicester and Swannington line it was in the charge of 
Mr. George Yaughan, who was also manager of the 
Snibston collieries. Soon after the appointment of his 
successor, Mr. Ashlen Bagster, a locomotive, while cross- 
ing a level road near Thornton, ran against a horse and 
cart. At that time the drivers and guards of trains were 
able to give the signal of alarm only by means of a horn ; 
and when Mr. Bagster heard of the misadventure he went 
over to Alton Grange, and mentioned the circumstances 
to Stephenson. " Is it not possible," he suggested, " to 
have a whistle fitted on the engine, which the steam can 
blow?" "A very good thought," replied Stephenson. 
"You go to Mr. So-and-So, a musical-instrument maker, 
and get a model made, and we will have a steam whistle, 
and put it on the next engine that comes on the line." 
This was accordingly done. The model was sent to 
Newcastle ; and all future engines that arrived in Leices- 
tershire were thus equipped. 

It is interesting to visit the spot, by the broad canal 
and wharf, where once stood the only railway station in 
the midland counties of England. What are now the 
homely waiting room and entrance passage of the book- 
ing offices, was then the board-room in which the fifteen 
railway magnates met to deliberate on the affairs of 
a line sixteen miles in length — a director to a mile ; 
yet those men were then solving practical problems with 


astuteness and enterprise which has since enriched the 
land and benefited the world. 


The Leicester and Swannington line continued its in- 
dependent existence for some years, when rumours from 
various quarters of threatened schemes of competition 
made tlie Midland board anxious to consolidate tlieir 
position in the districts they occupied, A Leicester and 
Tamworth Company endeavoured to obtain possession of 
the Swannington ; but the Midland Company promptly 
concluded their negotiations, and bought the line. In 
this transaction the directors of the Swannington were 
not unwilling to give a preference to the Midhmd com- 
pany, which they regarded in the light of a natural ally. 
The dividend at one time had been about eight per cent.; 
but, latterly, in order to defray the expense of relaying 
the line, the shareholders had received only five. The 
Midland Company guaranteed a dividend of eight per 
cent, on a capital of £140,000, and consented to take 
over a debt of £10,000 : these terms not being higher 
than those proposed by other parties. 

On coming into possession of the Swannington line, 
the Midland Company found it necessary to make several 
important improvements. Near Bardon Hill the line ran 
up a steep " self-acting incline," along which passengers 


were required to trudge, whatever might be the incle- 
mency of the weather. Two sets of passenger trains and 
engines were kept in use, one on the higher and the other 
on the lower levels, and worked in correspondence with 
each other. But such an arrangement would no longer 
suffice, and a deviation of the railway was now ordered to 
be made, along which locomotives could freely pass. As, 
too, the old line was only a single line, and passed as such 
through a tunnel a mile long which could not easily be 
widened, it was resolved to construct another — a loop or 
deviation — line, which instead of starting from the West 
Bridge station, should commence at the Midland main 
line, about a mile south of the London Road station, and 
should join the old Swannington at some point north of 
the tunnel. The old West Bridge line would still be 
used, but could be relieved of much of its former traffic. 

The practical sagacity which had led to the consolida- 
tion into one property and under one administration of 
what had previously been a number of isolated if not 
rival interests, was now developed into a policy of exten- 
sion. In 1844, a company was formed for the purpose of 
constructing the long delayed Ere wash Valley line ; but 
in the following February, before the Act could be ob- 
tained, the Midland Company agreed to take up the 
project, the price being a minimum guarantee of six per 
cent, per annum on a capital not exceeding £145,000. 
The line, however, was not opened till 1847, and the 
traffic for some time afterwards was small — a circum- 
stance accounted for by the fact that a canal runs 
parallel with it for its entire length, and that the canal, 
unlike the railway, had no outlet to the north. The im- 
portance of making it a thoroughfare was however early 
recognised ; and when the amalgamation was effected, 
-Mr. Dicey drew attention to the fact that, by continuing 
the line northward, a saving^ of six miles would be 


effected hj trains tliat avoided tlie detour by Derby ; and 
a rich mineral district would also be opened up. He fur- 
ther contended that the Midland would thus secure the 
benefit of a through relief line for their main traffic 
to and from the north, similar to that enjoyed by the 
London and North Western by their Trent Valley scheme. 
The force of Mr. Dicey' s remarks would perhaps have been 
at once allowed ; but the minds of the directors were pre- 
occupied by extensions which they deemed essential in 
order to protect themselves from intended aggressions 
on their eastern frontier. 

One of these projects, immediately contemplated, was 
for a line to run from Syston, a station about five miles 
north of Leicester, to the city of Peterborough. It was 
laid out by George Stephenson, — its winding course 
being necessary to catch the towns and their tolls, to 
avoid the uplands and wolds of Leicestershire, and to 
prevent encroachment on Lord Harborough's park at 
Stapleford. " I have always held," said Mr. Hudson, in 
referring to this project, " that a line should bend to the 
population, and not leave the towns ; " and this line had 
to be bent, in order to satisfy these varied and inexorable 
conditions, to nearly half a circle, and then to run through 
the middle of Stamford to Peterborough." It was esti- 
mated to cost £700,000, or £15,000 a mile. The towns 
along its course pronounced in its favour ; and their in- 
terest in the matter is not surprising, when it is mentioned 
that during a then recent frost, the price of coals at Stam- 
ford had risen to forty shillings a ton, and that there had 
been a famine of fuel in the neighbourhood. The greatest 
hostility to the undertaking was, however, shown by the 
clientele of Lord Harborough ; and in one of the 
attempts made near Saxby to survey the line, a conflict 
took place, subsequently humorously entitled, " the 
battle of Saxby Bridge," which led to the incarceration 


of some of the surveyors in Leicester gaol some weeks 
as " first-class misdemeanants." 

But while the Midland Company board was thus con- 
templating measures for the consolidation and enlarge- 
ment of its influence, other minds were equally fertile in 
devising projects for new railways — some of which might 
invade the territory which hitherto the Midland Com- 
pany had regarded as its own. In 1843, twenty-four 
railway Acts had been passed by Parliament ; in 1844, 
thirty-seven more were added ; in 1845, the railway 
mania reached its height, and in that November no fewer 
than 1428 railway schemes had been authorised, or were 
projected — 1428 lines, with an estimated capital of more 
than £700,000,000! But amid the bubbles that came 
so swiftly to the surface of that strange and, in many 
respects, disastrous time, there were some solid and 
honest enterprises, one of which was destined decisively 
to tell on the fortunes of the Midland Railway. This 
was the London and York — a line intended to flank the 
Midland system from south to north, and to " tap " its 
traffic at almost every vital point. 

It is not surprising that such a project was resisted 
with no common determination. Mr. Hudson poured 
upon it vials of his hottest indignation, and he declared 
tliat if there had been added to the scheme " the humbug 
of the atmospheric principle, it would have been the most 
complete thing ever brought before the public." After 
referring to the heavy earthworks, the gradients, and 
tunnels of the proposed line, he declared that he had no 
hesitation in giving a challenge to leave London with 
twenty carriages by the London and Birmingham and 
]\Iidland railways, and that he would beat his rival at 
York ; " and more than that, he questioned whether, in 
foggy weather, they would ever get there at all." 

The London and North Western Company united with 


the Midland in resisting the proposed undertaking, and 
the legal battle that was waged proved to be one of the 
greatest of the kind in the annals of Parliament. Two 
competitive lines to the London and York — the Direct 
Northern and the Cambridge and Lincoln — were in the 
field. No fewer than twenty counsel appeared daily in 
the committee rooms ; and the Commons' Committee sat 
six days through the quieter part of two sessions of 
Parliament, the standing orders being suspended to 
enable them to complete so colossal an investigation. 
It was even alleged that Mr. Hudson adopted unusual 
expedients to obstruct the progress of legislation, so 
that the bill might not pass during that session. Lord 
Brougham, remarked the Morning Herald, "adverted to 
the manner in which money and time were consumed in 
the conflicting schemes before Parliament, and said 
that Mr. Hudson — Kino? Hudson — was workinof with a 
twelve-counsel power before the Committee on the Lon- 
don and York line. The object of Mr. Hudson was 
delay, in order that a report might not be made in the 
present session, and of course counsel would talk just as 
long as Mr. Hudson was disposed to spend money. He 
was, in f\ict, just as well pleased with a six or eight 
hours' speech from the counsel opposed to him, as with 
a speech of six hours from his own counsel. He hoped, 
however, that the committee would disappoint Mr. 
Hudson, by reporting during the present session." . 
Lord Faversham said that Mr. Hudson, who was pre- 
sent, and had heard Lord Brougham's speech — cries of 
"Order" — had authorised him to say that it was in- 
correct that he had interfered with the committee ; 
whereupon Lord Brougham observed, that " the only 
sovereign entitled to be present at their debate was Her 
Majesty. The railway potentate had no right to lie 


Mr. Hudson, however, availed himself of another 
opportunity to deny the charge ; and he stated that 
instead of employing" twelve counsel, there were only five 
who, during the progress of the London and York, at- 
tended on his behalf to watch the course of the business. 
" "When the Cambridofe and Lincoln came under the 
consideration of the committee," he said, " our counsel 
did not attend, because we did not feel ourselves in a 
position to oppose that Company. We therefore took 
no part whatever then in the proceedings. Then came 
on the Direct Northern, in which we were interested, and 
then our counsel did attend. To say that we were the 
means of obstructing the business of the committee, was 
a most unfair and unjust accusation, not only upon you 
but upon me individually." 

Meanwhile the two competitive schemes were merged 
into the London and York; and, as the proceedings 
drew to a close, the final decision was awaited with 
intense interest. The committee room was thronged. 
Amid breathless silence the chairman announced that 
the preamble of the bill (with the exception of the pro- 
posed Sheffield and Wakefield branches) was proved. 
Loud applause broke instantly and irresistibly forth, and 
then the audience rushed helter skelter out of the room 
to bear near and afar the tidings in which so many, for 
good or for ill, were deeply concerned. 

Mr. Hudson did not fail to avail himself of the earliest 
opportunity of again expressing his indignation at the 
injury and injustice that had been done to the interests 
of the Midland. " I should be unworthy," he exclaimed, 
" of the position I hold, and of the confidence with which 
you are pleased to honour me, if 1 were to shrink from 
telling you plainly the position in which this Company is 
placed by the proceedings of the House of Commons, in 
deciding a question in wliich we are so deeply interested, 


98 MR. Hudson's ixdigxatiox. 

without allowing us to adduce one tittle of evidence in 
the matter." He declared that " the committee had come 
to a decision on the main question, without knowing 
anything whatever of the matter submitted to their judg- 
ment. (Loud cries of ' Shame, shame.') The com- 
mittee retired to consider what reason they should give 
— I will not say what expedient they should devise — to 
sanction the opposition of the London and York Com- 
pany to the Doncaster bill ; and the reason they alleged 
was, that it was a competing line with the Wakefield^ 
branch of the London and York. How the ingenuity of 
man, how fruitful soever, could bring forward such an 
expedient, is to me most marvellous. 

" Shut out as we were from all opportunity of being 
heard, we thought the most dignified course — the 
course most befitting you and ourselves — would be to 
retire altogether from the committee, and to take no part 
in opposition to the clauses of the London and York bill, 
though I fear the public safety is deeply involved in 
passing our station at York, and in the interference with 
our traffic. We felt, however, that before such a com- 
mittee, we had no chance of being fairly treated, and 
therefore it was that we requested Mr. Austin, as ap- 
pearing for the Midland and the York and North Midland 
Companies, to state that as we could not be heard, we 
sliould at once retire from the committee and appeal to 
the House. (Boisterous applause.) Those who have 
heard Mr. Austin before parliamentary committees, and 
know how respectfully he expresses his views, will at 
once admit that nothing could be said by him unbecom- 
ing a gentleman ; and yet, no sooner had Mr. Austin 
opened his mouth, and merely uttered the words, ' we 
protest,' than the committee rushed from the room, and 
on their return announced that he could not be heard. 
(Hisses, and cries of ' Shame.') 

MR. Hudson's speech. 99 

" Thus, gentlemen, we have been shut out from a 
hearing before the committee ; but I look to the House 
for that justice whicli is the right of the humblest indivi- 
dual, — and certainly not less the right of those who have 
embarked nearly thirty millions of money in this and 
other undertakings which are affected — the justice of 
not having their claims thus summarily disposed of with- 
out even the courtesy of a hearing. (Loud applause.) 
I feel it difficult, as an Englishman, to restrain my feel- 
ings when speaking of such proceedings, but I have 
endeavoured not to exaggerate the facts ; and I leave to 
yourselves to give an opinion thereon. (Renewed ap- 
plause.) Such a decision cannot possibly stand, and I 
am satisfied that even those members of the House who 
are pleased with this triumph — if triumph it may be 
called — of the London and York, will, when the ques- 
tion is brought before the House, give their vote that at 
least we shall be heard. 

" Had an opportunity been allowed, we should have 
shown that while the London and York proposed to save 
by their new line about three quarters of a mile in dis- 
tance, we should have saved a million and a half of 
money, and given the public equal, if not greater facili- 
ties. Nothing, however, of this kind was permitted. 
With breathless haste the committee were resolved to 
pass the preamble of the bill — with breathless haste they 
are resolved to report upon it ; but I hope and believe 
that our appeal to the House will result in sending back 
the bill to the committee, so that its opponents may at 
least bring forward their case. If, after that examina- 
tion, our schemes are found defective, of course we must 
submit ; but it is one of the most cruel inflictions that 
could be imposed on the owners of so large a property, 
that our claims should be rejected unheard. (Hear, hear.) 
How can the decision of this committee stand if it be 


true, as rumourecl, tliat it was settled by two individuals, 
one member of the committee not voting at all, and ano- 
ther voting directly against it ! 

" Gentlemen, I have little more to say of the London 
and York scheme. On a previous occasion, some eight 
or ten months ago, I fully explained my views as to its 
merits, and that estimate has not only been tacitly 
admitted by the parties themselves, but has been almost 
literally borne out by the evidence adduced before the 
committee. (Hear, hear.) Gentlemen, on the principle 
that we have not been heard, we take our stand ; and it 
is the anxious wish of my colleagues and myself to 
fortify our position during the short interval ere the 
prorogation of Parliament by any means that may be 
pointed out. I am not an alarmist, nor in the habit of 
giving way to difficulties ; but on the other hand, whilst 
I would not encourage the notions of the over-sanguine, 
I believe that this Company is destined to maintain a 
high position, and that there is nothing either present or 
in prospect at all tending to interfere with its ultimate 
and permanent success. (Applause.) I have nothing to 
add. It may be that I have expressed myself somewhat 
too strongly — loud cries of ' No, no,' from the entire 
meeting — but I feel that we have been hardly dealt with 
— I feel that we have done nothing to forfeit our rights 
as Englishmen, and I trust that some means may yet be 
devised of not deciding against us unheard." (Much 

The Chairman resumed his seat amid " a hurricane of 
applause." The motion having been seconded, was 
carried unanimously. 

At this meeting, July 25th, 1845, it was mentioned 
that the merchandise and mineral receipts had increased 
at the rate of more than 27 per cent, on the corresponding 
lial^^ vear ; and that the directors had arranofed for the 


lease of the Birmingham and Grloucester, and Bristol and 
Gloucester Railways ; of the Leicester and Swannington 
Railway, and of the Ashby and Oakham Canals. The 
chairman also proposed that the Midland Company should 
join certain other companies in subscribing for a piece of 
plate to be presented to George Stephenson, and for a 
statue to be erected on the bridge at Newcastle — the 
quota of the Midland Company to be £2000. Mr. Ellis, 
the deputy chairman, said that though he was a member 
of the Society of Friends, he should, " with all his heart," 
second the motion. One shareholder demurred to the 
application to any such purpose of the shareholders' 
money, money he said, that belonged in part to " orphans 
and widows ; " whereupon the chairman declared that if 
any proprietor objected to the vote " his quota should be 
calculated, and he (the chairman) would repay the amount 
out of his own pocket ; " a remark, which, we are in- 
formed, drew forth " boisterous applause, which lasted 
for several minutes." 

Reference was made at this meeting to a line which 
had been proposed to connect the Midland system with 
Matlock, Buxton, and Manchester. Thirty coaches passed 
along that route every day through the summer months, 
and the visitors to Chatsworth alone amounted to 
sixty or seventy thousand a year. The Hon. George 
Cavendish was one of the earliest supporters of the pro- 
ject, and took in it 520 shares, which, he said, " I do not 
intend to sell." George Stephenson, too, at a meeting 
of the new company, stated that though he was 
about to retire from a profession in which he had 
spent a long and arduous life, he had come forward to 
support this line. He recollected well liow the York and 
North Midland had been forsaken notwithstanding his 
favourable predictions. He had bought shares in it for £1, 
on which £6 had been paid ; and he had had the satis- 


faction of holding these shares till he made £250 for 
every £50 he had laid out. The development of this 
Buxton and Manchester scheme, was naturally watched 
by the Midland Company with interest ; and in order to 
secure some measure of influence in controllins: its 
destinies the Midland board purchased nearly 10,000 
shares, and placed them in trust, and this number was 
subsequently largely increased. We may add that the 
London and North Western Company, because they did 
not want a line in this direction, pursued a similar 

The year 1846 was an important epoch in the history 
of the Midland Company. At the January meeting, the 
chairman announced varied projects of extension ; and in 
the following May he stated that the bills had passed the 
Commons, and had to be submitted for the sanction of the 
proprietors. It is true that the difficulties that had latterly 
arisen in the railway world had somewhat abated the 
ardour of railway enterprise, but the eloquence of the 
chairman and the ambition of the shareholders gave such 
enthusiasm to the scene, and reflected so remarkably the 
temper of the times, that we must dwell somewhat mi- 
initely upon it. We may premise that with the proxies 
that had been sent in, and the shares that were held by 
proprietors present, there was not less than £6,000,000 
of Midland capital represented in the meeting. 

The first bill was for a deviation of the Syston and 
Peterborough line. Its provisions were said to be 
necessary to meet some objections made by Lord Har- 
borough ; and it contained powers for the construction of 
a small deviation that would improve the communication 
with Stamford. The chairman admitted that some of the 
new projects might not be paying lines if they stood 
alone ; but that in hostile hands the}' would be sources of 
injury to the Midland Railway, while as parts of a 


great system tliey would be remunerative. The resolution 
was put, and agreed to unanimously. 

The next bill was to aathorise the construction of an 
extension of the Leicester and Swanuington Railway to 
Burton-on-Trent, there again to join the Midland. The 
cost would be £140,000. 

The next bill was for making a line from Burton-on- 
Trent to Nuneaton, with branches, and to authorise the 
Midland Company to purchase the Ashby-de-la-Zouch 
Canal, at a total cost of from £70,000 to £80,000. 
Mr. Franklin objected to proceeding with these schemes 
on the ground that the shareholders had already incurred 
sufficient responsibilities. Why not let other parties 
have a chance as well as themselves. (Hear, and laughter.) 
But the resolution was agreed to. 

The next bill related to the Ere wash Yalley line, sanc- 
tioned last year. It was to authorise the construction of 
branches to neighbouring coalfields, and also to the town 
of Chesterfield, and to Clay Cross, in order to shorten 
the distance between the south and the north. The 
estimate was £230,000; but the Chairman said that 
this bill could not be objected to, since the undertakings 
were likely to prove highly remunerative to the share- 
holders. Mr. Hudson assured Mr. Franklin that he was 
by no means desirous of monopolising any districts which 
if in other hands would be more advantageous to the 
public. But that objection did not apply to the case be- 
fore them ; for these lines would not remunerate an inde- 
])endent company, though they would pay the Midland. 
(Hear, hear.) A shareholder here suggested that these 
lines could not be made for their estimates, for that the 
price of labour and materials had considerably increased. 
But the chairman assured the honourable proprietor 
that he was mistaken. Both materials and labour were 
as cheap now as they were when he first joined the 


Midland, nay, in the case of sleepers which formerly cost 
7s. each, they now cost only 4s. 6d. (Hear, hear.) 
The resolution was then agreed to. 

The next bill was for powers to construct a branch 
from Nottingham to Mansfield, involving an expenditure 
of £270,000. The line would considerably shorten the 
distance between these places and the south of England. 
The resolution was agreed to. 

The next bill was to authorise the construction of a 
line from Clay Cross to join the Nottingham and Lincoln 
brancli, and it also was agreed to. 

The next bill was for making^ a lino from Swinton to 
Lincoln, to connect the West Ridinsf with Gainsborouo^h 
and Doncaster. 

Mr. Franklin : " AYhat is the estimate? " 

The Chairman : " £140,000." 

Mr. Franklin : *' This will never do. Our liabilities are 
already heavy enough without adding to them." 

The Chairman : " I am one of those who think the 
business of a railway cannot be carried on successfully 
on a small scale." 

Mr. Franklin : " So it seems." (Laughter.) 

Tlie resolution was agfreed to. 

The Chairman said, the next was a little bill to improve 
their communication with London and Birmingham, and 
Bristol and Gloucester, and Midland lines at Birmingham. 
The estimate was £80,000. 

Mv. Franklin : " There you go again." (Laughter.) 

The Chairman: '* AVell, the public experience con- 
siderable inconvenience from the want of this communi- 
cation, and could you remove it for a less sum ?" (No, 
no). The bill was approved of. 

The Chairman said, the next bill was for connecting 
the Birmingham and Gloucester line with the docks at 
Gloucester. Gloucester was a rising port, and the pro- 


posed improvements could be accomplished for £150,000. 
The bill was agreed to. 

The Chairman said the next bill was for making a 
branch from the Birmingham and Gloucester to the 
rising watering place of Malvern. The line was much 
wanted, and likely to prove highly remunerative. The 
estimate for it was £180,000. 

Mr. Thompson said there was only one coach running 
to Malvern. 

The Chairman said that was no criterion to go by, and 
they had an extraordinary proof of this in the Scar- 
borouQ-h line. Before that line was made there was onlv 
one coach, and it was therefore predicted that a railway 
would be a ruinous undertaking. What, however, had 
been the result ? The line was already paying 7 per cent. 
(Cheers.) The bill was approved of. 

The Chairman said that the next bill was for power to 
complete the narrow gauge down to Bristol, which could 
be accomplished for £100,000, including an extension of 
eight miles to Stonehouse. A passenger would then be 
able to travel from Edinburgh to Bristol without change 
of carriage. (Applause.) The bill was unanimously 
approved of. 

The Chairman said tlic next bill was for making a 
communication between Bath and Mangotsfield, and for 
the shortening of the communication between Gloucester 
and Bath. 

Mr. Frankhn. " You will only gain eight minutes by it. 
How many more irons are you going to put in the fire ? " 

Mr. Hudson could assure the honourable proprietor 
that he should be the last man to support a line on the 
ground of its saving a few minutes' time ; but although 
this line, in point of time, would only save a few minutes, 
it would afford great local accommodation, and open up 
to their main line vast coal and mineral fields. The bill 
was approved of. 


The Chairman said that the next bill was for carrying 
out the agreement for leasing the Bristol and Gloucester, 
and Birmingham and Grloucester lines. He was perfectly 
satisfied that in the end they would have no cause to 
regret their approval of this agreement. The bill was 
approved of. 

The Chairman said that the next was the Bedford 
and Northampton bill. The Huntingdon brancli bad al- 
ready passed tbrougb the committee of the House of 
Commons, and the South Midland would be brought on 
very shortly. They held £600,000 worth of stock in the 
scheme ; but if they thougbt proper they could dispose 
of it at a future period. In a similar manner he had 
induced some York shareholders to subscribe to the 
North Britisli Railwa}^, and cleared by it something like 
£25,000. (Cheers.) It was necessary that they should 
continue to have an interest in this undertaking. (Hear, 
liear.) It would give them another communication with 
London, independent of the one by way of Rugb}^, and 
enable them to have an entrance into the metropolis by 
the east as well as the ^est. (Hear, hear.) The bill 
was approved of. 

The Chairman said, the next bill was for a line to con- 
nect the Midland sj^stcm with Manchester, Buxton, and 
Matlock, which could be effected at a cost of £270,000. 
He had no doubt that the line would be found to be as 
good as any in this part of the country. (Hear, hear.) 

Mr. Wellington : " What will the cost per mile be ? " 

The Chairman said he was not in a position to give a 
positive answer to that question, but probably it would 
be about £30,000 per mile. The bill was approved 

The Chairman said that he had now to call their at- 
tention to three bills, prosecuted in conjunction with the 
London and Birmingham Company. The first was the 


"Worcester and Weedon, the second the Hampton and 
Banbury, and the thh'd was the Hampton and Ashchurch, 
These bills would, in a great measure, do away with the 
heavy expense attendant on the Lickey incline. 

Mr. Williams : "What amount do we subscribe?" 

The Chairman: " £000,000." 

Mr. Franklin: "There you go again." (Loud laughter). 

The Chairman said he had no doubt that if the pro- 
prietors were hereafter dissatisfied wdth this arrangement, 
the London and Birmingham Company would be glad to 
relieve them from their liability. (Hear, hear.) The di- 
rectors themselves felt that all these bills were left in 
their hands to be dealt with as they should think fit. 
after a careful and minute review of their objects ; and 
the meeting might depend upon it the best interests of 
the company was the lever which would guide their 
minds. (Hear, hear.) 

Mr. Ellis said the meeting might take his word for it 
these bills would prove of considerable service to them. 
The bill w^as agreed to. 

The Chairman said, the next bill was for making the 
Trent Valley Midland ; but he might state that a negotia- 
tion w^as going on which w^ould no doubt result in the 
withdrawal of this project. The amount subscribed to- 
wards this undertakino^ was £120,000. The bill was 
ao^recd to. 

The Chairman said he now came to the last bill on the 
list which was for makinof the Manchester and South- 
ampton line. He believed the country through which the 
line passed would furnish considerable traffic; but, as he 
said before, he was not there to pledge himself as to the 
future success of these bills, and he would abstain from 
going into the merits of the present one. He only 
asked the proprietary to leave the matter in the hands of 
the directors, and their interests would not be neglected. 

108 MG. HDDSOX. 

(Hear, hear.) The capital to be subscribed to it was 

Mr. Franklin said in giving his opposition to the last 
bill, he wished the directors to understand that he was 
actuated by no feeling of hostility towards them ; but he 
was induced to dissent from these measures by a sincere 
conviction that they were incurring too heavy liabilities. 
(Hear, hear.) They were now rendering themselves 
liable for between three and four millions of money; and 
he could not help thinking that they were overshooting 
their mark. (Laughter.) 

The Chairman again told the honourable proprietor 
that railway business could not be carried on with any 
chance of success, unless it were upon a large scale. It 
was true they would require some two or three millions 
to carry out these projects, but it must be remembered 
that they had a large surplus capital at their disposal. 
(Hear, hear.) The bill was agreed to. 

The position occupied by Mr. Hudson at this period 
was remarkable, and we may pause for a moment in our 
narrative to notice it. '' At the beginning of the railway 
system," said the Newcastle Chronicle many years after- 
wards, " we find him a modest draper, doing a quiet 
business in the cathedral city of York, with nothing to 
distinguish him from the rank and file of shopkeepers. 
Railways became the passion of the hour, and the York 
draper was bitten by the mania. Mr. Hudson risked all 
and was successful. Stimulated by success, he played 
again, again fortune proved propitious. His name be- 
came an authority on railway speculation, and the confi- 
dence reposed in him was unbounded. For a time the 
entire railway system of the north of England seemed 
under his control. What Herculean energy was in the 
man may bo gathered from a couple of days' work, under 
Mr. Hudson's direction. On the 2nd of May, 184G, the 


shareholders of the Midland Company gave their ap- 
proval to 26 bills which were immediately iutrodaced into 
Parliament. On Monday following, at ten o'clock, the 
York and North Midland sanctioned six bills, and 
affirmed various deeds and ag^reements affectino* the 
Manchester and Leeds, and Hull and Selby Companies. 
Fifteen minutes later he induced the Newcastle and 
Darlington Company to approve of seven bills and ac- 
companying agreements ; and at half-past ten took his 
seat as a controlling power at the board of the Newcastle 
and Berwick. In fine, during these two days, he obtained 
the approval of forty bills, involving the expenditure of 
about £10,000,000. For three years matters went bravely 
on ; each succeeding day being a witness of greater won- 
ders than its predecessor." We may add that some of 
those who were best acquainted with the activities in 
which Mr. Hudson was at that period engaged, are of 
opinion that scant justice was done to his work and to 
the motives by which he was actuated in the performance 
of it. 

An arran2:ement was made at the commencement of 
the year 1840, by which the shareholders of the Midland 
Railway have been allowed to travel without charge to all 
their meetings on showing their statements of accounts. 
It is an advantage which ought to be insisted upon by 
shareholders of all similar undertakings ; since it tends 
to secure larger meetings of the proprietors and a more 
intelligent interest in the vast properties under their con- 
trol. The fact that some boards of directors object to 
this arrangement, and like to keep their constituencies 
at a distance, should be of itself a sufficient reason for 
arousing the suspicions of shareholders, and for demand- 
ing that they have every facility for understanding the 
position of their own property. 

In the course of the year (1846) satisfcictory progress 


was made with the numerous undertakiuo^s of the Com- 
pany. The increase of traffic amounted during the first 
six nionths to £31,000 ; and the dividend on the ordinary 
shares was at the rate of 7 per cent, per annum. The 
stock of the Company in every department improved ; new 
lines were approaching- completion ; the Oakham Canal 
was purchased; the electric telegraph was established 
over the whole system ; and several bills obtained the 
sanction of Parliament. 

Some of the extensions proposed by the Midland Com- 
pany encountered strenuous resistance. Lines between 
Clay Cross and Newark, and between Nottingham ami 
Mansfield, were resisted by competitive schemes, brought 
forward by influential persons locally interested; and 
eventually it was thought good policy to buy off opposi- 
tion rather than to incur the risk and cost of a Parlia- 
mentary contest. The Boston, Newark, and Sheffield 
bill was thus withdrawn for a consideration of £50,000 
worth of Midland stock at par ; and the Nottingham and 
Mansfield project was similarly silenced by £-10,000 stock 
upon the same terms. The directors stated that they 
"considered this in every respect a desirable arrangement, 
as giving to these parties an interest in this Company ; 
and the directors trusted that their action would receive 
the approval of the meeting." 

At about this time the attention of the shareholders 
was first seriously directed to some new railway schemes 
that were in contemplation ; one of which came event- 
ually to exercise an important influence on the destinies 
of the Midland Company. This was a proposal for a new 
line to connect the Midland system with the metropolis. 
Many complaints had been made that the only access for 
Midland passengers to London was by the circuitous and 
uncertain route of Rugby — uncertain because the arrange- 
ments for the meeting of trains so frequently broke down. 


One gentleman, for instance, declared at a public meeting 
at Leicester, that he had three times in succession been 
detained three hours at Rugby ; and it was declared that 
many persons " hated the name of Rugby." 

Two new lines were now proposed, by the adoption of 
either of which it was believed that seventy miles' distance 
would be saved, delays would be avoided, and lower fares 
would be secured. One of these projects was named the 
South Midland, the other the Leicester and Bedford 
Railway. The latter was intended to remain an indepen- 
dent company, but to form a link of connection between the 
two great rival companies, joining the London and York 
line at Hitchen and the Midland at Leicester. Its direc- 
tors accordingly placed themselves in communication 
with the London and York board, who " offered," they 
said, "their most friendly support and cordial assistance." 
They intended also to place themselves in alliance with 
the Midland Company ; but found that they were " not 
received with the cordiality they had been led to expect." 
They stated that they desired a friendly understanding 
with the Midland Company in order to pass over their 
line from Leicester ; and with the London and York to 
carry the traffic on to London ; that the Leicester and 
Bedford Company were willing to enter into arrange- 
ments with the Midland, so as to give to that company 
an interest in it equal to that assigned to the London 
and York ; and that they wished to act impartially to 
both companies. 

Of course, such a project and such a policy, which 
would occupy with a new and entirely independent rail- 
way the whole district between the Midland system 
and the metropolis, was not likely to commend itself to 
both authorities ; and they turned aside from these over- 
tures to encourage the solicitations of other parties who 
were wishino: to run a line in the same direction, and who 


were at the same time anxious to be brought into entire 
harmony with the Midland Company. This was the 
South Midland scheme, with a proposed capital of 
£2,000,000, to which in the first instance both offered to 
contribute £600,000 ; but which eventually they adopted 
as their own, undertook to carry out, and for which they 
indemnified the projectors for the expenses they had 
incurred. Meanwhile the two new rival undertakings 
appealed to the public for support, and waged dire war- 
fare with each other. As an illustration of the spirit in 
which this controversy was carried on, we may mention 
that a meeting of the representatives of the various 
interests was held at the Swan Inn, at Bedford, Sep- 
tember 4th, 1846; and the scene was all the livelier 
because the precaution of appointing a chairman was 
neglected. In reply to some animadversions of Mr. 
Whitbread, Mr. Macaulay, one of the solicitors of the 
Midland Company, admitted that their intention had 
been to carry their line at first only as far as Bedford ; 
but he asserted that this was merely in order that they 
might see what railways south of that town would be 
granted by the legislature, and that then they would run 
on by the most direct line to London. " We stated," he 
said, " over and over again, that we never intended to 
stop at Bedford, but to go on by the best line sanctioned 
by Parliament." " I have no hesitation in saying," re. 
plied Mr. Whitbread, " that I believe the sole object of 
Mr. Hudson and his friends in taking up the South 
Midland scheme, was to floor the Leicester and Bedford, 
and that they never honestly meant to make a line at all ; 
but were quite content to be floored themselves, so long 
as the other line was floored also. I believe the Leicester 
and Bedford to be as honest a line as any before Parlia- 
ment, and I am anxious to see such a line through 


*' No gentlouiaii lias a right," returnud Mr. Macaulay, 
"to misconstrue and distort the motives of another; 
and the only way I can answer the nuwarrantable charge 
just made is by a Hat denial, whicli 1 unhesitatingly 
now give." 

A lengthened conversation continued in the same ani- 
mated strain. Mr. Whitbread declared that the Leicester 
and Bedford scheme was in existence long before the 
South Midland, and that the latter was only brought out 
to floor it ; and Mr. Macaulay repeated his denial. One 
gentleman stated that the engineer admitted before the 
House of Commons that it was not intended by the South 
Midland to go to Hitchen ; but that, when the bill came 
before the House of Lords, the policy of its supporters 
had been changed. " They felt," he said, " that they 
had a rotten case, and altered their tack." Another 
gentleman referred to the London and North Western 
Railway Company's line as the " Bletchley old lady"; 
and a third declared that it was fit only " to take the 
charity children to Bedford, and bring them back again." 
" We want," he said, " a direct line to London ; and I 
implore the Bedford people to see which is the best line, 
to adopt it, and not to be any more humbugged and 
sacrificed by a few people who call themselves leading 

On the following day a meeting was held on behalf 
of the Leicester and Bedford Company, at the London 
Tavern. A correspondence was read between ]\[r. S. 
Franklin and Mr. Hudson ; in which the former proposed 
that the IMidland Company should purchase the Leicester 
and Bedford Railway at the terms given by them for 
the South Midland shares, equal to about 30.s\ a share 
for the Leicester and Bedford. Mr. Hudson, in reply, 
had suggested the appointment of a committee to confer 
with him. The meeting was held ; but no decision was 



arrived at. In the following month, however, it was 
announced that Mr. Hudson, Mr. AVhitbread, and Captain 
Laws (the latter gentlemen representing the London and 
York Company), had met at Derby, and that they had 
arranged tliat the Leicester and Bedford line should bo 
transferred to the Midland Company ; that the remainder 
of the deposits should be handed over to the Midland 
Company, in return for which the holders should receive 
22s. worth of Midland stock, for each share ; and that the 
Midland Company should obtain the Act, pay all expenses, 
and make the line in two years. 

In July of this year (1846) a special meeting was held, 
to consider a proposal to lease the Leeds and Bradford 
Railway for 999 years, at a rent of 10 per cent, per 
annum, on £900,000. The line was at that time un- 
finished ; and it was estimated by Mr. Hudson that some 
£300,000 additional would be required to complete it. 
The proposal of the Midland Company's board to enter 
on this lease had already encountered opposition ; and 
the Chairman therefore thought it necessary to defend, at 
some length, the policy of the board. As he was himself 
a shareholder of the line which it was proposed to lease, 
some hints had been thrown out that in this, and also in 
other negotiations, he had not been insensible to his 
private interests. 

"In the first place," he said, "I must give a broad 
denial to the assertion that I have purchased or sold 
a single share since this line came under our consider- 
ation. It has been my good or bad fortune to be the 
purchaser of many railways ; and I might frequently 
have taken advantage of my position and knowledge 
to go into the market and lay out large suras of money 
with great benefit to myself; but I here publicly declare 
that I have never done so, and I call upon any person 
who can prove anything to the contrary to come forward 

MR. Hudson's explanation. 115 

and do it at once. (Applause.) I liave never in one 
instance purchased a single share till the whole matter 
was before the public by advertisements, calling a 
meeting or otherwise ; nor have I ever in any way taken 
advantage of the favourable position I hold over any 
other proprietor. In the Bristol and Birmingham line I 
never held a single share, nor do I hold a single share 
now. I did not hold a single share in the Brandling 
Junction ; nor do I hold shares in the Leicester and 
Swannington; nor do I hold shares in the Hull and 
Selby. I did not hold shares till after the purchase in 
the Great North of England, nor in the Newcastle and 
Darlington. I never made a single penny by any of 
these purchases. 

" Well, gentlemen, having cleared myself from that 
imputation. (A voice : You have not.) Well then, gen- 
tlemen, I will sit down, and give the honourable pro- 
prietor who says I have not, an opportunity of stating 
anything to the contrary. I am a public man, the pro- 
perty of the public, and I need hardly assure you I have 
a great desire to maintain that position which entitles me 
to the public confidence. The amount of responsibility 
which rests upon me in connection with this Companj^ is 
so great that I am satisfied if anything can be urged 
against me derogatory to my character, it would be 
a most unfortunate thing for the proprietors, for whose 
interests I have to act." 

The Chairman here resumed his seat; but at the 
request of the meeting he rose again, and proceeded with 
his address. 

" Well, then, we come now to the consideration of the 
question, whether it is prudent for this Company to lease 
this railway or not upon the terms proposed. In asking 
that this Company should lease this line at 10 per cent., 
I am not proposing anything which is unprecedented. 


Ill the case of one of the Lancashire lines, they have 
leased a Yorkshire line at 10 per cent. ; the Great North 
of England have leased the Newcastle and Darlington at 
10 per cent. ; so that I am not introducing to you a line 
to be leased at an undue rate of interest. Why, just 
consider : you yourselves this day are receiving as much 
as 9J per cent, on your mone}'. (Xo, no.) But you are ; 
you have only paid £88 upon your shares." (A voice : 
You have no right to say that). 

The Chairman : " I am stating nothing but facts. 
The ]\Iidland proprietors are receiving 9y per cent, on 
their money, and have still the privilege of participating 
in future creations. 

" For my own part, gentlemen, I am perfectly satis- 
fied that the line will yield a very large income and per- 
centage even upon the price that is now })ut upon it, and 
if you will allow me to take it as an individual, I am 
quite satisfied I should make a large income over and 
above the sum which you are about to pay for it." 

An animated discussion followed. Mr. John Ellis, as 
" entirely a friend of the Midland Company," urged that 
" it was essential to the prosperity of the Midland that 
they should C()inj)lete this purchase. The line was ne- 
cessary for their protection, and if it fell into the hands 
of a company now in existence, which the Chairman 
would not name, but which was the London and York, 
where would the Midland Company be then? Away 
would go half their traffic from London to Glasgow and 
the north." 

Mr. Brancker, of Liverpool, contended that the im- 
portant proposal now submitted to the meeting had been 
insufficientl}^ announced ; that the shareholders had been 
taken by surprise ; that numbers of those present had 
not heard a whisper of the intended lease, until they were 
on the road to, or after they arrived at, the meeting ; 


that some less burdensome conditions should devolve 
upon the Midland Company ; and that he should there- 
fore move as an amendment that the special meeting be 
postponed for two months. This amendment was se- 

Another proprietor wished the meeting to bear in mind 
that there were but few railways in the country that 
could pay 10 per cent, at the beginning; but the Chair- 
man replied that there were several such instances, and 
he cited the Trent Valley as an example. Mr. John 
Rand, of Bradford, urged that the immediate question 
before the meeting was, whether the lease was advisable 
for the Midland Company or not. He did not imagine 
for a moment that the Leeds and Bradford Company 
would wait for two months ; and he declared that it 
would be suicidal for the Midland Company to support 
the amendment. The chairman again stated his views, 
and unsuccessfully urged Mr. Brancker to withdraw his 
amendment. Mr. Hudson added that if .there were a 
considerable minority against the lease, he should at 
once withdraw it. The amendment was then put, and 
lost by a large majority, only twenty-eight hands being 
lield up in favour of it. The original resolution was 
then put, and only six hands were held up against it. 
We may add that it was announced at this meeting that 
the Sheffield and Rotherham line was now yielding a 
larger return than the rent; that the wages of the 
Company's servants had been increased ; and that the 
maintenance of the permanent way south of Derby had 
been let by public tender at a price which would effect a 
saving to the Company of nearly £6000 a year. 


Numerous extensions projected. — The zenith. — Opening of the Syston 
and Peterborough line. — Rumours of Mr. Hudson's resignation. — 
Death of Mr. George Stephenson. — Abstraction of traffic. — 
Relations with other companies. — Committee of directors. — 
^Mutterings of a storm. — Mr. Hudson's resignation. — Committee 
of investigation. — Accountant's report. — Engineer's report. — 
Proposed reorganization of board. — Mr. Robert Stephenson's 
report. — Report of committee. — Opposition to the report. — Poor 
dividend. — Opening of further portion of Great Northern. — 
Dividend of sixteen shillings for half year. — Access to Worcester 
obtained. — Arrangement about Leeds and Bradford line. — The 
Great Exhibition. — Audit committee appointed. — Proposals for 
getting neai'er to London. — Arrangements with " Little " North 
Western Company. — Commutation of payment to Leeds and 
Bradford proprietors. — Manchester, JJuxton, ^Matlock, and Mid- 
land Junction. — Dispute between Midland and Great Northern. — 
Heavy Hoods. — Leicester and Hitchen line proposed. — Proposals 
of amalgamation of Midland with London and North Western and 
Great Northern. — Negotiations between the companies. — Special 
meeting of proprietors. — Union with London and North Western 
sanctioned. — Select committee of House of Commons report 
against amalgamation of large companies. — Project abandoned. — 
A period of rest. — Line from Gloucester to Stonehouse. — Loss of 
passenger traftic. — Licrease of goods. — Resignation of ^Ir. Ellis. — 
Appointment and death of Mr. Paget. — Re-appointment of Mr. 
Ellis. — Continuation of P^rewash line to Clay Cross. — Gloucester 
and Cheltenham tramway. — Seven per cent, dividend. — Exten- 
sions. — Purchase of Dursley branch. 

TiiE period from 1847 to 1854 -witnessed first the rise, 
then the ciihnination, and next, for a time, the dechne 
of the prosperity of the Midhxnd Railway. The con- 
fidence that "was cherished by the directors and pro- 
prietors may be illustrated by the fact that on the 6tli of 
]\Iarch, 1847, no fewer than thirteen bills were submitted 
for approval, and that, as the records of the period re- 
mark with sullicient succinctness, they were " unanimously 
sanctioned ; after which the Chairman adverted to them 
in the whole, saying, they had now given their sanction 
to 251 miles of railway, the estimated expense of which 
would be cC4,GS0,U00, — a large sum; but the directors in 


consideration of the interests of the shareholders, could 
not have omitted any of the proposed works." 

At the autumnal meeting, Aug. 12th, 1847, great 
progress was still reported in the afiairs of the Company. 
The dividend, after j^aying the amount of £-47,384 upon 
the guaranteed 6 per cent, stock and shares of the Bir- 
mingham and Bristol, was at the rate of 7 per cent. ; 
and the gross receipts were not much less than £500,000. 
The stations at Chesterfield, Woodhouse Mill, Clay Cross, 
Stretton, Belper, and Gloucester, had been enlarged ; an 
extensive wharf at Saltley had been built ; and the 
AVesterleio^h branch of the Bristol and Birmino-ham had 
been made into a locomotive line. A bridge under the 
main line at Tamworth for the Trent Yalley line had 
been completed ; a new passenger station at Nottingham 
was in course of construction ; passenger and engine 
sheds were being built at Leeds ; and the Leicester 
station was beingr enlaro^ed. A short branch line to the 
canal and stone quarries at Little Eaton, near Derby, 
was about to be commenced; and the electric telegraj^h 
was beinof extended from Birmins^ham to Gloucester. 

Prosperity to the Midland Company was now reaching 
its zenith. At the eighth half-yearly meeting, held on 
the 12th of February, 1848, a dividend at the rate of 
7 per cent, was again declared. The gross receipts had 
risen to £586,034. There was activity in all directions. 
Additional repairing shops were being built at Derby. 
Accommodation was being furnished for the corn trafhc 
at Lincoln, Leicester, Loughborough, and elsewhere. 
Gasworks were being erected at Newark, Syston, and 
Melton. The new Nottingham station was approaching 
completion, and progress had been made with that at 
Leeds. The line from Nottingham to Mansfield was 
proceeding. The Syston and Peterborough was nearly 
readv. The works on the Leicester and Swanninfrton 



would shortly be finished ; and the extension through 
Ashby to Burton-on-Trent was being carried forward. 
And as the last of the old contracts for the maintenance 
of the way would expire in the following July, it was 
now resolved to set apart £20,000 annually, to provide 
for future renewal ^j. 

;~ftr.&L<s-. ^^. 

'^'^n^f^'^ " 


A comparison of the rolHng stock of the Company at 

three different but tlien recent dates will show how rapid 

had been the development of affairs. Each estimate was 

taken on the 31st of December. 

Engines and tenders .... 05 . 

Carriages 282 

Horse boxes and carriage trucks 9o . 

Breaks and parcel vans . . . .56 

Waggons Vir.G . . 23SG 

At this meeting tlie Chairman appeared before liis 
constituents in high spirits. He reminded them tliat 
he had previously predicted that the probable revenue 
for the half-year would be £GUO,000, and that his an- 
ticipations had been fulfilled ; he stated that, with regard 

18 16. 



. IG-l 


. 578 


. 2-25 


. 167 


. 5886 


to tlio dividend, " every sixpence of interest that could 
be fairly charged to tlie revenue account had been so 
charged; " and he mentioned, as an evidence of the im- 
proved power of their engines, that an express had on 
that morning run to the North, with newspapers con- 
taining the budget of the year, at the rate of fifty-four 
miles an hour, a speed, he added, which he believed had 
never been exceeded on the narrow o;aug:e. 

The earlier half of the year 1848 was not free from 
difficulty ; but the gross receipts surpassed those of the 
corresponding half-year by upwards of £22,000, and a 
dividend was earned at the rate of 6 per cent, per annum. 
The Syston and Peterborough was opened on the 1st of 
May, the delay having arisen from the inclemency of the 
weather, and from the inability of some of the contrac- 
tors to complete their portion of the works : these the 
Company had to take into their own hands. Meanwhile 
arrangements had been made for junctions between the 
Midland system and the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lin- 
colnshire line at Beighton ; with the North Staffordshire 
at Burton-on-Trent ; with the South Staffordshire at 
Alrewas ; and with the Oxford, Worcester, and Wolver- 
hampton, at Abbott's Wood and Stoke. Powers were 
also obtained from Parliament for an extension seven 
miles in leng^th from Gloucester to Stonchouse, uniting 
the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway with the Bristol 
and Gloucester, rendering unnecessary the break of 
gauge at Gloucester, and securing a continuous narrow 
gauge from Birmingham to Bristol. 

At the August meeting a shareholder inquired if the 
report was true that Mr. Hudson was about to leave the 
Midland Railway. Tlie Chairman replied that he could 
assure the honourable proprietor that he had "no inten- 
tion whatever of doing so. He would say further, that 
so long as he had health and strength and enjoyed the 


confidence of the proprietors, and until he felt that he 
could no longer preside over their affairs to the advantage 
of the Company, nothing on earth should induce him to 
leave the Company." 

Before the meeting concluded, Mr. Hudson made re- 
ference to the death of Mr. George Stephenson, who 
hitherto had almost always been present to witness their 
proceedings. " History," he said, " would record his 
name as that of a great and distinguished man." 

The next ordinary meeting of the proprietors was held 
on the 7th of September, 1848, in one of the large engine 
houses attached to the Derby station. It was announced 
that there had been an increase from goods' traffic during 
the half-year of £47,300 ; but that in passengers there 
had been an abstraction of traffic in consequence of the 
opening of part of the main and loop lines of the Great 
Northern, and the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincobishire 
Railways ; but as the falling off had been general over 
the system, it was hoped that it might be attributed to 
general causes which improved trade would rectify. 

Various negotiations were now completed for improv- 
ing the relations of the Midland with neighbouring com- 
panies. The directors agreed to find the plant and to 
work the Ambergate, Matlock, and Buxton line, between 
Ambergate and Rowsley. The North Staffordshire Com- 
pany entered into treaty for the use of the Midland 
stations at Derby and Burton-on-Trent. It was ar- 
ranged that Midland trains should run over the South 
Yorkshire line between Swinton and Doncaster. An 
agreement was entered into with the Little North 
Western Company for the use of the Midland station at 
Skipton ; and traffic arrangements were also made be- 
tween the Midland and London and North AVestern 
Companies, which it was believed would be mutually 
advantageous. It was announced that for the future 


their management would be conducted by sub-committees 
of the directors, which would watch over the several 
departments of traffic, locomotion, permanent way and 
works, and finance. 

We are now gradually approaching a new era in the 
history of the Midland Company. Its career since the 
first amalgamation had been marked by almost steadily 
increasing prosperity : times of anxiety were now drawing 
on. The first mutterings of the storm were heard from 
the North, when, on the 28th October, 1848, at a meeting 
of Liverpool proprietors, the conduct of the directors was 
severely criticised. A full explanation of affairs had, 
however, been promised by the board, and under these 
circumstances, they must await its publication. 

At the February meeting, 1849, however, complaints 
were made of a want of fulness in the published ac- 
counts ; and eventually the Chairman consented that 
the item of £36,000 for parliamentary expenses charged 
against capital should, if the proprietors wished it, be 
placed against revenue. A shareholder alleged that the 
coal business of the company was carried on at very 
insufficient profit ; but to this it was replied by Mr. Ellis, 
that it was even more profitable than the passenger 
traffic. Mr. Hudson, with some warmth, defended the 
course he had pursued ; stated that he held from £16,000 
to £17,000 worth of stock in the line, which was about 
as much as when first he joined it ; and concluded by 
asking what motive but to serve the proprietary could he 
have in " leaving his home, filled with friends, to travel 
all night in order to wait upon them that day ? " His 
remarks were heartily received by his audience, and a 
vote of confidence in the directors was carried amid 
" tumultuous applause." 

But two months afterwards, on the 19th of April, 1849, 
an extraordinary general meeting was held at Derby, to 


decide as to the nomination of a committee of inquiry. 
The room was densely crowded. Mr. John Ellis, M.P., 
presided, and read a letter from Mr. Hudson. It stated, 
that, during his chairmanship of the Midland Company, 
he had been identified with the York and North Midland, 
and the York, Newcastle and Berwick Companies, all of 
which hitherto had had a common interest ; but that now 
that the Great Northern Railway had been sanctioned, 
and new relations were arising, and new alliances were 
contemplated, he thonght it would be more satisfactory 
to the shareholders of the ^lidland Company that he should 
resign his office. j\Ir. Ellis added that this was also a 
resignation by Mr. Hudson of his position on the direction. 
When they met last in tliat room, on the loth of 
February, Mr. Ellis continued, some gentlemen from 
Liverpool proposed the appointment of a committee of 
inquiry into the administration and accounts of the 
Company. The directors then thought it right to oppose 
tliat resolution, and they were supported by the pro- 
prietors. A very few days, however, had passed, when 
circumstances came to their knowledge which led the 
board to see that it would be advisable for the share- 
holders to look for themselves into the position of aifairs. 
They could not but be seriously affected when the Great 
Northern E ail way was completed. For his own part, 
he considered that the best way to recoup any losses they 
might thus sustain, was by a more intimate alliance with 
the London and North Western Company ; and as he was 
on the North Western direction, he was, he thought, 
in the best position for coming to a conclusion on that 
subject. " I can see no way," he said, *' in which the 
two Companies can injure, and many ways in which they 
can serve each other; and 1 do not hesitate to give my 
opinion that the London and Noi-th Western is the 
natural allv of the Midland." 


Mr. AYylie, of Liverpool, then rose to move a resolu- 
tion appointing a committee of investigation to examine 
into the management and affairs of the Company, 
" with full powers to call for all books, papers, accounts, 
and documents, and to take such other steps as they 
may deem advisable," and to report to the shareholders 
at an adjourned meeting. After stating some of the cir- 
cumstances that had led to this proposal, he added, 
" Yesterday we had an interview with the directors ; and 
I am happy to say they met us as frankly as we went to 
them, and the committee we propose has the perfect 
confidence of the board." 

The report of the committee of investigation is dated 
August 15th, 1849. Professional accountants had ex- 
amined the books of the Company. They stated that 
*' the accounts published and laid before the proprietors 
from time to time, although not sufficiently comprehen- 
sive, yet, in respect of the matter they did contain, are 
in due accordance with the authentic books of the Com- 
pany." Proper attention, however, had not always been 
paid to the vital question, not at that time clearly under- 
stood, of the distinctions to be maintained between 
revenue and capital. For instance, since the amalgama- 
tion, thirty-six miles of the Midland Counties line, part 
of the Sheffield and Rotherham, and thirty-five miles of 
the Birminofham and Gloucester had been relaid at a cost 
to capital of more that £900,000, which was " strictly 
chargeable to revenue." The accountants at the same 
time laid it down as a principle that revenue ought to 
l)ear only the " expense incurred in a bare renewal of a 
worn-out road," and that substantial improvements 
might be paid for by capital. The committee had re- 
quested Mr. W. H. Barlow, the resident engineer, to state 
precisely what had been done with this £915,997. He 
reported that in his judgment the appropriation to 


capital of the whole, or nearly the whole amount was 
correct. He stated that heavier rails had been substi- 
tuted, because heavier engines were now run ; that the 
stations had been enlarged ; that the main-lines rail 
had been used for additional sidings and branch lines, 
where they were as valuable as new rails ; that the 
maintenance of the permanent way would hereafter be 
less expensive ; that 3000 tons of rails had been used in 
making points and crossings for new works; and that 
1000 tons of new rails had been sent to the Leeds and 
Bradford line. He argued, therefore, that the whole 
outlay was thus for '' the permanent benefit of the line. 
The shareholders might contend with justice that 
revenue is not chargeable with more than the working 
expenses, repairs, and depreciations of the year, and that 
they were not bound to expend money to give an im- 
proved future value to the undertaking." And the 
committee expressed themselves satisfied with Mr. Bar- 
low's explanation. 

The report suiXLTOsted important changes in the direc- 
tion ; and especially the immediate selection of some new 
directors " either in addition to, or in substitution of aii 
equal number of the present board." The committee 
mentioned that several proposals had been made with 
regard to the constitution of the board by the appoint- 
ment of a stipendiary chairman, who should give his 
whole time to the Company ; or that there should be a 
chairman and two or three other directors paid to devote 
their whole time to the service of the Company ; or that 
the number of the directors should lie increased. 

In reply to tlie proposal to appoint a stipendiary chair- 
man it was contended that such an officer " might 
arrogate to himself more authority than the rest of tlie 
board chose to submit to, and thereby create disunion ; 
or it might be, on the other hand, the rest of the board 


might tliink him entitled to have much of his own way." 
Similar criticisms might be offered on a scheme by which 
two or three of the directors should devote their whole 
time to the Company. " As to the third plan," said the 
committee of investigation, " that of increasing the 
directors to twenty, with the same allowance as at pre- 
sent, there are none of the objections to which the other 
two are liable. The number being greater would afford 
the chance of there being in it more men well qualified 
for the appointment, and the expense would be no 
greater to the Company. The great object," they 
added, "is to appoint capable men, whose position and 
character are a guarantee for their integrity, and who at 
the same time are willing to appropriate a due portion 
of their time to the proper and effective management of 
the affairs of the Company." 

In regard to the rolling stock the accountants had 
stated that a deterioration of the value of the locomotives 
had taken place to the amount of not less than £100,000, 
and in carriaQ^e and waggon stock of more than £70,000. 

Mr. Robert Stephenson, however, who had been re- 
quested to report on this subject, rebutted these calcu- 
lations with great minuteness, and then adds : " The 
accountants appear to me to treat the value of the 
railways and stock as if the concern were about to be 
broken up and sold for what it would fetch. The 
question appears to me rather to resolve itself into this : 
Is the productive power of the concern increased or de- 
creased? The permanent way has been made more sub- 
stantial. The eno^ine stock has been made more efficient 
and economical, and the stock of carriages has not onty 
been extended, but in some cases improved in value ; in a 
word, from the commencement, the Midland lines and 
stock have unquestionably, as a producing machine, been 
improved in value, which leads me to the opinion 



that tlie amounts which have been hitherto carried to 
capital, have been legitimately so placed." 

The committee of investigation then report with tedious 
minuteness upon the arrangements that had been made 
by the board in regard to the Leeds and Bradford, and 
the Erewash lines ; but into these details we need not 
follow them. Concerning the Erewash, they justly re- 
marked that, " from the exceeding richness of the valley 
in minerals, as well as from the extensive ironworks of 
the Butterley Company being situated on or near the 
line, your committee think that in a few years it is 
likely that this line will be remunerative in itself, as well 
as become a most valuable feeder to the main line." 

The adoption of this report was opposed by Mr. Wylie. 
He declared that " a more incomplete and inconclusive 
document he had never seen ; " that it was " a report of 
opinion and not of fact, of apology and not of sub- 
stance." He also demurred to the value set upon the 
Leeds and Bradford line. An animated discussion fol- 
lowed, and eventually Mr. "VYylie admitted that he 
" approved of the conduct of the committee generally, 
but complained of the incompleteness of the report." The 
Chairman gave some additional information, and promised 
to furnish any returns which might be found in the 
office ; the amendment was withdrawn, and the original 
resolution carried unanimously. The Chairman added 
that he must take his fair share of any blame that 
attached to the adoption by the Midland Company of 
the Leeds and Bradford line; but he informed the 
meeting that the Manchester and Leeds had offered as 
much as or more for the line than the Midland had given. 

The half-yearly meeting took place on the 27th of Feb- 
ruary, 1850, and between 500 and 600 shareholders were 
present. The proceeding occupied six hours. The 
total receipts for the half year amounted to more than 


£600,000, being, however, a decrease of nearly £20,000 
on the corresponding period of 1848. Out of this large 
sum the balance available for dividend was little more than 
£100,000, which would justify a dividend of only twenty- 
five shillings for the half-year upon the open stock. 
A line from Leicester to join the Swannington at Desford 
had been opened in the previous August, and one from 
Kirkby to Mansfield in October, 1849. Various sug- 
gestions were made for the reduction of expense, for the 
promotion of friendly co-operation with other companies, 
for the diminution of excessive parochial rates, and for 
the improvement of the dividends of the Company. It 
was mentioned that the railways of this country tra- 
versed 3000 parishes, that the rates levied in these parishes 
amounted to £800,000, and that of this amount the rail- 
ways had to pay £250,000, though they never brought 
a pauper to a parish, or caused a shilling of expense. At 
this meeting Mr. Wylie, in a speech of nearly two 
hours' length, stated that he represented 1200 share- 
holders in and about Liverpool, who held shares to the 
amount of £1,623,000, but which were now worth only 
£524,000 in the market. Their leases and guarantees, 
he said, had shorn them of their strength. He con- 
tended for a reconstruction of the board. His motion, 
however, was defeated. 

In the early part of the year 1850 a further portion 
of the Great Northern line was opened for traffic; the two 
companies charging equal fares to all places to which both 
ran. But so serious was the shock to the finances of the 
Midland that, at the autumnal meeting, August 23rd, 
1850, the dividend was only sixteen shillings on the con- 
solidated stock, the value of which had sunk from 
£100 to £32 and £33. The board consoled then* con- 
stituency with the announcement that arrangements had 
been made with the York and North Midland and other 


companies for a joint use of the Leeds station ; that 
the Oxford, Worcester, and "Wolverhampton board had 
agreed that, when their line was opened, the Midland Com- 
pany should run over it into Worcester, instead of, as 
hitherto, landing passengers and goods at Spetchley to 
be forwarded four miles by omnibuses and wagons ; and 
that it was hoped that little additional capital would be 
needed. The Midland Company had 500 miles of railway, 
and all that remained incomplete was a small portion of 
the Erewash Valley branch, and the "lift" at Birming- 
ham, for which £50,000 had been voted, both of which 
would be finished in about six weeks. Every yard that 
they intended to make would then be at work. At this 
meeting a suggestion was made that, with a view to 
economy, lighter engines should be used for some of the 
work of the line; but it was replied that such an 
arrangement would be inapplicable to the Midland traffic, 
which was of a heavy mixed description ; indeed nineteen 
of the engines they possessed were not strong enough for 
the work. Tt was also mentioned that it was not intended 
to appoint a general manager, as the existing arrange- 
ment was satisfactory; and that an experiment of having 
low fares for short distances had succeeded so well, on 
what miofht be called the " omnibus traffic " of the 
Rotherham line, that it would be attempted in other 
places. It was decided that a statement of the salanes 
of officers who received more than £100 a year should 
be submitted at each half-yearly meeting; but this regu- 
lation was subsequently, on an appeal from the chairman, 

Before the proceedings closed a debate again arose with 
regard to the Leeds and Bradford line, whereupon the 
chairman said he regarded the re-opening of this discus- 
sion with solicitude as having " a tendency towards 
repudiation." He had very little or no personal in- 



terest in tlie matter, never having had but twenty shares 
in the Leeds and Bradford Company, which he purchased 
at a high premium, and which he beUeved he had sold 
before the lease was entered into. He was a party to the 
lease at the time it was arranged, when they were all 
rather too sanguine as to the value of railway property, 
and he warned the proprietors to be careful how they in- 
terfered with an engagement which they had previously- 
sanctioned by a large majority. He had received several 
letters on the subject, one of which, from Lord LifFord, 
remarked that " any attempt to disturb the lease would 
put an end to confidence in railway property, and 
damage the characters of those who did it as honourable 
mercantile men." 


In the autumn of the year 1850 the junction with the 
London and North "Western Company at Birmingham, 
and also the hnk between the Mansfield and Erewash 
Valley lines were comj^leted ; and the branch of the 
Oxford, Worcester, and Wolverhampton Railway from 


Abbott's Wood to "Worcester was opened. The passenger 
receipts during the half-year fell off to the amount of 
nearly £8000, through the competition of the Great 
Northern Company ; but the increase on goods rose to 
upwards of £32,000, leaving a sum available for divi- 
dend of 2 OS. for the half-year. 

For some years after the Midland had secured access 
to Worcester, they continued to run their through trains 
on their main line, and they used the loop vici Worcester 
only for the local traffic. Eventually, however, they 
obtained permission to send the whole of their traffic by 
the loop, and to do so on very moderate terms ; this 
concession being granted by the Great Western as a sort 
of sop that the Midland should not oppose the bill for the 
amalgamation between the Great AYestern system and 
the West Llidland lines. In this connection a curious 
circumstance has been mentioned to the author by Mr. 
Sturge, of Birmingham. It appears that a project for a 
line to run from Oxford to Worcester and Wolverhampton, 
to be called the " Grand Connexion," had been bought 
up by the Birmingham and Gloucester Company. So 
lightly, however, was this scheme valued, that when the 
Midland Company subsequently purchased the Birming- 
ham and Gloucester, Mr. Hudson did not care to retain 
the right that went with it. He even returned the money 
that had been advanced by the shareholders upon it, and 
allowed it to go into the hands of what is now the 
London and North Western Company. But when the 
latter went to Parliament, the Great Western also ap- 
peared in the field to claim it for themselves. The 
strangeness of the circumstance attracted special atten- 
tion, and members of the committee repeatedly remarked 
that the undertaking really belonged to neither of the 
claimants, but to a third party who did not appear. Mr. 
Hudson's mistaken policy in this matter was often re- 


gretted ; especially as eventually the Midland Company 
had to buy back that which it had given away for nothing 
— access by this very route into Worcester. 

A special meeting of the Midland Company was held 
on the 4th of June, 1851, chiefly to approve the acquisi- 
tion " of the estate and interest of the Leeds and Brad- 
ford Railway Company." Mr. Ellis stated that the bill 
had abeady passed the Commons. It was considered to 
be a very important measure ; and he made an appeal for 
the withdrawal of the opposition which it was under- 
stood some gentlemen intended to make. Mr. Brancker 
replied that the Leeds and Bradford scheme was a "pre- 
posterous undertaking," "concocted in iniquity," and 
"not calculated to benefit the Company;" and that, 
therefore, he responded to the appeal of the chair- 
man with " great personal sacrifice." Mr. Wylie ac- 
cepted the bill as the best course to be pursued under 
the circumstances ; and the resolution was unanimously 

The year 1851 was in some respects both remarkable 
and disappointing. The opening of the Great Exhibition 
created the expectation that the receipts by railways 
would be unusually large. These anticipations, however, 
were not realized. A multitude of passengers were 
conveyed to and from the metropolis, but the competi- 
tion of the Great Northern Company led to the adoption 
of such low rates that the wonder was that the lines paid 
at aU. From Leeds to London, for 5s. was a merely 
nominal fare ; yet it was found that 55. with full trains 
was remunerative. But the extraordinary flow of pas- 
sengers to and from London greatly diminished the traffic 
elsewhere. The Birmingham and Gloucester traffic, for 
instance, which was untouched by the Great Northern 
competition, was affected in a remarkable degree. In one 
week in August the receipts on that line were £400 less 


than in the corresponding week of 1850, and in another 
week were £550 less, though on that hne there had been 
no reduction of fares. " The fact is," said the Chairman, 
" there has been nobody going to Cheltenham this year ; 
scarcely anybody to Scarborough ; and the little Matlock 
line has experienced a decline in its receipts this year 
amounting to 20 per cent. All this is entirely owing to 
the Exhibition." 

At the autumnal meeting of 1851 a committee was 
appointed consisting of five shareholders, each of whom 
held stock to the amount of not less than £2000, to 
select gentlemen who, on behalf of the shareholders, 
should examine and report on all the financial matters of 
tlie Company. On the same occasion attention was called 
to the fact that many proprietors who held very small 
amounts of shares were accustomed to apply for the free 
passes issued to those who wished to attend the share- 
holders' meetings, until the privilege had come to be 
frequently abused. At the previous meeting, for instance, 
one person who held less than £5 of stock and seven 
others who held less than £10 worth had obtained passes, 
five of whom had not attended the meeting; and 233 per- 
sons holding less than £100 of stock had obtained tickets, 
nearly half of whom were not present at the meeting. 
Under these circumstances a resolution was, after con- 
siderable discussion, adopted (which has since been pub- 
lished in the half-yearly reports), that thereafter " no 
proprietor holding less than £100 in stock, or shares to 
that amount, is entitled to travel to and from the meeting 
free of charge." 

In the report presented at the half-yearly meeting on 
February 27th, 1852, the directors stated that the posi- 
tion of the Midland Company in relation to surrounding 
railways had been the subject of anxious consideration. 
It appeared to them, they said, to be essential that the 


Company should now "be permanently identified witli 
some Company having a line to and terminus in London." 
Impressed with this conviction the directors had had re- 
peated interviews with the representatives of the London 
and North Western Company in order if possible to 
agree upon terms for an amalgamation of the two under- 
takings. Each board had made a distinct proposition, 
and they had actually come within 2 J per cent, of an ar- 
rangement : but £60 to the £100 was the lowest price 
that the Midland directors would consent to take (being 
a dividend of £3 for the Midland to £5 to the London 
and North Western), while £57 10s. to the £100 was 
the highest that the London and North Western would 
offer. Mr. Ellis, the chairman, said that he had been 
asked why he had been " so foolish " as to refuse 57^ 
"when his company was paying only 55s." But 
they were not to deal as if their line was about to be 
broken up in a year or two ; and the directors w^ere satis- 
fied that the proportions on which they had fixed were 
the lowest that they ought to recommend the shareholders 
to accept. If the directors could only succeed in making 
a satisfactory arrangement for their traffic to London, he 
had no doubt that the best policy of the Midland Compan}^ 
would be to he by for a while, and their position would 
improve. They were at present on a friendly footing 
with the London and North Western Company, whose 
interest it also was to work amicably with them ; and he, 
therefore, felt as satisfied as if the amalgamation had 
actually been effected. 

An important negotiation was at this time concluded 
with another North AYestern Company, commonly called 
for the purpose or way of distinction, " the Little " North 
Western, by which the Midland Company would be able 
to run from Skipton, which was the end of their Brad- 
ford line, to Lancaster and the shores of Lancashire 


at Morecambe Bay, whence communication could be 
opened with the Lake District, and the north coast of 
Ireland. The arrangement was to date from May, 1852, 
for 21 years, and the rent to be paid was one-half of the 
gross receipts until they should exceed £52,000 a year, 
when two-thirds of the excess beyond that amount was 
to be handed over to the North Western. 

A special meeting of the Company was held on the 
12th of May, 1852, chiefly to consider the propriety of 
commuting the sum of £90,000, then payable as annual 
rent to the Leeds and Bradford proprietors, into a per- 
manent stock of £1,800,000 in 18,000 shares of £100 
each, and bearing interest after the rate of 4 J per cent, 
per annum for 5 years, and afterwards of 4 per cent, per 
annum in perpetuity. The effect of this operation would 
be a sa^ang of £9000 per annum till the 1st of July, 
1^57, and after that of £18,000 a year. The arrange- 
ment was approved. 

The sanction of the shareholders was also given to a 
negotiation which had been carried on with a very short 
line with a very long name. It was *' the Manchester, 
Buxton, Matlock, and Midland Junction," which ran 
from Ambergate to Rowsley, and was part of a scheme 
incorporated six years before, with the intention of cou- 
nectincf Amberofate with Cheadle station, near Manches- 
ter. At that time the Manchester and Birmingham Rail- 
way (now part of the London and North "Western sys- 
tem) had frequently been in dispute with the lines that 
stretched southward ; and after various attempts to obtain 
an outlet in other directions, had projected an indepen- 
dent route toward London by the Churnet valley (a line 
afterwards made by the North Staffordshire Company) ; 
and now they gladly joined in an enterprise for making a 
Buxton and Matlock line, which would furnish access to 
the Midland system. They accordingly obtained powers 



to subscribe £190,000 to the new scheme. But in the 
same year a change came over its poHcy. The Manches- 
ter and Birmingham Railway was itself incorporated 
into what is now the London and North Western Railway, 
the old jealousies with the southern lines of course 
ceased, sympathy with the new project was turned 
into alienation, and then financial difficulties arose which 
suspended further railway enterprises of all kinds. In 
consequence the capital was, in 1848, reduced, and the 
larger scheme shrank to the modest proportions of a line 
11 J miles long, from Ambergate to Rowsley. It was now 
proposed that the Midland Company should work the 
line for 19 years, and pay a rent equal to 2^ per cent on 
£421,300 of called-up capital. The Cromford Canal, 
which, in order to prevent injurious competition, had 
previously been purchased by the projectors of the rail- 
way, was also to be taken over by the Midland Com- 
pany, on condition that interest was paid on its capital to 
an amount not exceeding £110,000. As the Midland 
Company held more than 14,000 shares in the Rowsley 
line, it might in this arrangement be said to be dealing to 
a certain extent with its own property ; the London and 
North Western Company, however, had some 9500 more, 
and all its susceptibilities had carefully to be regarded. 

In August of this year (1852) some wars of words that 
had been waged between the Midland Company and the 
Great Northern culminated into a war of deeds. " The 
Great Northern having attempted," says a chronicler of the 
time, "to carry out its agreement with the Ambergate, 
by running engines into the Nottingham station, which 
is the Midland property, the Midland did neither more 
nor less than seize the Great Northern engine, which had 
brought a train down, just as it was about to start with 
a new load of passengers to London. The course taken 
was in accordance with the' elephantine dimensions of the 


object seized, and after the fashion of elephant hunters. 
Thinking the engine might be like a wild elephant, refrac- 
tory, the Midland sent some of its own kind to hem it in 
before and behind, and thus bore it off in triumph, while 
the poor passengers were obliged to sit patiently looking 
on at the contest and capture of the trespassing engine." 

During the autumn of the year (1852) heavy floods 
damaged various parts of the line, bursting culverts, caus- 
ing slips in embankments and cuttings, and undermining 
the foundation of one of the river piers of the Crow 
Mills Viaduct, near Leicester. It appears that a miller, 
who lived hard by the viaduct, was the first to see the 
timbers yielding, and that he took immediate steps to 
give the alarm up and down the line. The whole struc- 
ture soon afterwards fell with a tremendous crash into 
the boiling waters beneath. The miller, we believe, 
received £100 from the Midland Company as a reward 
for his opportune services. Yery exaggerated reports 
were circulated as to the injury the lines had received : 
some estimated it at £100,000, and others at much 
more; but the actual outlay was about £10,000. It 
was found that heavier rails than those at first used were 
required for the permanent way ; and that large addi- 
tions were necessary to the rolling stock. Meanwhile a 
considerable amount of debentures were, by a fall in the 
money market, renewed at a saving of £7000 a year ; 
and an improved arrangement with the post ofiice 
brought in an additional £4000 per annum. 

But the most important transaction of this period was 
the revival of a project for the extension of the Mid- 
land system. Five years previously, as the reader will 
remember, an Act of Parliament had been passed to 
enable the Midland Company to make a line from near 
Leicester to Hitchen. The state of the money market, 
the depression of railway property, and other circum- 


stances had prevented any progress being made with 
that scheme ; and in July, 1850, the powers of the Act 
expired. The time, however, had now come at which 
so valuable an undertaking ought no longer to remain 
in abeyance; and some of the principal landowners in 
the neighbourhood of Market Harborough, Kettering, 
and Bedford appointed a deputation to wait upon the 
Midland board with offers of support in carrying out 
such an enterprise. Mr. Whitbread, through whose 
estates the proposed line would run almost contin- 
uously for between seven and eight miles — about one 
eighth of its course — promised to sell all land that the 
Company might require at £70 an acre, which was its 
simple agricultural value ; and the Duke of Bedford and 
other landowners signed contracts to the same effect. 
The discovery of fields of ironstone in Northamptonshire, 
on the route of the line, was another weighty argument 
in its favour ; and it was obviously important that the 
Midland Company, with its 500 miles of railway, and 
£17,000,000 of capital, should no longer be kept more 
than 80 miles from the metropolis, where, at Rugby, it 
was delivering to the London and North "Western not 
less than 325,000 tons of coal, besides goods and pas- 
sengers — an amount constantly and enormously increas- 
ing. It was, too, notorious that the pressure of traffic 
on the line from thence to Loudon was becoming ex- 
treme, and would before long require in some way or 
other to be relieved. 

Such were the facts that presented themselves to the 
minds of the directors, or were urged upon them by the 
deputation ; and it was also significautly stated that 
in the event of the present overtures being rejected, 
the parties locally interested would immediately form an 
independent company, and that the line would be made. 
The Midland Directors in reply requested that a month 


might be afforded for the consideration of the matter ; 
and in that interval they arrived- at the decision that it 
was essential to the protection of Midland property that 
such a railway should form part of the Midland system. 
" No man," said Mr. Ellis, who had been taught by some 
costly experiences in the past, " has a greater horror of 
extensions than I have;" but he stated that he was 
convinced that such a line as that contemplated ought 
not to be in the hands of persons who might have in- 
terests at variance with those of the Midland Company. 
It had also been ascertained that such a line could now 
be made for an amount lower than any former estimate. 
" I have no hesitation," he added, " in saying that this is 
the most important line the Midland Company has ever 

Another great question affecting the politics and the 
future of the Midland Company, and indeed of railway 
administration in England, now came under the anxious 
consideration of the Midland board. It ^vill be remem- 
bered that in the early part of the year, certain terms had 
been proposed for an amalgamation between the Midland 
Company and the London and North Western, but the 
negotiating powers had been unable to arrive at an 
agreement. The two companies, however, remained on 
very friendly relations with each other ; the subject of 
their possible union was not unfrequently referred to in 
conversation ; and after a meeting held of committees of 
both companies, a letter was, on the 14th of August, 
1852, addressed by the secretary of the London and 
North Western Company to the secretary of the Midland 
Company, to the effect that he was instructed to state 
that a " special committee has the authority of the board 
to meet a similar committee of your board, and discuss 
the question of a closer union or amalgamation of the 
two undertakings." 


It is not a little remarkable tliat two days afterwards a 
similar communication was addressed by the chairman of 
the Great Northern Company to the chairman of the 
Midland. " I have frequently said to one of your 
colleagues," wrote Mr. Edmund Denison, " that in my 
opinion an earnest attempt ought to be made to unite the 
Great Northern and the Midland Railways, and the sensible 
letters which lately passed between Mr. Glyn and Mr. Rus- 
sel have determined me to propose to my co-directors (and 
they have this day consented), that I should at once ad- 
dress a letter to you, offering the principle of a complete 
amalgamation of the Great Northern and Midland. They 
compete with each other in the south and in the north, 
and they cross each other at two or three important 
points. There are double stations at several towns, and 
duplicate trains run where single ones would serve the 
public equally well. A very large annual expenditure 
would therefore be saved, which would improve the 
dividends and the real value of both properties. 

" An amalgamation of these two railways is so natural, 
from peculiar circumstances, and is so inevitable, that I 
apprehend no parliamentary objection would be offered, 
the two capitals united not being larger than the London 
and North Western alone." 

Mr. Denison went on to suggest that the eastern side 
of the kingdom might thus come to have its terminus at 
King's Cross, and that the traffic of the western would be 
quite as large as the Euston Square and Paddington 
termini could accommodate. " I see no difficulty," he 
added, " in the manner of settlinof the terms of amalo-a- 
mation, but I shall not say a word in detail upon that 
point until I hear that your board take a favourable view 
of the object proposed." 

In reply to this communication Mr. Ellis expressed his 
gratification at the frank way in which the subject had 


been approaclied. " Our board is," lie said, " equally 
with yourself, alive to the serious evils which are the 
inevitable result of competition between two lines which 
approach and intersect each other, and which have double 
stations at so many places." They wished to put an end 
to the running of " double trains where single ones would 
serve the interest of the public equally well," and "to 
prevent a reckless outlay of capital in the construction 
of new lines." He added that candour required him to 
state that a similar communication had been received 
from the London and North Western Company ; but that 
the whole subject should have the early and most serious 
attention of the board. 

These circumstances were mentioned at the half-yearly 
meeting of the Midland Company. The Chairman, how- 
ever, stated that any discussion upon them would at that 
time be inopportune, and likely to compromise the ability 
of the board to do justice to the interests they repre- 
sented. " "We ask you, therefore," he said, " to leave the 
affair in our hands for the present. We shall lay before 
you the result of any propositions made or any negotia- 
tions entered into as early as possible, and I trust the 
course we recommend will be entirely acquiesced in by 
the proprietary." This course was heartily assented to ; 
and two shareholders who attempted to address the 
meeting were immediately hissed down. 

The correspondence between the Midland Company 
and the Great Northern was continued by Mr. Ellis, on 
the 9th of October, 1852. In a letter addressed to Mr. 
Edmund Denison, the Midland Chairman said that further 
reflection " only tended to confirm the opinions he had 
expressed in his previous letter." " Entertaining these 
views," he continued, " I am prepared cordially to co- 
operate with you in the measures best calculated to effect 
the object which we both seek to obtain ; and I have the 


satisfaction to assure you that tliere exists on the part 
of the directors of the Midland and London and North 
Western Companies, a sincere desire to come to an 
amicable and satisfactory agreement with your Company. 
They are willing to do so by means of an extended arrange- 
ment, to be settled by referees of high standing, fully 
empowered to determine the matter upon a consideration 
of the objects and intentions of the legislature in sanc- 
tioning the respective undertakings. Should you, how- 
ever, deem it better to promote a bill to authorise a more 
complete and lasting union of interest between the Great 
Northern and the united London and North Western and 
Midland Companies, our boards will be prepared to give 
that view of the question their immediate and favourable 
consideration." He added that these opinions had the 
unanimous assent of the Midland and London and North 
Western boards, and that a joint deputation would be 
prepared to meet a deputation from the Great Northern 
board, " fully empowered to discuss and arrauge the 
details of this important question." 

These letters were read at a special meeting of the 
Midland Company held at Derby, on the 3rd of November, 
1852. Mr. Ellis, the chairman, spoke at great length on 
the evils of competition, and the fact that Parliament had 
sanctioned lines that ought never to have been made ; 
that railway legislation had been a disgrace to the age, 
and that the question of amalgamation must inevitabl}' 
engage the early consideration of the legislature. Then, 
turning to the position of the Midland Company, he said 
that there were some who thought the Midland Company 
should stand alone. " It could stand alone, there was 
no doubt of that," but the greatest benefits would accrue 
to both Companies by an identity of interest. He con- 
cluded by moving the following resolution : " That it is 
expedient to effect a permanent union of interest between 


the London and North Western and Midland Railway 
Companies, and to amalgamate the undertakings on the 
following terms, viz. : That the relative values of the 
two undertakings be ascertained and fixed by three 
referees of high standing." The resolution was carried 
by a very large majority, and a bill in accordance with 
this decision was submitted to Parliament. It was, 
however, eventually withdrawn in consequence of the 
appointment of a select committee of the House of Com- 
mons, which advised the House not to allow any amalga- 
mation during the session, and which also reported 
against the amalgamation of very large companies. 

We may pass lightly over the next few years in the 
history of the Midland Railway. A period of rest had 
arrived between the excitements and dangers of the past, 
and the time when a bolder policy might be initiated. 
Four years since, and the dividend was only 16s. ; it was 
now 35s. The competition of the Great Northern had 
carried off a large amount of the passenger trafiSc, and it 
was only by an increasing goods trafiB.c that the Midland 
Company had been able to hold on its way. 

No wonder that for some time to come it " walked 
softly." The only outlay of importance in the year 1854 
was in the construction of a narrow-gauge line alongside 
the broad gauge from Grloucester to near Stonehouse, 
and the making of a mixed gauge (instead of broad only) 
from thence to Bristol. Arrangements also were effected 
of an economical and mutually beneficial nature, between 
the Midland and the Loudon and North Western Com- 
panies for the interchange of traffic. 

In 1855 the abstraction of the Great Northern of 
Midland passenger traffic continued ; but the chairman, 
Mr. Beale, not unnaturally drew comfort from the fact 
that the goods and mineral traffic had had a *' prodigious 
increase." With a wise foresight he expressed the 


belief that that was " a certain and fast o:rowing^ traffic 
which was pecuUarly their own." 

The years 1856 and 1857 were ahnost as uneventful 
as their immediate predecessors. The turning of certain 
timber bridq-es into iron and stone: the arrans^ement of 
sorting sidings at Toton and Rugby ; improvements in 
the method of keeping the accounts of the company ; the 
reference to Mr. Gladstone of some weighty matters that 
were in dispute between the Midland and the North 
Western, Great Northern, and Sheffield Companies; and 
the opening, on the 8th of May, 1858, of the Leicester 


and Hitchen line — on which the AVcllino-boroui>-li Viaduct 
is perhaps the most interesting work — were the chief 
events of the period. It is, however, worthy of note that, 
so severe had been the injuries inflicted by the Great 
Northern competition upon the Midland Company, that 
in 1857, with 500 miles of railway (without the Hitchen 
extension) their passenger traffic was £30,000 less than 
it had been ten years previously, with only 377 miles 
open. In 1847 their earnings for passengers were 5s. 2d. 
a mile, and in 1857 they were 4s. OJd. Happily, the 



development of goods and minerals bad partially re- 
couped this loss. 

In tlie report for July, 1858, the directors referred to 
the resignation of Mr. Ellis and Mr. Beale, the chairman 
and deputy-chairman of the Company, and also to the 
election of Mr. G. B. Paget, who, however, had survived 
his appointment only a brief period. In consequence of 
this lamentable event, Mr. Ellis had consented for a short 
time to resume the duties of the chairmanship. 

The only circumstance worthy of special notice in the 
year 1858 was the severe conflict carried on between the 
Midland and the surrounding and competitive lines. 
This, however, at length abated, and all parties returned 
to more remunerative relations one with another. 

In 1859 the directors resolved to extend the Erewash 
Valley line up to Clay Cross near Chesterfield. An Act 
for the purpose had previously been obtained, but in 
consequence of the depressed state of the finances of the 
Company the powers had been allowed to expire. The 
proposed line could be used as the main line to the north ; 
and it would open out a coal field of the greatest value. 
The directors also, in conjunction with the Great Western, 
resolved to dispose of the Gloucester and Cheltenham 
tramway. That ancient road had become " like a house 
without a tenant ; an expense without an advantage ; a 
load without a profit." A suitable hotel was to be 
erected at Leeds. The Castle and Falcon, Aldersgate 
Sreet, London, was obtained for the erection of goods 
warehouses ; and twenty acres of land were purchased, 
near the Great Northern terminus, for a Midland goods 
station; £1000 were also set apart for a foot bridge 
from the Derby passenger station to the locomotive 

On the 25th of May, 1860, the Midland Company was 
authorised to construct a railway, 15 miles in length. 


between Rowsley and Buxton, tliere to be connected 
with a line about to be made by tlie London and ^ortli 
Western from Wlialey Bridge to Buxton. For many 
years past various projects of extension had been 
entertained. As far back as 1845 several competitive 
schemes were proposed for thus uniting the eastern and 
midland counties of Eng;-land with Manchester and Liver- 
pool. The Boston, Nottingham, Ambergate, and Midland 
Junction for instance proposed to unite with the Man- 
chester, Buxton, Matlock, and Midland Junction, and 
thus to provide a througli route from the Lincolnshire 
to the Lancashire coast. But great difficulties had to be 
overcome, on account both of the ownership of the land 
and the formation of the country. Buxton, for instance, 
is nearly 1000 feet above the level of the sea, and if 
a line were made to get up to it, how would it get down 
again by decent gradients to Mancliester. Although, even- 
tually the valley of the Derwent was adopted, and Buxton 
was left out in the cold, other routes bad been thought of. 
One was by Eyam, Chapel-le-Frith, and the Peak; the 
other by Castleton and Whaley Bridge. In either case the 
local population and the trade to be served were of the 
scantiest; and hence one that went by Baslow Moors 
came, by the commodities which it was thouglit would 
form its chief traffic, to be designated the " Bilberry and 
Besom Line," while the other through the Peak* "was 
known, on account of the innumerable tunnels on its 
course, as "the Flute Line." 

The then Duke of Devonshire gave his consent to a 
line being made througli his park at Chatsworth, on 
condition that it was by a covered way, and tliere is no 
doubt that that route would have supplied the best levels ; 
but the present duke objected to such an invasion of his 

* Another, subsequently proposed, was called the " High Pique 



ancestral domains ; and after mucli negotiation witli the 
Duke of Rutland, it was decided that the line should be 
carried along its present course, at the back of Haddon 

A thousand special precautions had, however, to bo 
observed. None of the trees were to be removed or 
lopped by the contractors or navvies during the progress 
of the works ; agents and keepers were set to watch 
the property and the game ; one duke wanted the prin- 
cipal station to be at Bake well, and the other required 
that it should be at Hassop, and both had to be built ; 
and the line through the park of Haddon Hall was 




Mi'N--\l, I'M 

carried along the hill side by the excavation of portions 
— lialf cutting, half tunnel — wliich were then covered in. 



These difficulties being overcome, and tlie heavy 
works of Monsal and Miller's Dale being provided for, 
the mighty limestone crag of Chee Tor barred the way. 


This is the second tunnel to the north of what is now 
Miller's Dald Station. Many an engineer had carried 
his imaginary line from Ambergate to Buxton thus far, 
but had 2:one no farther : for, in addition to the ordinarv 
work of piercing a hill of solid mountain limestone, there 
was the fact that the rock rose abruptly 300 feet- in one 
face above the river, that consequently no shafts were 
possible, that the tunnel must be made wholly and only 
from the two ends, and that before the southern end could 
be touched the river must be spanned by a bridge, and 
the bridge be approached through another tunnel. 

The work, however, was done, and the line to-day 

* Chce Tor is imuiediatclj to the right of the bridge. 



carries the traveller through perhaps the most interesting 
series of railway works to be found in England. 

ClIKi: VAl.K. 

At the spring meeting, 18G1, the chairman had the 
satisfaction of announcing a dividend at the rate of 7 per 
cent, per annum. " The revenue accounts," he said, 
" were most satisfactory. The rate of increase had been 
greater than on any other line in the year;" and the 
directors decided upon some extensions of the Midland 
system. One of these was in Wharfedale, near Leeds, 
and was to be carried out in conjunction with the North 
Eastern. Another was from Evesham to Ashchurch, in 
the valley of the Avon. A third was from Whitacre on 
the Midland line to Nuneaton, by means of which, in 
conjunction with the line from Leicester to Hinckley, the 

* The northern end of Chee Tor Tunnel is seen in the distance. 



Midland Company would have access from Leicester to 
Birmingliam. Further, a few years previously an inde- 
pendent company had made a short line of two or three 
miles from the Birmingham and Bristol to Dursley. But 
such a scrap of railway could scarcely be expected to 
pay if worked by itself, and it was now agreed to transfer 
it to the Midland Company for some £10,500, that being 
something like half its cost. Unfortunately, as time 
passed on, the remarkable increase of traffic which the 
Midland Company had been enjoying began to wane, in 
consequence of the general depression of trade. And so 
the year 1861 drew to a close. 



The short line with the long name.— London and North Western's 
Disley line. — A " block " line. — Midland and North Western 
"most hostile." — Proposed Midland line to Manchester. — Duke of 
Devonshire's support. — Whaley Bridge and Buxton extension of 
North Western Company. — " Tlie Three Companies' Agreement " 
to exclude the Midland from Manchester. — " The Triple Agree- 
ment." — The Midland shut out. — A chance meeting. — Negotia- 
tions between Sheffield Company and Midland for access to Man- 
chester via New Mills. — Evidence in favour of new Midland line. 
— Town clerk of Manchester. — Manchester Chamber of Com- 
merce. — Mr. Cheetham. — Other witnesses. — Opposition of London 
and North Western Company. — Ofl'er of "facilities" over North 
Western line from Buxton to Manchester. — Sir Joseph Paxton's 
evidence. — Opposition of Great Northern. — Supposed encourage- 
ment to a breach of agreement. — Gouty patients. — Death of Mr. 
John Ellis. — Eminent services of Mr. Ellis. — Proposed Midland 
line to London. — The " destiny " of the Midland. — Insufficient 
accommodation of Great Northern via Hitchen for Midland traffic. 
— Delays. — Five miles of coal trains blocked at Rugby. — Witnesses 
from St. Albans. — Great Northern propose to double their line. — 
Reply to the proposal. — Mr. Allport's evidence. — Other projects in 
the field. — Camden Square. — Horticultural perplexities. — Bill 
pas.sed. — Proposed line from Cudworth to Barnsley. — Importance 
of the line. — Other railway projections and working alliances. 

We have already referred to a short railway mth a long 
name that ran from Ambergate as far as Rowsley — a 
jiortion of what had originally been intended to form a 
connecting line between Manchester and the Midland 
system. In 1852 this fragment was leased to the 
London and North AVestern and Midland Companies 
for 19 years, at 2J per cent, interest upon the capital, 
the North Western being glad to retain a legal hold upon 
the property in order to prevent this line, or any extension 
of it, from ever becoming part of a through route from 
Manchester to the metropolis. It was under the influ- 
ence of the same considerations that the North "Western, 
in the following year (1853), also encouraged a project for 
a new line from their system at Stockport, by way of 
Disley, to Whaley Bridge. It was, indeed, stated at the 

THE DISLEV L[^'E. 153 

time tliattlie sclieme originated with iudepeudent parties; 
nevertlieless, clauses were inserted in tlie bill giving 
])ower to the London and North Western to work the 
line ; and eventually, out of a capital for the Disley line 
and Buxton extension of £310,000, the North AYestern 
advanced £299,000. " The accounts show," said Mr. 
Allport, " on the face of them that the line is London 
and North Western." 

To the construction of this Disley line the Midland 
Company were naturally and necessarily opposed. They 
were so because they were vitally affected by any 
measures for completing the links in the chain of com- 
munication across Derbyshire to Manchester ; because, 
though the two companies were on terms of amity, and 
had previously always acted on the matter conjointly, 
the Midland were now excluded from participation in the 
contemplated arrangements ; and because the Midland 
Company's board believed that an effort was being made 
to fill up the country with a line of a designedly inferior 
character — a line for blocking up the way, and not for 
opening it. " The proposed railway," said Mr. Allport, 
" for some reason which does not appear on the face of 
it," is run along the high country where there is little or 
no population ; and instead of taking the valley with a 
gradually rising ascent, "it goes up a steep gradient out of 
Buxton, to fall down again. The line appears to me to 
have gone up the hill for the sake of going down again." 
These criticisms on the project seem to have given offence 
to the London and North Western Company ; and they 
complained to the Midland board that Mr. AUport's evi- 
dence was "most hostile." The Midland board, however, 
replied that they concurred in the statements of their 
general manager; that he had their sanction in giving 
evidence against the bill ; that they regretted to find that 
such a course was deemed most hostile; andthev "would 

1-j4 north western line to BUXTON. 

have been glad if, by previous communication between tlie 
two boards, means had been devised for preventing even 
the appearance of hostile interests." 

On the last day of the year 1856 the Midland Company 
made a proposal to the London and North Western that 
the idea originally contemplated in the scheme for the 
Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midland Junction Rail- 
way — and set forth in the name that the company bore — 
should be carried into effect, and that a through route 
should be made. The Midland board stated that they 
would subscribe £200,000 towards such an object. It 
was also known that the Duke of Devonshire was willins^ 
to contribute £50,000, and that he had even offered a 
passage for the line through his park at Chatsw^orth, if 
it were necessary. The North "Western directors, howr 
ever, replied that though the local traffic ought to be 
accommodated, and though they were prepared to join 
with the Sheffield Company in making a line suitable for 
that purpose, they could not, as Mr. Stewart, the secretary, 
expressed it, " recommend their proprietors to become 
parties to so costly a scheme," as that now advocated. 

Meanwhile, however, the North Western Compan}^ 
were promoting, at their own expense, and without the 
co-operation or the knowledge of the Midland Company, 
an extension of their Disley line to Buxton — an expense 
nearly equal to the share they had been asked to con- 
tribute for the through line. To this project the Mid- 
land Company made no parliamentary opposition. They 
had been refused a hearing on the original AVhaley 
Bridge Railway, on the ground that they had no locus 
standi; and they were advised that they would have no 
better claim to appear against the extension than against 
the original line. The Act for the Whaley Bridge and 
Buxton line was accordingly obtained (1857). 

While the London and North Western Company was 


thus steadily drawing on towards Buxton, and doing so 
by works which could never be available as a through 
line for either Company, other powers were being brought 
into play which it was hoped would even more effectually 
shut out the Midland Company from any access to the 
North. An agreement, which had made the Manchester, 
Sheffield, and Lincohishire Company a dependency of the 
London and North Western, came, in 1857, to an end ; 
in the following year, despite the strenuous opposition of 
the North Western, the Sheffield Company entered into 
alliance with the Great Northern, and thereby opened a 
new route between the Metropolis and Manchester ; and 
now these three companies, having abated their mutual 
rivalies, joined in a compact with one another to keep 
away all intruders from their territories. 

With this desio^n an ag^reement called " The Three 
Companies' Agreement " was made, and application was 
made to secure for it the sanction of law. It succeeded 
in passing the Commons ; but was rejected in the Lords, 
on the ground that it ought not to bear prejudicially 
upon the Midland Company. What followed is worthy 
of note. In 1860 another application was made to 
Parliament for its sanction to this agreement. Again it 
was opposed by the Midland, who urged the adoption of 
a " Four Companies' Bill," in which their interests were 
protected. Both bills, however, were thrown out ; and 
then the three companies resolved to act as if, though 
twice rejected, their bill had passed ; and they succeeded 
by mutual arrangements in excluding the traffic of the 
Midland from the entire district. The North Western 
stopped the Midland at Stockport, and the Manchester 
and Sheffield at Hyde. Subsequently it was ascertained 
that by adopting a northerly and circuitous route the 
Midland Company could yet reach a point of the York- 
shire and Lancashire line, and so find a route for its 


traffic from London to Manchester; and an agreement 
was made, February 28tli, 1861, with that intent. But 
the arrangement had not subsisted more than a few 
months when it was suddenly terminated ; and it tran- 
spired that an agreement, dated as far back as 1850, and 
called the " Triple Agreement," had been entered into 
between the Lancashire and Yorkshire, the Sheffield, and 
the North Western Companies, by whicli they undertook 
to exclude other companies from the traffic which they 
jointly commanded, and to use every exertion and induce- 
ment to confine this traffic to the lines of the said three 
companies ; and they agreed that if any other company 
attempted to divert any of this traffic the highest tolls 
should be charged. 

The Midland Compan^^ was now efi'ectually excluded 
from access to Lancashire by any existing route ; and 
the only alternatives that remained were, either to abandon 
all hope of carrying their traffic in that direction, or to 
construct an extension of their own Buxton line — which 
was approaching completion — to Manchester. Instruc- 
tions were therefore issued to their engineer to examine 
the country with a view to a through Midland route 
direct from near Buxton to Manchester. 

One day, in the autumn of the same year (1861), the 
Midland chairman, Mr. Beale, the deputy chairman, Mr. 
Hutchinson, and Mr. Allport were visiting the country 
" promiscuously," as Mr. Sergeant Wrangham called it, 
through which such a line would have to pass. They 
were not surveying ; " the country had been surveyed 
fifty times by various parties." They had plans that 
had previously been made, and the ordnance maps with 
various lines marked upon them; and while driving, 
walking, and asking their way through the country, they 
unexpectedly, in a bye lane, met a dog-cart, on whicli 
Mr. LeeSj one of the directors, and two of the officers of 


the Slieffiekl Company, were riding. " And what are 
you doing here ? " the latter good-naturedly demanded. 
" AYe will show you," was the reply. "You know the 
country ; perhaps you v\-ill accompany us." The Midland 
officers then stated the object they had in view — to 
endeavour to select a route for a new line to Manchester. 
The gentlemen of both companies remained together 
during the day; and in the course of conversation it was 
suggested by the Sheffield directors that it would be un- 
desirable for an independent line to be made side by side 
with their own, and that it might be possible for the 
Midland Company to have the use of the Sheffield Com- 
pany's line from New Mills to Manchester. It was fur- 
ther proposed that Mr. AUport — who had previously been 
for nearly four years general-manager of the Sheffield 
Company, and was intimately acquainted with all its 
details — should have an interview on these proposals 
with the chairman of the Sheffield Company. This was 
done ; and the result was that it was agreed that the 
Midland should run its own trains over the railways of 
the Sheffield Company " to or from Manchester, and 
every other place in Manchester, in Lancashire, or 
Cheshire, or beyond," and that thus the work would be 
done by " one hand."* 

But though these arrangements simplified the course 
of the Midland Company, and though not a single land- 
owner opposed the project, the bill encountered the 
determined resistance of the other powerful interests that 
liad enjoyed a monopoly of the carrying trade of the 
district; and the Midland Company had to gather up 
their best arguments to prove the necessity of the line. 

One of these was found in the fact that existino^ routes 

* Sir Edward Watkin seems never to have forn;iven his board that 
they arranged these terms, so favourable, as he thinks, to the Midland 
Company, while he was absent in the United States. 


were inadequate. Suppose, for instance, a passenger 
wished to go from Nottingham to Manchester, two routes 
were available. By the Great Northern, he would be first 
carried due east twenty-three miles to Grantham ; from 
Grantham he would turn northward as far as Retford : 
then westward via Sheffield to Manchester — a most cir- 
cuitous course. Or, by the other route, he would proceed 
by the Midland Railway to Derby, by North Stafford- 
shire to Macclesfield or Crewe, and then by the London 
and North Western to Manchester, — by three different 
companies, with three different sets of trains, and all the 
contingencies involved in their adjustment, or want of it. 

Evidence to like effect was given by various competent 
persons. For instance, on the 7th of March, 1862, the 
General Purposes Committee, which represents the cor- 
poration of Manchester, passed a resolution that they 
were " decidedly of opinion that increased facilities of 
communication between this city and Derby, Leicester, 
Nottingham, and other places in the midland district are 
now much required ; " and they directed that a copy of 
this resolution be transmitted to the solicitor of the Mid- 
land Railway. In cross examination (March, 1862) Mr. 
Cripps inquired of Mr. Heron, nou' Sir Joseph Heron, 
the town clerk of Manchester, whether he had not been 
" a great advocate for a communication between Man- 
chester and London by means of the Great Northern 
system." Mr. Heron replied that by desire of the 
corporation he had given expression to a desire for such 
increased accommodation, and that undoubtedly it had 
been secured. 

"You have had," asked Mr. Cripps, "increased facili- 
ties ? " 

" Yes ; we have had increased facilities ; we have an 
excellent second route to London, and we have the fares 
reduced from two guineas, at which they previously 


stood, to £1 13s. by express trains, wliicli is a very great 
public advantage." 

"I understand," continued the counsel, "that you 
have nothing to complain of at present, so far as Man- 
chester and London communications are concerned ? " 

"I have not come here," replied the witness, "to 
make any complaint whatever." 

" Manchester has a choice of one of two routes to 
London ? " 

" They have ; and I suppose there would be a choice 
of three if this line were made." 

" Should you come here equally for a communication 
for a fourth route ? " 

" That depends ; it is quite possible a fourth route 
might not be objectionable." 

The Manchester Chamber of Commerce also expressed 
its desire for more direct communication with Derby, 
Leicester, Nottingham, and other Midland towns ; and 
asked that legislative . sanction might be given to any 
measure that might appear best calculated to provide it. 
Influential manufacturers, too, bore similar testimony. 
Mr. Cheetham of Staleybridge, for instance, stated that 
his firm paid some £1500 a year, for carriage of yarn 
between his works and Nottingham, Derby, and Leices- 
ter ; yarn which was made into stockings, a large amount 
of which subsequently returned to Manchester. Serious 
inconvenience arose to men of business from havino- to 
travel by routes so circuitous, and to owners of goods 
from having to deal with two or three companies in the 
carriage of freight. He was of opinion that the new 
route would be " very much the best, the most direct, 
and the shortest." 

Mr. Kenworthy, the mayor of Ashton, another cotton 
spinner, gave similar testimony, and especially to the im- 
portance of having, if ])ossible, one company responsible 

160 oprosiTiox OF north western. 

for any delay or loss tliat miglit occur in railway 
transit. " It is not," lie said, " a question of law, but of 
getting practical redress. We have had great difficulty 
in fixing the complaint on the different companies. 
Latterly we have had very great trouble indeed." 

The general manager of the firm of S. & J. Watts, 
stated that they had very large transactions with retail 
dealers in about fifty towns in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, 
and Nottinghamshire. Hosiery, lace, and gloves were 
bought to the amount of £100,000 a year; all sorts of 
drapery goods w^ere despatched to the same districts, to 
the value of £50,000 a year, and the delays in the 
transmission of this costly property was considerable. 
Buyers, too, found the routes to Manchester so incon- 
venient that it was necessary to come one day and return 
the next, a circumstance which greatly tended to hinder 
trade. " I have been left," said another witness, " dozens 
of times at the North Staffordshire station at Maccles- 
field in times past, sometimes as long as two hours, and 
sometimes with fifteen or sixteen other passengers." 

These arguments were eagerly resisted by the London 
and North Western and Great Northern Companies ; and 
when it was found that direct opposition might be una- 
vailing, the North Western offered that its own route from 
Buxton to Manchester — the Disleyline as it was called — 
should be used by the Midland Company, instead of the 
new^ line it was proposed to make. " Assuming," said 
Mr. Hope Scott, " that the London and North Western 
Company are walling to give full facilities, backed, if ne- 
cessary, by contingent running powers in case of misbe- 
haviour, and are willinsf to be at extra costs entailed bv 
greater steepness of gradients, why should not the Mid- 
land traflic be sufficiently accommodated over the Disley 

" I cannot go into those details," replied Sir Joseph 


Paxton. " My opinion is that they will not offer such 

" But I do offer them," returned Mr. Scott. " I offer 
you facilities, with contingent running powers in case of 
abuse. I offer you facilities into Manchester." 

" We know," replied Sir Joseph, significantly, " what 
* facilities ' are." " If," he subsequently added, " we 
had running powers over the Disley line, direct into 
Manchester from Stockport, and accommodation was given 
there for the trafl&c, then I think it very likely that my 
board and the other directors might think that sufficient ; 
but I do not think it is. I think it a very poor way of 
finishing a great communication between London and 
Manchester, and Manchester and the Midland districts." 

His concluding observation was subsequently con- 
firmed by Mr. Beale. " My opinion," he said, " and the 
opinion of the entire Midland board is, that the proposed 
facilities would be totally inadequate, and that they would 
not give the open vent which the immense traffic of the 
important Midland district requires. I believe this line, 
if made, will be one of the main arteries of the kingdom 
for railway traffic. I may tell ray lords that in eleven 
years the gross traffic of the Midland has increased 
something like ninety per cent., of which probably 
upwards of sixty per cent, is upon the development of 
old lines, and not in the slightest degree in connection 
with additional lines, and I feel personally quite sure 
that the public cannot have accommodation unless the 
line is granted." 

"When, too, the route by the Disley line was thus 
offered to the Midland Company, an important qualifica- 
tion was introduced into the terms. The North Western 
Company expressly required that the traffic should be 
what they called " proper traffic " ; and they stated, for 
instance, that they would not take Birmins^ham and 


Bristol traffic ; though, of course, if the Midland had a 
line of their own, their traffic might flow that way. It 
is true that the North Western secretary promised that 
his company would take any traffic that they might fairly 
be required to convey ; but the Midland Company were 
not satisfied to leave the question of what might be 
"fairly required" to the decision of another and rival 

An objection made by the London and North "Western 
Company to the proposed Midland line was, that it would 
run more or less parallel with the existing Disley route, 
and that this would imply a needless outlay of capital. 
But such an arrangement, it was replied, was frequently 
found advantageous where there was a diversity of in- 
terests. Duplicate lines run for six or seven miles north 
of Peterborough ; the one belonging to the Great Nor- 
thern Company, the other to the Midland ; there being 
merely a fence between them. Between Leeds and 
Bradford there are also duplicate lines, and between 
Birmingham apd the Staffordshire districts there are 

The opposition to the Midland scheme made by the 
Great Northern Company was based on other grounds. 
They contended that the Sheffield Company had no right 
to give the Midland Company facilities of access by New 
Mills to Manchester, inasmuch as by doing so they 
would violate obligations previously incurred towards 
themselves. " I charge the Midland Company," said 
Sergeant Wrangham, "not with the breach of any agree- 
ments, but with abetting the Sheffield Company in break- 
ing agreements that they have had with us, the Great 
Northern." To this it was replied on behalf of the 
Sheffield Company, that they might not unnaturally say, 
' Here is a company that intends to reach Manchester 
by a line made side by side with ours. Will it not })e 



l)L'tter tliat this multiplication of lines should bo avoided ; 
that, as they ivill come into the town, we should let them 
come, and come over our route, and utilize to our advan- 
tage, as well as their own, a part of our line ? " To 
enforce their views the Great Northern filed a bill in 

One of the objections made before the parliamentary 
committee to the Midland extension, gave rise to an 
amusing conversation. It was supposed by the opponents 
of the Midland line that passengers for Buxton would 
necessarily have to change carriages at the junction at 
Black well. 


Mr. Merewether : " Will you assume that a man comes 
over the great through line to Blackwell Mill? " 

Dr. Robertson : " Yes." 

Mr. Merewether: "That is the junction for your in- 
valid ? " 

Dr. Robertson: "Yes." 


Mr. Merewether : " My learned friend has referred to 
gout — gout is a disturber of the temperament ? " 

Dr. Robertson : " It is." 

Mr. Mere wether : " Your gouty patient — a gouty 
merchant from Manchester — is of quite as warm a tem- 
perament as most people." 

Dr. Robertson : " Hear, hear." 

Mr. Merewether : " AVill you bring him from Man- 
chester with his gout, and his Manchester temperament ? 
Will you put him out at Black well Mill to get into the 
branch train to go to Buxton ? " 

Dr. Robertson : " I have been told so. . ." 

Mr. Merewether : " Do you put it as a medical view, 
that going along a gradient of 1 in 60 * would exas- 
perate a gouty patient more than being put out at the 
station at Blackwell, and being sent round to Buxton ? " 

Dr. Robertson : " I consider that going along a gra- 
dient of 1 in 60 would exasperate any man, gouty or 

The Act of Parliament by which the line was sanc- 
tioned was passed, and the railway was opened for public 
traffic, on the first of June, 1863, the day named in the 

An improvement of great importance was during this 
year effected in the arrangement of the passenger service 
by the opening on the 1st of May, 1862, of the Trent 
station. At this point great and increasing difficulty 
had been experienced in the safe and expeditious con- 
duct of the traffic. Trains came in from, and went out 
in, four different directions — east to Nottingham, west 
to Derby, north to the Erewash, and south to London. 
At one time it was the practice to take passengers who 
were going from Nottingham to London round by Derby 
and back to what is now Trent, an 18 miles' journey for 
* The Disley route. 



nothing. Subsequently the Nottingham trains were 
shunted into a siding at Kegworth, and there they waited 
till the Derby portions arrived. The opening of the 
Erewash line, too, necessarily created a dangerous level 
crossing of lines at right angles at a place called Platts's 
Crossing, about 200 yards north of what is now the 
Trent Station. 

With regard to the spot itself, its lines, curves, cross- 


overs, and junctions, Sir Edmund Beckett has offered 
some playful criticisms in words to the following effect : 
" You arrive at Trent. Where that is I cannot tell. 
I suppose it is somewhere near the river Trent ; but 
then the Trent is a very long river. You get out of 
your train to obtain refreshment, and having taken it, 
you endeavour to find your train and your carriage. 
But whether it is on this side or that, and whether it is 
going north or south, this way or that way, you cannot 



tell. Bewildered, you frantically rush into your car- 
riage ; tLe train moves off round a curve, and then 
you are horrified to see some red lights glaring in front 
of you, and you are in immediate expectation of a col- 
lision, when your fellow passenger calms your fears by 
telling you that they are only the tail lamps of you 
own train !" 

On the 26th of October, 1862, Mr. ElHs, wlio had for 
so long a period been connected with the interests of the 
Midland Company, died. John Ellis came of a goodly 
stock : his forefathers were honest Yorkshire yeomen. His 
father, Joseph Ellis, removed into Leicestershire in 1784, 


where he occupied, until his death, in 1810, a farm which 
required in its management unusual skill and industry to 
work it successfully. Left at the age of twenty-one with 
the care of his brothers and a sister, John Ellis succeeded 
to a small patrimony, and the good name of his father. 


wliich he was wont to say was his best inheritance. He 
followed his father's calling, and in early life, at Beaumont 
Leys, near Leicester, he could plough and sow, reap 
and mow, with any man. In the harvest field it is said 
that he did not know his equal, and even when rising 
to eminence in his calling he did not abandon these 
homelier employments. He milked his cows until he 
went to Parliament. 

Meanwhile, through the late Mr. James Cropper, of 
Liverpool, he had become acquainted with George 
Stephenson, and hence the circumstances arose that led 
to the connection of both of them with the Leicester and 
Swannington Railway. He early identified himself with 
the policy of Free Trade ; and before a parliamentary 
committee, expressed the opinion that the English farmer 
should prepare to grow wheat at £2 10s. a quarter ; and 
he added, he can afford to do so ; " a bold thing," it 
has been remarked, "for a farmer to say in those days." 

In 1847 he was sent to Parliament for the borough of 
Leicester. " He entered into his new duties," says a local 
writer of discrimination, "with characteristic earnestness ; 
his sagacious judgment and practical knowledge on all 
questions which he pretended to understand, soon gave 
him a position in the House, and his opinion on such 
subjects was not unfrequently asked by some of our 
leading statesmen." 

Mr. Ellis was from the first a director of the Leicester 
and Swannington Railway, and, for some years, of the 
Midland Counties Railway. On the amalgamation of 
the latter with the North Midland and Birming^ham and 
Derby Companies, he was placed on the joint board, 
and appointed deputy chairman. In 1849 he was 
elected chairman of the Midland Railway. On resign- 
ing this office in 1858, the directors gave expres- 
sion to the " deep pain " which they experienced at the 


event ; " but remembering," tliey said, " the express 
conditions upon which he consented to withdraw a pre- 
vious resignation, they felt precluded from further press- 
ing upon him the duties and responsibilities of the chair." 
They rightly recalled the fact that Mr. Ellis had under- 
taken his oflGice, " at a period of unusual difficulty and 
mistrust, when embarrassment and ruin hung over so 
many undertakings of a similar kind ;" but that he had 
encountered the perils of the crisis with a determination 
which rose superior to the danger, with a confidence 
which cheered his colleagues, and with a practical sagacity 
which was of immediate and decisive value. 

The gratitude of the shareholders was expressed by a 
vote of 1000 guineas. Part of this sum was expended 
in a service of plate, and the remainder in a full length 
portrait by Lucas ; in the background of which is a view 
of the works and tunnel entrance of the Leicester and 
Swannington Railway. The portrait hangs in the share- 
holders' room at tlio Derby station, 

" He will be greatly missed," said a local writer, "by his 
associates in public life and in works of charity. We shall 
miss his well known face and figure in our public meetings 
and in our streets. We shall miss his wise counsel, and 
his genial warm-hearted converse. He has won the respect 
of all who knew him. His name will be a household 
word amongst us, and there will long be a kind thought 
and a good word for John Ellis." * 

A period had now arrived in the administration of the 
Midland Company when it was called to confront new 
and weighty responsibilities. Hitherto its area of opera- 
tions had been restricted to the midland districts of 
England ; but its vast and increasing traffic southward 
suggested the inquiry whether it ought not to be placed 
in direct communication with the metropolis itself. There 
* The Leicester Jmcrnal, Oct. Slst, 1862. 

"destiny" of the midland railway. 169 

were some who tliouglit, and some who said, that the 
Midland Railway had no right to widen its field of opera- 
tion. When the Manchester Extension Bill was before 
the Lords' committee, Mr. Hope Scott, the counsel for 
the London and North Western Company, declared that 
the " destiny " of the Midland Company forbade its 
further development. " My learned friend," replied Sir 
W. Alexander, " was rather oblivious when he said that 
the Midland Company had no natural terminus in London. 
N^ot only was my learned friend tempted to indulge in 
that somewhat hyperbolical phrase, but he said also, that 
it was not the destiny of the Midland Company to go to 
London or to Manchester. It was rather a strange term 
to use. Destiny ! was it the destiny of the London and 
North Western Railway Company, which was originallj- 
a line to Birmingham and Liverpool, to join the Cale- 
donian ? Was it their destiny to seek a line to West 
Hartlepool ? Was it their destiny to seek, as they were 
doing a few days ago, a line to Merthyr Tydfil ? Yes ; 
that they are doing. Was it their destiny to seek a line 
to Cambridge, the very head-quarters of the Eastern 
Counties territory, which they did when they obtained the 
line from Cambridge to Bedford ? I dare say these 
lines were passed by my learned friend's able advocacy. 
They have come to Leicester, they have come to Burton 
— that is upon the notes — and they have purchased land 
at Derby, adjoining the head-quarters of the Midland 
system with the view of competing with the Midland 
system. And they say, forsooth, that the Midland Com- 
pany, with 700 miles of railway, coming within 25 miles 
of Manchester, with £260,000 in the course of expendi- 
ture upon their London station, are not to be considered, 
and that it is not their destiny to reach London or Man- 

On the contrary the Midland Company had advisedly 


looked forward to the time when it would require to 
have a line of its own to the metropolis, and it had ex- 
pressly avoided any negotiation which might seem to com- 
mit it to a narrower policy. When, for instance, in 1858, an 
agreement between the Great Northern, the Manchester 
Sheffield and Lancashire, and the Midland Companies, was 
drawn up by Mr. John Bullar, in which there was what is 
called the " amity clause," under which the companies 
were to abstain from a2:2rression into each others' terri- 
tories : in this agreement it was declared that nothing it 
contained was " to prevent the Midland Company making 
a line to London, after notice *' had been given. 

At length the time drew on when the Midland board 
had to face the question of how best to deal with its vast 
and increasing London traffic. " Perhaps," said Mr. 
Allport, in 1SG2, " there is hardly another instance of a 
large system increasing like ours." In five years the 
amount of goods and minerals had risen from 676,000 
tons to 1,111,000, and was steadily augmenting. True, 
the Great Northern Company was, by agreement, bound 
to allow the ^Midland the use of their London goods and 
coal stations ; but it was soon found that these were so 
inadequate for the requirements of both companies that, 
in 1860 and '61 the Midland Company had to go to Parlia- 
ment for powers to acquire a large amount of land ad- 
joining the Great Northern, where it might have a goods 
station of its own ; and the capital authorised for this 
purpose amounted to some £3-10,000. 

The accommodation provided by the Great Northern 
for the Midland passenger trains was also insufficient. 
Experience has proved that there are certain times of the 
day most convenient to the London public to travel, and 
five o'clock in the afternoon is one of these times. Ac- 
cordingly the Great Northern started one of its chief 
express trains at that liour ; this was followed by a large 


local traffic ; and it became undesirable that the Midland 
express should follow earlier than 5.35, and even then it 
was often pulled up by signals before it reached Hitchen. 
It is true that the Midland were entitled by agreement 
to fix the running of their trains at hours mutually con- 
venient, and that there was an appeal to arbitration ; but, 
as Mr. Allport remarked, " no arbitrator can enable you 
to perform physical impossibilities." In fact, in 1862, the 
Exhibition year, there were nearly 1000 Midland passen- 
ger trains and nearly 2400 goods trains delayed between 
Hitchen and King's Cross. " The Midland," said Mr. 
Allport, " can never tell with anything like certainty at 
what time their trains will reach King's Cross. They 
may be in good time at Hitchen, but delays constantly 
occur between that place and London, especially near 
the terminus at Holloway, where the trains are kept 
waiting outside the tunnel till the station is cleared 
inside, and they can be admitted. Or if the Midland 
train comes from the north, depending perhaps for its 
time of starting on other trains still further north,* and, 
is late at Hitchen, they find of course that other trains 
have already started before them, and they must take 
their chance — being a stranger company ; and having no 
control over the management they cannot order a slow 
train to shunt and let a Midland express pass, though on 
their own lines such a practice would be at once adopted. 
Constant complaints are made to the Midland Company 
of these irregularities, and the Great Northern on many 
occasions have frankly admitted their inability to avoid 

Nor was it only on the Great Northern line that the 
Midland Company had to contend with these difiiculties 
and delays. An enormous traffic was also sent from the 

* At Normanton the Midland has to -wait for trains from Newcastle 
and Edinburgh, and at Ingleton for trains from Carlisle and Glasgow. 

172 A FIVE miles' block. 

Midland system to London via Rugby. In fact, in 1862, 
the Midland Company paid the Great Northern £60,000 
for tolls to London, in addition to rents for the use of 
their London station, and to the London and North 
Western no less than £193,000 for traffic by Rugby ; and 
such was the crowded state of that company's line, that, 
though they had laid a third pair of rails for fifty miles 
for the up trains, from Bletchley to London, they were 
unable to accommodate the traffic. On one occasion they 
suddenly gave notice that theycould not convey the mineral 
traffic from the Midland system: and the coal trains ac- 
cumulated at Rugby till they were Jiue miles long, to the 
infinite annoyance of the sellers at the fields, and of the 
buyers in London, w^ho were depending on the arrival of 
the coal for the supply of their customers. The embarrass- 
ment of the Midland Company, too, may be imagined when 
they received such messages as, " Stop all coals from 
Butterley colliery for Acton, Hammersmith, and Kew, for 
three days, as AVillesden sidings are blocked up." " The 
North London are blocked with Poplar coals for all the 
dealers ; Camden cannot receive any more for Poplar." 
"You must stop the whole till London is clear." "Rugby 
is blocked so as not to be able to shunt atiy more." 
" Camden and the North London are blocked with coals." 
In addition to the necessity that thus existed for a more 
adequate accommodation of the through traffic of the 
Midland Company to the metropolis itself, it was apparent 
that a new railway up the country that lay between the 
Great Northern line on the east, and the London and 
North Western on the west would be locally beneficial. 
Grave complaints, for instance, had been made of the 
insufficiency of the communications directly south and 
north of St. Albans. Proposals had been made with a 
view to amendment, and one witness stated that his 
land w\as surveyed "almost every winter ;" but no im- 


provement had been made. " It is almost useless now," 
said another, " to make up a stock of goods to keep at 
St. Albans. People who come over there have so little 
time, and buyers from the north will not come to us at 
all. Formerly we did a very great business at St. 
Albans. The communication by coaches used to be very 
much more convenient to these northern buyers than 
the railways are now." " If a railway is made," said 
another witness, " it will multiply our trade at St. Albans 
double or treble." 

At this period (March, 1863) the county of Bedford 
generally was described by one of the witnesses as " the 
most unfortunate county in England," as regarded its 
railway communications. " We have nothing," he said. 
" but the Great Northern running from Hertfordshire to 
Bedford, across the estate of Mr. Whitbread at the out- 
skirts, and from Bletchley on the Duke of Bedford's 
estates on the other side ; but with respect to the interior 
part of the county we have no communication at all." 
By a new line it was declared " the whole district would 
be immensely benefited." 

" I believe," said a witness, " that the Great Northern 
Company do all they can, but they cannot do justice to 
the district with a junction line." It was estimated that 
the proposed line would serve 50,000 people who did 
not then have the advantage of railway facilities. 

Such were some of the data that led the Midland Com- 
pany's board to resolve to construct a line of their own 
from Bedford to London, and their intention was ap- 
proved by their constituency. There "was not a single 
dissentient voice that I know of," said Mr. Allport, 
" though one shareholder objected, who usually objects 
to everything." 

Meanwhile, the Great Northern Company, naturally 
loath to lose such a customer as the Midland, made an 


offer of fresh facilities aud rio:lits over the Hitchen and 
London Une, in fact of running powers in perpe- 
tuity. But in return they required that the Midland 
Company should guarantee a rent of £60,000 a year 
instead of £20,000. If it were found that the traflBc 
of the two companies could not be carried on by the 
existing lines, the Great Northern undertook — on the 
opinion of an arbitrator, if there were difference between 
the companies — to put down one or two additional lines 
between Hitchen and London ; but in that case the 
minimum guarantee of the ^lidland Company was to be 
increased to 5 per cent, per annum on the money spent 
by the Great Northern on such additional works. 

But when the best answer of the Great Northern 
Company to the demand by the Midland for adequate 
facilities for its growing traffic, was an offer to widen 
the Great Northern line at the expense of the Midland, 
the rejoinder was easy and complete. If the old line had 
to be doubled the cost would be altogether dispropor- 
tionate to the benefits conferred. Besides the earthwork, 
there were many of the overbridges that would need to 
be rebuilt, a large viaduct to be widened, nine tunnels to 
be doubled, stations to be altered, a suitable junction be- 
tween the Great Northern and Midland to be made at the 
London end, a new terminus for the Midland to be 
erected, and a gradient between Hitchen and Bedford to 
be improved. "I should tliink," said Mr. Charles 
Liddell, " that the duplicating the Great Northern would 
cost at least £900,000," in addition to other large items 
of expenditure. Lender these circumstances, it was 
obviously better to make a new line, in a new country, 
to accommodate new districts, to create new traffic, and 
to secure independence for both companies. " It is im- 
possible," said Mr. Allport, " that you can reconcile the 
interests of these two great companies," on the same 


railway. " AYe are always second best, and whether 
there are four lines or a dozen lines, the same thing 
would be true." 

Besides all this, it was by no means improbable that 
the districts which the Midland Company proposed to 
occupy would, if abandoned by them, be taken up b}- 
another company, and employed as a formidable com- 
petitor against Midland interests. Such a line had, in 
fact, been in contemplation. " The year before last," 
said Mr. Beale to the shareholders, " a project of that 
kind "was brought forward by persons of great talent, 
who very nearly succeeded in carrying forward a scheme 
going over the very district which we have proposed to 
take. If such had boon the case, we should have had to 
buy it back from the projectors. The Midland Company 
does not want to be dragged into a Trent Valley business, 
and have to buy a line at an enormous premium ; and if 
they did not make a line from Bedford, the work would 
be done by others." 

Another point that came under the consideration of 
the parliamentary committee may be cited, as showing 
the manner in which individuals are sometimes disposed 
to assert their rights. It arose from the circumstance 
that the Midland line was to be carried tlirouo:]! the 
Camden Square Gardens in Camden Town, where it was 
arranged that a cutting, which must first be made, should 
be arched over, and that then the garden should be 
restored to its previous condition. AVith these terms 
Lord Camden, the proprietor, was satisfied. Xot so, 
however, one of the witnesses. " It is utterly impos- 
sible," he said, *' that the garden could ever be restored ; 
because the trees were of fifteen years' growth, the lawn 
was as old, and got finer and finer every year, and the 
whole appearance of the square had been improving." 

'•' Then you think,'' asked the counsel, " leaving alone 


the trees, and taking the shrubbery and lawn, it could 
never be restored for a great length of time, if at all, to 
its present state." 

" No. Because this covered way would act as a great 
drain, and the grass would not grow." 

For these and similar reasons, the parties alleged that 
" the injury to the property was excessive," and that the 
works " would generally affect the value of the property 
in the neighbourhood." In cross-examination this mo- 
mentous matter was again referred to. 

Mr. Venables : " Your trees are large trees, and of 
fifteen years' growth, you say?" 


" Have you examined tlie plans, and seen how many of 
them would be disturbed ? " 

*' I have not counted the number, but there are several 
of them that would be disturbed. 

" Would there be more than six disturbed?" 

" No ; I would not say actually." 

" If it should turn out that six trees fifteen years old 
were taken out of 400, would that be an enormous evil ?" 

" I think it would be a great evil ; but I think many 
more would be disturbed." 

" You know that it is not beyond the resources of 
gardening ingenuity to put in trees fifteen years old — 
is it?" 

" Quite." 

" I respectfully differ from you. But at all events, 
supposing you had half a dozen or a dozen trees dis- 
turbed, and young ones put in in their places, do you not 
think that that might be compensated for by money ? " 

And all this was about two poplar trees, two labur- 
nums, and two horse-chestnut trees, — such wonderful 
vegetable productions as are to be found in an average 
London square ! 


Eventually, however, the chairman stated that " the 
committee were of opinion that the preamble of the bill 
had been proved ;" but so considerate were they of the 
feelings of the owners of the property in Camden Square, 
that it was ordered that if they wished, they should have 
" a clause which would enable them to seek for compen- 
sation for consequential damage." 

In the course of the year the Midland Company applied 
to Parliament for power to make a line to connect their 
main line at Cudworth with the town of Barnsley, by a 
branch about four miles in length. Tliat town was the 
centre of a district containing some 66,000 persons, and 
the chief seat of the linen manufacture — the Dundee of 
England — and produced a fabric worth nearly £500,000 
a year, but it had no communication with the Midland 
system, except by an omnibus over a very rough road, 
and it was also very inadequately accommodated otherwise. 
One of the witnesses declared that " there was no town 
of equal importance in the kingdom, and indeed there 
w^ere very few villages, which have such execrable rail- 
way accommodation as we have." The station, which was 
the joint property of the Lancashire and Yorkshire and 
the South Yorkshire, has "one room 20 ft. square, which 
serves at once for the booking offices of three railways, 
for a spice stall, and the sale of the daily papers," and 
also as a waiting room. Another room, " by a very 
gross abuse of language," called a ladies' waiting-room, 
was so small that " one lady of modern dimensions 
would occupy a very considerable portion of it." In 
fact, the station arrangements violated the most ordinary 
requirements of decency. The witness stated his con- 
viction that if a railway were made from Barnsley to Cud- 
worth, all the arrangements would be improved, since it 
" would lower the character of the Midland Company to be 
associated with such station accommodation as existed." 



'* One thing we have for our consolation," he added, 
" that under no combination of circumstances could the 
accommodation be worse." That the railway facilities ot 
the town were not highly appreciated, may be inferred 
from the fact, that of a population of 6G, 000 in and 
around Barnsley, there went up to London by the Great 
Northern in the Exhibition year, an average — if we may 
be excused the form of calcuhition — of only a passengei- 
and a quarter a day ! 

The line that the Midland Company proposed to run 
from Cudworth to Barnslcv was four miles and a half in 


length. It was to pass almost close to the large collieries 
known as the Mount Osborne and the Oaks. From the 
former some 162,000 tons were raised every year — an 
amount which could be largely augmented if there were 
proper communication ; and from the Oaks the yield in 
1862 was 180,000 tons. 

The importance of the proposed line was obvious; but 
when the bill was before Parliament, it became entangled 


with a number of competitive projects with which that 
of the Midland Company had really nothing to do. There 
were the Barnsley Coal Railway, the South Yorkshire, the 
Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire, the Lancashire 
and Yorkshire, the Great Northern, and the Leeds 
and Wakefield, who " had agreements with each other in 
every possible complication, and all of whom almost 
accused all the others of havinof broken those asfree- 
ments on every possible occasion." Eventually, however, 
the committee found a way through this labyrinth of 
perplexities, and the bill was sanctioned. 

The directors also decided to recommend the construc- 
tion of several other extensions ; to make a branch from 
Duffield to Wirks worth and the High Peak Railway ; 
to run a branch from Staveley to the Doe Hill Valley, 
in order to open up a large and valuable coal field ; 
to double the Ashchurch and Tewkesbury line ; to join 
with the Furness Railway Company in making a railway 
to be called the Furness and Midland, for the purpose 
of connecting the coast lines of Cumberland and West- 
morland and the Lake District with the Midland Railway 
at Wennington, on the Little North Western Railway, 
and 'with Carnforth. This line is about ten miles in 
length, and was to cost £150,000, of which the Midland 
Company was to contribute one-half. Bills were also 
submitted to Parliament to enable the Midland Companj^ 
to make working arrangements with the Manchester, Bux- 
ton, Matlock, and Midland Junction ; with the Kettering 
and Thrapstone extension to Huntingdon ; the Peter- 
borough and Wisbeach; the Rcdditch and Evesham; the 
Nailsworth and Stonchouso ; and the Metropolitan. 


Arrival of a memorable period. — Claims of Sheffield to increased ac- 
commodation. — Growth of trade in that town. — Sir John Brown'.s 
works. — Town's meeting. — Communication with the Midland' 
board. — Sheffield to be put on the main line of the Midland. — 
Large outlay. — Terms settled. — Advantages to be conferred. — 
Remarkable change of opinion in Sheffield. — Rival scheme pro- 
duced. — The Sheffield, Chesterfield and Staffordshire Company. 
— Extraordinary pretensions of new company. — Objections to 
the scheme. — Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Company's 
claims. — A small disease and a great remedy. — Astuteness of Mid- 
land Company's advisei's. — Plan for meeting the difficulty. — The 
rival scheme defeated in the Commons. — Persistent attempt to 
defeat the Midland Company in the Lords. — Midland Company's 
bill passes. — Projected extensions of the Midland system. — Yate 
and Thornbury line. — Mangotsfield and Bath. — Derby to Mel- 
bourne and Breedon-on-the-Hill. — Mr. Beale's resignation as chair- 
man. — Mr. W. E. Hutchinson becomes chairman. — Mansfield and 
Worksop line projected. — Opposition of the dukes. — Difficulties 
overcome. — Evidence of the necessity of the line. — Vast colliery 
field. — Rival line proposed by Great Northern. — Proposed line from 
Barnsley to Kirkburton. — Evidence. — Humorous criticisms of Mr. 
Mereweather. — Proposal rejected. —Death of Sir Joseph Paxton. — 
Resignation of Mr. Barwell. — Mr. W. M. Thompson a director. — 
Bedford and Northampton line. — Evidence before Parliament. — 
Passing of bill. — Tottenham and Hampstead Junction. — Advant- 
ages of the line. — Opposition of Great Northern to the new 
arrangement. — Cheshire lines. — Proposed new line of the three 
companies between Liverpool and Manchester. — Access via Gars- 
ton inconvenient. — Necessity for additional railway accommoda- 
tion between Manchester and Liverpool. — Enormous increase of 
trade of Liverpool. — Evidence. — Complaints of merchants and 
others. — Cost and probable returns of the projected railway. — New 
line from Manchester to Stockport. — Omnibus traffic. 

The year 1 864 was memorable in the history of the Mid- 
land Railway. It began with an attempt to meet public 
claims and to strengthen the position of the Company ; 
but before Ions; the directors were called, with their 
utmost resources and skill, to repel an attack upon 
their most vital interests, — an attack which, if success- 
ful, would have entailed the most serious consequences 
on all the future of the Midland Company. 

When the route of the North Midland Railway was 


selected by George Stephenson, lie thought it better to 
follow the course of the valleys, and to leave the town of 
Sheflfield among the hills on the left, to be afterwards 
connected with the main line by a branch from Mas- 
borough. But with this subordinate position, a popula- 
tion so vast and industries so thriving were not likely 
to remain permanently satisfied, and the complaints of 
the Sheffield people would have been entertained by the 
Midland board at an earlier period, had it not been for 
financial difficulties of their own. Pressure, however, of 
all kinds gradually increased. The little passenger 
station, built some twenty years before, became utterly 
unsuitable for the traffic ; but being jammed in between 
principal streets of the town, and bounded by numerous 
vast and costly works, it appeared impossible by any 
attempt at enlargement to meet the necessities of the 

Meanwhile the trade of the town increased enormously. 
During the year 1863, one firm, that of Mr., now Sir 
John, Brown, consumed nearly 100,000 tons of coal, and 
45,000 tons of pig iron. Nearly 30,000 tons of the iron 
came over the Midland system from Derby, Clay Cross, 
Hull, from Morecambe, and even from Scotland. " We 
pay to the Midland alone," said Mr. Brown, " from 
£35,000 to £40,000 per annum for the conversance of our 
minerals and pig iron, out of which £12,000 is paid 
direct to the Midland Company by us, for what we call 
* goods outwai..,' that is to say, manufactured goods." 

At length the Midland board received an intimation 
that, on the 5th of December, 1863, a town's meeting 
under the presidency of Mr. Brown, the mayor, would 
be held to consider the question of railway communica- 
tion. The chairman of the Midland board shortly after- 
wards returned an official assurance that his board had 
resolved, " if assured of the support of the towai," to 

182 town's meeting. 

" recommend to their sliareliolders to apply, in the 
session of 1864, for an act for a direct line from the 
Midland Railway near Chesterfield, to Dronfield and 
Sheffield." This letter was submitted to the town's 
meeting, the chairman of which spoke in terms of warm 
appreciation of the intended action of the Midland board. 
He stated that he had no doubt of the good faith with 
which the promise had been made ; and it was generally 
admitted at the meeting that the accommodation which 
the town needed could be best supplied by the Midland 
Com^^any. It was at the same time suggested that a 
Uttle pressure from without might be useful to support 
the Midland directors in commending the project to their 
shareholders. " The meeting," said Mr. Thomas Smith, 
a solicitor, should have " faith in the Midland Company, 
which alone could do for the town that which was really 
wanted — put it on the main line (cheers). It has been 
admitted, however, that directors sometimes required a 
little pressure with their shareholders, to enable them to 
carry projects of this kind out. "With a view to supply 
the necessary pressure, and put the town in a position to 
secure a railway to Chesterfield, if they should show any 
further hesitation, and also in order to support and jiro- 
tect the interests of the town in the matter, he (Mr. 
Smith) advised the formation of an independent com- 
pany, w^liich should, by arrangement with the Midland, 
prepare to give the necessary notices, and deposit plans, 
the independent company withdrawing on the Midland 
Company going to Parliament in earnest " (cheers). A 
committee was appointed to watch over the interests of 
the town, and to see that the new line and station met 
their just expectations. After the meeting the mayor 
sent to the chairman of the Midland Company an account 
of the proceedings. 

Under these circumstances the Midland board took 


immediate action. At the general meeting on the Srd of 
February following, they obtained the sanction of the 
shareholders to a bill involving an expenditure of £500,000 
for the projected line; and their engineer was instructed 
to make his survey of the difficult country through which 
the railway would have to pass. A deputation, also, from 
the Sheffield committee had an interview with the Mid- 
land board, and received a renewal of the pledge given to 
the mayor; and at the end of the same month, the 
Sheffield committee forwarded to the directors a resolu- 
tion which they had just passed, expressive of their 
satisfaction with the action of the board ; taking care, 
however, to add the following warning against any in- 
fringement of the understanding already arrived at : 
" That this committee, while they rely on these promises, 
yet desire to impress on the board of directors the peril 
of any departure from these assurances, as the general 
public are most anxious on the point, at the earliest 
period of making the line." 

On the 10th of July, 1863, the engineer of the Midland 
Company met the committee at Sheffield, produced his 
plans and explained them. It was, however, considered 
that " the position and approaches of the station appeared 
too far removed from the business part of the town," 
and" several departures from the plan in that particular" 
were suggested, and in these " Mr. Orossley coincided." 
The Sheffield representative reported that if this plan, as 
thus amended, " be confirmed by the survey, your depu- 
tation thinks that the scheme will, as a whole, be satis- 
factory to the town." 

By these arrangements a very costl}^ and difficult but 
admirable line was offered by the Midland Company to 
the town of Sheffield, and the offer was officially accepted 
by its municipal authorities. Some 1,200,000 yards of 
cutting, and about an equal amount of embankment, a 


viaduct 260 jarcls in length, and tunnels more than 2,000 
yards long would be required ; the work of which would 
cost £40 a yard for tunnels, £60 for viaducts, and Is. a 
cubic yard for earthworks. The whole would involve an 
outlay of half a million of money. But the benefits con- 
ferred would not be disproportionate to the expenditure. 
Hereafter the principal trains from north to south would 
run directly through the town ; in fact, Sheffield, instead 
of being approached by a branch from Masborough, 
would for all the future be on the main line of the Mid- 
land system. Passengers from the south, instead ot 
] laving first to go north to Masborough and then back to 
Sheffield, would save eight miles ; while the distance from 
Chesterfield to Masborough itself would, over the new 
route be only slightly increased. Instead of the old 
Sheffield station — which would be devoted to goods — the 
new one would be three or four times the area, and would 
have unlimited facilities for extension ; and all the just 
expectations of a large population and a thriving industry 
would be more than satisfied. 

It was now August. Apparently everything had pro- 
ceeded fairly and in good faith ; when suddenly, to the 
amazement of the Midland board, it was discovered that 
some of the very parties with whom these negotiations 
had been conducted were engaged in prosecuting, not a 
friendly bill, to be used merely in the event of the 
Midland's default, but one in the highest degree com- 
petitive and hostile; that the mayor himself was to be 
chairman of the new company ; that a large expenditure 
was to be undertaken ; and that it was intended to 
make a rival line to Bastow, Bakewell, Winster, 
Ashbourne, and Stafford, with a fork from near Sheffield 
through Dronfield to Chesterfield, at the heart of the 
Midland system ; and that people of great local influence 
and wealth had committed themselves to this scheme. 


In fact, despite correspondences, conferences, and agree- 
ments, the Midland Company and the Midland line were 
thrown overboard, and for the time being appeared, under 
the fresh influences that had arisen, to be — nowhere. 

The Sheffield corporation, the Cutlers' Company, the 
Sheffield people, Mr. Fowler the engineer, Mr. John 
Brown of the Atlas ironworks (both natives of the town), 
were of one mind and heart in the advocacy of the new en- 
terprise, — an enterprise which would not only have put 
the new line into the hands of strangers, but would have 
tapped the traffic blood of the Midland system at its 
heart. The Midland board could hardly believe their 
ears ; and the only defence which at the moment they 
seemed able to offer to the assault was — their recognised 
position, their character as a Company, and the sanctions 
of good faith. And so the time drew on when Parliament 
should decide. 

When Parliament met, the rival scheme came out in 
full bloom. It cheerfully proposed that, in lieu of the 
proposed Midland line, the ground should be occupied 
by a railway to be called the Sheffield, Chesterfield and 
Staffi^rdshire Company, which should run in the direc- 
tion named by its title ; that the Midland Company should 
have the option of using it " on fair terms "; and that the 
Staffordshire Company should have running powers at 
arbitration tolls, not only over the whole of the Midland 
system, but even on to other lines, indeed " to every- 
where"; and that the new company should have their 
own clerks and agents at the Midland stations to which 
they had running powers. Even for traffic going to the 
extremities of the Midland system, and beyond, on to 
points as distant as Bristol or Carlisle, this little bit of 
a company, with its 12 or 14 miles of railway, if it 
sent passengers or goods on its own line for a distance 
of only one, two, or three miles, claimed to receive the rate 


for the wliole distance, and tlie Midland Company was, 
as well as it could, to reclaim its share of tlie amount. 
" Here is a company," said Mr. Allport, " about wLicli 
no one knows anything, who come and propose that, at 
arbitration tolls, they should run over the whole of the 
Midland system, by merely making 13 or 14 miles, and 
that in the very midst of our system." " I think it is a 
most unreasonable thing." 

Nor should the fact be overlooked, that, if the 
Staffordshire line had been made instead of that of the 
Midland Company, the great want of Sheffield would have 
remained unsatisfied. Sheffield would still, for all Midland 
purposes, have remained on the branch from Masborough. 
" It is idle," said Mr. Allport, " to suppose that we 
should use and pay tolls upon a link of 13 or 14 miles 
in the midst of our system, with all our traffic passing 
through. The number of passengers taken up at 
Sheffield, as compared with the number we should take 
through, would be not more than as 1 to 10; and it is 
not to be expected that we should transfer from our own 
line the traffic to another and competing company. I 
have no hesitation," he added, " in saying that the whole 
of the Midland passenger traffic would go via Mas- 
borough, as at present." 

But the proposal of the Midland Company to make a 
direct line through Sheffield had not only to endure the 
neglect of its supposed supporters in Sheffield and the 
preposterous pretensions of the Staffordshire scheme; 
the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Company 
was scarcely to be outdone in the exorbitancy of its claims. 
That company is connected with the Midland by a branch 
at Eckington, a station between Chesterfield and Mas- 
borough, by means of which it conveys certain traffic on 
to Sheffield. But it was contended that if the Midland 
Company made aline of its own directly through Sheffield, 


some traffic wliicli had formerly travelled via Eckington 
might go by the new and better route. So, for this 
small disease, the Sheffield Company proposed a suffi- 
ciently comprehensive remedy. 

They stated that, when the Midland Company had 
their through line to Sheffield, Chesterfield would be- 
come the point of junction between the two systems, and 
that the Sheffield Company ought to have running powers 
over the Midland line from Eckington to Chesterfield, 
and there make its exchange Avith the Midland. " As 
the locus,'' they said, " is going to be changed physically, 
we ask that we should be removed from Eckington to 
Chesterfield ; " and they proposed that a clause should 
be inserted in the Midland bill that, at the new point of 
exchange " the said companies shall grant to each other 
mutual facihties by through booking, through rates, 
and otherwise, for the convenient transmission of the 
traffic of their respective systems;" in fact that the 
Midland Company should be compelled to grant through 
bookinof at arbitration rates. In the event of the Midland 
train arrangements being remodelled, and, for instance, 
the Midland expresses not stopping at Chesterfield, the 
Sheffield Company claimed that the exchange of traffic 
should be made at Trent junction, the Sheffield Company 
having running powers on to Trent. They would thus, 
though a line running from east to west, have a position 
in the heart of the Midland system, with a spur running 
north to south. 

These demands were considered by the Midland Com- 
pany to be inadmissible. The Midland Company, they 
said, is going to spend half a million of money to make a 
better route from Chesterfield to Sheffield ; but because 
in doing so a small quantity of the traffic of another 
company may be diverted from a route along which it 
has previously flowed, that company is to be allowed to 


take up a position, under the guidance or caprice of an 
unnamed arbitrator, in the midst of a great system of 
railway which has cost some £23,000,000 of money, and 
to the construction of which the other company has not 
paid a penny. Every new Hue, of course, is made for the 
more convenient transmission of traffic somewhere ; but 
it was unprecedented that the owners of the less con- 
venient route should have to be compensated, and com- 
pensated at such a price as this. When the Midland 
Company made its extension from Buxton to Manchester 
it was strenuously opposed by the London and North 
Western and the Great Northern Companies, because it 
was seen that some of their traffic would be diverted ; 
but they never asked to be reimbursed for their loss, or 
for running powers over the new Midland route as a 
price for their loss. When the Midland Company sought 
for an act to enable them to construct a new line from 
Bedford to London, the Great Northern well knew that 
£60,000 worth of Midland traffic would be diverted from 
their rails, but Parliament never thoufjht of c-rantino: 
them compensation. The loss, too, actually sustained 
by the Sheffield Company would be infinitesimal in com- 
parison with the price at which they asked to be 
reimbursed. The total value of the traffic of all com- 
panies exchanged at Eckington was of the gross value 
of £60,000 a year. Out of that there was a sum ot 
£5000 or £6000 for " terminals " which the Sheffield 
Company would still enjoy ; and deducting this amount 
out of the £60,000 tlieir share would not exceed £20,000 
or £21,000. The Midland Company, however, undertook 
to provide trains to carry on without delay all the traffic 
which the Sheffield Company should still bring to the 
place of exchange' at Eckington. 

But while enemies were thus exhausting every re- 
source to give effect to these claims, the friends of the 


Midland Company were not idle. One day, as he was 
travelling in a train to London, there glanced across 
the mind of an astute adviser of the board, this thought : 
— " We have heard much about this new company, — its 
vast works, its large cost, and the deposit paid, — but we 
have heard nothing about shareholders. Who are they ? 
What are they ? Are there any ? Or is the proposed 
company, after all, unreal and illegal ?" These inquiries 
were soon answered ; answered by the discovery that 
though the deposit had been paid, yet the three names of 
the depositors bore the same address ; and at once it 
was suspected that the amount, instead of representing 
a proportionate payment of a large number of bond fide 
shareholders, as Parliament required, had been borrowed 
en bloc for the mere purpose of a deposit, that the stand- 
ing orders of Parliament had been evaded, and that in 
fact there were no shareholders. 

But how should this suspicion be confirmed, how 
should the fact itself be proved ? The reply was original 
but conclusive. " Summon the depositors themselves by 
Speaker's warrants ; put them in the box ; ascertain 
from their own lips the exact circumstances of the case ; 
raise the question of the legality of the entire proceed- 
ings, and secure, not only a favourable decision, but one 
which will establish a precedent for the prevention of 
any similar proceedings hereafter." 

The course thus proposed was adopted, and at the 
commencement of the proceedings before the Commons' 
committee, March 11, 1864, it was proved by the evi- 
dence of the depositors themselves, that the whole 
amount of the deposit had been obtained as a loan from 
the Guardian Insurance Companij on behalf of the pro- 
moters of the Sheffield, Chesterfield and Staffordshire 
Railway Bill. On hearing this announcement and the 
comments of counsel on either side, the committee 


stated that they were •' of opinion tliat, as the matter 
was one of very grave importance, they would require 
time to consider it." Meanwhile, however, as witnesses 
on both sides were present, the committee would hear 
the case on its own merits. The result of this hearing was 
satisfactory. After a protracted inquiry it was decided 
in the House of Commons' committee that the Sheffield, 
Chesterfield and Staffordshire Bill should be rejected ; 
and the Chesterfield and Sheffield line of the Midland 
Company was approved. 

Such, however, was the vitality of the quasi-defunct 
undertaking, that it followed with its opposition the 
Midland Company's bill into the House of Lords. It 
was hoped by its friends that, though their own bill had 
been rejected, yet, by securing, even for one session, the 
rejection also of the Midland bill, an opportunity might be 
secured in a future session of a^rain advanciufr their own 
scheme. In this, fortunately for the ^lidland Company, 
and, wo may add, for the town of Sheffield, they were 
defeated, and the Midland bill became law. 

In the course of this year (18G4), projects were an- 
nounced for the formation of several small but not un- 
important lines. One was from Yate, near Bristol, to 
Thornbury. It was easy of construction, and led to a 
valuable iron field. Another was from ^mngotsfield to 
Bath, and its formation would connect that city with tlie 
narrow-gauge system of the country. A third was from 
near Derby, past Melbourne, to a junction at Breedon-on- 
the-Hill, with a tramway that belonged to the Midland 
Company, and led to Ashby-de-la-Zouch. This line 
would be six miles in length, and would cost £40,000. 
Meanwhile satisfactory progress was being made with 
the numerous works already in hand. 

It was matter of sincere regret to his colleagues that 
in the course of this vear Mr. Samuel Bealo, M.V., who 


bad been, with much " energy and talent," for many 
years the chairman of the Midland Company, found it 
desirable, on account of his health, to relinquish the 
responsibilities of that office, though he consented to 
remain a director. It was unanimously resolved by the 
shareholders, on the motion of Mr. Barrow, M.P., that 
£1000 should be placed at the disposal of the board to 
provide some suitable acknowledgment for Mr. Beale's 
services. The amount was expended in the purchase of 
plate, which was duly presented; and, in return, Mr. 
Beale gave to the shareholders his portrait, which was 
placed in the proprietors' hall at Derby, side by side with 
that of his old and lamented friend, Mr. Ellis. In the 
autumn of this year Mr. W. E. Hutchinson, a member of 
the Society of Friends, who had been connected with 
the Midland Company from its commencement, was 
elected to the chairmanship, and Mr. W. P. Price, M.P. 
for Gloucester, was appointed deputy-chairman. 

A vacancy also occurred during this year in the office 
of auditor, by the death of Mr. Joseph Cripps, of Leices- 
ter, who for upwards of twenty years had ably and 
faithfully discharged the duties of that position. In con- 
sequence of this event, the accounts were signed only by 
the remaining auditor, Mr. Alfred Allott. Major Robert 
Heane, of Gloucester, a holder of £12,000 worth of 
Midland stock, was appointed to fill the vacancy. 

The years 1865 and 1866 witnessed an important in- 
crease to the responsibilities of the Midland Company. 
Heavy works were in hand, and new ones w^ere in con- 
templation. During the summer of 1865, the New Mills 
extension was rapidly advancing; the Dove Holes Tunnel, 
which governed the rest of the work, was nearly three- 
fourths through ; the tunnel on the Chesterfield and 
Sheffield line was going forward ; the Duffield and 
Wirksworth branch was commenced ; and the contracts 



of the London and Bedford line north of the Brent were 


In addition to these undertakings, further extensions 
had become necessary in consequence of " numerous 
hostile schemes " projected by rival companies. " It 
would have been more consonant with the feelings of the 
directors," said the chairman, at the February meeting, 
" if they had been enabled to state that there was not a 
sino-le bill to be brought before Parliament; but they 
felt that they could not shut their eyes to what was going 
on around them, for there were districts that required 
railway accommodation, and other parties were already 
at work in the Midland district." " I believe," remarked 
the chairman, in August, " that this further construction 
is necessary for the stable and permanent position of the 
company." The proposed new lines were eighteen, ex- 
tending for a distance of eighty-one miles, at a cost of 
£1,684,000; besides a railway from Barnsley to Kirk- 
burton, and an arrangement with the Great Northern 


and SlieflSeld Companies for what we sliall have to 
speak of more fully hereafter — the Cheshire lines. 

In the course of this year (18G5) an important move- 
ment was made for the purpose of connecting together 
the middle and northern districts of Nottinfrhamshire — 
the county in which the Midland Company had its birth. 
The line that ran north of Nottingham ended at Mans- 
field in a cul cle sac, or, in expressive railway phraseology, 
" a dead end " — always a bad thing both for a line and 
for a district ; and so matters had remained for years. 
Several abortive attempts had been made to diminish the 
inconvenience that was felt ; and when in 1860 a bill was 
brought before Parliament for a line from Mansfield to 
Worksop, such serious difference of opinion arose with 
regard to the subject between the Dukes of Newcastle 
and Portland, through whose property the intended line 
would pass, that the project was withdrawn. 

At length, in the summer of 1864, it was intimated to 
the Midland Company that these obstacles were removed, 
and that both noblemen would lend their support to the 
projected line. But other difficulties arose ; for the 
Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Company now 
appeared with a scheme almost identical with that of the 
Midland ; nor were they appeased until they were pro- 
mised running powers to Mansfield in return for running- 
powers over their line on to Retford. 

A fresh survey was now ordered of the district, and 
several improvements were made on the scheme of 1859. 
It had, for instance, been intended that the extension 
to Worksop should turn off from the Nottingham and 
Mansfield line, at a point some distance south of Mans- 
field; that it should bend to the west, and that there 
should be a second station at Mansfield. It was now 
determined to carry a new through line across the town, 
and to build a new station within a few yards of the 


market place. At its iiortliern end the line would join 
the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire to the west of 
Worksop, near the Shireoaks Colliery. Uninterrupted 
communication would thus be provided between Mans- 
field and AYorksop on the one hand, and Sheffield on the 

The benefits to be conferred by the proposed lines were 
considerable. Mansfield was cooped up in a corner, and 
its trade had suffered accordingly. Two gentlemen, 
cotton doublers, who employed some 360 hands, gave 
evidence of the inconvenience to which they were exposed 
in carrying on their business with Lancashire. " We 
may lose more," said one, " by reloading, in the waste 
that it causes, than the cost of the carriage two or three 
times over." Mr. "William Bradshaw, at whose foundry 
about 300 persons were employed, and who received some 
2000 tons of iron a month from the north of England, 
complained of the circuitous route by which Mansfield 
had to be approached. " All I want," said the late 
Speaker of the House of Commons, in evidence he gave 
before the committee, " is a better communication from 
the northern part of the county to the county town." 

The district, too, through which the line would pass, 
deserved better accommodation. At Steetley, between 
Whitwell and Worksop, are the quarries of valuable stone 
from which it is believed that Southwell Minster was 
erected, and which the chairman of the committee re- 
marked was probably " the most famous of all building 
stones." The quarries at Mansfield are of high quality, 
but have only a limited though lucrative trade. The 
proposed railway, with the branch intended to be made 
to Newark, would open what one witness described as 
" most magnificent quarries of magnesium stone." The 
line would also pass in the neighbourhood of the finest 
timber district in Enojland. The Duke of Newcastle's 


agent stated that tlie mere thinnings of 4000 acres of 
woodland fetched from £6000 to £10,000 a year ; and 
that they were used chiefly for pit and manufacturing 
purposes. The Shireoaks Colliery, too, which the line 
would approach, contained several beds of valuable coal ; 
and the engineer and manager expressed a conviction 
that the entire district which the line would traverse was 
"a mineral field;" or, as another said, "full of coal." 
Mr. Heming, the agent for the Duke of Newcastle, also 
stated his belief that the " entire length " of the line was 
" full of minerals." These opinions have since been con- 
firmed : and eventually, as the time drew on for the 
opening of the line, thousands of acres of coal-fields were 
leased to coal-owners, and it is believed that the Mans- 
field and Worksop line will rival, if not outvie, the 
mineral productiveness of the Ere wash. 

But while the Midland Company was thus contending 
for the importance of a line between the centre and north 
of the country, another competitor — in the interest of 
the Midland's old foe, the Great Northern — came upon 
the field, and proposed a railway from Mansfield to Het- 
ford. On its behalf it was contended that Retford was the 
second largest cattle market in the kingdom ; that the 
Mansfield limestone quarries would be benefited by the 
Retford route as well as by the other ; that whatever wont 
north-east of Retford, should be carried direct to Retford ; 
though it was admitted tliat whatever went westward or 
north-west would go better by Worksop, and that delay 
in the transit of minerals did not much matter. It was 
of little consequence — some one humorously suggested — • 
if a load of pig iron was detained ; but if a truck of pigs 
were starved to death in winter weather, or if fish or 
fruit coming from Hull were delayed en route at mid- 
summer, the consequences might be unpleasant to all 


The Midland replied that theirs wa^ tlie better route, 
because they passed through a population twice as 
numerous as on the line to Retford, and because the 
latter ran through a purely agricultural country without 
minerals. The decision of Parliament was given in 
favour of the Midland bill. 

Application was also made in the course of this 
year (1865) for powers to make a line from Barnsley 
to Kirkburton, there to join a line projected by the 
London and North Western from Kirkburton to Hud- 
dersfield. These two companies agreed that if the 
Midland bill were sanctioned, a joint station should be 
made at Kirkburton, and each company should have 
running powers over the line of the other company. 
It was urged on behalf of the Midland project that it 
would be of special value, as the country was " full of 
mills in the centre, and full of coal at one end." At 
Huddersfield there were as many as four hundred ware- 
houses for woollen goods, and nearly as many mills. It 
was also shown in evidence that part of the traffic on the 
Barnsley and Kirkburton line would consist of leather, 
bark, and timber. Upon this point Mr. Mereweather 
thus cheerily criticised the evidence : "I shall not ques- 
tion whether there is some coal in the valley, whether 
there are some woods in the valle}^ whether the beasts 
there have hides, and whether they are ultimately taken off 
and tanned at another place. Of course there are woods 
everywhere, and yon will not find me contending that 
round most trees there is not bark, or to deny that that 
bark is used in tanning. But this gentleman comes and 
says that this line would be of great advantage to him, 
because it will help him to the bark. The greatest dis- 
tance from either end is six miles. The middle of the 
line is three miles from the end. Your lordships know 
what is done with bark. It is first of all stacked upon 


the spot, and must bo left to dry, and after being dried, 
it does not want a bit more locomotion than can be 
lielped. Take the middle part of the line, and assume that 
there is a wood upon it. The oak does not grow so that 
when the bark is stripped it can fall into the railway 
waggon. It has to be put upon a waggon for convey- 
ance to the rail. Do you suppose that the bark will 
travel three miles to the railway, then be unshipped into 
the trucks, be taken six miles to Barnsley, and unshipped 
there. Or is the railway to go and collect the hides of 
the dead oxen. Hides sold in the Barnsley market are 
either the produce of the beasts killed by the Barnsley 
butchers, or the one or two hides which the butcher 
brings in his cart to sell, having left the carcase in the 
village. Beasts do not die in heaps. They are killed 
individually, and to present to your lordships a line pick- 
ing up hides is absurd. That disposes of the leather 
business, the bark business, and the timber business." 

The bill for this line passed the Commons committee ; 
but in the Lords it was decided that the Midland Com- 
pany should have access to Huddersfield by running- 
powers in perpetuity on arbitration tolls via Barnsley 
or via Beighton and Sheffield, " local traffic being pro- 
tected in the usual manner." To these terms the Man- 
chester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire, and the Lancashire 
and Yorkshire consented, and the bill for the new line 
was thereupon withdrawn. The Midland Company were 
also to have accommodation in the Huddersfield station 
(supposing the London and North Western to consent), 
of which the Lancashire and Yorkshire and London and 
North \V'estern are joint owners. Had these terms been 
conceded at the outset, they would have been willingly 
accepted; and the Parliamentary costs of £3500 would 
have been saved. As the bill was not obtained, this out. 
lay, in the usual manner, fell upon revenue. 


Two vacancies occurred during tlie year 1865 in tlie 
direction. One, said the chairman, " by the death of our 
deeply-lamented and highly-valued colleague. Sir Joseph 
Paxton," who for sixteen years had been a member of 
the board ; and the other by the retirement, through ill- 
health, of Mr. E. H. Barwell. The seat of the latter 
was filled by the appointment of Mr. ]\I. "W. Thompson, 
of Bradford. At a special meeting which followed the 
ordinary autumn meeting, various financial arrangements 
were sanctioned, and also an agreement for the purchase 
by the Midland Company of the Rcdditch station, and for 
the working and leasing by the Midland Company of the 
Midland and South "Western Junction Railway. Durinnf 
the year an act was obtained for making a line — in 
which the IMidland Company eventually became inter- 
ested — called the Bedford and Northampton Railway. 
The affair came about in the following 'way : — 

Three or four years previously, the Midland Company 
had received notice from the London and North Western 
that they intended to e.x:ercise the old common law right 
of passing along a public higliwa}', and that they should 
pass along the " public highway " of the track that ran 
from AVichnor, on the Birmingham and Derby line, to 
Biirton-on-Trent. To this the Midland did not demur; 
but they likewise gave notice that they should use similar 
powers from "Wellingborough to Northampton, where 
they had bought land, and where they opened a tem- 
porary station immediately adjoining that of the North 
Western Company. The two companies also agreed that 
the tolls from AVichnor and from Wellingborough should 
be fixed at the same amount. 

The junctions* of the Midland with the London and 
North Western were formed from the east and west sides 
of the Wellingborough station ; but it was soon found 

* For several years tlicrc was only one junction. 


that, however convenieutly these might serve as ap- 
proaches from the north, there should also be access 
from the south ; and this, it was conjectured, might be 
made at a cost of £4000 or £5000. On examination, 
however, it was ascertained that it would be a more 
serious undertaking, since it would have to be carried for 
at least four or five miles through a very difficult coun- 
try, at an outlay of £70,000 or £80,000. It was, there- 
fore, abandoned. Meanwhile complaints arose of the 
inadequacy of the means of communication between 
Bedford and Northampton; and when a proposal was 
made by a company called " The Bedford, Northampton 
and Weedon," to make a line in that direction, it was 
warmly supported by parties locally interested. The 
traffic of the district, they declared, had to be carried on 
by private vehicles or by carriers' carts. " The agricul- 
tural interests of that neighbourhood," said Mr. Hurst, 
of Bedford, " are very extensive. There is a great deal 
of extremely well-cultivated land, and it would be a great 
convenience to have this line to convey agricultural pro- 
duce from one place to the other. Bedford, too, is a 
very improving, and is becoming a very important town. 
It has very extensive commercial and grammar schools — 
I should think an arrangement of schools hardly second 
to any in the kingdom. These schools are all but free, 
and the benefits thus conferred might be greatly extended 
if the facilities of access were increased." " I reckon," 
said another witness, " that every acre of land properly 
worked ought to produce something like half a ton of 
cattle or corn to be exported or imported," and that the 
freightage thus supplied should, if possible, be accom- 
modated. One gentleman from Northampton, who stated 
that his firm employed about 1,500 hands, and made 
more than half a million of boots a year, declared that 
the rates they paid for the carriage of boots and shoes 


from Xortliamptoii to London were " about as much as 
tliey used to pa}^ in the old waggon time." Another 
witness, who lived at Olney, expressed the great desire 
of people there engaged in trade to have railway facili- 
ties. He mentioned that, as a tanner, he received 500 
or more tons of goods in a year, which had to be con- 
veyed by road; and that coals for the town had to be 
carted from the Midland Company's station at Sharn- 
brook, a distance of ten miles. 

Similar eviJence led to Parliamentary sanction being 
given to the bill, witli the omission of the part that 
extended to Weedon, it being thought to be difficult to 
make a good junction with the London and North 
Western main line. The Midland Company did not 
consent to the terms on which they would adopt this new 
project until about three weeks before the bill was sub- 
mitted to Parliament; but eventually they agreed to 
work the line when completed for seven years, at forty 
per cent, of the receipts, anil at fifty per cent, afterwards. 

The Tottenham and Ilampstead was another lino that 
arose under somewhat similar circumstances, and that 
came under the control of the Midland Company under 
somewhat similar conditions. It starts from Kcntisli Town; 
runs up alongside of and then over the Midland main line ; 
crosses over the Great Northern, with which it forms a 
junction; runs over the Edgware and Highgate Railway; 
and reaches Tottenham on the Great Eastern line. It has 
also a connection with the Ilampstead and City Junction 
Railway. It has no independent terminus of its own; 
but is, by its very nature, a dependency on the stronger 
systems upon which it abuts. By means of it the ^lid- 
land Company gains access to the Great Eastern system 
generally, to the docks at the east end of London, and 
to the City station of the Great Eastern Company. By 
using this line, the Great Eastern, which long desired 


to have a station more westerly than that at Shored itcli, 
has admission to the St. Pancras terminus, into whicli it 
runs certain of its trains, and by means of which pas- 
sengers to some of the cliief Eastern Counties stations 
can book direct from the Midland terminus. 

For the attainment of these objects, the Midland Com- 
pany agreed to subscribe £183,000, an amount equal to 
one-third of the capital of the Tottenham and Hamp- 
stead Junction Company. The Great Eastern did the 
same, and the line is now worked by both — each doing 
its own work. The two companies pay their receipts 
into a joint fund, making an allowance for working 

To this arrangement, by which the independence of 
the line was affected, the Great Northern Company 
objected, on the ground that all control of it would be 
in the hands of companies which were the rivals of the 
Great Northern. " Hitherto," said Mr. Seymour Clarke, 
" it was the interest of this little company that our 
traffic should come upon its line ; but when it is swal- 
lowed up by the thousands of miles owned by the Great 
Eastern and the Midland Companies, it will be their 
interest to prevent the flow of Great Northern traffic 
upon it." These objections, however, were overruled. 

Several new railway projects were now in contempla- 
tion. The directors were invited to join the London and 
North Western in promoting a line between Huddersfield 
and Halifax ; and agreed with the Great Northern, and 
Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire lines in becoming 
joint-owners of the Stockport and Woodley Junction, the 
Stockport, Timperley and Altrincham, and the Cheshire 
lines, the capital of which was £1,850,000, of which the 
Midland Company was to subscribe a third. 

In the course of this year, 1865, a bill was submitted 
to Parliament, which was destined to place the Midland 


Company — along with the Great jN^ortheru and Man- 
chester, Sheffield and Lincolnshh'e — in a commanding 
position for sharing in the traffic of Liverpool. It is true 
that, in a sense, the Midland was already there ; but it was 
amid circumstances of great disadvantage to its mighty 
competitor, the London and Xorth "Western Company. 
In 1861, the three companies already named had ob- 
tained power to make a line of their own from Garston 
to the Brunswick Dock at Liverpool — a terminus where 
but little passenger traffic was likely to be obtained ; but 
besides this, the access from the east was by a railway 
" made up," as Mr. John Fowler remarked, " of bits of 
local lines constructed for other purposes," which chiefly 
belonged to the London and North Western, and wliicli 
only " incidentally " came to be available for a route 
from Manchester to Liverpool, Between Timpcrley and 
(jrarston were several curves, which had to be cautiously 
passed ; and between Manchester and Liverpool there 
were no fewer than ninety-five level crossings. On tlie 
up journey the driver of an engine had to meet sixty- 
four signals, and on the down journey sixty signals. On 
the one way he would liave to obey a signal on an 
average of every tliii-ty-six seconds, and on the other 
every thirty-eight seconds, and he would pass over a 
level crossing every twenty-four seconds tliroughout liis 

Practical difficulties also arose in the workinir of the 
railway, fi-om the fact that part of it was under the con- 
trol of another and a competitive company. ]\Ir. Charles 
Turner, for instance, gave evidence that though the line 
ran near his house, and he would have been glad to have 
availed himself of it, yet he had been detained so often, 
and, as he thought, so needlessly, that he had determined 
not to go by it again. " It is perfectly obvious," he said, 
" tliat whenever tliere is a difficultv, instead of running 


our traffic, which they engaged to do, as their own, they 
make our traffic subservient to theirs." The difficulties 
thus to be contended with may be illustrated by the fact 
that when the three companies* were about to commence 
running to Liverpool, they sent in to the London and 
N'orth AYestern a list of twelve trains which they wished to 
put on — trains of course fitting their own at Manchester ; 
and the answer received contained an objection to every 
train on the list. Mr. Cawkwell, no doubt, would have con- 
tended that the objections so alleged were good and suffi- 
cient ; but this only seemed to show more conclusively 
the necessity of the three companies having a line of 
their own, and of their ceasing to intrude where they 
were not wanted. 

It is not surprising, therefore, that the three companies 
were gradually led to the conclusion that it would be 
necessary for them to have a line of their own — a line 
which should be connected with their several systems at 
or near Manchester, which should take a new and inde- 
pendent route, and which should proceed to a central 
station in the middle of Liverpool. The companies were 
supported in this decision by the demands that had arisen 
at Liverpool for more adequate railway accommodation. 
The vast growth of business in that great seaport neces- 
sitated increased means for carrying it. Between the 
years 1822 and 1803 the timber trade had trebled. The 
tonnage discharged into Liverpool in 1864 was nearly 
5,000,000 tons. It had become, in fact, a sort of axiom 
among Liverpool men, that the trade doubled every four- 
teen or fifteen years. In five years the traffic between 
London and Liverpool increased 40 per cent. ; that is to 
say, in 1859 it was worth £227,000 a year, and in 18G4 
it had risen to £306,000 a year. If four years more 

* The Midland, the Great Northern, and the Manchester, Sheffield, 
and Lincolnshire Companies. 


elapsed (1869) before the new line was opened, it was 
estimated that the traffic would have increased to nearly 
double what it was in 1859; yet no really new line, till 
the opening of that now projected, would have been pro- 

Similarly, the railway traffic between Liverpool and 
Manchester was worth £180,000 a year; and if the 
amount sent by canal w\as added, it was estimated that 
the total would be doubled. Again, if to Manchester 
were added the towns usually classed with it, the railway 
traffic between the Manchester district and Liverpool 
would be worth, it was believed, nearly £400,000 a year. 

But the means of carrying on this traffic had by no 
means increased in similar proportion. It is true, as the 
counsel for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company re- 
marked, that the " most enthusiastic hogshead of sugar 
cannot want to go in less than two hours and a half from 
Liverpool to Manchester, and the most rapid piece of 
timber may be satisfied with a journey of three hours." 
But, on the other hand, it became a serious matter when 
it could be said that a new line was now asked for " upon 
very much the same grounds as the late George Stephen- 
son, and those who employed him, proposed the first 
Manchester and Liverpool Railway. I do not think," said 
a witness, " I am exaggerating at all in saying that the 
existing means of communication between Manchester and 
Liverpool are almost as insufficient for accommodating the 
present traffic as the two canals, which existed many years 
before, have become insufficient since that time." 

The effects of all this told injuriously in various ways 
upon the traffic and business of the town. Thus that 
important trade, the cart owners, complained that the 
accommodation was so insufficient that they were detained 
in the streets for their loads for most unreasonable times. 
One, Avho carted 150,000 bales of cotton in a year, said 


that the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company kept his carts 
standing idle while they loaded their own, and that he 
had known as many as 57 carts kept Avaiting for four 
hours consecutively. Another stated that he had seen 
78 carts at a time waiting to go to the Lancashire and 
Yorkshire line. Merchants also asserted that they 
suffered serious hindrances in the conduct of their busi- 
ness. Sometimes the timber trade would, in consequence 
of snow, be delayed for a week or two. In fact, they 
said, " when an order is received from the country, it is 
the practice to send down to the wharf to see whether 
' the goods ' can take it in, and if they cannot, we do not 
send it until we receive permission. If a man orders 
1000 feet of timber, and says it is to go by the Lanca- 
shire and Yorkshire line, we have to send to that com- 
pany to see if they can receive it. AVe are obliged to 
know the state of the railway before we can send the 
goods. If we do send the goods without asking their 
permission, they very often send it back again." The 
same remark applied to the canals. " I believe," said 
a witness, " that they have all the disposition to do 
whatever they can, but delays occur. Perhaps I might 
send a few thousand feet of timber to the railway com- 
pany, and if they have no waggon at the time, the timber 
is deposited in exactly the same way as those papers are 
on the floor ; the next lot of timber that comes is put upon 
the first lot, and then it is like goods that we put down 
the hold of a ship, the first comes out last." 

" It is impossible," remarked Mr. Heron, the town 
clerk of Manchester, " to doubt that the proposed line 
would be advantageous ; and, as it appears to me, it 
is an absolute necessity that those great systems (the 
three companies) should have a communication with Liver- 
pool as they have with Manchester, within their own 
power and under their own control." As an evidence. 


too, of the inadequacy of tlie accommodation then pro- 
vided, it may be mentioned that at that time no pas- 
seno-er train ran on the London and North Western line 
between the vast populations of Liverpool and Manchester 
at a later hour in the day than half-past seven o'clock. 

That there was a prospect of the capital to be expended 
on the proposed line receiving an adequate return, was 
shown by Mr. Denison. " We are going to spend," he 
said, *' upon that line, £750,000. According to the or- 
dinary practice, £75,000 a year will pay 5 per cent, 
upon that, allowing half to go off in working expenses. 
If the figures I have given you are right, then that 
£75,000 a year will be less a great deal than the almost 
certain increase of traffic in the next three years. So 
that we can actually pay ourselves 5 per cent, upon our 
line, without depriving the London and North Western or 
the Lancashire and Yorkshire Companies of one single 
penny which they now receive from the carriage of goods 
and passengers upon the existing line. Again, the 
£75,000 a year, according to the calculations I liave, is 
less than one sixth of the eastern traffic now conniig into 

Such were some of the facts submitted for the consider- 
ation of Parliament. The result was, that the promoters 
of the line were successful. In connection with this new 
line from Manchester to Liverpool, it was also resolved to 
provide additional communication between Manchester 
and Stockport. The importance of further facilities of 
communication between these towns was illustrated by 
the fact that Mr. Ivie Mackie, of Manchester, had 
started and maintained a remunerative omnibus traffic 
on that route. " The little cribs of omnibuses," he 
quaintly told the parliamentary committee, " such as you 
have here in London, are not fit for people to ride in. I, 
being rather above the ordinary size, required increased 



accommodation, and I thought I would introduce the 
large Scotch omnibuses simply to show the Manchester 
people what could be done. I had no idea of establish- 
ing it as a business ; but finding it a profitable business, I 
have continued it ever since." " And so," remarked Mr. 
Mereweather, " I understand you were measured for a 
seat in the omnibus, and that you started these new ones 
on that broad basis." 



Impoftant pci-iod in Midland Railway politics. — The AVost Coast route 
to Glasgow. — Tlie East Coast route to Edinburgh. — Midland 
Company complains that it is excluded from its share of Scotch 
traffic. — Difficulty of ^lidland passenger traffic to Scotland. — Pro- 
posals of London and North AVcstern. — Joint ownership and run- 
ning powers at arbitration rates offi?red. — Practical difficnlties. — 
Proposed local line from Settle to Hawes. — Overtures of Midland 
Company to North of England Union. — Proposed ^lidland line 
from Settle to Carlisle. — Support of landlords. — Evidence of 
Lords Wharncliffe and "Wensleydale and others. — Hesitating opposi- 
tion of London and North Western. — Objections to admission of 
Midland to Citadel Station at Carli.sle. — Reply of Midland Com- 
pany by fact and argument. — Capacity of Citadel Station to 
receive additional traffic. — Radford and Trowell line. — Opposition 
of Lord Middleton and others. — A wonderful canal. — Conclusive 
reply. — Ashby and Nuneaton line. — Rival scheme of London and 
North Western. — Arrangement for Midland bill to pass with joint 
ownership by London and North Western and Midland Companies. 
— Floods. 

The year 1866 dated au important epoch in the politics 
of the Midland Railway extension. While looking for- 
ward to the completion of lines that would connect the 
IMidland — by the Furness and ^lidland — with the Lake 
District ; by the Buxton extension with Manchester ; by a 
connecting link with the South AVestern system ; and by 
the Bedford line with the Metropolis, — the directors again 
turned their eyes to the far north, and sought to devise 
some means by which they might obtain a share of the 
vast traffic carried on between this country and Scotland. 
Nor was this unnatural or unreasonable. Just as the 
London and North Western Company, when it reached 
Liverpool, had secured access by way of Preston, Lan- 
caster, Carlisle, and the Caledonian line, — by what is 
called the West Coast route, — to Scotland; and just as 
the Great Northern had, by association with the North 
Eastern and North British Companies, been able to carry 
a laree throucrh traffic between London and Edinburo^h 


— by wliat is called the East Coast route ; so the Midland 
Company, ha\4ng come to occupy an influential position 
ill the midland counties of England, and having stretched 
its great highway from London to Lancaster, arrived at 
the conclusion that the time had come when it should 
form a third and central route from south to north, and 
should enjoy a fair share of an increasing traffic, worth, 
even at that period, not less than £1,500,000 per annum. 
The precise position which the Midland Company 
occupied with regard te the Scotch traffic was as follows : 
By a lease for 999 years of the Little North Western line, 
it had a line of its own as far as Ingleton. Here the 
Midland line ended; but it was in connection with 
another line belonging to another company which ran 
northward, along the magnificent vale of the Lune, which at 
Tebay joined the main line of the Lancaster and Carlisle. 
Tliis Ingleton and Tebay extension originally formed part 
of the scheme of the Little North Western ; but the pro- 
jectors fell into difficulties, and after spending several 
thousands of pounds upon the land, and on the partial 
construction of the works, they were abandoned, and in 
this state they remained for several years. When times 
mended, a fresh application was made to Parliament for 
]:)Owers to complete tlie line, and the Lancaster and 
Carlisle Company also asked for similar authority ; and 
they, being the more responsible body, were succossfal. 
They accordingly completed the works, through a very 
difficult and mountainous country, and at enormous cost. 
Subsequently the Lancaster and Carlisle became prac- 
tically London and North Western, for it is vested in 
that company according to terms so comprehensive that 
they are worthy of quotation : the North Western is to 
have control of the line for 1000 years, "the plant, rolling 
stock, and moveable property to be used by the lessees 
during, and to be restored at the end of, the lease " ! 



Such was the position of affairs down to the year 1866, 
and the Midland Company was in consequence under the 
necessity of sending its Scotch traffic over the lines of a 
company with which it was in competition in almost every 
large town in England ; and the effect of these disadvan- 
tages was decisive. Between towns as large as Birmintr- 
ham and Glasgow the Midland did not carr^^ a passenger, 
and the goods it conveyed in a year would have filled 
only a few wheelbarrows ; while over the Waverley route 
the Midland Company sent only about two tons of goods 
a day, and a passenger once a fortnight. The personal 
inconveniences also suffered by those who travelled from 
any part of the Midland system to Scotland were consider- 
able. " It is a very rare thing," said Mr. Allport, " for iii<' 
to go down to Carlisle without being turned out twice. 
I have seen twelve or fifteen passengers turned out at 
Ingleton, and tlie same number at Tebay. Tlien, altliough 
some of tlie largest towns in England arc upon the 
^lidland system, there is no through carriage to Edin- 
l)urgh, unless we occasionally have a family going down, 
and then we make a special arrangement, and apply foi- 
a special carriage to go through. "We have applied in 
vain for through carriages for Scotland over and ovcc 
aofain. . . . Tluv will not book thi-ouffh from Glasfjow 
to London by us. . . . T have frequently had letters 
from passengers complaining that tbey could not get 
booked through. I have sent letters also to !Mr. Johnson 
from passengers requiring to come to Derby when book- 
ing to Glasgow, and they have been told to go by way of 
Crewe instead of going by Ingleton. I have been in 
trains myself with passengers who have been booked 
from Glasgow to Derby by Crewe. It is only recently 1 
liad a correspondence with a family who particularly 
wished to come by the Midland; but they were refused, 
and were sent bv Crewe." 


It became, too, a practice of the North Western in the 
summer months to have their nine o*clock express from 
London divided at Preston into two, the first portion ran 
quickly to Carlisle, reaching Edinburgh and Glasgow 
an hour earlier than before ; but the London and North 
Western Company declined to stop that portion of the 
train at Tebay, where yhe Midland passengers might have 
joined it, and they were taken on by another train which 
left at ten o'clock. " Tliey say they cannot stop," said Mr. 
Allport, " although I find in their time-table that that 
train from London stops at Stafford and at Lancaster — 
Lancaster for example with 10,000 inhabitants, while 
Tebay is practically, through the Midland system, in 
connection with a population exceeding 1,000,000." The 
consequence was that the IMidland could not advan- 
tageously compete for express traffic; and thus pas- 
sengers had to find their way by different and deviouu 
routes on to the London and North Western, in order to 
catch the express trains of the North Western. " I have 
been by a fast train," said Mr. Allport, " from Derby to 
Ingleton, and then been attached to a train with six or 
eight coal-trucks to be carried on to Tebay." 

The Midland also complained that at Carlisle it had 
to encounter a fresh series of difficulties. Needless and 
invidious hindrances, it was alleged, arose in the for- 
warding of Midland goods. "I am sure," said the 
manager of the North British Company, " there has been 
ill-will. There has been systematic delay." 

At length these difficulties in the conduct of the traffic 
became so serious that the Midland Company opened com- 
munications with the London and North Western, in which 
abetter access to Carlisle was insisted upon. The reason- 
ableness of the claim was not denied ; and at length the 
London and North Western mentioned terms upon which 
the Midland might bring their traffic over tlie Lancaster 


and Carlisle. One proposal was that the two companies 
should share the line, each paying half the rent, and 
each running over it, without tolls, as if it were their 
own. But inasmuch as the London and North Western, 
by its local position, was likely to throw a greater pro- 
portion of traffic on the line than the Midland, it was 
obviously unreasonable that the latter should pay half 
the cost of the rail and enjoy less than half of the 

Another proposal was that the Midland Company 
should have running powers over the line at arbitration 
rates. But arbitration rates would involve constant 
difficulty. Suppose, for instance, a contractor applied 
to the manager of the Midland Company for a rate from 
London to Glasgow, the whole case — with all its par- 
ticularities — would have to be submitted for the approval 
of the manager of the London and North Western Com- 
pany, and if he did not assent the case must go to 
arbitration. " But," said Mr. Allport, " scarcely a day 
passes but we are obliged to meet cases by altering our 
rates at some one or other of our large towns ; and if 
we had to wait, either for the consent of the London and 
North Western Company to an alteration of those rates, or 
for arbitration, the time would be gone by, and the traffic 
would be lost. Parties come to me, and within a very 
short time three or four of the principal iron-masters 
have come to me, and said : ' Here is a contract for 
20,000 tons, and if you can reduce your rate on the lot 
to so and so, we can tender, and probably obtain the 
contract against our competitors.' But the decision had 
to be made instant]}^ This very contract I have named 
was in competition with many iron-masters, and the 
London and North Western would have had a direct 
interest in refusing to give their assent." 

In the light of such considerations, the Midland 


Company claimed the absolute control over tlieir own 
rates. As to the stations on the Lancaster and Carlisle 
itself arbitration rates might suffice ; but for the 
through traffic to Carlisle they must be free, for 
Carlisle meant the Scotch traffic. " Do you insist upon 
the control of your raves as an indispensable condition?" 
asked a deputation from the North AVestern board of a 
deputation from the Midland board. " Then," said the 
London and North Western chairman, " the negotiation 
is over." 

The course now pursued by the Midland Company was 
also affected by some special circumstances. In the 
session of 1865 a bill had been introduced into Parlia- 
ment for making a line, to be called the North of Eng- 
land Union Railway, from Settle to Hawes. Originally 
this railway was projected by gentlemen locally interested, 
who supported it because it would promote local con- 
venience, and because it would enhance the value of their 
estates. The chairman of the company was Lord 
AVharncliffe ; and the line would have cost about 

The Union Company's bill had received the sanction of 
the Commons, and would doubtless have passed through 
the Lords had not the Midland Company interposed, and 
come to an arrangement with its supporters. By this it 
was agreed that, since the line had been projected chiefly 
for local purposes, and a gradient had been adopted 
which would have been unsuitable for a good through 
line, the bill should be withdrawn ; and that it should 
be reintroduced in the session of 18G6, with a better 
gradient, by the Midland Company. " We gave up the 
line," said Lord AVharncliffe, in his evidence before 
the House of Lords, '•' on the distinct understanding 
that the Midland Company should apply for the bill this 


Such were the circumstances under which a bill of the 
Midland Company came before Parliament for a through 
line from near their Settle station to Carlisle. It received 
the cordial support of numerous witnesses. There was 
not an opposing landowner on its entire length. And the 
reasons for such support were obvious : the necessity for 
such a railway was great, the benefits it would confer were 
numerous, and the injury it would occasion was nil. It is 
true that, on the map, the line looks as if it ran almost 
close to the London and North Western Railway ; but 
in reality it occupies an entirely different series of 
valleys, which are separated from those on the North 
Western line by a range of hills. 

Lord Wensleydale gave expression to the anxiety of 
the people locally interested to be supplied with direct 
communication, in order that they might send their 
agricultural produce to the populous manufacturing dis- 
tricts of Lancashire. Such was the satisfaction felt at 
Appleby when it was announced that the bill had passed 
the Commons, that the church bells were rung, and the 
people, as was quaintly remarked, " wrote to the news- 
papers, and did everything proper under the circum- 
stances." Another witness, Mr. Matthew Thomson, who 
resided at Kirkby Stephen, and who mentioned that the 
proposed railway would pass " through about fifteen 
different estates " which he owned, besides others be- 
longing to his sister, — declared that there was " only one 
feeling " among the landowners as to the importance of 
the line, and that it would be of " very great advantage 
to the occupiers there for the purpose of taking their 
produce to the consuming districts, as well as for bring- 
ing into the district those things which they require." *' I 
have only heard of one dissentient voice in the whole 
district of Eden Valley," said a farmer, who sent more 
than 5000 pounds of butter every year to Sheffield, and 



it came from a gentleman who " had a few trees he 
was partial to." 

The policy of the opponents of the Midhxncl Company's 
bill was undecided. Mr. AUport had had frequent con- 
versations with the manager of the Caledonian Com- 
pany; but he "never laised the slightest objection to 


the Midland Company using the Carlisle station : " on 
the contrary " always expressed himself most anxious 
to see them there." Before the case closed, however, 
it was intimated that Mr. Hope Scott would address the 
committee on behalf of the London and North Western 
and Caledonian Companies. " My learned friend, Mr. 
Hope Scott," said Mr. Mereweather, " is at this moment' 
I am told, on his legs in another room ; but he is rapidly 
terminatino-.* We have looked at his notes over his 
shoulder, and we find that he is getting sufficiently near 
the end of his speech for us to assure you that he will 
be here very shortly." 

* Legal pliraseology, it appears, lias its peculiarities. 


The London and North Western professed that its ob- 
jection to the Settle and CarHsle bill was, that the Midland 
Company intended to use the Citadel Station at Carlisle. 
"If the Midland Company," said Mr. Cawkwell, "had 
come for a line to Carlisle without touching^ our station 
or interfering with our property, I do not think we 
should have opposed them now. ... If they had 
made their own provision at Carlisle, it would have been 
a different thing." Even so late as the period at which 
the bill reached the Lords, and when Earl Amherst, the 
chairman of the committee, asked Mr. Mereweather if he 
intended to oppose the line generally, or to confine his 
opposition to tlie question of the Citadel Station, the 
learned counsel hesitated. At that moment, however, 
a whisper reached them from behind, and he remarked 
that it was " a ticklish question." On the matter of the 
Citadel Station a protracted discussion then took place. 
It should be mentioned that it was originally constructed 
by the Caledonian and Lancaster and Carlisle Companies. 
In 1860 it consisted of a single platform for both up and 
down trains ; but, as several other companies sought 
admission into it, it had been gradually enlarged, till the 
total cost had amounted to not less than £250,000.. 

The design of those who opposed the use by the Mid- 
land Company of the Citadel Station was, however, not 
founded upon those facts. It is obvious that if they could 
have compelled the Midland Company to laud its passen- 
gers a mile or so east or west of the station to which all 
other lines from north and south converged, the effect 
would have been to exclude it from the very traflBc it sought 
to share. If the Midland Company made a new station, 
" how could they," Mr. Cawkwell was asked, " conduct 
their Scotch passenger traffic ? " " They could form a 
junction," was the reply, "with the Scotch companies out 
of Carlisle by which an exchange could be effected." 


" Then your suggestion is," it was returned, " tliat we 
should not have stopped at Carlisle at all for the purpose 
of through traffic, but have joined the Scotch companies 
somewhere to tae north of Carlisle ? " Mr. Cawkwell's 
only answer was, "Our suggestion is, that you should not 
use our property for the purpose of your through traffic." 
When, therefore, the London and Xorth Western resolved 
to concentrate their objection on the use by the Midland 
Company of the Carlisle station, they well knew that if 
they succeeded in that they succeeded altogether — that 
without Carhsle station the Settle and Carlisle line would 
be useless for the objects for which it was intended to 
be made. To this assertion of exclusive rio-ht on the 
part of existing companies to the Citadel Station the 
reply was conclusive : for, by the bill of 1866, which 
authorised the amals^amation of the Caledonian and Scot- 
tish North Eastern it was expressly declared that 
"whereas the railways of the Midland Railway Company 
form one of the lines of communication between the 
metropolis and Scotland, it is expedient that nothing 
should be done which shall impede or obstruct the flow 
or transit of traffic of every description freely and expe- 
ditiously over the lines of the Midland Railway to and 
from Scotland." And accordingly running powers, and 
also the use of the Caledonian portion of the Carlisle 
station, were granted to the Midland Company. 

The argument from exclusive right being thus set aside, 
it was contended that, though there was sufficient accom- 
modation in the Citadel Station for the six companies 
already there, it would be impossible to admit a seventh. 
But to this the reply was conclusive, both in fact and in ar- 
gument. It was conclusive in fact. "In my opinion," said 
Mr. Rowbotham, the manager of the North British, " the 
station is not at all crowded." " It is perfectly idle," 
said Mr. Allport, " to assert that the station cannot ac- 


commodate the Midland traffic. I have had the traffic 
taken out at two or three stations, and in and out of thb 
CarHsle station, both with reference to goods and pas- 
sengers. There have been 106 trains a day, from the 4th 
of February to the 3rd of March, going south, from Car- 
lisle : about 37 or 38 passenger trains and 69 goods 
trains ; that is the average for the month. At the north 
end of the Derby station, — which is a very similar station 
to the Carlisle, — we have 320 trains out and in, against 
106 at Carlisle. At Leeds, again, which is purely a pas- 
senger station, we have 255 passenger trains in and out 
of the Leeds station over a neck of line very like this at 
Carlisle. I have no hesitation, too, in saying that the 
trains in and out of the Newcastle station for passengers 
are at least ten times more in number than the trains in 
and out of the Carlisle station. I could find a hundred 
stations in England with very much larger traffic, varying 
from double up to ten times the amount, with less accom- 
modation than they have at Carlisle." 

Besides the reply from fact, there was also an argu- 
ment. " How was it," it was asked, " that during the 
two years in which negotiations were going on for the 
Midland to run over the Lancaster and Carlisle line it was 
never suggested that the Citadel Station was insufficient, 
and that it was never once proposed that it should be en- 
larged ? " " Having pointed out," said Mr. Venables to 
Mr. William Clarke, the chief assistant engineer to the 
London and North Western Company, " the impossibihty 
of working the Midland traffic under this system, will you 
now point out how it was to be worked if they had come 
by joint ownership over the Lancaster and Carlisle ? " 

Such were the arguments submitted to the considera- 
tion of Parliament; and the bill passed. 

Besides the great and overshadowing project of thus 
connecting the Midlands of England with Scotland, some 


other plans of extension were also contemplated. One 
of these was for a short line from a station called Rad- 
ford, near Nottingham, to connect the Mansfield line 
with the Ere wash Valley Railway, in order to avoid the 
circuitous route by Trent, and to diminish the distance 
by about five and a half miles. It was also intended, by 
means of a branch from Codnor Park to Ambergate, to 
have a more direct route to Manchester, instead of that 
by way of Derby. The bill was opposed by three gentle- 
men, — a landowner, a clergyman, and a nobleman. The 
landowner alleged that the line would injure a consider- 
able residential estate and other properties which he pos- 
sessed, and that some other route might be preferable. To 
this it was very naturally replied that if an alternative line 
were proposed the relative merits or demerits of each could 
be determined; but that it was impossible that "a mere 
ghost of an imaginar}^ railway should be put in compe- 
tition with our flesh and blood, or our iron and ballast 
railway." The rector of Trowell adopted a similar course 
of objection, and was met by a similar reply. 

Lord Middleton's case was more definite. It was alleged 
on his behalf that injuries would be inflicted on his estate 
by the projected line. The proposed line would, it was 
said, sever for two miles the connection of his property 
with the neio'hbouring: Notting^ham and Grantham canal. 
Undoubtedly it would, was the reply, if no bridges or 
roads were made over the railway ; but then bridges and 
roads would be made, and must be made, and the com- 
pany was perfectly willing to make them. " The peti- 
tioner had, he said, at great expense, laid out a large 
extent of land for the purposes of the manufacture of 
bricks," etc. True; but for any loss on that expendi- 
ture he would be paid. The proposed line, it was further 
declared by the objectors, would "prevent the use of 
a canal, called Bilborouo-li Cat," which had been " used 

220 "consulting the facts." 

by the predecessors in estate of your petitioner during 
many years." True, tlie canal "had been " so used by the 
said predecessors ; but it had been stopped up for 53 
years. On a part of the bed of it there was an avenue of 
trees, 25 to 30 years old ; while on other portions corn 
crops grew, or cattle grazed. A bit of the canal remained 
open, and on it some kind of boat had a short time since 
been made to float, and this was the only vessel that had 
been upon the water there within the memory of man. 
In addition to all this, it was declared, on behalf of Lord 
Middleton, that a considerable portion of the estate 
"contained very large and valuable deposits of minerals." 
True; but the said deposits were lying beneath old 
exhausted workings full of water, and it was probable 
that if any deeper beds were opened they would be 
flooded also. 

Finally, it was contended that Lord Middleton had cer- 
tain rights over the cut, and that he was required by Act 
of Parliament to keep it open. To this it was replied 
that the ownership and the Act were of little avail if part 
of the canal was actually filled up, and the whole of it 
disused. " Did you consult your legal advisers," said 
Mr. Rodwell, "with regard to the terms on which the 
Bilborough Canal was held?" "No," replied Mr. 
Crossley; " I consulted the facts." 

Eventually, however, the engineer of the Midland 
Company stated that he had discovered a plan by which 
the railway could be made, and at the same time " the 
Bilborough Cut be saved, if it were worth saving." By 
a slight deviation of the line it could be made to go under 
the canal. The additional cost to the company would be 

In ] 866, the Midland Company projected a line from 
Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire to Nuneaton. It 
was designed to accommodate the large coal-fields some- 


what to the west of tlie Leicester and Burton Railway, 
extending between Hinckley on the south and Moira on 
tlie north. The cost was estimated at about £300,000. 
The route selected was prescribed by the nature of the 
country and the situation of the collieries. But side by 
side with this proposed line a competing scheme was 
projected. It was described by a name which gave to it 
what a critic designated " an entirely illusory aspect of 
respectability," — the " London and North Western and 
Midland Counties Coal Fields Railway ; " the fact being 
that the Midland Railway was entirely opposed to it. 
The project was brought out in the names of private 
parties. The chairman of the board of promoters was 
Sir Cusack Roney, a gentleman who must have had con- 
siderable experience in such matters, for it was said that 
at that time he held office in fifteen different railway 
companies in England and Ireland. The promoters, how- 
ever, looked with hopefulness to the London and North 
Western Company for patronage. " They feel," said Mr. 
Karslake, " that their little bantling can hardly support 
itself in a state of existence, unless it have something to 
which it can cling; and hence we find the extreme anxiety 
that they have shown in attempting to affiliate their 
infant upon the London and North Western Company. 
We do not find that that attempt has succeeded. A sort 
of faint declaration was put forth that if this line were 
made, then possibly the London and North Western 
proprietors might be invited to subscribe for it ; but the 
utmost that we find that is done is this, that if this line 
should be sanctioned, then the London and North 
AVestern will work it. It is just one of those lines 
which, unless it is assisted by another company, must die 
a natural death." 

At length, however, it was formally announced that 
the London and North Western Company would sub- 


scribe £250,000 towards the share capital of the Coal- 
fields Kail way Company, would work and maintain it, 
and would send over it all their traffic from Burton-on- 
Trent for Nuneaton, Rugby, or the south. In return 
the North Western was to be rewarded by direct access 
to Derby, the head quarters of the Midland system. It 
is true that they were already at Burton-on-Trent, and 
could exercise their rights at common law to run over the 
ten miles thence to Derby ; but they preferred an in- 
dependent route, though it would have involved an outlay 
of £950,000. 

On the other hand the ^lidland Company contended 
that their line would cost less than £3U0,U00 ; and tliat 
they ought not to be exposed to competition when they 
offered ample accommodation to the new comer ; but they 
consented that the North Western should be joint 
proprietors with themselves in the Ashby and Nuneaton, 
" either by contributing half the capital or by paying to 
the Midland a fair interest on the outlay. Consequently," 
said ]\Ir. Venables, " if there is any public object what- 
ever in taking London and North Western traffic to 
Derby, we shall take it without the expenditure by 
anybody of a shilling for that purpose, and Ave sliall not 
only do that, but we shall give them at Derby a com- 
munication with all tlie otlicr railways that radiate from 
Derby, whereas they would come to a cul de sac at Derby, 
and would have, at some future time, to obtain some other 
way of getting on to the other railways. That we offer 
them instead of spending £700,000 in pure waste." To 
these terms the London and North Western eventually 
acceded; the Coal Fields Railway Bill was withdrawn, 
and the Ashby and Nuneaton was sanctioned. 

The autumn of 18GG was marked by floods disastrous 
to property and life ; and in November a singular accident 
occurred at the viaduct over the Aire at Apperley Bridge, 


by wliicli tlie traffic of the Midland to the north-west, to 
Scotland and Ireland was temporarily arrested. There 
was also a landslip on the Manchester extension at Bugs- 
w^orth, by w^iich sixteen acres of land on which the rail- 
way stood slipped dow^n the valley, and necessitated the 
deviation and re-construction of that part of the line. 
The particulars of these remarkable incidents, and the 
remedies adopted, will be found in our description of the 

%?^fc^5*.-- ■ 



Glasg'ow and South Western Company. — Contemplated alliance with 
Caledonian Company. — Policy of Midland Company. — Door of 
Scotland .sliut in their faces. — Proposed amalgamation of Midland 
with the Glasgow and South Western. — Lateral and longitudinal 
amalgamation. — Bill before Parliament. — Argument of Mr. 
Venables. — Humorous reply of Mr. Hope Scott. — Mr. Denison 
and Mr. Allport. — Rejoinder of Mr. Venables. — Bill rejected. — 
Heavy liabilities of Midland Company. — Mi.sgivings among share- 
holders. — Meeting of Proprietors on May 29th, 18G7. — Mr. 
Hutchinson's explanation of ^Midland policy. — Circular of share- 
liolders. — Meeting at Corn Exchange, Derby. — Proposal to aban- 
don the Settle and Carlisle line. — Efforts to obtain terms from 
London and North Western. — "Childish" reply received. — 
Approval of amalgamation bill. — Position of ^lidland system. — 
iMeeting, August, 18<37. — Time of anxiety. — Circular of December 
14th. — Alarm. — Rumours. — Criticisms. — Defence of Midland 
policy. — Special general meeting, January 15th, 1868. — Mr. 
Hutchinson's explanation. — Reasons for additional outlay. — 
Committee of Consultation. — Report of committee. — Keighley and 
Worth line. — Five millions' bill. — Negotiations with London and 
North Western for access to Scotland via Lancaster and Carlisle. 
Terms proposed. — Bill brought before Parliament. — Opposition. — 
Abandonment. — Bill rejected. — Progress of lines. 

The period we are now approacliiiig wa.s marked by 
events of great interest in the chronicles of the Midland 
Railway. The earliest of these was in connection with 
the various efforts made by that Company to obtain a 
share in the vast and increasing traffic carried on between 
this country and Scotland. This had been chiefly con- 
ducted along two routes, that on the East Coast by the 
Great Northern, North Eastern, and North British ; and 
that on the West Coast, by the London and North 
AYestern and Caledonian : the Midland Board was now of 
opinion that b}^ virtue of its natural position and growing 
importance it might justl}" claim to form a third and 
Midland route to Scotland. With this object it resolved, 
as we have seen, to seek Parliamentary power to make a 
line up the series of valleys which lead from Settle to 


Carlisle, wliere it would reach tlie door of Scotland, and 
whence it might, by means of the Glasgow and South 
Western Railway, find its way onward to the North. 

The Glasgow and South Western was originally a line 
from Glasgow to Ayrshire, and it is still frequently 
spoken of as the Ayrshire Railway. Subsequently it was 
extended, via Dumfries, to Gretna, where it falls into the 
Caledonian, along which it reaches Carlisle, and by means 
of which it obtained power to use the Citadel Station. 
The distance between Carlisle and Glassfow over the 
South Western is 124 miles; by the Caledonian about 
105 miles ; but the latter have to suffer the disadvan- 
tage of inferior gradients. The special significance of 
the position of the Glasgow and South Western line was 
that, whereas the North British was identified with the 
East Coast route, and the Caledonian with the London 
and North Western, it provided the only independent 
course along which a third railway from the South could 
hope to reach the heart of Scotland. 

Scarcely, however, had the Midland Company decided 
that they ought to make the Settle and Carlisle line and 
to endeavour to secure an uninterrupted course into 
Scotland, than it was ascertained that the Glasgow and 
South Western were on the eve of amalgamation with the 
Caledonian. In fact, powers had already been obtained 
which would almost have enabled these companies to 
amalgamate without further leave or licence ; it was 
reasonable to suppose that they would not allow them to 
slumber; and on the 17th of August, 1866, the secretary 
of the Caledonian Company addressed the secretary of 
the Glasgow and South AVestern on the subject. " His 
board," he said, " thought it advisable that the oppor- 
tunity afibrded by the recent powers," obtained by the 
two companies, "to enter into an agreement for the 
management and working and apportionment of the 



•revenues of the two undertakings should not be lost 
sight of; and having no doubt that your board recipro- 
cates the feeling," they had appointed a conmiittee to 
meet a committee of the Glasgow and South Western 
board in the hope that an agreement might be come to. 

For the Glasgow and South Western to amalgamate 
with the Caledonian was, however, in effect to amalgamate 
with the London and North Western; for these two com- 
panies were identified in policy and interest. So that, had 
this further amalgamation been consimimated, the effect 
would have been that the Midland Company would have 
found that it had made 80 miles of very costly railway 
from Settle to Carlisle, through a comparatively unpro- 
ductive country, solely to reach Scotland, but that the door 
x)i Scotland was shut by the hands of the several com- 
petitors in their faces. Only one course appeared possible 
to the Midland board : to enter into alliance with the 
Glasgow and South Western, with a view to the identi- 
fication of their interests ; and negotiations to that end 
were opened, and terms were arranged for the subse- 
quent amalgamation of the two properties. 

Such a union of continuous lines would, it was 
believed, be in the public interest. Lateral amalgama- 
tion, that is, of parallel lines of railway, may repress the 
fair competition that arises from the working of two 
independent routes between the same termini ; but lon- 
gitudinal amalgamation, that is, of lines which, not being 
parallel, can never be competitive, facilitates through 
traffic by being held in one hand, guided by one policy, 
and directed to the most efficient conduct of traffic over 
long distances. Though Mr. Hope Scott humorously 
remarked that in Mr. Venables' "great longitudinal 
principle there is about as much latitude as I ever found 
in describing a longitudinal case," yet we beheve that 
this principle is incontrovertible. " The Glasgow and 


South "Western Company," continued Mr. Scott, " has 
been threatened, says my learned friend Mr. Venables, 
with fraternity or death. It has, however, been able to hve, 
and what is more, it has been able to grow fat. It has 
reached, says Mr. Johnstone, a dividend which we will call 
6J or 7, whichever you please. It has reached that dividend 
during the last two years, during which the Caledonian 
Company has had extra means of oppression over it. It 
has managed to give a tit-for-tat to the Caledonian 
Company. It has got to Grreenock, which is the best 
portion of the traiBc. It has got running powers and 
facilities over the Caledonian and over the North British, 
and has, I say, now a dowry to take with it of 1000 miles 
of traffic belonging to other companies. Nay, more, it 
has reached a situation which enables my friend, Mr. 
Yenables, to open it as with a case of amalgamation on 
equal terms, because the Midland Company and the 
Glasgow and South Western are in an equal state of 
prosperity. So that the oppression of the Caledonian 
Company has not done much harm to the Glasgow 
and South Western Company ; for it has found itself 
flourishing ; its permanent way is in excellent order ; its 
rolling stock is the same, and is abundant and sufficient ; 
so that my learned friend, Mr. Venables, is really obliged 
to lament that they are not insolvent, because he would 
then have had a better reason for his bill." 

Mr. Hope Scott could not allow, even in the discussion 
of details, however dry, an opportunity to pass for the 
play of his wit. In the course of Mr. Venables' speech, 
that gentleman had said of the Midland Company " the}^ 
are a prosperous company, and perhaps that is the reason 
why they have always been a straightforward company." 
" This," said Mr. Scott, " is an odd view of morality 
certainly ; but of course my learned friend is fully entitled 
to describe his own clients, the Midland Company, as he 


likes best. I£ he had said they had always been a 
straightforward company, and therefore they had been 
a prosperous company, one would have understood the 
moral of it ; but the odd thing is, that, having said this 
of the Midland Company, and having declared elsewhere 
that the property of the Glasgow and South Western is 
ef[ual to that of the Midland Company, he has nowhere 
called the Glasgow and South "Western a straightforward 
Company. Now, sir, I think that was wrong. But in 
truth he could not do it, for he will not trust them out 
of his sight, and that is the reason why he asks you to 
pass this bill. My learned friend found the Glasgow and 
South Western Company and the Caledonian Company 
on the eve of amalgamation. What my friend meant was 
this, if he could be sure of their \nrtue for the next four 
years " this bill might have been delayed. Mr. Hope 
Scott, on the other hand, contended that the amalgama- 
tion should be delayed " until the Settle Railway is con- 
structed, and no shorter time has been suggested for its 
construction than four years. Wliat may arise in that 
time in the railway world," he asked, " who can say, 
especially as within that period we shall all be under a 
new constitution ? Perhaps, sir, by the time when this 
question ought properly to come before parliament, your 
places may be filled by gentlemen whose seats depend 
considerably upon the votes of lodging enginemen and 
discompounded stokers, whose views of railway legislation 
may be entirely different from your own. 

" Now is it fair to snatch from the new parliament the 
decision which ought to be delayed for four years, and to 
deal with it by a house for which I have infinite respect, 
but which evidently does not at present represent properly 
the people of England? But, sir, the only argument 
whicli is alleged for this anticipation — these espousals 
which are not to become marriage for four vears, — is that 


the lady is fickle ; * fraternity ' — not tlie dagger, not 
death ; ' fraternity,' a something more kindly than fra- 
ternity, might influence her, and she might slip through 
their fingers. Now what does all this depend upon? 
Why, upon clauses in two Acts of Parliament of last 
session. Pass this Act in a form simply to repeal those 
clauses (which, on the part of the Caledonian Company, 
I freely assent to), and the whole argument for the bill 
is gone." 

Mr. Denison, on behalf of the North British, expressed 
his belief that the Settle and Carlisle would not be 
completed, and that therefore any such amalgamation as 
that now proposed was premature. " We had it," he 
said, *' from Mr. Allport that nothing had been done 
upon the Settle and Carlisle line. I cross-examined Mr. 
Allport (as one always does such a witness) with fear and 
trembling, because sometimes one gets the worst of it, 
but I do not think I got the worst of it, because what I 
got from Mr. Allport was, that he was not the man to 
tell us about it. Now, sir, do you think that if much 
of that land had been bought, Mr. Allport would not have 
known of it ? Do you think that if the line had been 
staked out he would not have known of it ? Do things 
go on with the Midland Company which that very able 
gentleman does not know of? They have placed the 
shares of the Settle and Carlisle line ; the deposit, or the 
first call, or whatever the word is, has been paid upon 
them, I dare say ; but I should not be very much surprised 
to hear that the Midland shareholders would not be very 
much distressed if they were not called upon to pay any 
more. The agreements with landowners are capable 
of settlement. Suppose they do, there is a Settle and 
Carlisle line. Every argument for this bill will be just 
as good when the Settle and Carlisle is within a few 
months of completion as it is now." 


Mr. Venables replied first to Mr. Hope Scott. " My 
learned friend," lie said, "made an offer at the end of his 
speech. After speaking entirely on other subjects, he 
said, * you made a great point of the possible amalgama- 
tion under the clauses of these two agreements ; well, we 
will give up those clauses;' and then he sat down. In 
what possible manner is he going to give them up ? He 
can represent the Caledonian, and say, knowing perfectly 
well what is coming of it, that they will give them up. 
If they could have given them up, they w^ould never have 
made the offer. But they cannot give them up without 
the consent of the Glasgow and South Western Company. 
I am here representing the Midland aud the Glasgow and 
South Western Company. No doubt it would be a great 
concession to tlie Midland Company to give up those 
clauses; but my learned friend says, if the committee 
will throw out this bill, we, the Caledonian Company, will 
at some future time consent to repeal those clauses. 
But if the amalgamation were rejected, what would be 
the position of the Glasgow and South Western Com- 
pany ? They would be placed in exactly the position in 
which they were when they made those clauses. On 
behalf therefore of the Glasgow and South Western, I 
say. Indeed we will not do anything of the kind. It is 
perfectly clear that the Caledonian Company, when they 
made that offer, knew that it could not be allowed, that 
it was one of those cheap pieces of benevolence for which 
my learned friend, Mr. Hope Scott, in his professional 
character, is rather remarkable." 

In answer to Mr. Denison's remark, that the amalga- 
mation would be premature, because the Settle and 
Carlisle was not made, Mr. Venables said : " As to the 
question of how much money has been laid out, how 
many stakes have been placed, how many surveys have 
been made, that might have been very important if this 


had been a poor owner, or a new company incapable of 
creating the line which they are authorized and required 
to make. It is very true that the refusal of this amalga- 
mation, shutting the door to the west of Scotland in our 
faces, would undoubtedly greatly diminish the value of 
the Settle and Carlisle line. But I think it is not an 
argument likely to weigh with the Committee against 
the bill, that it will utilize and employ for the benefit of 
the public parliamentary powers which have already been 
given after full inquiry. The passing of this amalga- 
mation bill will involve the completion of the Settle and 
Carlisle undoubtedly, as an indisjoen sable condition. To 
say, therefore, that it is an argument against this amal- 
gamation that we have not made, and perhaps have 
not begun, and perhaps may not make the Settle and 
Carlisle line, is an inconsistent argument. There is no 
doubt that the fear of the opponents is not that it will 
not be made, but that it will be made, and that by its 
being made this amalgamation will be efficient. Can there 
be any better proof that we shall make the Settle and 
Carlisle line ? Moreover, what harm will this amalgama- 
tion do to anybody if we cannot use it ?" In this view 
of the matter the Committee of the House of Commons 
appear to have concurred ; and on the 23rd of May, 
1S67, they declared the preamble to be proved. 

In subsequently urging the measure upon the sanction 
of the Lords' Committee, among the advantages likely to 
accrue from the amalgamation of the Midland with the 
Glasgow and South Western, it was shown that a healthy 
competition would be secured. Although no fresh capital 
Avould be expended, and no fresh lines be constructed, the 
independence and power of free competition on three great 
routes between England and Scotland would be perpetu- 
ated. There would be no necessity for passengers or 
goods to travel by any particular company. Three direct 


routes would be open, and open more effectually after 
amalgamation than before. 

" We come, my lords," said Mr. Yenables, " not to rob 
anybody, but to accommodate the public, and to get a fair 
share of profit in accommodating the public ; and if we 
can give a share of the accommodation to the amount of 
one-third of all the possible Scotch traj0&c, we shall pro- 
bably get a third of the traflSc. Of that the London 
and North Western will lose something, the East Coast 
companies will lose something; but all three companies 
together, by improved accommodation and increased 
competition, will develop the trafiic in such a way that 
in a short time probably the proportion of each company 
will, notwithstanding what may have been lost to the 
Midland, be quite as great as at present." 

In concluding his speech Mr. Venables said : " We say, 
my lords, it is a great advantage in this kind of scheme 
that we do not expend one shilling of capital, that we 
merely utilize the expenditure of capital which Parliament 
has already sanctioned. We say that we are entitled, not 
so much in our own right, as in the public interest, to 
have an independent route to Carlisle. We say that, for 
reasons we have suggested to your lordships, the North 
British Company, which no doubt is entitled to great con- 
sideration, will not be injured by this line ; and we say 
that if the amalgamation pure and simple were to be 
injurious to the North British line, nevertheless, as they 
themselves now say, they are ready, if the case arises, to 
suggest protection against j^ossible damage ; and I say, 
my lords, none of the modes of protection which have been 
suggested are injurious or unjust to the Caledonian Com- 
pany. I think, my lords, there probably never was a case 
in which so great an advantage could be gained with so 
little loss. There has hardly been an attempt to dispute 
the preponderance of advantage to the public ; and I think 


the evidence results in showing that there would be no 
hardship whatever to the railway companies." 

The committee-room was cleared. After a time the 
counsel and parties were called in. The chairman then 
announced that " the Committee had given the most 
serious consideration to the case, and they were of opinion 
that it was not expedient to proceed further with the bill." 

While the Amalgamation Bill was thus occupying the 
attention of Parliament, an event of much interest was 
occurring among the directors and shareholders of the 
Midland Company itself. Doubt had long been cherished 
by some of the proprietors as to whether it was wise to 
prosecute this amalgamation ; and their misgivings at 
length took the shape of overt and organized opposition. 
An opportunity for expressing these opinions occurred at 
a meeting of the proprietors held in Derby on the 29th 
of May, 1867, to consider the propriety of formally con- 
sidering several bills then before Parliament. Before it 
took place rumours were rife as to the hostility with 
which the policy of the directors was in some quarters 
regarded. More than 1000 shareholders were present, 
the attendance being so large that the meeting had to 
be adjourned to the Corn Exchange. Mr. Hutchinson, 
as usual, presided, and with much self-mastery proceeded 
to address himself to the business of the day. 

After some preliminary remarks, he stated that the 
great business on which the decision of the proprietors 
was to be obtained, was the bill for the amalgamation of 
the Midland and Glasgow and South Western Companies. 
When the Settle and Carlisle line was projected, Carlisle 
was regarded as the ultimate resting-place of the Midland 
Company northwards. But, the chairman stated, when 
he and his colleagues met the directors of the Glasgow 
and South Western Company in Scotland in the previous 
September, they were surprised to find that in a recent 

234 MR. Hutchinson's explanation. 

session of Parliament the Caledonian and the Glas2:ow 
and South Western Companies had obtained clauses 
which, if exercised, "would have amounted practically to 
an amalgamation. Had these powers been put into effect, 
the Midland, when they reached Carlisle, would have found 
the road to Glasgow practically in the hands of one com- 
pany, and that company the most close and intimate ally 
of the London and North Western Company, which com- 
peted with the Midland in every great town into which 
the Midland ran. Under these circumstances the directors 
came to the conclusion to recommend the shareholders to 
apply for a bill to amalgamate the two companies. Depu- 
tations from the Midland directors visited the line and 
works of the Glasgow and South Western; similar deputa- 
tions came over the Midland ; the accountants of both 
companies had several times examined the accounts, and 
their report was favourable ; and the amalgamation would 
secure for the Midland Company a direct route from 
London, through the heart of England, to Glasgow ; and 
a share of a traffic between the two countries which was 
estimated at £1,500,000 per annum, and which was every 
year increasing. 

An animated discussion followed, in which strong 
opinions were strongly expressed on both sides of the 
subject. Another meeting was held on the following 
Tuesday, in the Shareholders' Room, when the subject 
was still further debated, and the decision was reserved 
till the 13th of June. 

These discussions, however, had accomplished import- 
ant ends. They had cleared the air ; they had prepared 
the way for action when the final vote was to be given. 

Meanwhile a number of influential shareholders availed 
themselves of the interval to submit by circular some con- 
siderations which they thought might be useful to fellow 
proprietors who had not been present at the meeting. 


They stated that several of themselves had at one time 
entertained " a strong objection to the bill ; but further 
reflection, and the full discussion which the subject had 
undergone, had changed their opinion, and they were now 
unanimous in regarding the adoption of the bill, which 
contained no power to create newcapital,as of vital import- 
ance to the interests of the Midland Company. A similar 
change of opinion, they believed, had taken place to a 
large extent among the general body of shareholders." 
They urged all the shareholders to attend the adjourned 
meeting on the 13th, and to judge for themselves. 

The meeting, which had been formally adjourned to the 
Corn Exchange, was very large and excited, though in ex- 
cellent temper. A new element was now introduced into 
the debate. Since the last meeting the Midland Com- 
mittee of the Railway Shareholders' Association had 
opened negotiations with the London and North Western 
Company with a view to ascertain on what terms the 
North Western would give the Midland access to Car- 
lisle over the Lancaster and Carlisle line. It seems to 
have been thought by this deputation that hitherto the 
Midland Company had been entirely in the wrong, and that 
the London and North Western directors were ready, if 
rightly approached, to make the most liberal concessions. 
Mr. William Sale, a Manchester solicitor, who acted as the 
secretary of the association, was one of a deputation who 
had waited upon Mr. Moon and other directors at Euston 
Square. Subsequently he called upon Mr. Carter, the 
solicitor of the Midland Company, stated that he had acted 
as the official organ of the Midland Committee, that he 
had obtained a statement of the terms which the North 
Western authorities were prepared to concede, and that 
these terms he now officially communicated to the solicitor 
of the Midland Company. It subsequently transpired 
that though Mr. Sale was the official medium of conveying 


these terms, jet that neither he nor the association had 
any responsibility as regards their approval. At this our 
readers will not be surprised ; for it appears that the 
latest and best terms which the friends of conciliation 
could obtain from the North Western Company were as 
follows : — " That it be referred to the President of the 
Board of Trade to inquire and ascertain what the point of 
difference was between the Midland and North Western 
Companies in the recent negotiations respecting the Lan- 
caster and Carlisle line, to determine which company was 
right, and what should be done as to such point of differ- 
ence in the event of the Midland Company abandoning 
the Settle and Carlisle line." 

When these negotiations and their results were de- 
scribed by the Chairman of the Midland Company to the 
meeting, they were received with derisive laughter, and 
a warm response was given to his announcement that 
" he had placed that document before his colleagues for 
their consideration, and he might tell the meeting that 
the board considered that the discussion of such terms 
would be idle. The first thingr the London and North 
Western proposed, was to refer to the President of the 
Board of Trade as to what was the point of difference, 
and which party was right and which was wrong with 
regard to the offers which had been made. That ques- 
tion ha \ already been referred to and had been decided 
by a higher tribunal, namely, a committee of the House 
of Lords. The case of the London and North Western 
Company was argued before that committee by the 
most able and accomplished advocates of the parliamen- 
tary bar. Witnesses were examined on both sides ; 
the voluminous correspondence which had taken place 
between the companies on the subject of the Lancaster 
and Carlisle Railway was put in evidence ; and with 
what result ? Whv, after all, that the House of Lords 

A POLL. 237 

declared the preamble of the Midland Company's bill to 
be proved, and they passed the Act for making the Settle 
and Carlisle railway, which they would not have done 
had they considered that fair terms had been offered 
to the Midland Company for the use of the Lancaster 
and Carlisle railway, and that free access had been 
offered by the London and North Western to Carlisle. 
What the London and North Western Company pro- 
posed was something like this : — Two parties have a suit 
— a law suit if you choose ; the verdict has been given 
in favour of one of these parties, upon which the other 
party turns round and says, " We will now submit this 
matter to arbitration." Mr. Hutchinson added that such 
an offer and such conduct could only be described as 

An animated, and at one time somewhat angry dis- 
cussion followed, after which a show of hands was taken 
on the resolution, for which there was an immense 
majority. A poll was demanded ; the voting occupied 
two hours, and then the chairman moved an adjournment 
of the meeting till the following Friday, to receive the 
reports of the scrutineers. The result was as follows : — 

Approving the BiU. Capital Stock. 

Present, 572 persons, holding ... ... 1,505,503 

Proxies, 1008 „ 3,375,112 

Total ... 


Not approving the BiU, 

Present, 34 persons, holding 


Proxies, 994 „ 

... 1,367,111 

Total £1,450,814 

The position at this period occupied by the Midland 
Company was one of satisfaction not untinged with 
solicitude. Having the weight of many and heavy 



responsibilities, they were looking forward to a time of 
relief. They were paying interest on a large amount of 
capital which, as it was expended on works still incom- 
plete, was earning nothing. When those works are 
finished, " we shall have a system of railway," said a 
writer of the time, " which plants one foot in London 
and another in Bristol, whose trunk lies upon the best 
portions of the midland counties of England, and covers 
Manchester, Liverpool, and Sheffield ; whose head rests 
on Carlisle, and whose arms, extending east and west^ 
grasp with one, by way of the North British, the traffic 
of Edinburgh, and with the other, by the Glasgow and 
South Western, the trade and commerce of Glasgow." 


In August, 18G7, the directors reported that their 
working expenses had increased in consequence of the 
payment out of the revenue for the reconstruction of the 
Apperley Viaduct, of a bridge at Tamworth, and other 
works injured by floods in the previous year; there had 


also been a loss of revenue from having to work tratlic 
over the lines of other companies. The amount of un- 
productive capital had increased to £5,000,000. The 
loss of the Glasgow and South AVestei-n Amalgamation 
Bill, and the withdrawal of some others, had made it 
necessary to charge the cost of promoting them to 
revenue instead of capital, because there would now be 
no capital accounts under those bills against which 
they could be charged. 

At this meeting an arrangement with the ISIetropolitan 
Company was sanctioned. The Midland Company was 
to have the use of the Metropolitan from King's Cross 
Junction to Moorgate Street ; the former fixing the num- 
ber and times of their own trains. The ]Midland was to 
pay a mileage proportion of gross receipts from traffic, 
a minimum being fixed for the first year of £4000, of 
£5000 for the second, of £(3000 for the third, and of 
£7000 for the fourth and each succeeding year. They 
were also charged £500 a year for the first three years 
for the use of the intermediate stations, and from £4000 
to £0000 a year for station accommodation at Moorgate. 
The Midland Company also undertook to pay Cnl. a ton 
for goods, and 4d. for coals, up to 50,000 tons, and 3(/. 
for every ton al)ove that (piantity. Tlie total fixed 
minimum chai'ges under the agreement were to amount 
to from £14,000, to £15,000 a year. 

The latter part of the year 1807 was a period of great 
anxiety to all the moiiied interests of the country; the 
conspicuous break down of some of the principal rail- 
way companies l)rought discredit on railway property and 
on railway administration generall}' ; and though the 
proprietors of the ]\Iidland Comj^any were confident of 
the substantial soundness of tlioir property, man}' hail 
misgivings on account of the undefined magnitude of 
their own financial liabilities, concerning which tlie 


cliairman had publicly remarked that they " would far 
outstrip the estimates made four or five years ago." 

Affairs, however, were moving quietly on, when, on 
the morning of the 17th December, a "circular" was 
received by the proprietors from the directors, an un- 
usual document for them to send. It stated that " under 
ordinary circumstances the directors would not have 
deemed it necessary to issue reports of their proceedings 
except at the general meetings of the Company ; but as 
they are about to deposit a bill in Parliament proposing 
a large increase of capital, they felt it due to the share- 
holders to submit to them, without delay, an explanation 
of the causes which rendered this application necessary." 

The introduction was ominous. The circular pro- 
ceeded : — " At the last half-yearly meeting the Chairman 
announced to the proprietors that the cost of the 
extension into London, and of the stations there, would 
largely exceed the parliamentary estimates. It has, in 
fact, been found that the value of the property required 
and the amount of compensations have been enormously 
in excess of what was anticipated, and it would seem 
that the cost of carrying the works of a railway into 
London is such as to defy all previous calculation;" and 
additional capital for the London line alone would be 
required to the amount of about £2,150,000. 

Further, it had been ascertained, in constructing the 
Sheffield and Chesterfield and other lines, that there 
would also be "a large increase of expenditure be- 
yond the parliamentary estimate " to the extent of 

" It has also been found necessary to provide new 
engines and additional plant and rolling stock, to meet 
the requirements of the increased traffic of the Company. 
For this purpose the sum of £960,000 has been expended 
out of the sums voted by the proprietors at various half- 


yearly meetings, but the necessary powers to raise the 
capital have not as yet been obtained. It is now therefore 
proposed to include this expenditure in the present bill, 
with power to raise a further sum of £540,000 to meet 
future requirements. 

" The total addition to the capital of the Company 
will thus be £5,000,000, of which it will be proposed to 
raise £3,750,000 by shares, and £1,250,000 by borrowing 

This circular fell like a thunderbolt through a sensi- 
tive atmosphere. Not that it said very much more than 
had been previously known ; but the statements so 
recently made, that " all previous calculations " had 
l3een exceeded, that capital had been spent for which 
"the necessary powers had not" as yet been obtained; 
and the demand for a round sum of £5,000,000 ad- 
ditional capital, seemed sufficiently alarming. 

The wildest rumours were afloat. It was confidently 
declared that the company " had been bought up, as the 
Americans phrase it, 'short,' by a banker or money 
lender, for this £960,000, or some other sum of money; 
and that in dire necessity they asked for all these 
millions, in order to get the trifle that they wanted." 

The severest criticisms were off'ered. It was declared 
that Mr. Hutchinson and his colleagues had spoken 
" with a frankness which almost amounts to reckless- 
ness." The directors were " upon the horn of a di- 
lemma, for either they and their chief officers are 
flagrantly ignorant of matters which, if fit for their 
posts, they ought to understand, or there had been a 
deliberate concealment of the facts from the proprietors." 
A pamphlet asserted that the Midland property had been 
gradually depreciating, and, mile for mile, was not worth 
as much as in 1865. " The Midland Railway Company," 
said the Economist, "has this week created a panic 



such as only a great and respected railway can create." 
" Is upwards of £30,000,000 sterling," demanded the 
BuUionist, "to be imperilled for the sake of an idea ? " 

Other writers, however, drew other lessons. The Mid- 
land proprietors, said one, " must discriminate between 
the bond fide objurgations of their fellow- shareholders 
and the coarse bellowings of speculators, whether dat- 
ing from Liverpool, Manchester, or elsewhere." " Though 
unexpectedly large," said the Observer, " as the new 
London lines and stations may be, the company will 
ultimately get a fair return for their outlay." " Laying 
a bill before Parliament to ask for a very large sum," 
said the Economist, " is a step so sure to provoke inquiry, 
'that that of itself is presumably honest." 

The present writer thus expressed himself, in the 
columns of the Daily News, with regard to the entire 
position of the Midland Company, and endeavoured to 
soothe the alarms of the shareholders. It has, he re- 
marked, become the fashion in certain quarters to 
assert that this company has become " ambitious and 
aggressive, consumed with a greed of power that has 
led it to encroach upon the just rights of innocent 
and injured neighbours. From whom do these com- 
plaints arise ? They come, in part at least, from friends 
of the Great Northern, a company expressly intended 
to flank the whole Midland system from south to 
north; a company so directly competitive that im- 
mediately the Great Northern was opened the Mid- 
land's receipts fell thousands of pounds a week, and 
Midland shares drooped to the lowest point they ever 
reached. They came from friends of the London and 
North Western, a company which, beginning with a 
simple route from London to Liverpool and Manchester, 
spread east and west and north from Leeds to Merthyr 
Tydvil, and from Peterborough to Holyhead, which 


occupied the lieacT quarters of the Great Eastern at 
Cambridge, wliich competes with the Midland in every 
important town it has, and which has recently announced 
that it has obtained access to one of the most westerly 
points of the Great Western system at Swansea. 

" On the other hand, who can deny that the Midland 
extensions have been legitimate in themselves, and likely 
to be remunerative to the company and beneficial to the 
public ? When, in 1862, the Midland had become, next to 
the North Eastern, the greatest coal-carrying railway in 
England, when, besides rent charge for stations, it was 
paying the Great Northern £60,000 a year for tolls on 
traffic between Hitchin and London (though forbidden to 
take up or set down for its own benefit any local traffic 
whatever), and yet could receive no adequate accommoda- 
tion either on the rails or at the terminus ; and when the 
Great Northern Board had to admit that it was unable to 
provide for the increasing traffic except by laying down 
four lines of rails instead of two ; when, in addition to all 
this, the Midland Company was sending traffic via Rugby 
to London of the value to the London and North Western 
Company of £193,000 a year, and yet at one time five- 
miles of laden coal trucks had to wait at Rugby, uuabl& 
to proceed, causing infinite chagrin to the sellers in the 
coal fields and to the buyers in London, surely the time 
had come at which the Midland Company might bo 
permitted the privilege of wishing to provide accommoda- 
tion for itself. When the Midland system was within 
thirty miles of Manchester, and could reach it by a link 
with the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire line, only 
a few miles long, was it not reasonable that the staple 
trades and vast coal-fields of Leicestershire, Notts, and 
Derbyshire, should desire some better access to Man- 
chester, than on the one hand by Grantham and Retford, 
or on the other by Derby and Macclesfieldj over the lines 


of three several companies, whose trains never ran 
throuo'h ? And was it not riorlit that tlie shortest route 

o o 

that exists between London and Manchester should now 
be opened up? "When the 200,000 inhabitants of 
Sheffield were demanding to be put upon the main line of 
the Midland, w^hen they were applying every possible 
pressure to the company, and when the ubiquitous North 
Western was pushing in with a competitive scheme, by 
which they tried to obtain compulsory powers over the 
heart of the Midland system, would it have been expedient 
tliat the directors should have still insisted upon landing 
all their Sheffield passengers at the miserable station 
at Masborough, and then sending them by a branch to 
the more miserable station at Sheffield, into which, — as 
a British QuarterJij Reviewer has said, — the train now 
runs ' like a rat into a dust bin ' ? And when the London 
and North Western were repudiating to the ^lidland 
Company at Carlisle the identical terms which the Nortli 
Western chairman characterized as only a 'friendly 
arrangement,' a 'policy of mutual concessions,' when 
obtained from the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire 
Company at Sheffield, surely it was no unreasonable 
conclusion, that, if the Midland Company required the 
means of conducting a fair proportion of the traffic to 
Scotland, they must provide it for themselves — a con- 
clusion which Parliament approved. 

" It was this deprecated policy of * extension ' that has 
given the IMirlland Company the measure of prosperity it 
enjoys. Before its extensions it was a mere dependency 
of the London and North Western, and that board tried 
hard to buy it up at £57 10s. for each £100 share. And 
from the time when those negotiations failed that power- 
ful company has laboured, by open attack and by secret 
treaties, to sap the resources of the Midland and to draw 
around it a cincture which should cripple it in every 


limb. It was ' extension' that alone emancipated it from 
bondage ; it was ' extension' that raised its shares from 
about £30 to the £140 at which they have recently stood, 
and at which before very long they will stand again. 
' I believe,' said Mr. Hutchinson at a Midland meeting, 
* there is no railway in this kingdom whose original 
traffic has been so fiercely attacked as ours.' 

" AYith one prediction I conclude : — Six months ago, 
through the efforts of astute opponents and of mis- 
informed and timid friends, there was a general outcry 
against the policy of the Midland Board. Large meetings 
were held, protracted discussions took place, and the 
result was — what ? Candid statement and good sense 
prevailed, opposition was conciliated, misunderstandings 
were explained, and the course of the directors received 
the warm commendation of their constituency. So it 
will be again. The free passes so wisely provided for 
Midland proprietors (other Boards prefer their share- 
holders at a distance) will facilitate a large gathering ; 
we shall see with our own eyes and hear with our own 
ears ; the reasons for past action will be explained ; a wise 
and conciliatory policy for the future will, I doubt not, be 
submitted; and after a few safety-valves have blown off 
their superfluous and dangerous steam, and the thunder 
of a little Irish invective has rolled harmlessly away, and 
some estimable gentlemen, holding microscopic propor- 
tions of Midland property, have solemnly warned the 
w^ealthy shareholders of the certain bankruptcy to which 
the whole concern is hastening, we shall recover our 
sober senses and have the candour to admit, as Ave did 
last summer, that the directors deserve the confidence of 
even the most panic-stricken of the constituents whom 
they honestly and ably serve." 

A special general meeting was held on Wednesday, 
Jan. loth, 1868, and it was anticipated with much in- 


terest and excitement. The large liall was crowded, and 
in order to give increased space, we cannot say " accom- 
modation," a number of the benches had been removed, 
and many hundreds of proprietors had to stand. But 
whatever the world outside might have thought, and 
whatever the misgivings of individual shareholders might 
have suggested, the applause with which the directors 
were welcomed when they entered the room, showed that 
the confidence of the constituents was undiminished. 
*' There'll be no fighting to-da}-," said a gentleman 
standing near us. " That cheer shows it." 

The chairman stated that the meeting had been sum- 
moned in anticipation of the usual half-yearly meeting, in 
order to give an explanation of the circuhir of Dec. 1-ith, 
and to point out the provisions of the money bill which 
liad been deposited. It had, he said, been suggested, 
that a committee of large and influential proprietors 
shall be appointed for the purpose of consulting with the 
directors on various matters which are involved in the 
bill, and lie was sure tliat the Board would very gladly 
avail themselves of the assistance of such a committee. 
After explaining some minor provisions of the bill, he 
proceeded to explain the causes of the increased outlay on 
the line to London. He showed that the cost of the works 
originally contemplated had not so much been augmented 
as that the works themselves had been enlarged. " Un- 
doubtedly," he said, " the value of the property, especially 
in Loudon and the neighbourhood, rose very considerably 
between 1862, when the plans were deposited for this 
railway; but we also found that the traffic to and 
from London was so rapidly increasing, that if the line 
had been carried out in only its original proportions, by 
the time it was opened for traffic the acconnnodatiou 
would have been wholly inadequate." 

After illustrating this statement by figures which 

MR. Hutchinson's explanation. 247 

sTiowed the enormous development of the London traffic, 
he said : " I will now call your attention to the increase 
which has taken place in the capacity of the railway and 
works, as compared with the original intentions. The 
railway has been constructed with four lines of rails 
instead of two, and with steel rails instead of iron for 
nearly seven miles north of London. The land has been 
bought and the overbridges have been constructed for 
four lines of rails. Over the remainder of distance to 
Bedford only two lines of rails have at present been laid 
down, and the directors will not lay down the additional 
rails until the requirements of the traffic shall render 
it necessary. Having found upon some of our other 
lines that inferior gradients caused a great deal of in- 
convenience as well as a great deal of expense, we 
decided to improve the gradients upon this line, from 
1 in 176 to 1 in 200, and from 1 in 129 to 1 in 17G in 
the tunnel." 

Complaints, he said, were made of the enormous increase 
in the cost of the London line, but this had arisen mainly 
because of the increased capacity and cost of the accom- 
modation provided. Originally about two acres of laud 
had been secured for the passenger station ; afterwards it 
was found that four acres would be necessary. Originally 
it had been intended to raise the flooring of the station 
to the required height by filling it up with earth ; after- 
wards it was decided to excavate it for cellarage, and 
fifty shops were to be built into the walls that faced 
the roads. Originally it was arranged to approach the 
London station by embankment ; afterwards it was found 
that if some 85- acres of land were arched over for coal 
drops, at least 250,000 tons of coals could be disposed of, 
and a rent for cellarage be secured. " It being evident," 
said the engineer, " that the productiveness of the line 
and its beneficial influence on the Midland system would 

248 MR. Hutchinson's explanation. 

be limited only by the capabilities of the London ter- 
minus to receive and despatch traffic, it was decided to 
utilize as far as practicable every yard of ground which 
was available for traffic purposes. Additional works had 
also been required by Parliament during the passing of 
the Act. They include a covered way through Camden 
Square, an expensive iron viaduct and other onerous con- 
ditions regarding the passage through the Saint Pancras 
burial-ground, the providing of bridges for two additional 
lines of rails for all tlie railways crossed within the metro- 
polis, and clauses for drainage, involving considerable 
extra expense, introduced by the Metropolitan Board of 



i.;.i..\r MADL'cr. 

^yorks. There is also the construction of tho Brent 
A^iaduct of nineteen arches, required by the Gran^ 
Junction Canal Company, instead of an ordinary bridge, 
and this viaduct is built for four lines of rails." 

It thus appeared that after apportioning the expenditure 
which had arisen for additional works " there remains," 
said the engineer, "a sum of about £200,000, which 
represents the excess of expenditure over estimates, the 

ME. Hutchinson's explanation. 2-i9 

greater part of wliich is attributable to the large increase 
in the price of labour and materials which has taken 
place since 1863, when the estimates were made. The 
principal extra which arose on engineering works occurred 
in passing through Hampstead Hill, where the tunnel had 
to be strenofthened and lined. The effects of the increase 
of prices compelled three of the contractors to abandon 
their contracts, and the works had to be transferred to 
other contractors at higher prices, in addition to con- 
siderable loss arising from the transfer of working plant, 

It is remarkable that the magnificent roof of the 
station, which might be regarded as the costliest work 
of all, fell considerably within the estimate. It was ori- 
ginally intended to build it with a span of two arches, 
and the parliamentary estimate was £5 per square yard 
for roof and platform. Subsequently it was ascertained 
that it might be erected with only one span at a cost of 
about £4 a yard. 

On the line itself additional works had also been pro- 
vided. It was at first decided to lay down only two lines 
of railway from London to Bedford. Land had now to be 
bought for four, the overbridges had to be built for four, 
for several miles rails had to be laid for four ; and the 
cost of four lines of such railway for the first few miles 
out of London could not be less than £500,000. Originally 
it was proposed that iron rails should here as elsewhere 
be used; now steel ones were to be adopted; but iron 
cost some £6 a ton, steel cost £13, and hundreds of tons 
are wanted for every mile. Yet was not this increased 
expenditure a true economy? "We are finding," said 
the chairman of the London and North Western, " steel 
rails wearing actually as long as ten pairs of iron ones ;" 
and at the Chalk Farm station a steel rail might then 
be seen in good order, which had outlasted no fewer than 


twentj-five iron rails successively placed next to it on tlie 
same line. Instead of 209 acres of land near London, 
470 acres had been bought ; and instead of 368 acres for 
the rest of the line to Bedford, 710 had been obtained. 
This increase of cost, indeed, must have been large ; but 
how much larger would it be a few years hence, when 
every yard of the company's property will be hemmed 
in by the masses of houses which close around the pre- 
cincts of every new London line — houses which are often 
built expressly with the expectation that their sites will 
be wanted, and that large profits will be realized. 

Such were the facts to which with great clearness — 
without haste and Avithout rest — Mr. Hutchinson called 
attention. He dealt in a similar manner with tlio in- 
creased outlay which had been made in other parts of the 
line; and after a lengthened, minute, and exhaustive, not 
to say exhausting, speech, concluded by announcing the 
future policy of the Board : " It is — suspension of all 
works which will not involve too great a sacrifice ; post- 
ponement of all new lines not yet commenced, or upon 
which a small outlay has been made; application to Parlia- 
ment for an extension of time to complete them ; the most 
rigid economy in the expenditure of all moneys, whether 
capital or revenue, the utmost exertion made to increase 
the receipts, and the cultivation of the most friendly 
relations with all the neighbouring companies." 

He concluded amid the " loud applause" of the meet- 

Mr. Edward Baines, M.P., then rose, by request of the 
chairman, to propose the appointment of a Committee of 
Consultation to confer with the directors especially as to 
the extent to which the projected lines and works could 
be relinquished or postponed, and to report to the half- 
yearly meeting to be held in February. The names were, 
—Messrs. Edwai'd Baines, M.l\, AV. Orme Foster, M.P., 


J. Garnett, Robert Loader, AV. Overeiid, (^.C, Cliarles 
Paget, A. J. Stanton, Edward Warner, and Joseph Wliit- 

Mr. Baines and other gentlemen supported the resolu- 
tion with much abilit}^, and the chairman having stated 
that all information which might be required would be 
furnished with the greatest pleasure, to facilitate the 
inquiries of the committee, the resolution was heartily 
and unanimously adopted. 

The committee thus appointed set to work immedi- 
atcl3\ They had many meetings. They received minute 
explanations from the directors and officers of the com- 
pany, and they passed over the whole line from Bedford 
to London, and carefully examined the works at St. 

The report of the Committee of Consultation was for- 
mally presented to the shareholders on the 19th of Feb- 
ruary, though it had previously been printed and circu- 
lated. It expressed its divergence from some part of 
the policy of the Board of Directors ; but bore abundant 
testimony to the integrity and ability with which their 
administration had been conducted. " It is the duty of 
the committee to report," they said, "that they have re- 
ceived convincing proof of the integrity with wliich the 
affairs of the Midland Company have been conducted," of 
" tlie trustworthiness of its published accounts," of " tlic 
dilig:ence and zeal of the Board and its officials in the 
performance of their duties," and " the great vigilance 
and ability" that have been " displayed in watching the 
interests of the company throughout the wide field over 
which its lines and works are spread, in developing its 
mineral and other resources, and facilitating the traffic 
of the country. The attention of your committee has 
also been directed to the principles upon which the ex- 
penditure of the company has been classed under the re- 


spective heads of capital and revenue, wliich seem to 
tlieni to be such as effectually to guard against the fre- 
quent error of augmenting the apparent available profit, 
by charging to capital that which should be borne by 
revenue. Your committee find that all charges relating 
to the renewal, strengthening, and improvement of the 
permanent way, works, stations, bridges, and rolling 
stock, are paid out of revenue ; and in addition to this, 
nearly the entire cost of the carting stock and wagon 
covers, amounting to about £90,000, which by most 
other companies is entirely provided out of capital, has 
been paid out of revenue during the last few years. In- 
terest upon the very large amount of unproductive capi- 
tal, now amounting to about £5,000,000, is all borne by 

They expressed regret that the company had been led 
to undertake engagements " beyond what could be pro- 
perly undertaken at any one time," involving " an amount 
of liability which cannot be met without great incon- 
venience to the shareholders." But they added that it 
was true that these works had been " undertaken when 
commercial confidence was unlimited, and when the spirit 
of competition among the great railway companies was be- 
3^ond control." They were sorry that there should have 
been delay in the application to Parliament for the crea- 
tion of additional capital until so large an amount had 
become indispensable ; and also that the sums of money 
originally estimated for the different works should have 
been so largely exceeded. On the other hand they Tvdshed 
to make every allowance for wise alterations and im- 
provements that had been made on the original plans. 
" Increased cost of land, buildings, and severance, — in- 
creased cost of all materials, -^increased wages of labour, 
— the doubling of the width of the line, and the laying 
down of four lines of rails for six or seven miles from 


London, — the adoption of steel rails, instead of iron 
(doubling the cost), for that distance, — the purchase of 
land for four lines all the way to Bedford, and the erec- 
tion of bridges to provide for them, — the purchase of a 
large quantity of land at Hendon for the convenience of 
mineral and goods trains, — the connection of the Midland 
with the Metropolitan Line, by a subterranean branch, 
so as to give access to the heart of London and to rail- 
ways south of the Thames, — the erection of ale and corn 
stores, — the pro^dding of larger accommodation for goods 
and mineral traffic than had been thouQ^ht needful, — the 
making of numerous shops and a great amount of cellar- 
age, — and the contemplated erection of a large and 
splendid hotel and offices at the St. Pancras Station ; — 
all these things no doubt account for the cost of the in- 
dependent access to the metropolis being likely to reach 
several millions beyond the original estimate. It is proper 
to mention that there is every probability of a large pas- 
senger traffic in the suburbs of London ; and that the ex- 
tent of mineral and goods traffic which may be had there 
is declared by experienced persons to be only limited by 
the extent of the accommodation that can be provided for 
it. It is an important fact, that the greater part of the 
mineral traffic which has been brought into London by 
the North Western and Great Xorthern Railways, comes 
from collieries in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and other 
counties on the line of the Midland Railway, and it is 
reasonable to suppose that a very large amount of that 
traffic will go by the direct and shortest route." 

The committee expressed their regret that they were 
unable to advise any reduction in the amount for which 
application should be made to Parhament. The money 
bill for £5,000,000 must be passed in its integrity, after 
obtaining which it would be competent and advisable to 
make other apolications for the postponement of some of 


the undertakings. They had also felt it their duty to 
communicate with the chairman of the London and North 
Western Company, with a view to such an arrangement of 
terms with that company, for such a use by the Midland 
of the Lancaster and Carlisle as should justify the aban- 
donment of the Settle and Carlisle. They were gratified 
to state that they had been received by the London and 
North Western officers with frankness and friendship, but 
that before any further action could be taken in that direc- 
tion the Midland Company's money bill must be obtained. 
It would be impossible for the Midland Company to go 
before Parliament to ask for money for lines for the 
abandonment of which they were actually negotiating. 

The meeting of shareholders at which this report was 
presented w^as the ordinary half-yearly meeting of the 
proprietors. It was stated that the increase of traffic 
had been large, amounting to an average of £4700 a week. 
The expenditure in carrying the traffic had also increased. 

On the 13th of April, 1868, the Keighley and Worth 
Valley line w^as handed over to the Midland Company. 
It had previously been maintained by the contractors of 
the Valley Company, though worked by the Midland 

Towards the close of the year 1868, terms of agree- 
ment were drawn up between the Midland and the Lon- 
don and North Western Companies by which the former 
was to have free and full access to Scotland over the 
Lancaster and Carlisle, and by which the Settle and Car- 
lisle was to be abandoned. It was arranged that the 
Midland Company should have equal rights with the 
London and North Western " of user and control " be- 
tween Ingleton and Carlisle, " with joint management by 
a joint committee, with a standing arbitrator, and with 
full power to the Midland Company to fix their own rates 
and fares." The Midland Company was to be " allowed 


to carry local passenger traffic between Low Gill and Car- 
lisle, and from the receipts of tlie traffic so carried to be 
allowed 15 per cent, for working expenses " the balance 
to be paid to the London and North Western Company. 
The Midland Company was to pay " a mileage propor- 
tion " of rates and fares, the annual minimum beinsr 
£40,000 a year for the use of the line. The London and 
North Western was to provide accommodation at inter- 
mediate stations for passenger and goods traffic ; the 
Midland Company having power to place their own ser- 
vants there if desired ; for whom accommodation should 
be provided at a rate to be settled by arbitration. The 
agreement was to be for 50 years. Both companies 
were to unite in applying to Parliament for the abandon- 
ment of the Settle and Carlisle line. 

In the report of the spring meeting of 18G9, it was 
announced that the directors had continued the nesfotia- 
tions with the London and North Western for the 
use of certain parts of the Lancaster and Carlisle line 
" as a substitute for the Settle and Carlisle line, which 
many of the shareholders wished to abandon ;" and that 
eventually terms had been agreed upon. Mr. Edward 
Baines, M.P., and others expressed their satisfaction at 
this settlement of the matter, as it was supposed to be. 
"The Consultation Committee," he said, "were of opinion, 
as they had been throughout, that it would be a ver}^ 
great misfortune to lay out more than £2,000,000 in con- 
structing a line which for 80 miles would run side by side 
with another railway, the use of which could now bo 
obtained on fair terms. If the directors could have 
obtained those terms from the beginning, they would 
never have dreamed of promoting the Settle and Carlisle 

The attempts thus made to secure an abandonment of 
the Settle and Carlisle line Avere, however, unsuccessful. 


After a conflict of six days, the Commons' Committee 
decided that the evidence given by the Midland and the 
London and North Western did not justify any such 
arrangement. To this conclusion they were, we believe, 
chiefly led by the opposition of the Lancashire and York-, 
shire, and Xortli British Companies, the former of whom 
declared that it was tbeir desire to avail themselves of the 
Midland's Settle and Carlisle line if it were made, and that 
they wanted a route to the North independently of the 
London and North Western. It is curious to observe how, 
in the ebb and flow of railway politics, when the Lanca- 
shire and Yorkshire a very few years later were endeavour- 
ing to amalgamate with the North Western, it then came 
to find that the making of the Settle and Carlisle was an 
argument for the rejection of the amalgamation ; or at 
any rate a reason why certain special concessions should 
be made to the Midland Company on the withdrawal of 
their opposition to the amalgamation. 

In referring to this subject, Mr. Hutchinson stated to 
the meeting, that though the rejection of the abandonment 
bill "had been a disappointment to many shareholders," 
no alternative was now left to the directors but " to ac- 
(juiesce in the decision of Parliament, and to proceed with 
the construction of the line." He, however, comforted the 
proprietors by stating, that though hitherto they " had 
been unable from certain causes to obtain any exact esti- 
mate of the Scotcb traffic," it was proved in "tlie discussion 
on the abandonment bill that the amount of traffic passing 
via Carlisle alone, between places in England and places 
in Scotland, was between £1,300,000 and £1,400,000;" 
so that, the amount passing by way of Berwick, the east 
coast route, being some £500,000, the total might be set 
down at nearly £2,000,000. 

During the year an extension of time was obtained for 
the construction of the Mansfield and Worksop, Mansfield 



and Soutlivrell, and some other lines ; powers were taken 
by which the Midhmd Company obtained the Evesham and 
Redditch line, and also the Tottenham line, by which the 
Midland obtained access to the Victoria Docks. "A very 
extraordinary increase " said the chairman, " has taken 
place in the traffic during the seven weeks of the current 
half-year, amounting to more than £8000 per week, a 
sum that far surpassed their most sanguine expectations." 
The dividend, which had increased in the spring, was 
in the autumn further augmented by half per cent. It 
was announced that the receipts had increased £8400 
a week, and that the unproductive capital of £5,000,000 
had been reduced to half that amount; £1,000,000 of 
which was on the new Sheffield line. The Cud worth and 
Barnsley line was opened for local goods on the 28th of 
June, 1869; the Bath and Mangotsfield for passenger traffic 
on the 4th of August ; the Melbourne and Sawley line, 
running via Castle Donington to Trent, was ready ; and 
all the eno-ineerinnf works of the Tvondon and Bedford 

liK 1 AIMNt 

U.WLKhii'CK illl.l. 



were completed, except a small part of the roof of St. 
Pancras Station. It was ordered that the hotel should 
be carried to the necessary height and finished in a per- 
manent manner, and that those portions that were ori- 
ginally intended for the company's offices be added to the 
hotel. It was announced that the bills for a joint use by 
the Midland, Great iS'orthern, and Great Eastern of certain 
lines, for a new station at Lynn, in Norfolk, and for 
giving certain powers to the Midland, in conjunction with 
the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Company, over 
the Marple, New Mills, and Hayfield Junctions had been 




Opening of 'Sew Line to Sheffield. — Unstoue Viadaefc. — Expiration of 
Lease of Ambergate and Rowslej Line, and Amalgamation with 
the Midland Company. — Terms. — State Purchase of Telegraphs. — 
Stupendous Misuse of Public Money. — Resignation of Mr. W. E. 
Hutchinson as Chairman of the Company. — Appointment of Mr. 
W. P. Price, M.P., as Chairman, and Mr. E. S. Ellis, Vice-Chair- 
man. — Amusing Incidents. — Mr. McTurkand Mr. Hadley. — Amal- 
gamation of the Midland and the Little Xorth Western. — Openin"- 
of Sawley and Weston and Tibshelf and Tiversall Coal Lines. — 
Complimentary Dinner to Mr. Hutchinson. — Speeches of Mr. 
Hutchinson and Mr. Allport. — Progress of the Company. — Battle 
of the Coal Rates between Midland and Great Northeim. — The 
Agreement. — The Arbitration. — -The Award. — The Rupture of the 
Agreement. — Resumption of former Rates. — Advantages of Pre- 
ference Stocks. — Line from Birmingham to King's Xorton. — 
Rumours of Fresh Conflicts between the Great Northern and Mid- 
land. Attack on the Heart of the Midland System. — Midland and 
Sheffield Companies' new Projects. — Arrangement between Mid- 
land and Sheffield Companies' Chairmen. — Great Northern Com- 
pany's Derbyshire Lines.— Objections of Midland Company. — 
Objections of Derbyshire Coal Owners. — Defects of the New Line. — 
Great Northern Bill for Line from Newark to Leicester passed. — 
Midland Company carries Third Class Passengers by all Trains. 
— Wolverhampton, Walsall, and Midland Junction Line. — Bedford 
and Northampton Line Opened. — Slip at Dove Holes Tunnel. 

The commencement of the year 1870 was signalized by 
the opening of the new line from Chesterfield to Sheffield. 
" Direct " communication, such as it was, l3ctween the 
two towns had for some time been carried on by means of 
an extraordinary vehicle, not unlike an old-fashioned 
French diligence, which, as we write, may still be seen, 
apparently turned out to grass and rottenness, in a field 
at Dronfield. The people residing in that district may 
well have been surprised at the improvement between 
the old means and the new, when, on the 2nd of February, 
1870, they found they could now accomplish the journey 
in a few minutes at almost any hour of the day, and with 
perfect comfort and convenience. The line, however, was 
opened without any official recognition on the part of the 



company. It is true that some enterprisiDg country 
people at Dronfield left their beds at an undesirable hour 
in a February morning in order that they might be able 
to say that they saw the up Leeds express pass at 4.7 ; 
but the first down train entered Sheffield station, says 
an eye-witness, "just as if it had been accustomed to 
do so any time for the last ten years. Spruce collectors 


asked for your tickets, and slammed the doors, and went 
their way, and left you to go yours ; the whole affair being 
so business-hke and formal and matter-of-course that the 
operatives, who at twelve o'clock came down in consider- 
able numbers to see what was to be seen, must have 
returned to their homes considerably disappointed. We 
have witnessed far more fuss and ceremony over the 
opening of a drinking fountain or the ' inauguration ' of a 
new parish fire-escape." 

An important arrangement was about this period con- 
cluded. Our readers will remember the little railway 
with the long name (the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock, 


and Midland Junction) that ran between Ambergate and 
Rowsley, and that had ah'eady occupied a prominent 
place in the world of railwaypolitics. This line formed 
a portion of the Midland main route to Manchester, but 
was partly owned by the London and North Western 
Company, and was held by the Midland on a lease 
which would expire at Midsummer, 1871. In anti- 
cipation of this contingency, and knowing that it 
was possible that for its renewal terms that were too 
exacting might, under the peculiar circumstances of the 
case, be claimed from the Midland Company, an excellent 
alternative line had already been made from Duffield, a 
station a little south of Ambergate, up to Wirksworth, — a 
line which could, if necessary, be continued to Eowsley, 
and there, joining the Midland main line to Manchester, 
form an admirable substitute for the existing one. This 
stroke of policy on the part of the Midland Company saved 
it at the critical moment from serious embarrassment. As 
it was, the negotiations came so nearly to a dead lock that 
the Midland Company's board ordered surveys to be pre- 
pared for the completion of the alternative line ; and it 
would have been carried by a tunnel under the Heights of 
Abraham at Matlock, up the left side of Darley Dale to 
Rowsley. At the last moment, however, the matter was 
adjusted, and the directors were able to announce in the 
report (February, 1870), that they had " negotiated the 
heads of an ag^reement with the Matlock directors for 
vesting the undertaking in the Midland Company alone,'' 
who would now take the railway, and also the Ambergate 
Canal, "with all liability and obligations thereon, and pay 
the shareholders of the Matlock Company at par in a 5 
per cent, stock, with the option of converting it into Mid- 
land ordinary stock at any time within twelve months 
from the expiration of the lease." 

This year was memorable for the supposed transfer to 


the Government of the telegraphs of the country, including 
those belonging to the railways. We say the supposed 
transfer; for, as our readers are by this time aware, the 
whole affair was one of the most stupendous blunders, to 
use no harsher term, ever transacted even by an English 
GoYcrnment department. It is true that money was paid 
by John Bull enough to buy all the telegraphs ; the only 
mistake was, that it was paid to the wrong parties : it was 
not paid to those who had tlie telegraphs to sell. In a 
word, it was just as if the reader employed a land-agent 
to buy the freehold of an estate, and the cash was given 
him, but he handed it all over to a lessee w4io had only a 
short expiring lease ; and the purchaser soon afterwards 
discovered that he had to buy the estate over again from 
the freeholder. 

At the present moment the telegraphs on tlie principal 
railways are still the property of tliose railways ; and they 
will have to be purchased and paid for before they can 
become the property of the Government. On this subject 
IMr. Allport said at a meeting of the Statistical Society : 
"What did the Government do in the case of the 
telegraphs ? They gave thirty years' purchase on the 
enhanced price of a property wliich the sellers had not 
in their possession. In the case of the Midland Com- 
])any, for instance, the greater part of the wires and 
instruments belonged to the company, wliich had an 
agreement with the Electric Telegraph Company ex- 
piring about the end of 1S73 or the beginning of 1874. 
The Government gave the Telegraph Company thirty 
years' purchase; but the Government has yet to buy 
what belongs to the Midland Company, and an arbitra- 
tion as to the amount to be paid is now pending."* 

* "Onp:lit the State to Bay the Railways ? A Question for Every- 
body." By a JMidland Shareholder. Price One Shilling. Londoii : 
Longmans, Green & Co. 


At the spring meeting of shareholders (1870), Mr. A\'. E. 
Hutchinson announced his intention to relinquisli his 
chairmanship of the company. "Although," he said, he 
*' estimated highly the honour of being chairman of that 
great company, and although he valued very dearly the 
confidence which the shareholders and his colleagues had 
reposed in him, he felt that the duties devolving upon him 
were too arduous. He had arrived at a period of life 
when some relaxation from business was desirable and 
necessary ; and as he had devoted nearly a third of a cen- 
tury to the service of the company, he thought the time 
had arrived when he might retire from the chair." Very 
cordial acknowledgments were made of the services of 
the chairman. Mr. Edward Baines, M.P., proposed that 
the sum of £1000 should bo placed by the shareholders 
at the disposal of the Board, partly to be expended in 
procuring a portrait to be placed on the walls of the 
Board Room, and the remainder at the disposal of j\Ir. 
Hutchinson, for some memorial to be presented to him. 
Mr. Bass, M.P., desired, through Mr. Baines, to express 
his opinion that Mr. Hutchinson had been "a most 
zealous, most upright, and most able servant of the 

At a special meeting held in May, the new chairman, 
Mr. W. P. Price, M.P., presided. The contrast between 
the gravity with which the previous chairman uniformly 
conducted the proceedings, and the livelier fashion of his 
successor, struck many. An illustration of the humour 
in which Mr. Price sometimes indulged may be mentioned. 
On one occasion, as on several others, Mv. IMcTurk, 
of Sheffield, complained that certain injuries had been 
inflicted upon the Sheffield and Rotherham shareholders, 
who, he declared, " had had their locks shorn like Sam- 
son." The chairman in reply expressed his deep regret 
t1iat Mr. McTurk " should find himself in the })osition 


of Samson, with his locks shorn, but must certainly 
congratulate him that he had fallen into the hands of 
so skilful an operator," a remark which, as Mr. McTurk 
is rather regardless of appearances, elicited roars of 

On another occasion the chairman thus bantered Mr. 
Hadley. That gentleman had, with lugubrious accents 
and manner, deplored (he appears always to be deploring 
something) the slow progi'ess made on the Settle and 
Carlisle line, the works on which had been retarded by 
the weather. Mr. Price assured Mr. Hadley that he 
deeply regretted that the directors could not control the 
climate; but added, "I have no doubt if we had Mr. 
Hadley among us we should be blessed with perpetual 
sunshine." Mr. Hadley further professed to have dis- 
covered some discrepancy in the accounts of the passenger 
receipts per train mile. " Mr. Hadley," said the chairman, 
" tells you that the passenger receipts are only 8s. 6t/. per 
train mile, whereas, in fact, they are 48. Id. It is quite 
true that he drew this distinction : he said men, women, 
and children, by which I suppose he meant to exclude 
mails and parcels." " I beg your pardon," interrupted 
Mr. Hadley ; " I gave you the two items. I gave you 
the men, women, and children, and then I included 
the other items afterwards ; and then I said it was 
;36\ 11J(L" 

Mr. Price : " Well you have dropped a few halfpence 
on the road." 

Mr. UadU'ij : " I think it is no more — say what you 

Mr. Price : " I have no doubt you are right ; but 1 
must leave you to settle the matter with the accountant. 
The accountant tells me that it is 4.^-. It/., and 1 believe 

In the course of this year the Little North "Western 



came under the permanent control of the Midland Com- 
pany. A lease which had been running since February, 
1860, at a rental equal to 3^ per cent, had hitherto involved 
the Midland Company in loss ; but calculating on a future 
improvement in the traffic it was agreed to give "a progres- 
sive dividend at 3f per cent., in and for the year 1871 ; 
increasing by a i per cent, in each of the years 1872, 
1873, and 1874, and reaching in 1875 its final and maxi- 
mum limit of 5 per cent." The Sawley and Weston, and 
the Tibshelf and Tiversall (coal) lines were during this 
year opened for traffic. 


On the 20th of December, 1870, a comphmcutary dinner 
was given at Derby to Mr. Hutchinson, at which the testi- 
monial was presented that had been voted at the general 
meeting of the 16th of February, at which, as Mr. Price 
said, they desired " to record their appreciation of the 
eminent services their late chairman had rendered to the 
company, and to crown with their gTateful approval the 
services of a long and faithful career." In the course of 
the proceedings Mr. Hutchinson remarked that his con- 


nection witli the company dated from 1837, now 33 years 
ago ; and, he added, " it sometimes makes me sad when 
I remember tl^^t very few of my colleagues of that period 
are now left. At this table, my brother-in-law, Mr. 
Burgess, and Mr. Barlow, our consulting engineer, with 
myself, alone remain ; and with the exception of two or 
three other gentlemen who have long ceased to be con- 
nected with railways, are all that are now left of the old 
Midland Counties Railway Board, with whom I began my 
railway life as a director. It unfortunately happened that 
the Midland Counties Railway and the Derby and Bir- 
mingham Railway had each of them routes from Derby to 
London, in one case by way of Rugby, and in the other by 
way of Hampton ; and the consequence was that a yer}' 
severe competition soon ensued for the traffic, and I found 
myself in fierce opposition to my worthy and excellent 
friend and predecessor in the chair, Mr. Bcale, to our 
excellent legal adviser Mr. Carter, and to the present able 
and efficient officers of this Company, Messrs. Allport and 
Kirtle}^ We contended together for a considerable length 
of time ; but at last our Derby opponents called in the 
aid of their ' big brother,' the North Midland, and the 
consequence was that negotiations commenced, and peace 
was ultimately made between us on the basis of an amal- 
gamation of the three companies. Since that period we 
have laboured earnestly, zealously, and harmoniously 
together, in order to promote the prosperity of the amal- 
gamated companies, the mileage of which then became 
181 miles in length, 

" I have seen," he continued, " many fluctuations in 
the fortunes of the company. I have seen £100 shares 
quoted at more than £190, and I have seen them quoted 
as low as £32 or £33. I have seen our dividends at 
£7 7s. 6d. per cent, per annum, and I have seen them as 
low as £2 Is. per cent. Our highest rate of dividend 


was achieved during tlie cliairmansliip of my excellent 
friend Mr. Beale, in, I think, 18G1." 

In referring to the career of the Midland Company, 
Mr. Allport subsequently remarked : — " I say it ad- 
visedly, that the Midland now stands in a position second 
to none in this kiDG:dom. There is one fact which I 
think shows the position of the Midland Company per- 
haps as well as anything else that could be named. You 
will remember that it was proposed in the year 1867 to 
give a third member to each of seven of the largest 
towns in this countr}^ It is a singular fact that the 
Midland Company, in its own right, goes to every one of 
those seven towns, and is the only railway that does. It 
is true that to each place there are two or more railways; 
but no other railway goes to the seven towns except the 
Midland. I will mention them : — Bristol, Birmingham, 
Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, Liverpool, and Manchester. 
A short time ago I had taken out the population of the 
countiy which the Midland Railway accommodates. I 
think by the census of ]861 the population of England, 
Wales, and Scotland was about twenty-two to twenty- 
three millions. The Midland Eailway runs to upwards 
of ten millions of that population." 

The remarkable progress of the general traffic that 
had of late years been made on the Midland system will 
be indicated by the following summary : — 




Capital Expended ... 




Miles of Line 




Average Weekly Return . . 

. £22,814 



So that, as a writer remarked, " while the increase of 
capital is about two and a third, and the number of miles 
is much less than doubled (or nearly doubled, if we add 
the 122 miles of joint line), the gross traffic is more 
than threefold. The £70,000 a week gross traffic repre- 


sents mucli more than three times the work done for the 
pubHc, wlio paid £22,814 in 1851. From year to year 
the Midland has gone on increasing and cheapening the 
national service that it performs. It has been on an 
enormous scale a public benefactor. By facilitating 
trade, and stimulating manufacturing industry; render- 
ing marketable mines of mineral wealth which were 
formerly almost locked up for want of means of transit, — 
the Midland lines have promoted almost incalculably 
the public welfare. We might venture to say that for 
every shilling the Midland shareholders have had in re- 
turn for their outlay, the country at large must have 
gained several shillings." 

The year 1871 was signalized by the protracted con- 
flict between the Midland and Great Northern Companies 
on the subject of coal-rates. " The shareholders are 
doubtless aware," said the report at the quarterly meet- 
ing, " that after many years of negotiation between the 
two companies, having for its object the freest inter- 
change of coal traffic between their respective systems, 
and the opening of the Midland coal fields to the Great 
Northern Company," the rates at which they should 
thereafter carry the produce of these coalfields to 
market were adjusted so as to be "fair one with the 
other." The circumstances that followed were then 
described by the present writer in a letter in Tlce Times, 
which may be quoted almost hi extenso : — 

" The Agreement. — Before the year 1863 a severe com- 
petition had been carried on between the Midland and 
the Great Northern Companies for the coal traffic, 
especially to London. The consequence was, that there 
was such uncertainty as to the rates, that coalowners 
refused to undertake new contracts or to sink new pits ; 
and this vast industry, which requires safe data on which 
to calculate, and ground of confidence in the future, 


was in confusion. As the trade suffered, the railways 
suffered ; and eventually the two companies resolved to 
end the strife and to seek relief from several embarrass- 
ments in the future by what is known as ' the agreement 
of 1863.' 

" This agreement provided that the rates for coal 
from the Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Notts, and Leicestershire 
collieries should ' be equitably adjusted to each other.' 
Accordingly a list of such adjusted rates was prepared 
and adopted ; these rates being by the express terms of 
the agreement based on ' the shortest existing route by 
the Midland and Great Northern, or by such other 
routes and lines as may from time to time be agreed 
upon by the parties hereunto.' It was also provided 
that, in the event of any difference hereafter arising as 
to these rates, arbitrators should have 'full power to 
settle what is fair.' The two companies also declared 
that they would ' in all respects ' carry on the traffic 
' fjxithf ally the one towards the other, and according to 
the spirit and intent of this memorandum ; ' and that 
they would not, by any ' means or inducements wdiatso- 
ever, prevent such traffic from being carried, or the 
revenues therefrom di\nded and apportioned in accord- 
ance with the bond fide intent and meaning of the terms 
of this memorandum.' 

" The spirit and aim of this agreement were thus as 
plain as words could make them ; but an additional safe- 
guard was provided. In the mineral districts occupied 
by the Great Northern and Midland there were two 
other companies — the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincoln- 
shire, and the South Yorkshire (the latter now merged 
into the former), and they were the owners of part of 
the through, route. These companies were accordingly 
invited to furnish a list of rates at which they would 
deliver their coals on to the Midland and Great Northern 


respectively, and tliey did so. Inasmuch, however, as 
it was possible that at some future period these rates 
might be modified, and that thereby the fixed through 
rates already agreed upon by the Great Northern and 
Midland Companies might be affected, the contingency 
was provided against; for, by a minute adopted at a 
meeting on the 12th of February, 1863, the Midland and 
Great JSTorthern finally approved their list of rates, ' sub- 
ject to such alterations as may be rendered necessary by 
any subsequent action of either the Manchester, Shefiield, 
and Lincolnshire Company or the South Yorkshire Com- 
pany.' By these arrangements, both in spirit and in 
letter, every security was taken that the integrity of the 
through rates of the two contracting companies should 
be preserved ; an adjusting machinery also was provided 
for rectifying any irregularity that might arise ' by any 
subsequent action ' of other parties ; and in case of 
difficulty arbitrators were invested with ' full power to 
settle w^hat is fair.' 

" The Arbitration. — The rates agreed upon remained 
in operation without objection till 1868, when the Great 
Northern Company desired that an alteration should be 
made in the rates from the South Yorkshire collieries. 
The Midland Company contended that the rates were 
only W'hat was fair, and in 1869 the matter went to 
arbitration. Sir John Karslake was appointed sole 
arbitrator, and the two companies agreed that he should 
have ' full power to determine ' the rates for coals 
carried * by either or both of the companies ' to the 
' places mentioned in the said agreement,' so as * to 
secure to the companies the full benefit intended by the 
said agreement.' 

" The Award. — The arbitration occupied sixteen 
months. Evidence was taken that fills a folio volume ; 
the subject was dealt with under all it aspects; and the 


decision of the arbitrator may be summed up in liis 
concluding words : — 'I award that no alteration be made 
in the rates for coal in the said agreement or submission 
to arbitration mentioned and referred to.' 

" The Rupture of the Agreement. — Scarcely was the 
award pronounced when the representatives of the 
Sheffield Company were invited by the Great Northern 
to King's Cross;* and as the result, the Sheffield Com- 
pany decided no longer to deliver their South Yorkshire 
coals direct to the Grreat Northern at Doucaster as here- 
tofore, but to send it by a circuitous route and at a con- 
siderably reduced rate to the more southern point of 
Retford, the Retford rate on to London (which was 
originally fixed for the convenience of the collieries 
situated on the Sheffield Railway, and for which Retford 
and Beighton are the legitimate routes) being also less 
than from Doncaster. The effect of this diversion of 
traffic was to create just that disturbance of the through 
rate for the correction of which machinery had been 
provided by the minute of February 12th ; and it there- 
fore became the duty of the Midland Company to claim 
that the adjustment should be made. But with this 
claim the Great Northern Compan}'' refuses to comply. 

" The consequence was, that the through rate from 
South Yorkshire to London was reduced by lid., and 
the Midland Company was compelled to make a similar 
reduction in its rates from Derbyshire ; and other reduc- 
tions have since been made by the Great Northern, 
which the Midland Company has been obliged to follow, 
until they now involve a loss to the shareholders of the 

* On a subsequent occasion, Mr. Denison, the counsel for the Great 
Xortliern, described in tlie following remarkable words the action 
of bis company : — " The award was in August of 1870. . . . We 
began to look at the agreement, and see whether we could drive a 
coach and six through it." PJvidence, Great Northern Railway (No. 2) 
Bill, May 2nd, 1872, p. 9. 


two companies to tlie amount of several thousand 
pounds a week. 

" Sucli is the end for the time being of one of the most 
exphcit engagements ever entered into. And as I read 
the words that pledge the companies ' faithfully the one 
towards the other, and according to the spirit and intent 
of this memorandum,' and the minute that expressly 
provides that no disturbing influences from without shall 
compromise the purport or letter of the agreement, and 
also the ' full power ' given to the arbitrators to determine 
any point of difference, I am amazed tliat any responsible 
body of public men should venture to set such obliga- 
tions at nought. The terms employed in these docu- 
ments have, and can have, but one meaning, and I 
challenge them to put any other reasonable construction 
upon them. True, the Great Northern directors say 
that they are wilHng to refer a case which for sixteen 
months has been under arbitration. But if one arrangfe- 
mcnt can be repudiated, what evidence is there that 
another would be binding ? The question really narrows 
itself to this, — Are treaties between public bodies in this 
country to be obligatory ? And this is a question which 
concerns not only railway directors and shareholders, 
but every one who would maintain the honour and the 
interests of commercial life among us." 

The conflict continued for many months, the Midland 
Company lowering their rates as the Great Northern 
lowered theirs. At the August Midland meeting it was 
stated that although the directors were " not able to re- 
port a final settlement of the matter in dispute, the dis- 
astrous competition from the London coal trathc had 
been abated. Various meetings of the managers and depu- 
tations of the ]\Iidland and Great Northern Boards had 
taken place ; but at the last of these it appeared that 
the Great Northern Company were not in a condition to 


deal absolutely with their own rates, and that any ar- 
rangement between the two companies would virtually 
liave left the rates of both subject to the control of 
others. This, in the opinion of the directors, rendered 
any agreement impracticable ; and it was therefore 
determined that the Midland Company should pursue its 
independent course, and an increase had been effected in 
the rates to London, to date from the 1st of May." But 
though the severity of the conflict was apparently re- 
laxed, it was in appearance only: the storm which for a 
time had lulled broke out again, though under different 

At one of the ordinary meetings held during the year 
1871, a question arose which is worthy of passing con- 
sideration. A proprietor complained that by means of 
certain preference shares which it was proposed to issue, 
a priority of right would be given to outsiders over the 
ordinary shareholders. "For my part," he said, " I do 
not like preferential capital. I object to a mortgage of 55 
per cent, upon my railway stock, before I receive a single 
penny." He accordingly urged that the new proprie- 
tors should have only original or ordinary shares, and 
tlien, he said, " they would share fairly among themselves 
the entire earnings of the company." The reply of Mr. 
Price, M.P., the chairman, was, of course, conclusive. 
He reminded the j^i'oprietor, that the debenture debt of 
the company had been created at a charge of only 4J 
per cent., and their preference stock at less than 5 ; but 
that inasmuch as their ordinary dividend might be 
taken at G|- per cent., it was obvious that there was a 
clear gain on every £100 they borrowed at these lower 
rates of one-half or three-quarters per cent., all of which 
went to swell the dividend of the ordinary shareholder. 
The same principle holds good under all similar cir- 


A bill was passed during this year (1871), wliicli 
authorised certain parties in Birmingham to construct a 
railway from the commercial centre of the town to 
King's Norton in Worcestershire, but to be worked by 
the Midland Company. " The line," said Mr. Price, 
" was much desired by the neighbourhood. It would 
give to the Midland Company an admirable goods 
station in the commercial centre of Birmingham, and 
there was a prospect of a good suburban traffic. It 
was one of those lines which, if the Midland Company 
did not desire to work it, which they did, they could not 
possibly allow to pass into other hands." An arrange- 
ment was also made for the Midland Company to share with 
some other companies in the lease of a line near London, 
called the South Western Junction. It turns off from 
the Midland Company's line near Cricklewood, and 
running southward, joins, as its name indicates, the South 
Western Railway. The line had been earning 5J to 6 
per cent. : the lessees undertook among them to guarantee 
7 per cent. 

In the autumn of 1871, the railway world was filled 
with rumours that the conflicts which had raged 
between the Great Northern Company and the Midland 
were about to be renewed. From the first hour of its 
existence the Great Northern had lived and thriven as a 
vast parasite, drawing its daily life from the trunk and 
branches of what had been the Midland system. Now 
it was about, if possible, to fasten itself upon, and to 
draw the traffic-blood from the heart of, that system. 
When the parliamentary notices appeared, these reports 
were found to be true. The attack was to be, not with 
rates, but with rails. The Derbyshire and Nottingham- 
shire coalfields of the Midland Company were to be 
entered in all directions by a series of lines connected 
with the Grantham and Nottingham branch of the Great 


Northern, and, — in association witli tlie London and 
North Western, — were to be continued through the Ere- 
wash Valley to Derby and Burton and to the North 
Staffordshire lines. The same company had further 
resolved to construct lines from Newark to Melton 
Mowbray, Leicester, and Market Harborough. 

Other railway projects in these districts were also 
in contemplation. The Manchester, Sheffield, and Lin- 
colnshire Company, were the promoters of a line from 
Doncaster to Worksop, and from Worksop to join the 
London and North Western at Market Harborough. 
The Midland Company proposed to construct railwaj^s 
from Doncaster, to join their Worksop and Mansfield line 
at Shireoaks, and to give them a better connection with 
the North Eastern ; and also from Dore, just south of 
Sheffield, to Hassop on the Manchester line, which would 
have placed Sheffield and Manchester in direct communi- 
cation. Relief lines southward were proposed from 
Nottingham to Saxby and from Manton to Rushton. 

Such was the conflict of contesting claims. As, how- 
ever, the parliamentary session drew on, it was sug- 
gested that there should be some adjustment of affairs 
before war actually broke out. " I had occasion," said 
Mr. W. P. Price, M.P., the chairman of the Midland 
Company, in subsequently recounting the circumstances, 
" to meet Sir Edward Watkin on other business. After 
having disposed of that business, the conversation 
naturally turned upon the lines which either had been 
deposited at that time or wliicli were going to be de- 
posited ; and Sir Edward Watkin, taking the map which 
he had on his table, and a pencil, sketched out what the 
known and deposited lines of all the companies were. 
It was suggested b}^ one or other of us, I do not 
remember which, that it would be a very good thing if 
the lines promoted by the three companies could be 


nbandonod for tlie session, in order to await the issue of 
tlie proposal tlien made to amalgamate the London and 
North Western and the Lancashire and Yorkshire 
Companies. I told him, that, so far as we were con- 
cerned, we were in some little difficulty about one portion 
of our scheme, namely, the line from Nottingham to 
Saxby, because we were feeling very much oppressed by 
the increasing traffic upon the mineral portions of our 
line, and we were extremely anxious to get an alter- 
native route for some of it : but I offered at once to 
abandon the Doncaster line, and the Has sop and Dore 
line, and the lino from Manton to Rushton ; and he 
asrreed to abandon his Doncaster line, his Market Har- 
borough line, and another. Eventually these concessions 
were definitely arranged ; and the proposed competitive 
lines of the Midland and the Manchester Sheffield and 
Lincolnshire Companies were withdrawn. Proposals to 
the like effect were made to the Great Northern, but, for 
reasons that will soon appear, were declined. 

The Derbyshire bill of the Great Northern was 
brought before the Commons' committee. May 2nd, 1872. 
It may be thought that it would have been better that 
this particular measure should have been promoted simply 
on its own merits, and that it should have been separated 
from recent incidents in the annals of the Great Northern 
Company; but Mr. Denison, wisely or otherwise, dis- 
tinctly indicated the influence under which the project 
had been conceived. He referred at some length to what 
he called " the disputes of last year, which," he said, 
" instead of being settled, have gone on and got worse 
instead of better, until it has become necessary to settle 
them by the promotion of this line." No wonder that 
Mr. Venables, on behalf of the Midland Company, com- 
plained. " "We were mulcted," he declared, " in many 
tliousands, by a deliberate breach of faith on the part of 


the Great Northern, and not content with that, and not 
content with having triumphed by repudiating their 
honourable debt, they now came to inflict upon us another 
and more serious and more permanent injury." 

Although the bill of the Great Northern was eventually 
passed, there are two or three points connected with 
the opposition of the Midland Company which may be 
noticed. The first is the remarkable fact that, if the 
proposed line was supposed to be for the good of the 
coal owners of the Erewash and Mansfield Valleys, none 
of those gentlemen, with two unimportant exceptions? 
could be prevailed upon to give evidence on behalf of 
the new project. Indeed they felt that a company like 
the Great Northern, that was so deeply interested in the 
South Yorkshire coalfields, and which had lately shown 
such hostility to the Derbyshire coal owners, could now 
have no favourable intentions towards them. " I think,' 
says Mr. Robert Harrison, of Eastwood, the manager for 
Messrs. Barber, Walker and Co., who mentioned that their 
total output was nearly 750,000 tons for the year, " I think 
the Great Northern have always fought against the Derby- 
shire collieries in aid of the South Yorkshire coalpits." 
The London and North Western too, "has always," 
said Mr. Venables, " discouraged Derbyshire coal for the 
protection of Lancashire, and," added the learned counsel, 
" I say it will be an unprecedented thing to make a line 
for the purpose of discouraging and checking the com- 
petition of the district through which that line passes." 
" Here are the Great Northern coming, tainted W\t\\ bad 
faith ; here are the London and North Western coming, 
with scarcely concealed hostility to Derbyshire and its coal- 
fields." "I think it would be ungrateful," said Mr. 
Sanders, the mineral agent for the Shipley Colliery Com- 
pany, " if I did not come here to speak for the Midland 
Company. And I may say also that nineteen-twentieths 


of the coal masters in the Erewash Yalley are of the 
same opinion. I have been connected," he added, " with 
the Coalowners' Association for the last 20 years nearly, 
and I never saw them so united on any one subject as 
the question of the Great Northern being introduced 
into the Erewash Valley." " ^Ye cannot," he said, " be 
better served than we are now. The power of the Mid- 
land to carry coal is in excess of the power of produc- 

Criticisms were also offered with regard to the con- 
struction of the new railway. " The Midland Company's 
line," said Mr. Crossley, " all the way from Codnor Park 
to the Trent, with one exception of a few yards, is on a 
descending gradient and in favour of the load ; on the 
other hand the Great Northern line is on a gradient 
rising for more than two miles in sections of 1 in 100 
against the load." The Midland Railway had been laid 
out by Mr. Jessop so as to follow the natural valley ; and 
" the lines and tramways fall naturally into it ; " whereas 
the Great Northern would in some parts have to be carried 
on an embankment to the height of 51 feet above and 
across the Midland. " Therefore I say," remarked Mr. 
Crossley, " that coals can be conveyed on the Midland 
Railway at a profit at a much lower rate than they can be 
conveyed on the Great Northern at a profit." 

The half-yearly report presented to the proprietors 
in August, 1872, stated that the Great Northern Com- 
pany's bills for lines into Derbyshire and also from 
Newark through Melton to Leicester, both of which 
the Midland had opposed, had met with the approval of 
Parliament. The bill for the fusion of the Midland and 
the Glasgow and South Western Railway Companies, 
which had again been sanctioned without a dissentient 
at the spring meeting of shareholders, had been sus- 
pended on account of the appointment of a Joint Com- 


mittee of the two Houses to consider tlie general question 
of railway amalgamation. 

With reference to these events, Mr. Price, the chair- 
man, said, that in his judgment the invasion of the Derby- 
shire coalfield was " inconsistent with good faith towards 
ourselves, and with the integrity of treaties. We believe 
the Hues were uncalled for in the public interests; and 
they were not even supported by those local interests 
which they were supposed to be especially designed to 
serve. We believe that the lines of the Midland Company 
were fully competent to the traffic, no insufficienc}' 
having either been alleged or proved. But since Parlia- 
ment in its wisdom has thouo-ht fit to sanction the 
invasion, we have no alternative but to submit; and as 
the subject is a very painful one, and as any discussion 
would be fruitless, we think that silence is the more 
dignified and discreet." 

Other circumstances of interest occurred during this 
year in connection with the Midland Railway. One of 
the most important of these was with regard to third- 
class passengers. On the last day of March, 1872, we 
remarked to a friend : " To-morrow mornino- the Midland 


will be the most popular railway in England." Nor did 
we incur much risk by our prediction. For on that da}^ 
the Board at Derby had decided that on and after the 1st 
of April they would run third-cUxss carriages by all trains ; 
the wires had flashed the tidings to the newspapers ; the 
bills were in the hands of the printers, and on the follow- 
ing morning the directors woke to find themselves famous, 
not perhaps in the estimation of railway competitors, 
but in the opinions of millions of their fellow-countrymen 
who felt that a mighty boon had been conferred upon 
the poor of the land. This step had, we believe, long 
been in contemplation, and in deciding to adopt it the 
board had had to prepare for what some expected would 


be a serious sacrifice of revenue; but reasons of high 
policy won the day, and tens of millions of passengers 
who have since been borne swiftly and comfortably over 
the land have been grateful that instead of the narrow- 
ness and greed so commonly and often so unjustly 
attributed to railway administration, a statesmanlike and 
philanthropic temper has prevailed and triumphed. 

Great pressure was subsequently put upon the Mid- 
land Company to consent to the withdrawal of these 
benefits; and it must be admitted that the folly and 
injustice of the Government in inflicting a fine upon 
the railways for their liberality, would have amply 
justified sucli a course. Several of the companies have 
somewhat increased the fares for those who travelled by 
fast third-class trains ; happily for the public the Midland 
Company has remained firm to its original purpose. " If 
there is one part of my public life," recently said Mr. All- 
port to the writer, " on which I look back with more satis- 
faction than on anything else, it is with reference to the 
boon we conferred on third-class travellers. When the rich 
man travels, or if he lies in bed all day, his capital 
remains undiminished and perhaps his income flows in 
all the same. But when a poor man travels he has not 
only to pay his fare but to sink his capital, for his time 
is his capital ; and if he now consumes only five hours 
instead of ten in making a journey, he has saved five 
hours of time for useful labour — useful to himself, his 
family, and to society. And," Mr. Allport added, " I 
think with even more pleasure of the comfort in travel- 
ling we have been able to confer upon women and 
children." AVe venture to repeat that it is a happy 
circumstance when the hard realities of railway adminis- 
tration are thus tempered by a spirit and a policy so 
humanitarian and elevated. 

In the course of the year the sanction of the Midland 

A SUP. 281 

sliarebolders was given to a bill promoted for " the con- 
struction of railways between Walsall, in Staffordshire, 
and the Midland Railway in AYarwickshire, to be called 
the Wolverhampton, Walsall, and Midland Junction," 
and containing permissive power for the company to 
enter into agreement with the Midland Company for its 
working and maintenance. The Bedford and North- 
ampton Railway was opened in June, 1872. The line 
starts about two miles and a half north of Bedford, hi 
the parish of Bromham, and runs chiefly through cuttings 
to Northampton. Some of the gradients are heavy — 
one is one in eighty-four. The intermediate stations are 
Turvey, Olney, and Horton. 

During a tremendous storm of thunder, lightning, and 
rain, on the 19th of June, 1872, which deluged the 
country far and wide, a slip took place at the northern 
entrance of the Dove Holes Tunnel on the Manchester 
Une, crushing in part of the covered way that extended 
beyond the tunnel, and laying an arrest upon the traffic 
for several weeks. Goods trains, however, were able to 
run on the 28th of July. The repairs cost £10,000, irre- 
spective of the loss and the diversion of the traffic. " The 
inconvenience to the public," Mr. Price remarked to the 
Midland shareholders, "was very much decreased by the 
assistance rendered by the London and North Western 
Railway Company; and I am happy to take the oppor- 
tunity of publicly expressing our grateful recognition of 
their aid." 


Negotiations between Sheffield and Midland Companies — Proposed joint 
througli line from Rusliton to Askerne. — Forty days' battle in the 
Commons. — The chief portions of the bill rejected. — " Flii-tations " 
of the Sheffield Company. — Bill for Amalgamation of Midland and 
Glasgow and South Western. — Mx\ Price resigns the chairmanship 
to accept the position of a Railway Commissioner. — Rise of the 
price of coal. — Rise of the price of everything connected with 
railways. — 500,000 tons of coal a year consumed by ^Midland Com- 
pany. — Improved communication between ^lidland and North 
Eastern system. — Origin of the Swinton and Knottingley line. — 
Congestion of ti-affic at Normanton. — Necessity for improvement. — 
Passenger traffic to the West. — Opposition line sanctioned by Great 
Northern and Sheffield. — Sir Edmund Beckett and the Aquabus. 
— Rival designs. — Mr. Leeman, M.P. and Sir Edmund Beckett. — 
Evidence of Mr. Harrison and ^[r. Bass, M.P. — The "amenities" 
of Ackworth. — Extraordinary decision of the committee. — The 
decision reconsidered. — The bill passed. — Running powers under 
the bill. — Proposed Midland line through Huddersficld and 
Halifax. — Proposed line from Hammersmith to Acton. — Bills 
rejected. — Manton and Rushton line sanctioned. — Cheshire Lines 
Committee Bill for extension to North Docks at Liverpool. — 
Advantages of the line. — Objections. — Bill approved. — Additional 
facilities to Birkenhead. — New line to Wigan. — Speech of Sir E. 
Beckett. — Vast coalfields. — Evidence of Mr. AUport and others. 
— Bill sanctioned. — Midland Company's access to South Wales. — 
Existing through routes. — A third through route proposed. — Mr. 
Noble's evidence. — Mr. Venables' speech. — Hereford, Hay, and 
Brecon. — History of the line. — Propo.sed amalgamation with the 
Midland. — Three years' litigation. — Accommodation at Hereford. 
— Ironworks and coalfields. — Through traffic. — Swansea Vale line. 
— History of the line. — Evidence. — Midland proposal to lease the 
Swansea Vale. — Terms. — Brecon and Neath Railway. — Circum- 
stances of line. — Terms proposed. — Objections. — Evidence. — 
Reasons influencing the Brecon and Neath. — Mr. Noble's evidence. 
— Bill passed. — Testimonial to Mr. Price. — Abolition of Second 
Class. — Opposition of other Companies. — Retaliation Threatened. 
— " Railway Revolutions." — Lord Redesdale. — Settle and Carlisle 
line opened for good. — Re-adjustment of Capital Account. — 
Chairman's retrospect. — Private Waggons. — Lease of Somerset 
and Dorset. — Floods. 

The great political work of the Midland Compauy 
during the pai'liamontary session of 1873 arose out of 
events to wliicli reference has already been made. The 
negotiations that had taken place in the previous year 


between the Midland and the Sheffield Companies, and 
which led to the temporary abandonment of their com- 
peting schemes, were followed by an agreement to 
promote a joint line direct from north to south from 
Askerne, near Doncaster, to the Midland line at Rushton. 
On this scheme the Midland were not unwilling to enter, 
as the loss they had sustained by the intrusion of the 
Great Northern into the Derbyshire coalfields had led 
them to consider whether they could not claim or reclaim 
a share of that North Eastern traffic which they had 
originally enjoyed, but of which the Great Northern had 
largely deprived them ; and the Sheffield Company was 
glad of a free access to London and of an independence 
it had long coveted from the "jealous and somewhat 
hostile neighbours," as Mr. Venables described them, with 
which it was surrounded. The contemplated outlay was 
£2,600,000 or £2,700,000, or about £23,000 a mile, on 
a mileage of 115 miles. It was anticipated that coal 
would be found upon more than half of the entire route. 
" The line is to be constructed," said the Company's 
report, " at joint and equal cost, and with equal rights of 
user, with running powers to the Midland Company on to 
the South Yorkshire Districts, and to Grimsby and New 
Holland ; and to the Sheffield Company over the Midland 
Railway from Rushton to London. It is also proposed, 
as part of the scheme, to open out, by a line between 
Conisborough and Shireoaks, an important coalfield at 
present without access to the markets, and from which a 
valuable traffic will be secured to the joint lines." 

After a forty days' conflict of great severity, the Com- 
mons' Committee granted to the Midland and Sheffield 
Companies the Rushton and Melton jDortion of the line, 
also the part from Conisborough to Shireoaks, but took out 
the great intermediate links of the scheme, and all the 
running powers to be interchanged between the Midland 


and the Sheffield Companies, and thus left the Midland 
" to find a bod J for their head and tail by means of the 
existing lines, a practicable but somewhat circuitous 
route." In this mutilated condition the bill went up to 
the Lords, who still further "amended " it by striking out 
the Eushton and Melton portion, leaving only the Shire- 
oaks — a mere fragment of the original scheme ; and the 
Midland, having duly considered the altered condition of 
affixirs, decided to withdraw what remained of the bill. 

In subsequently referring to the various efforts made 
by the Sheffield Company — of which this was the latest 
— to enter into alliance with one or another of the sur- 
rounding companies, Sir Mordaunt Wells playfully re- 
marked : "What have the Sheffield done? They have 
flirted Avith the North AYestern since 1856 ; they then 
flirted with the Great Northern ; they then flirted with 
the Midland ; then they flirted with the Eastern Counties 
and the coal-owners. Then, in 1872, they flirted again 
with their old love, the London and North Western ; and 
now in 1873, there is a mild flirtation between Sir 
Edward Watkin and Mr. AUport ; and, like all flirts, 
mark my words, the Sheffield will be left without 
an alliance with any of them, and will entertain that 
feeling which all flirts entertain towards all mankind 
when they have been left completely in the lurch, and 
she will move about society on her own hook, catching 
who she can. This is not the less true because it creates 
a little mirth." • 

In the course of the year there was a renewal of the 
application for the amalgamation of the Midland and the 
Glasgow and South Western. " You are aware," said 
Mr. Price, " that a bill for that purpose was approved by 
you in 1869, and another last year ; the former of these 
having passed through the Commons, being rejected by the 
House of Lords, on account of, as we are informed, the 

MR. piece's resignation. 285 

insufficient security for the completion of tlie Settle and 
Carlisle line ; and the latter bill having been postponed 
last year to await the report of the Joint Committee of 
both Houses on the great question of railway amalgama- 
tion." This Joint Committee rejected the amalgamation 
bill, for reasons which nobody knows. It is said that the 
practice adopted by parliamentary committees, of pro- 
nouncing decisions without giving any explanations, is 
calculated to inspire public confidence in the wisdom of 
such tribunals, or at any rate to shelter them from impu- 
tations of a contrary kind. Our own opinion is (though 
for reasons different from those commonly suggested) 
there is much to be said in favour of concealment. 

At the conclusion of the proceedings at the spring meet- 
ing of proprietors, Mr. Price asked permission to inform 
the shareholders that that was the last occasion on which 
he should have the honour of addressing them from that 
chair. "It is, no doubt," he said, "a matter of sufficiently 
public notoriety that I have accepted office as one of the 
three Commissioners to be appointed under the Eailways 
and Canal Traffic Act." He spoke of the great pain with 
which he severed himself from " a company and from 
colleagues with which he had been intimately associated 
for nearly one-and-twenty years. I cannot claim to be 
one of the fathers of the undertaking, but I may at least 
say with truth that I have stood by its cradle, and 
watched and aided others in fostering its growth. From 
this time henceforth the Midland Company to me must be 
as one of the great commonwealth of railway enterprise." 

The attention of railway managers and shareholders 
was during this year greatly exercised upon a new 
subject, but one of urgent practical moment : the enor- 
mous rise in the value of labour, coals, minerals, and in 
fact of all the articles consumed by railways. The 
outlay of the Midland Company alone for stores, which 


amounted in the previous year to no less than 
£1 ,414,000, gradually increased up to tlie proportion 
of in some instances as much as 150 per cent. This 
was the case with coal, and the magnitude of the 
additional cost may be inferred from the fact that 
the Midland Company consumes about 500,000 tons 
per annum. Similar burdens had to be borne by 
other lines, so that " though an extraordinary impetus 
had been given to the trade and industry of the 
country in the past two years, it had conferred less real 
benefits upon the railway shareholders as a body than 
upon any other class of the people, whether capitalist, 
manufacturer, or labourer." On twenty-three of the 
leading railways of the kingdom, every 20s. of increased 
traffic which had been brought upon the lines in the 
previous half year had resulted in a net additional profit 
of only 4cZ. to the railway proprietors, the balance being 
absorbed in the increased charges on capital account and 
augmented working expenses. 

During this year the Midland Company lost by deatli 
the services of one who is not undeserving of special 
notice, Mr. Matthew Kirtley, their locomotive superinten- 
dent. His father a colliery owner, himself, at the age of 
thirteen or fourteen, employed on that cradle of the rail- 
way system, the Stockton and Darlington line, and 
afterwards on the London and Birmingham, he was early 
and through his life identified with railway interests. He 
drove the first locomotive that entered London, in 1839. 
When the Derby and Birmingham was opened, he was 
selected by the Stephensons as locomotive superinten- 
dent; on the union of the three lines which formed the 
Midland Company he retained the same position; and 
here his responsibilities steadily increased until some 
7000 men were directly under his control, including 
2000 at Derby. " He was a man of clear sagacity and 


well-balanced judgment, and possessed a power of organiz- 
ation and arrangement wliicli enabled him to exercise an 
effective control over the whole of the extensive concern 
for which he was responsible. In nothing was he more 
distinguished than in his command of men. Simple in 
his manners, easily approachable, able to sympathise with 
the workmen's position and difficulties, and strictly 
candid, he was singularly happy in dealing with com- 
plaints. While sympathising and conciliating, he was also 
firm and decisive, and, like all strong men, employed 
few words to convey his resolves." Mr. Kirtley died 
May 24th, 1873. 

The year 1874 witnessed some quiet but important 
developments of the Midland system, both in the area 
of its operations and in the policy by which it was ad- 
ministered. In its earlier months much time and labour 
were devoted to securing the passing of important l)ills 
for new lines. One of these was for a railway to improve 
the communication between the Midland and the jN^orth 
Eastern systems. It appears that after the great fight 
of the previous session for the bill by which the Midland 
and Sheffield Companies were jointly to reach the North 
Eastern at Askerne, Mr. Harrison, the engineer in chief 
of that company, " formed a very strong opinion " that 
such a line would not have been advantageous to the 
parties concerned ; but " from the ordnance surveys and 
contour lines, and some sections " which he obtained, he 
considered that the ric^ht direction in which to run such 
a line was between Swinton and Knottingley ; and " I 
then suggested it," he said, " to Mr. Allport, and also to 
the officials of the North Eastern Company." " That," 
said Mr, Harrison to Mr. Allport, " in my judgment, is 
your course northward. It will give you almost an un- 
obstructed road, as there is no traffic scarcely upon the 
line from Knottingley to York ; the Great Northern 


Laving removed tlie whole of their through traffic ou the 
new line from Askerne to York, jou will have as good 
access to York as the Great Northern." " I was very 
much impressed with that," Mr. AUport subsequently 
remarked ; " and after discussing it with Mr. Harrison, 
and ascertaining from the Xorth Eastern that they were 
quite willing to exchange running powers, so that York 
might be the common point of exchange both with the 
Great Northern and ourselves, I submitted the plan to 
the Midland Directors, and it resulted in this bill." 

The main object contemplated by this line, as we have 
remarked, was to improve the communication between 
the Midland and the North-Eastern systems; "and that,'' 
said Mr. Venables, "is not a small object." The Midland 
Company includes more than 1200 miles of railway, and 
the North Eastern some 1 1-50 miles ; " both of them 
have a very large traffic, and from their geographical 
position and their peculiar resources of traffic there is a 
very large exchange, which we propose to improve and 
facilitate." The intended line would shorten the distance 
from the Xorth Eastern to Sheffield by seven miles, and 
would in a still greater degree facilitate the interchange 
of traffic. The present point of exchange is Normanton, 
and the approach of the North Eastern to that station is 
from a place called Burton Salmon, one of the most 
crowded parts of the system ; while at Normanton the 
weight of traffic exchanged in 1872 was more than 
1,500,000 tons, and the passengers 680,000; the propor- 
tion of the Midland beino: about half the tonnaofe and 
some 278,000 passengers, taking no account of the Mid- 
land main traffic north and south. The position of the 
Normanton station, with a heavy embankment at the 
north and a deep cutting at the south, rendered it diffi- 
cult to extend the area of the station so as to avoid 
an increasing congestion of traffic. " We have ac- 


quired," said Mr. Allporfc, " about as mucli land as we 
can ; we have spent within the last few years a large sum 
of money, but we cannot keep pace with the require- 
ments." In the previous month of November the delays 
amounted to nearly 1000 hours ; which, calculating an 
enoine to work ten hours a day — an outside estimate — 
would mean that the services of four engines were en- 
tirely wasted at that station ; and as all railway companies 
consider that an engine costs from £1000 to £1500 a 
year, a loss of £4000 to £6000 a year on engine power 
alone was thus incurred, besides all other inconvenience 
and loss contingent thereon. " Any one, in fact," said 
Mr. Harrison, the North Eastern engineer-in-chief, "who 
has travelled from Normanton to York, must be perfectly 
aware of the absolute necessity for doing something to 
get rid of the stoppage which takes place there." 

Another of the practical difficulties created by this 
defective communication between the two systems was 
mentioned by Mr. Tennant. " We have," he said, " an 
express train starting from Newcastle at 10 o'clock in the 
morning, taking passengers that have come in by local 
trains from Tynemouth, Shields, Wrexham, Morpeth, 
Alnwick, and as far as Berwick. We cannot start it 
earher than 10 o'clock without seriously interfering with 
a large number of local passengers. The train arrives at 
York quite in time for a train to go on to London ; but 
we have not been able to make it fit in at Normanton 
with an important train of the Midland Company which 
goes through to Bristol and the West of England. We 
tried it for some time, and we failed ; we had not time. 
Of course our suggestion to the Midland Company was 
that they should start their train later ; but they are tied 
up at Bristol, and various other places on the line, with 
other companies' trains, and they could not start it later ; 
and we could not start ours earlier. Although a pas- 



senger can start from Newcastle at 10 o'clock and go 
right through to London, he must start at half-past 
eight o'clock to catch a corresponding Midland train to 
the West of England, and from the local towns somewhat 

This important project of the Midland and North East- 
ern Companies was not, however, allowed to be brought 
forward without resistance. Another line was advocated 
by the Great Northern and Manchester, Sheffield, and 
Lincolnshire Companies, which, starting from Swinton or 
Mexborough, would run to Knottingley. Mr. Denisou, 
who had now become Sir Edmund Beckett, and who 
appeared on its behalf, thus referred to Mexborough : 
" I am old enouo^h to remember when Mexborouirh was a 
very small place upon the banks of the Don ; when we 
used to travel from Swinton by a vehicle which should 
have its name perpetuated. It was called by an ingenious 
gentleman * the Aquabus,' meaning a vehicle which went 
by water through the river Don. He evidently thought 
it necessary to keep the word ' 'bus.' But since that 
time Mexborougli has become a sort of Castleford, or 
almost a sort of Middlesborough ; it has iron works and 
glass works, and it builds boats; though, I am afraid, no 
more aquabuscs." 

The main difference, remarked Sir Edmund Beckett, 
between the proposed railway of the Midland and North 
Eastern and that which he advocated "is, that our line 
has more junctions, and goes to more places " than the 
rival line, and is to a certain extent a more " local line," 
"but, at the bottom, the two lines are so very identical" 
that there is little in many respects to choose between 
them. It appears also that the promoters and the Shef- 
field Company offered not only that the Great Northern 
but the Midland and North Eastern should share in it ; 
but the proposal was by the latter companies declined. 


" Therefore," remarked Sir Edmund, " it cannot be said 
that the Sheffield Company are desirous to make this line 
with the object of shutting everybody else out of it. On 
the contrary, they desire to get everybody into it. The 
object has been to make a line that should be an open 
route or highway to everybody who was inclined to use 
it upon fair terms." 

The proposal for a joint use of the line was objected 
to by the representatives of the Midland and North 
Eastern, on the ground that it was undesirable that any 
part of the control of the railway should be in the hands 
of those whose interest it would be to thwart the design 
of those who projected it. " It is said," remarked Mr. 
Yenables, *' that the four companies could get on remark- 
ably well together. But we know that if the four com- 
panies were upon the line, in some way or other their 
conflicting interests must be adjusted, occasionally to 
the injury of one, occasionally to the injury of another, 
always to the inconvenience of those who are to be post- 
poned. Upon a railway, as upon any other kind of 
horse, if two men ride, one must ride behind; and if four 
men ride, three must ride behind. We naturally decline 
to subject this traffic, which is wholly independent of any 
rival companies, to their control. They would be only 
too happy to put a block there which would deprive us 
of any opportunity of improving the communication in 
our own hands. They would be glad to take in a dozen 
companies, and would be ready to take the chance of any 
inconvenience which might arise. The present route, by 
which the Midland Company and North Eastern connect, 
is absolutely in their own hands. They meet at Nor- 
manton, with nobody between them, — with no partner 
north, with no partner south ; they have the control in 
their own hands. It is now proposed, that because they 
ask to be allowed to create a great public benefit, by 


shortening the line and improving the service, they are 
not to do it unless they let in two other companies. 
What do we take away from them ? What wrong do we 
do them ? We take nothing away from them whatever 
except this, — that whereas we have now a comparatively 
circuitous route to the North, we propose to make a 
direct one." 

The demand of the competing companies was well ex- 
pressed by Mr. Leeman, M.P., the chairman of the North 
Eastern, in reply to Sir Edmund Beckett. 

" Do you not think it fair," said the latter, " inasmuch 
as the Great Northern and Sheffield Companies have 
been trying to get this line of their own under the cir- 
cumstances I have described, that they should have 
running powers in some way, so as to make a little profit 
out of them, and not the ordinary running powers, which 
leave no profit to the party possessing them ? " 

" I do not think so," Mr. Leeman replied ; " and I might 
illustrate the position myself, if I were to ask you the 
question, would you like to give half your fees to one 
of your juniors ? " 

" That is quite a different sort of thing." 
" That," returned Mr. Leeman, " is exactly the state 
of things. The Midland and the North Eastern find 
nine tenths of the traffic, and you coolly and modestly 
ask that we should give you one half the profit." 

" If the four companies were joint owners it would 
be," said Mr. Allport, " that the other two companies 
would be receiving the profit of the traffic which the 
Midland and North Eastern provided." 

A similar opinion was expressed by Mr. Harrison. 
" If there were four companies interested in it, two of 
those companies having nine tenths of the traffic, and 
the most important part of the traffic — the through 
traffic, and the other companies having merely what they 


could pick up, it would be no regular system of traffic. 
. . . The management ought to be in the hands of 
the company who have infinitely the preponderating 
weight of traffic to carry. I do not know any case in 
which there are four companies jointly owners, except 
Punch's Line, near London." If there were such ar- 
rangement, " I have not the slightest hesitation in saying 
there would become such a block to the traffic that it 
would defeat the great object for which the lines have 
been proposed." 

Mr. M. T. Bass, M.P., after giving evidence in favour 
of the bill, was thus cross-examined by Sir Edmund 
Beckett : — 

" But supposing four companies wanted to run through 
a district, some of them must ' own ' and some must 
' run,' or else they must have a joint arrangement ? " 

" Yes ; but if those who had an interest in the line 
were to be masters of the whole, and the others subsi- 
diary, I should prefer " 

"So should I if I were you. You are on the Midland 
line, and therefore you want the Midland line extended 
as far as you can ? " 

" Yes. Besides, the Great Northern people have never 
done anything for us ; and this new line which you are 
going to carry out (a most wasteful expenditure, accord- 
ing to my notions), goes about ten miles round for every 
twenty — I mean the line from Burton to Derby and 

"The Midland is your railway, in short?" 

" Well, it is not more than the North Western and 
several other railways ? " 

" But of the two the Midland is a little more yours 
than even the North Western ?" 

" We do more business with the Midland ; and perhaps 
I may say to the committee that it is far more con- 


venient that all our traffic should be done by the Midland, 
because they have lines into all our premises, absolutely 
into our storerooms." 

" That is wliat I meant by your connection with the 
Midland being a little closer. You do not complain of 
that ? " 

" Not the least." 

" You have this excellent connection with the Midland ; 
they do your business, and you naturally want to see 
their line extended as far as you can." 

" Yes." 

" And if you had it with the North Western you would 
equally want to see that extended ? " 

" Yes." 

" So should I if I were you." 

In drawing his address to a conclusion, Mr. Venables 
referred playfully to one or two local objections to the 
line. One was by the vicar of Ferry Bridge, " who 
evidently thought he ought to have been told that the 
Midland and North Eastern Companies would have a 
station " at his village. If he had only known that there 
will be one, *' I suppose he would not have come here. 
But as they will have a station, he and his parishioners 
will be as happy as the day is long, and will be always 
travelling backwards and forwards along our line." 
Another series of petitioners declared that in their 
opinion, " the railway proposed by the Midland Company 
would seriously interfere with the amenities of Ackworth 
and the district;" and on a witness being asked whether 
he thought the said " amenities " would be compromised, 
he emphatically replied, " most undoubtedly ; " thougli 
what he or the district meant by the phrase, we must 
leave to the imagination of our reader. 

On the whole case for both parties being completed 
(June 10th, 1874), the committee room was cleared, and 


the members remained in consultation for upwards of 
an hour. When the parties to the bill were readmitted, 
and the counsel were seated at the table, and silence was 
restored, the chairman announced that "the preamble 
of the Midland and North Eastern Bill was not proved, 
and also that the preamble of the Leeds, Pontefract, and 
Sheffield Junction Bill was not proved." So extraor- 
dinary a decision was regarded as in the nature of a 
practical joke; it called forth a roar of laughter, in 
which, we are informed, the members of the committee 
heartily joined.* A few days afterwards, however, the 
Midland and North Eastern Bill was re-committed and 
passed. The estimated cost of the line is £480,000 ; 
and the distance is fifteen miles. 

Another line proposed this session (1874) by the 
Midland Company, was for the purpose of improving its 
direct course to the North of Eno^land. In addition to 
the existing route by Leeds to Skipton, it was intended 
to make another, sixteen miles in length, from Hudders- 
field, through Halifax, to Bradford, and to join the 
present Midland Railway there. Those towns would 
thus have been placed on the main line, and in direct 
communication with Edinburgh and Glasgow. The bill, 
however, was opposed and lost. 

The Midland Company also sought for parliamentary 
powers to construct a line from Acton to Hammersmith. 
By means of the North and South Western Junction, 
which turns off from the Midland at Brent, Acton was 
reached, and from thence it was desired to pass on to 
Hammersmith, and along the Hammersmith Extension 
to the Metropolitan District. 

This line was objected to by the Great Western 
Company, on the ground that it was an infringement 
of an agreement made between that Company and the 

* Railway News, June loth, 1874. 


Midland in 18G3, by Avliich they agreed not to interfere 
with each others' " district," To this it was replied that 
London could not be called "a district" for any such 
purpose. Such an interpretation, it was contended, 
would have prevented the Great Western reaching the 
docks at the East of London, because the Midland was 
there before them ; would have even shut the Midland out 
of London ; and was contrary to public policy. "Accord- 
ing to such an interpretation, the Midland Company could 
never," said Mr. xVllport, " except subject to the veto of 
the Great Western, give any additional accommodation 
in London ; and, conversely, the Great Western could 
never, except subject to the veto of the Midland Com- 
pany, do the same. I cannot conceive anything more 
anti-public than a restriction of that kind in the hands 
of three gi'eat companies ; and I am quite sure that it 
never crossed the mind of any Midland director or officer 
that that clause had the slightest bearing on operations 
in London." On July 1, 1874, the Lords Committee 
decided that " it was not expedient to proceed with this 

Another Midland project of this year was for a railway 
of fifteen miles from Manton, on the Syston and Peter- 
borough, to Rushton. Its design was, in conjunction 
with the Xottingham and Melton line already sanctioned, 
— and a link of the Syston and Peterborough Railway, — 
to supply an alternative route from the great central coal- 
field of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to Rushton and 
the south. Two years previously (1872) a similar bill 
had been applied for, but had been withdrawn. In ]87o 
matters had been suspended by reason of the endeavour 
of the Midland and Sheffield Companies to carry their 
joint line ; but that having been rejected by Parliament, 
this was revived, and eventually it was approved. 

The Cheshire Lines Committee (who, as our readers are 


aware, represent the Midland, Great Northern, and Shef- 
field Companies) this year (1874) applied to Parliament 
for some important extensions of the area of their opera- 
tions. The railways of this committee commence at a 
place a little east of Stockport (at Grodley Junction) and 
run through Stockport, Altrincham, and Warrington, 
to Liverpool ; down also to Knutsford, Northwich, and 
Chester, with branches to Winsford and other places. A 
line also is in course of construction which will run to 
a central station in Manchester, within two or three 
minutes' walk of the Exchange. The committee now 
desired to obtain communication with the north end of 
Liverpool. The three lines owned some 2000 miles of 
railway ; had spent, in their joint operations, about 
£6,000,000 in money; and had access to the Bruns- 
wick Docks, commonly called the South-End Dock 
System at Liverpool, where they secured a traffic 
inwards and outwards in 1873 of 300,000 tons; but 
they had no connection with the docks that stretched 
six miles in length to the north of the town, and 
which were steadily extending northward, except by 
means of tramways alongside the docks, which are 
constantly occupied by other companies, and by omni- 
buses carrying local traffic. On those docks it was 
said that the London and North Western and Lanca- 
shire and Yorkshire Companies had no fewer than twenty 
stations ; and the Cheshire Companies claimed some 
share in the advantages of direct access to such im- 
portant sources of traffic. The proposed line, too, 
would free the streets of Liverpool from an enormous 
amount of cartage. 

In the previous year (1873) the Cheshire Companies 
had, under their several powers, bought twenty-three 
acres of land for station purposes ; but at present they 
had no access to it. The only ways of reaching it were 


either by making an underground or deep cut line 
through Liverpool (and such a scheme had been contem- 
plated in the previous year, at a cost, it was currently 
reported, of something like a million and a half of 
money, or by a line skirting Liverpool on its eastern 
side. The latter course was preferred. The line would, 
including branches, be thirteen miles long, and would 
cost £600,000. 

The proposed railway would also render another im- 
portant service. The Midland Company has access from 
the North over its own line from Skipton to Colne ; and 
it has running powers southwaixis from Colne to Preston, 
Manchester, and Liverpool : these privileges having been 
conceded when the Lancashire and Yorkshire were in 
Parliament to amalgamate with the East Lancashire, 
as the price of the withdrawal of Midland opposition. 
The line now proposed to the north of Liverpool would 
join the Lancashire and Yorkshire near Aintree, and 
would thus give direct communication between the 
Cheshire Companies' Liverpool terminus and the Mid- 
land route to Colne, Skipton, Settle, and Carlisle. 

Objections to the new scheme were made by the com- 
panies already in possession of the district. They said 
of the proposals of the Cheshire Committee, " that they 
were entitled to complain" of them. "Yes," replied 
Sir Edmund Beckett, in his critical, bantering way, " I 
dare say they will complain. They cannot be prevented 
from complaining. They were displeased at our getting 
access to Manchester ; they were displeased at our get- 
ting access to Liverpool ; and they are displeased at 
everything we have done." It was objected that certain 
junctions proposed on the line were badly designed. 
" I never knew," returned the counsel, " a junction that 
was not badly designed, when it was designed by 
another company." Mr. John Heywood considered 


tliat the line would injure liis valuable residential estate ; 
but it was replied that there was already a great road 
between the railway and the house, and that any real 
injury would be paid for. " Then," said the counsel. 
" there is Miss Catherine Home's petition. I am afraid 
Miss Catherine Home will have to be destroyed alto- 
gether. I mean to say she has a small property there, 
and we could not with any decency cut through it. She 
would not like it if we did, and I am afraid we must 
buy the whole of it." 

This line secured the sanction of Parliament. 

The Cheshire Lines Committee also sought, under their 
additional powers act, for further facilities at Birken- 
head. It appears that, under the act of 1861, which 
amalgamated the Birkenhead line with the London and 
North AYestern and Great AYestern, "facilities " were 
allowed to the Cheshire Lines Committee. Yet these 
facilities operated in so ineffectual a way, that the 
Cheshire Companies felt compelled to seek for powers 
to run their trains from their own system at Helsb}^ 
over the main line, and through the station of the two 
companies, in order to reach the docks at Bh-kenhead, 
and there to conduct their own traffic. " AYe do not 
ask," said Mr. Allport, " for any powers over their sta- 
tion or goads warehouses, or the sidings in their stations, 
but simply to pass over their main lines to enable us to 
get to the Dock Board Lines." The main contention on 
the part of the Cheshire Companies was admitted by Par- 
liament ; and the preamble of the bill was proved (April 
30th, 1874); but instead of running powers being granted, 
it was thought better that the two companies should be 
" bound to give all possible facilities to the Cheshire Lines 
Committee from their stations to all parts of the Birken- 
head docks ; otherwise it would be in the right of that 
Committee on a future occasion to apply to Parliament 
for compulsor}^ running powers." 


A tliird proposal, in this instance of the Midland 
and Sheffield members of the Cheshire Committee, was 
to obtain power to connect the railways of the three 
companies by a line eleven and a half miles long, and 
at a cost of £300,000, with the Wigan coalfield. Wigan 
was on the North Western and Lancashire and York- 
shire lines, " hitherto a kind of preserve of those two 
companies." The line was to start from Glazebrook, on 
the new Manchester and Liverpool line. This Wigan 
coalfield covers about half the proposed line. 

In submitting the claims of the new line, the chair- 
man of the committee took occasion to remark that 
" the whole matter appeared to the committee to lie 
in a nutshell. Of course we must have the engineer 
before us to prove the workability of the line. But the 
whole thing turns on the question whether or not you 
can make out a case of a sufficient amount of traffic to 
warrant a new line. The committee want to know 
about the whole district, such as what is the probable 
amount of coal that there is ; how many millions of tons 
would be likely to be obtained;" and he intimated that 
they would prefer the evidence of some colliery surveyor 
who knew the whole of the country. As to delays, the 
chairman added, " we know it stands to reason that 
there must be delays where there is a large amount of 
traffic. I know the Lancashire and Yorkshire system, 
and I know that delays are enormous." 

This demand it was not difficult to meet. The mineral 
wealth of the district was enormous. There were several 
places raising quantities of coal of which the unit is 
100,000 tons a year. " There is one works alone where 
it is 1,800,000 tons; there are others which are raising 
200,000, 300,000, and 400,000 tons. In fact the figures 
are so large that they give one hardly any more definite 
ideas than the miles' distance of the planets and stars, 


wliicli one says by heart without receiving any clear 
impressions from them. But I may state that the Lon- 
don and Nortli Western Company alone carry 3,000,000 
tons of Wigan coal southward in a year. The Lan- 
cashire and Yorkshire also take a very large quantity." 

The managing director of one of the colliery com- 
panies, near Wigan, stated that they raised 200,000 
tons of coal a year; that the thickness of the seams of 
the district was rather over fifty feet ; and that the 
unexhausted product of their own collieries was 20,000,000 
tons. Five other collieries would also be benefited by 
the proposed new line. The manager of the Hindley 
Green Collieries mentioned that his company raised 
200,000 tons a year ; that their railway accommodation 
was inadequate, and that delays were serious. 

It was also shown that, so far as the Midland and Great 
Northern were concerned, this was a sealed district. 
The amounts were as follows : — 



By London and North Western ... ... 5,698,258 

„ Lancashire and Yorkshire ... ... 2,874,037 

Bj Midland only 22,017 

„ Great Northern 6,008 

Mr. AUport stated that such a line would, in his 
judgment, be a valuable piece of railway construction, 
and more valuable to the Midland than to either of the 
other Cheshire Companies. The London and North West- 
ern had entered the Derbyshire coalfields, " competition 
seemed to be the order of the day," and he " did not see 
any reason why the Midland should not get into the Lan- 
cashire coalfields ; " and " the difference between Wigfan 
and London by the Midland lines now in construction. 


would only be about three miles more than by the London 
and North AYestern." There would thus practically be 
between Wigan and London " an alternative route, 
almost identical in distance with the North Western 
main route. Then again, in London we serve dif- 
ferent districts. We have now four depots in London : 
one at St. Pancras, which is at least a mile from Camden 
Town ; we have two on the south side of the Thames ; 
one at Walworth Road, and another at Battersea ; and 
we provide coal depots in various parts of the city. 
We have also been frequently asked to get Wigan coal 
into Nottingham and Leicester, and told that, although 
they are both close to coalfields, they want the cannel coal 
of AVigan for gas manufacture." " I know," he added, 
*' several of the large coal and iron masters of the district, 
and for many years they have asked me why we did 
not get a line into that country." 

The bill was granted, subject to some engineering 
modifications, to avoid unnecessary interference with the 
London and North Western line. 

A successful effort was also made during this session 
(1874) of Parliament to improve the position of the 
Midland Company in the Principality. The condition of 
railway aff"airs in South Wales was as follows : — The 
three great railway systems that approach the West 
of England, viz., the Midland, the North Western, and 
the Great Western, had access, by something like pa- 
rallel lines, to Swansea. The London and North West- 
ern had two routes to South Wales. These converged 
at Shrewsbury, a station the joint property of that 
company and of the Great Western, and from thence 
the line proceeded via Hereford and Abergavenny to the 
mineral lines in the mineral valleys running generally 
north and south, w^itli a terminus at Dowlais. They had 
also another route via Llandovery, and the Vale of Towy 


Railway to Swansea. The Great Western had the coast 
line, formerly known as the South Wales, reaching to Mil- 
ford; and also the system of lines once called the West 
Midland, which conducted them to Worcester, Hereford, 
and by the Vale of Neath to Swansea, 

The third route was the Midland. " In this part of the 
world," said Mr. Venables, " as in most other parts of the 
world, the Midland Company form a competing system 
with the London and North Western Company and the 
Great Western Company." They came by their own line 
to Stoke Works, near Worcester, and from thence had run- 
ning powers by the Great Western to Swansea. These had 
been granted as part of the condition that the Midland 
Company should not oppose the union of the Great 
Western and West Midland systems. But such powers 
are practically useless unless local traffic can be obtained ; 
" because," as Mr. John Noble, the assistant general man- 
ager of the Midland said, " in running over another com- 
pany's line, the running company makes no profit upon that 
running ; the running company is merely allowed the 
bare cost of working its trains over the railway ; and the 
whole of the profit of the transaction goes to the owning 
company. We therefore should have to run over more 
than 100 miles, if we ran all the way to Swansea, for 
nothing more than the bare cost of working the trains, 
and perhaps it might not even cover that." The Mid- 
land were, therefore, desirous of obtaining access to 
South Wales by some other route less encumbered by 
these " local traffic " difficulties; and the Hereford, Hay, 
and Brecon and Swansea Vale lines (already con- 
structed) supplied the want. 

" I think," said Mr. Venables, " it will appear upon 
the face of the map that it is desirable that all these 
great companies who approach this district (all of which 
approach it by more or less inconvenient ways), shall 


have each the most convenient way of approaching it. 
The North Western have that advantage, and the Great 
Western have that advantage, and these two companies, 
either of which would wilUngly exclude the other, are 
now, not unnaturally, combined to exclude the Midland." 
" The North Western has nothing to say against us 
except what it can say with perfect truth, viz., that the 
amalgamation of this line will enable the Midland Com- 
pany to compete with the London and North Western 
for traffic to South Wales, and it is for the sake of estab- 
lishing that competition that we ask for these powers." 
" The sole question is whether we, taking a traffic to 
South Wales, shall take it conveniently and cheaply by 
utilizing lines which Parliament has already sanctioned, 
because we do not propose to make a single additional 
mile ; and it appears to me that when Parliament has 
sanctioned a line it requires a very strong argument to 
establish the proposition that a line should remain a 
block and be absolutely useless ; but that has been from 
first to last the policy of the Great Western with 
reference to the Hereford, Hay and Brecon." 

It appears that this line (the Hereford, Hay and 
Brecon) was authorised in the year 1859, having been 
promoted by a nominal company, but really by a con- 
tractor, Mr. Savin, who also was the originator and maker 
of the Brecon and Merthyr line. Financial delays and 
difficulties arose in the construction of the lines ; but 
they were completed, and remained in his hands till 1864. 
In 1865 the circumstances of many lines in this district, 
and of the Hereford line among them, were very unfavour- 
able : " 1866 was the collapse of many railways." The 
Hereford hne had been amalgamated with the Brecon 
and Merthyr; but in 1868 was released from that con- 
nection. Its condition at this period was deplorable. 
" While the Brecon and Merthyr had it, they allowed the 
interest upon the debentures to get into arrears, and had 


contracted other debts for which the Hereford was liable; 
and therefore, when the railway came back again, they 
had neither engines nor carriages nor w^agons ; they had 
no money, they had the line in bad order, they owed a 
great deal of money, and some of their debentures were 

Eventually, however, the Hereford Company made 
overtures to the Midland Company to take the working 
of the line, and these w^ere favourably received; and 
though the Great Western had hitherto not concerned 
itself about the Hereford Company, yet " having," said 
Mr, Veuables, " a very strong rivalry with the Midland 
Company, it now opposed every obstacle which could be 
devised by human ingenuity to the traffic" of the Here- 
ford line. Complicated and costly legal battles were 
fought ; and though, at length, the Great Western were 
defeated by the Hereford Company, yet resistance was 
still offered to the Midland in the agreement they had 
with the Hereford to use the line ; its validity was chal- 
leng^ed, and the risrht of the Midland to use the connect- 
ing line gi\"ing access to the railway was disputed. At 
length, to bring matters to an issue, a formal demand 
was made for the admission of a Midland train to 
the junction line. The line, however, was blocked, not 
only by signals, but with an engine and half a 
dozen wagons ; and the Great Western authorities 
admitted that this was done by their orders, and 
they declared that they would obstruct the line by 
force if necessary. To avoid an actual collision the 
Midland Company simply protested against such pro- 
ceedings, and then appealed to the law ; and the result 
was, that during three years' litigation passengers coming 
from the West by the Hereford Railway had to get out at 
the Moorfields station of that line, and to go by omnibus to 
the Great Western station, which the Midland Company 



liad the right to use. The traffic was "very nearly killed," 
as Mr. Noble expressed it, "by the block;" for "pas- 
sengers were not very likely to choose being carried in 
an omnibus through the streets of Hereford when they 
could get by a through line." Meanwhile the matter 
was before the Master of the Rolls, Lord Romilly, and 
the Midland Company was defeated ; an appeal was then 
made to the Lords Justices James and Mellish, who did 
not even call upon the ]\Iidland Company to I'cply, but set 
aside the previous decision, and declared that the Midland 
Company had " a lawful right to come to and from the 
Great Western line" as "one continuous line of rail- 
way." " Being of opinion," said Lord Justice Mellish, 
" that the agreement itself is legal, and being of opinion 
that the Midland are entitled to use the Great AVestcrn 
line by virtue of the agreement with the Great Western, 
I am of opinion that the decree that has been made 
must be reversed." 

The Midland Company in their bill now urged upon 
Parliament, that as the London and North Western and the 
Great Western Companies had been authorised to amalga- 
mate various lines that gave access to this South Wales 
system, similar advantages should be conferred upon them- 
selves. They expressed themselves prepared to join other 
companies in providing additional station accommoda- 
tion at Hereford, which was urgently needed ; whereas to 
such a purpose the Hereford Company alone was unable 
to contribute " anything, because they had no funds." 
" I may saj^" remarked Mr. Noble, " on the part of the 
Midland Company, that we are quite ready to consider 
with the other two companies the most desirable way of 
giving that accommodation to the city of Hereford which 
they desire to have." 

With regard to the district served by the Hereford 
line, Mr. Charles Anthony, six times mayor of Hereford, 


stated that tliat city was looked upon as the capital of 
the district. "There are," he said, "an enormous 
number of cattle bred in Radnorshire ; and on the west 
side of the city we have some of the finest timber for 
general purposes, and pit timber particularly, which 
should find its way to Birmingham, Derbyshire, and 
Staffordshire. The citizens generally attribute its 
enormous increase in the markets to the opening up of 
the country by the Midland Railway. The markets have 
enormously increased. The inhabitants generally think 
that the competition would be most wholesome and 
beneficial to the trade of the city as well as to the 

" For the sake of the traffic on the Hereford, Hay and 
Brecon itself," said Mr. Noble, " it would not be worth 
our while to work it. It only becomes valuable to us as 
affording the means of access to places beyond Brecon. 
To those places the London and North Western and 
Great Western have got their own independent routes. 
Now the largest places beyond Brecon to which this line 
takes us for the purposes of this bill are Merthyr and 
Dowlais, which are two very large and populous places, 
containing together 100,000 people. There are also 
some of the largest ironworks in Wales here;" and 
both the other great companies have, or will shortly 
have, a route of their own to both places, so that neither 
of them are likely to use the Hereford line, " because it 
would simply be abstracting traffic from their own rail- 
way." The Midland Company has, however, every 
reason for encouraging traffic by this route. " There is 
now a very large traffic from the ironstone fields of 
Northamptonshire to those very large ironworks at 
Dowlais. We are now," continued Mr. Noble, " sending 
fifty or sixty thousand tons of ironstone every year into 
those works. Then there is also a very large cattle traffic 


which comes out of this district to the grazing districts of 
Leicestershire and Northamptonshire ;" and there is the 
anthracite coal which goes largely into the midland and 
eastern districts. 

For the sake of the local line it seemed imperative 
that something should be done. " The Great Western 
Railway," said Mr. Noble, " are trying to starve that 
poor little Hereford Railway; they have nearly killed 
it, and want to finish it." " If the bill was not sanc- 
tioned," said Mr. Venables, " the Hereford line would in 
all probability be shut up ; and there would be a very 
well laid-out line o^oinof throuo^h one of the most remark- 
able and pleasant and beautiful countries, and affording 
a means of communication with the North and the 
country inland to the whole of South Wales, absolutely 
useless." " I do not think," he said in conclusion, " it 
will be contended that the public advantage is not 
exclusiv^ely upon our side, or that any possible material 
advantage can be gained by the rejection of our bill. 
It will be contended by the London and North Western 
that they will lose some traffic, which perhaps they will. 
It will be contended by the Great Western that they 
will lose some traffic, and that they ought to be pro- 
tected in their two claims, — one of which is to place a 
truck across the junction at Hereford, and the other is 
to force us either to use these impossible running powers, 
or not to get into South Wales at all. They will support 
these two contentions to the best of their ability — 
probably with great ability; but the greater the 
ability they show in proving that they are for this 
purpose the enemies of the human race, the better for 

When the claims of this bill were submitted to the 
committee of the Lords they " decided (July 3, 1874) to 
reserve their decision until they had heard the evidence 


on the next bill." On the following day they resolved 
to give their sanction to both measures. 

The other line was the Swansea Yale, which it was 
proposed also to add by amalgamation to the Midland. 
We have already seen that the Hereford line brought the 
Midland Company as far as Brecon. From Brecon its 
traffic could go south to Merthyr, Tredegar, the Taff 
Vale, and Cardiff by other lines; but the Midland wished 
to go south-west to Swansea by a line in effect its own. 
Between Brecon and Swansea lay two railways; first 
the Brecon and Neath, and then the Swansea Yale. To 
the latter we will now refer. 

The Swansea Yale Railway was originally promoted as 
a private line, the property of some colliery owners and 
others, who wished to send the produce of their pits and 
works down to the harbour and docks of Swansea. The 
colUeries, steel, tin, copper works, and foundries upon 
this line are so numerous that, as the manager declared, 
" they extend nearly every four or five hundred yards 
from one end of the line to the other." Meanwhile the 
demands of the district were increasing, and an unop- 
posed bill was, in that session (1874), before Parliament 
for a large increase of the dock accommodation of Swan- 
sea, at a cost of £400,000 or £500,000. To go back, 
however, to the year 1846, we find that an attempt w^as 
then made to obtain the sanction of Parliament to the 
little railway company, but that it failed in consequence 
of some incidental circumstances. Still, the construction 
of the line went on, and eight miles were completed. 

At length, in 1855, the Company succeeded in obtain- 
ing their Act of incorporation, and, by subsequent legis- 
lation, in extending the railway up to a place called 
Yniscedwyn, and westward to Brynammon, where it 
joins the Llanelly line. 

Difficulties, however, were numerous. " We are a small 


compaii}^," said Mr. Starling Benson, the chairman, *' and 
have had to work expensively ; we have also had to borrow 
money at a high rate of interest. For some years we paid 
no dividend, then two or three per cent., and gradually 
we got up to six per cent." And its later prosperity had 
arisen, he declared, " simply upon the prospect of our 
becoming Midland." Having, too, been originally in- 
tended only for local purposes, it was constructed, ex- 
cept at the stations, with a single line ; its stations were 
little better than waiting sheds; its siding accommo- 
dation was scanty ; and at Swansea, though there was a 
wooden passenger station, there was no goods station of 
any kind. " I have been over the line a great many 
times," said Mr. Noble, the assistant general manager of 
the Midland ; " and it is quite evident that they are com- 
pletely overpowered by their present traffic." Their 
rolling stock, too, was insufficient. " We have had to 
lend them an engine or two already," said Mr. Noble. 
To put the line into a proper condition for the public 
service, it was necessary that a large sum of money 
should be expended. " It must," said Mr. Noble, " be 
something very large " — " a very large sura, no doubt." 
The doubling of the line, which was indispensable for the 
proper development of a through route, would " certainly 
cost more," declared Mr. Yenables, "than £100,000." 
But all this the little company was not prepared to 
undertake. " Although," as Mr. Venables observed, " a 
local company may be earning a good income on its line, 
it cannot afford to lay out large sums of capital." A 
great company can afford to make improvements when- 
ever they are required, because the amount is only 
a fraction of the whole capital ; but if a small company 
were to spend 50 or 100 per cent, on its capital in 
improvements, it would for a time seriously cripple its 
position. The consequence practically is, that, so long as 


a company like the Swansea Vale can get a moderate 
dividend on its capital, it will be slow to make improve- 
ments. At the same time, a larger company would not 
lay out its money on a foreign line — a line which it did 
not practically own. 

Another disadvantage of the Swansea Vale Company, 
experienced by all small companies under similar circum- 
stances, was, that they could not find enough trucks to 
carry on a business over large and distant lines. " If 
they come back empty," said the chairman, " the loss of 
time is so great that they are not used ; but if they 
belonged to one of the large companies, they find traffic 
to load them with near the spot, and they deliver the 
loads, and there is something else to send back again." 
" We find as a small company that we cannot afford the 
proper accommodation which the colliery trade requires. 
We cannot find the trucks and those thino^s which a 
large company can do." "We are also at a disadvan- 
tage through the smallness of our line, that in case of 
accident or temporary stoppage of our traffic we cannot 
average our losses. A laro-e accident or a lock-out would 

O a 

take away all our dividends." 

This line (the Swansea Vale) the Midland Company 
proposed to make their own by a perpetual lease, and by 
guaranteeing a dividend of G per cent, per annum on a 
capital of about £145,000. All this was provisionally 
arranged. But the difficulties of the case had not yet 
been overcome ; for between Brecon (the most westerly 
point of the Midland) and the most easterly point of the 
Swansea Vale lay the property of a third company, the 
Brecon and Neath Railway. How Avas their concurrence 
so to be secured as to provide a through and uninter- 
rupted communication between the Midland system and 
Swansea ? The solution of this question was to be found 
in the fiict that at a previous period it had been arranged 


between the Brecon and Neath and the Swansea Vale 
Railways that they should interchange certain running- 
powers over each other's lines, " so as to establish a 
direct route between Swansea and the North of England." 
The words were, that the Swansea Vale were " to have 
the right, if they think fit, to run over and use with their 
engines, etc., the Brecon and Neath Railway." A through 
route northward was thus secured, of which the Swansea 
Vale was the first stage, the Neath and Brecon the 
second, and (what had now become) the Midland the 
third ; there being " through invoicing and through 
booking," and all " in the fullest and most unreserved 

It so happened, that up to the period when the 
]\[idland was contemplating these amalgamations, this 
Brecon and Neath had been by no means in a prosperous 
condition. The great highways of the London and North 
Western and Great Western had carried the traffic 
by other routes, and this line had been reduced to a 
state of starvation. *'At this moment," said Mr. Noble, 
" its working expenses are, I think, 93 per cent, of 
its entire receipts." Mr. Denison, who appeared on 
its behalf, admitted before the Commons Committee, 
that " it had gone through great calamities — it had never 
earned a penny for itself — it had been in a most miserable 
condition — it had passed through all the stages of 
poverty because it had not been in a proper physical 

Under such circumstances the proposal of the Midland 
Company seemed highly advantageous. It was, that 
the Midland Company should take over, with the Swan- 
sea Vale line, the running powers it had over the 
Brecon and Neath, and use them as the Swansea Vale 
could have used them ; in payment for which the Neath 
and Brecon would receive their mileage proportion of the 


tiirouQfli rate. This was tlie laro^est amount which the 
Midland Company professed to be able to give ; for 
if they charged the same as their competitors for a 
through service, and yet allowed the Brecon and 
Neath a greater share than their mileage proportion, it 
is plain that the rest of the line would have to receive 
less than its mileage proportion, which it could not 
afford to take. "It would," said Mr. Noble, "be a bar 
toll ;" and the practical result would be that the whole 
line, Brecon and Neath included, would lose the through 
traffic altogether. Mr. Noble, however, stated that his 
company was prepared to allow the Brecon and Neath, 
if they believed that a mileage proportion was " an in- 
sufficient remuneration for the traffic carried in Midland 
trains over their railway, to have the right to go to an 
arbitrator, and ask him how much more, if any, they 
should receive out of the through rate." " There is," 
he said, " a precedent for this, in the terms on which 
the Midland Company obtained running powers over the 
South Staffordshire, by the Act of 1867." 

But against these proposals the Brecon and Neath 
entered its protest ; and urged Parliament to refuse its 
sanction to the amalgamation. Piqued at the less 
favourable terms offered to itself, or backed up by other 
influences, it declared that it did not want the Mid- 
land to come over it at all, and did not want to be made 
a through route. This may seem very unnatural and 
strange; but the underlying motive came out in the 
remarks of their counsel. It simply meant that more 
money was wanted from the Midland Company, — of 
course a very natural design considered in itself. " We 
say," remarked Mr. Pember, " here are two companies 
who are properly bought up, and naturally we think 
that you ought to buy us up properly too. If not, 
we say, let us alone." To this, of course, the Midland 


Compaii}^ could repl}^ : "If we did as you wislied, and 
bought you up, and paid the market value for you, we 
should pay you next to nothing. If we buy you at 
any price you might put upon yourselves we should 
pay you too much. We will therefore adopt the middle 
course; and as the Swansea Yale are prepared to sell 
us their right to running powers over your line, we will 
buy that and pay you a mileage proportion of all the 
large traffic we shall be able to bring over your half- 
starved and almost moribund system." 

The advantag^e of makino' these little fra<?ments of 
railways into an efficient through line, was obvious to 
the men of business in the Swansea Yale. Mr. Pascoe 
Grenfell, for instance, of tlic firm of Pascoe Grenfell and 
Sons, copper and iron smelters, of Swansea, cordially 
supported the amalgamation of these lines. He men- 
tioned tliat his firm carried on business with the London 
and Liverpool and the Midland and Northern districts ; 
that the price of copper averaged about £100 a ton ; 
but that in the process of manufacture it rose to nearly 
twice that amount; that under recent arrangements 
their goods were delivered via the Midland Company 
remarkably well ; that goods sent away on the afternoon 
of one day were delivered at Birmingham on the next 
morning, and at Hull a few hours afterwai^s (about as 
quickly as a letter) ; and that this w^as of the greatest 
service to their business. " Our trade," he said, "has 
changed very much of late years, since the introduction 
of railways and telegraphs. Our customers and con- 
sumers do not keep, as they used to do, stocks of 
copper, but they now depend entirely upon us ; and 
sometimes we have a telegram in the middle of the day 
to send something off the very next day. Then often 
we have to make shipments, perhaps, of copper of a 
highly manufactured nature — say at Hidl. AVe have a 


telegram two or three days before, to say that this 
copper is going to the Baltic, or Russia, or somewhere 
else ; that the copper must be there at a certain time, 
as the ship will sail at a certain date." 

Similarly a large coal-owner spoke with regard to his 
anthracite coal. " It cannot be found elsewhere," he 
said ; " it is perfectly smokeless, and is the best fuel foi- 
making iron that is known, except charcoal. In Burton- 
on-Trent, too, they use nothing else for malting but 
anthracite coal." Another coal-owner and tin-plate 
manufacturer expressed his desire to see adequate ac- 
commodation and a through route provided. The pro- 
vision on ten or twelve miles of the Swansea Yale line 
was totally insufficient. " I should like to have a double 
line made, because we are very often choked up, and our 
trucks are left for weeks without being able to get 
at them for want of local facilities." " Of all com- 
panies," said another, " the Midland Company do their 
work the quickest. A truck-load of block-tin would 
be worth £1000; and if I wanted the quickest despatch, 
the Midland Company manages, somehow or another, 
to deliver quickly, and I can get it down on the third 
day; whereas on the other companies' lines I have not 
got it till perhaps four, five, six, seven, or eight days. 
These little delays from which I suffer," he added, 
" are not less to me than £1000 a year." 

It was further contended on behalf of the Midland 
Company, that, if the demand of the Brecon and Neath 
were conceded, and Parliament were to consent to ex- 
clude the Midland, and to make this " a block line " 
to shut the traffic out, and practically, to a large 
extent, to shut up the line, it would assuredly not be to 
the public interest — that interest which was certainly 
considered when powers were given by Parliament for 
the construction of the line. " In the hands of the Mid- 


land Company," said Mr. Venables, "it means a line 
for facilitating the traffic ; whereas, in the hands of the 
other companies, it would be a line for local traffic, 
but a block-line for through traffic." 

" If," said Mr. Noble, "these two bills,— the Hereford, 
Hay and Brecon and the Swansea Vale, — should pass, I 
reckon that we shall put life into about 1 50 miles of the 
worst railway property in the kingdom. There is the 
Hereford line earning nothing ; there are eight miles 
of the Mid "Wales, and sixty miles of the Brecon and 
Merthyr, which we feed. The Brecon and Merthyr has 
nobody else to look to ; and here are altogether about 
150 miles of railway, which, if our traffic is allowed 
to ran over this line, will have life put into them. 
The capital expended on these lines has been some 

Such was the view taken by Parliament ; and the bill 
passed, July 4th, 1874. 

In the month of June the testimonial awarded in the 
previous August was presented to the late chairman, 
Mr. Price, who had, as the present chairman, Mr. Ellis, 
expressed it, devoted no fewer than twenty years of the 
best portion of his life to the service of the Midland 
Railway Company. 

In the autumn of this year (1874), the Midland Com- 
pany announced their intention of adopting a new line 
of policy with regard to their passenger traffic — a polic}' 
destined to produce important effects on the railway 
travelling of this country. The course which had already 
been taken of allowing third-class passengers to travel 
by all trains, had entailed consequences which perhaps 
few had originally anticipated. By the suppression of 
some of the old third-class trains the distance run on the 
Midland line was found to be reduced some 500,000 miles 
a year, and thus a saving was effected of £37,000; yet 


the number of additional passengers conveyed on that 
line during the year was 4,000,000, bringing additional 
benefit to the Company of £220,000 a year. The mar- 
vellous productiveness of third-class traffic was also 
illustrated by the fact that, out of an increased number 
of passengers during the years 1870 to 1873 on our rail- 
ways generally, of 113,000,000, no fewer than 111,000,000 
of these were third-class passengers. On the Midland 
system the returns in 1873 were as follows : 

First-class passengers, 1,136,405, who paid £228,739 
Second „ 2,487,590 „ 208,395 

Third „ 18,370,053 „ 961,312 

Total 21,994,048 £1,398,446 

It thus began clearly to appear that the public at large — 
looking at the nature of the accommodation provided, 
the price charged, and their own resources — preferred 
the third class ; that less than 15 per cent, of passengers 
travelled second class ; and that the trains must be 
carrying a large and increasing proportion of dead weight 
in the form of empty second-class carriages. Of course 
railways do not exist to run trains, but to carry passen- 
gers and goods; and hence the subject pressed on the 
attention of the Midland board, whether it would not be 
better to abolish the second-class carriasfe altoirether. 
This might be done without injury to the public, if 
second-class passengers could be carried at second-class 
fares in first-class carriages ; and hence the question 
arose, whether the sacrifice of revenue involved could be 
fairly borne by the shareholders ? On inquiry it was 
found that already first-class passengers were travelling 
between, for instance, such towns as Nottingham and 
Derby, and Bradford and Leeds, at second-class fares ; 
and that —even if the liberality of the Company to the 
public led to no increase of receipts (an improbable cir- 


cumstance) — the total loss incurred by the Company by 
charging only three-halfpence a mile for all (except third- 
class passengers), and allowing all such to travel in first- 
class carriages, would amount to only £25,000 a year. 
Such an arrangement would also secure some economical 
advantages to the Company. By avoiding the necessity 
for new rolling stock for new lines about to be opened ; 
by the saving of coal through the reduced weight of 
the trains ; by diminishing the wear and tear of empt}^ 
carriages and of the permanent way ; by lessening 
labour in the ticket and audit department by having 
only two classes to deal with instead of three ; and by 
more compact trains under more complete control of 
the engine, and ensuring the greater punctuality, not 
only of passenger trains, but of goods and mineral 
trains : — all these were sources of economy, which the 
Directors believed would be highly remunerative to the 
Company. Taking these and other facts into considera- 
tion, the Directors startled the railway world and the 
public generally by the announcement that, on and after 
the 1st of Januar3", 1875, the second-class passenger 
would be abolished, and that all the benefits hitherto 
exclusively enjoyed by the first-class passenger would 
be bestowed henceforth also upon the second-class. 

The response made to this announcement by the other 
railway companies was unequivocal. They scarcely 
attempted to conceal their fears and chagrin at the loss 
that might accrue to them from the sacrifice of part of 
their first-class receipts. Euinous competition and re- 
taliation against the Midland Company were threatened. 
" If you put your hand into our bread-basket," said 
a director of another company to a Midland director, 
" we will put our hands into your coal scuttle. 
Repeated conferences were held at Euston Square — 
" the Percy and the Douglas both together " — and mina- 


tory voices came through the closed doors. " The 
proposal," said the Bailway Neios, " to readjust the rates 
for the carriage of minerals has, we know, been enter- 
tained at Euston ; and this, if carried out, must verj- 
seriously affect the Midland. AYe believe we may say 
that the representatives of the two great competing 
companies are now taking counsel as to how, without 
injury to themselves, they may most efficiently retaliate 
upon the Midland ; " and the threat succeeded in depress- 
ing the market value of railway securities to the amount 
of several millions sterling. Midland shareholders, if 
holders of other railway stocks, became alarmed. They 
held " indio^nation meetino^s," at one of which a director 
of the Lancashire and Yorkshire went so far as to 
indulge in a coarse personal attack upon Mr. Allport. 
Influential proprietors, representing a large amount of 
capital, sent from Liverpool and Manchester a formal 
document to the Derby Board, in which they said : " We 
protest against your proposal to do away with second- 
class carriages, and to reduce the fares on first-class 

Meanwhile some of the leading organs of the press, 
instead of estimating the enormous value of the boon 
about to be conferred on the public, were critical, 
irresolute, or adverse. It was declared that the an- 
nouncement of the Midland Board was " a bolt out 
of a blue sky." An esteemed ex-member of Parliament 
complained that the new policy of the Midland had been 
" decided upon in such profound secrecy, and sprung 
upon the world without any public demand." Another 
writer, whether complimentarily or otherwise, affirmed 
that Mr. Allport was " the Bismarck of railway politics." 
" This is not railway reform," remarked a fourth, " but 
revolution." " It is really and literally a revolution," 
observed a London daily paper, " in railway economy." 


" The change," said an influential weekly journal, " is, in 
our opinion, most revolutionary. We feel bound to 
condemn the hasty step which the Midland Company 
has taken. . . . We should recommend railway share- 
holders to take the matter into their own hands." " We 
see no reason for ecstasies," remarked another, " over 
the latest move of the Midland Railway Company. ... It 
will inflict great annoyance on every lady, and some 
annoyance on every man with a black coat, who travels 
by that system of lines." " A democratic and social 
revolution," observed another, " seems to be looming in 
the railway future. If the second class is to be defini- 
tively abolished," it will amount, in fact, " so long as we 
are upon a journey, substantially to the excision of the 
great middle class from English society." " The press 
and the public," remarked a West of England journal, in 
an article on the " Revolutions in the Railway World," 
" are against the turn-the-world-upside-down policy of the 
Midland." " Of all the changes," said a country jour- 
nal, "possible in our railway arrangements, that which 
has been announced by the Midland would have been the 
last that would have been asked for." A legal luminary 
thought that the powers of the Railway Commissioners 
misrht be invoked to resist the abolition of the second 
class, on the ground that every railway company is 
bound to aff'ord "all reasonable facilities for the 
receiving, forwarding, and delivering of traffic." " An 
era of fresh discomfort and fi^esh inconvenience in 
travelling," another authority declared, "is being pre- 
pared for us." 

It would have been no wonder if, in the face of such 
criticism, — amid the misgivings of friends and threats 
of railway rivals, — the Midland Board had yielded, and 
had revoked their decision. Surely they might have 
expected a difi'erent response to the announcement of a 


policy so higli-miaded and statesmanlike. Happily they 
stood firm while the storm blew ; and after awhile it 
abated. As discussion proceeded, light began to spread. 
The travelling public, who, as Tlie Times remarked, had 
not at first appeared " in the least grateful for the 
boon," began to express themselves in its favour. 
The Dally Telegraph, referring to the complaints that 
the first-class passengers would henceforward have less 
of the luxury of exclusiveness, playfully remarked : 
''The real suff'erers are those poor fellows the rich;" 
but it thouo-ht that even such mig:ht be broug-ht to con- 
tentment with the new arrangements, if the Company 
would " woo these tassel-gentles back again " by the 
Pullman carriage, and by generally, for their behoof, 
" gilding the refined gold." " The highest practicable 
fares for the least possible accommodation," said another 
writer, " is henceforth to be a polic}^ of the past ; " and it 
l)egan generally to be admitted that the new plan should 
be tried. 

The Midland Board stood firm. A circular, issued 
by Mr. Ellis, the chairman, explained the policy of the 
Directors, and conciliated the confidence of the share- 
holders ; and at a special meeting of the proprietors 
summoned to decide upon the matter, — though mournful 
warnings were uttered, and portents or pictures were 
painted of the Midland Company deserted by its friends, 
and hemmed in by its foes, — the views of the Directors 
were sanctioned by an overwhelming majority of votes, 
by proxies ten to one, and by capital represented by 
the proxies to the amount of six to one. As the year 
drew to a close, and the arrangements for the working 
out of the new policy came to be seen, it was found that 
the improvement made in the third-class carriages — with 
cushioned seats, and separate compartments, and wider 
space, and footwarmers for winter — would be so great, 




that the net result would be that the third-class carriage 
was abolished ; that second and first-class carriages only 
were retained, with the third and second-class fares. 
Subsequently Lord Redesdale brought in a bill into 
the House of Lords, which may be described as, 
"An act to compel railway companies to charge first- 
class passengers higher fares than the companies are 
content to take, and to compel second-class passengers 
to travel in less comfortable carriages than the com- 
panies are willing to provide;" but " the wisdom of Parlia- 
ment " did not encouragfe leofislation so retroo^rade. 
Millions of passengers are now travelling with incom- 
parably more comfort, millions are paying far lower 
fares than ever before, and the railway system of the 
country was never so popular, and so deservedly popular, 
as it is to-day. 

In the course of the spriug half-year several new lines 
were opened, — the Radford and Trowell ; the Mansfield 
and Worksop, on the 1st June; the Ambergate and 
Codnor Park, six and a half miles long ; the Clifton Ex- 
tension, a mile and three quarters ; and some smaller 
branches about a mile in length. 

In July (1875) the Midland Company commenced run- 
ning their own trains over the London, Chatliam, and 
Dover line into Victoria Station, and the Chatham and 
Dover service w^as continued to Child's Hill and Hendon. 
An unbroken and convenient means of communication 
was thus established between the northern and southern 

On Monday, the 2nd of August (1875), the Settle and 
Carlisle Railway was opened for goods traffic. It was 
wisely resolved to postpone the use of the line for 
passengers until all the works w^ere completed and 
consolidated. "We desire," the chairman publicly re- 
marked, " whenever the passenger traffic is passed 


over tlie line, that it shall be in a perfectly satisfactory 

At the autumnal meeting, held August 17th, 1875, it 
was stated that the capital account of the Company stood 
at £58,560,548. It had been increased during the six 
months by the large sum of more than £5,600,000. 
Nearly half of this amount was due to the Midland and 
North Eastern Bill, which authorised the raising of 
£66,000; to the Additional Powers Act, £2,400,000; 
and to the Sheffield and Midland Act, £133,000, making 
£2,599,000. The remaining cost had been incurred by 
the extinction of several small companies in intimate al- 
liance with the Midland Company, and the absorption of 
their capital ; by a nominal addition to the capital of the 
Company through the consolidation of stocks as author- 
ised by Parliament and approved by the shareholders, 
and by other similar financial arrangements. Among 
these the Birmingham and Derby capital, which had from 
the original amalgamation remained separate, was com- 
muted by the granting of ordinary stock at £80 for each 
£100. The result of these large financial arrangements 
was, that, instead of the Midland capital being separated 
into twenty-three stocks, there are now only, nine, and it 
is hoped that these will be reduced to five. 

Mr. Ellis also announced that the traffic receipts per 
mile from passengers were greater than they had been 
for any half-year during the past twenty-five years. 
With regard to the large outlay of capital on additional 
works, the chairman mentioned that it was indispensable, 
" in order to keep pace with the traffic that pours in upon 
us," and at the same time it was necessary that railway 
proprietors should realize the fact that railway construc- 
tion is much more costly than it was a few years ago. 
" Lines," said Mr. Ellis, " which then could be con- 
structed at a cost of £30,000 a mile will certainly now 


cost £45,000 to £50,000 a mile. I am satisfied that T 
am within the mark when I say that you must add at 
least 50 per cent, to the cost of construction of all new 
lines of railway at the present time, as compared with 
what they would have cost six years ago." 

Mr. Ellis also referred to increased cost upon almost 
every article or appliance used by railways. *' You will 
see by the report," he said, " that we possess 2500 
horses. I find that we are paying for them 50 per cent, 
more than we were paying five or six years ago. A 
horse suitable for our purposes, which then cost 
£40, we now pay £60 for. We have also to pay more 
for provender, much more for the labour of the men 
attending upon our horses; and I think you may assume 
that the extra cost of each horse that you possess, in- 
cluding wear and tear, renewals, extra keep, and wages, 
is not less than £20 per horse per annum. If you mul- 
tiply 2500 by £20 it will give you £50,000 as the in- 
creased cost of our horses per annum ; and since it 
costs you more than 50 per cent, of your earnings in ex- 
penses, you must double that amount, and you have to 
earn at least £2000 a week, or £100,000 a year, in order 
to pay the mere increased cost on horses. I mention 
this as one instance in which the expenses of this Com- 
pany, and of all companies, have risen, in spite of the 
efforts of the Directors to keep them down." 

In the course of his address Mr. Ellis gave the follow- 
ing interesting retrospect of railway events that had 
fallen within his own oljservation : — 

" It is forty-seven years on the 17tli of Jul}- last, since 
I attended the opening of the oldest portion of what 
eventually came to be the Midland system, I think with 
my friend Mr. Hutchinson, and perhaps one or two other 
shareholders now in this meeting:. Then was started in 
England the first locomotive to convey passengers that 



ever ran south of Mancliester. Mr. Crossley, lately our 
chief engineer, was present on that occasion, and tliere 
was also a gentleman, whose name I can never recollect 
without veneration, and that is George Stephenson. Let 
me say, now I mention his name, that I think we ought 
to have a portrait of that eminent man hung in this room. 
Many of the gentlemen who took part in the early pro- 
gress of our railway system have left us. But we still 
have at this board three directors who have taken part in 
some of those earlier proceedings of the Midland Rail- 
way. First, there is my friend Mr. Hutchinson, who, I 
believe, has given many of the best years of his life to 
the service of the Company.* Next, tliere is Sir Isaac 
Morley, who has been chairman of one of your most im- 
portant committees for upwards of twenty years. And 
third, there is my old friend Mr. Mercer, who has at- 
tended here almost weekly for a very great number of 
years. Mr. Hutchinson is the only remaining member of 
the Board who came on at the amalgamation of 1844. 
Now, if the Midland shareholders have derived some bene- 
fits from the development of the great railway system, it 
is very gratifying to feel that the comnmnity amidst 
which we live have derived equal or greater benefits." 

The chairman referred to a proposal which had been 
made that the private ownership of wagons on the Midland 
system should be gradually extinguished. " I believe," 
he said, " there are at present something like 40,000 
wagons, principally coal wagons, running about our 
system, these wagons being owned by 300 different 
proprietors. The cost and inconvenience of having to 

* Mr. Hutchinson was for several years the superintendent of the 
Midland Counties line. He resigned this office in July, 18i0. The 
Board requested his acceptance of £5o() in acknowledgment of the 
special services he had rendered " in the very difficult circumstances 
connected with the opening of a new line," and they recommended his 
appointment as a director. 


assort these wagons when they are mixed up together, 
so as to deliver them at the different collieries to -which 
they belong, is very great ; besides w^hich, we have not 
the proper control of the construction of these wagons, 
and we think that it is very desirable that the Company 
should control in some way their construction. We 
have therefore arrived at the conclusion, after very care- 
ful and anxious consideration, that it is the duty of the 
Company gradually, and by consent, not by compulsion, 
to purchase these 40,000 wagons. To do so will, of 
course, require a large amount of capital, and we propose 
in the next session of Parliament to apply for powers to 
raise £1,000,000 on account of these purchases." 

In the autumn (1875) it was announced that another 
important addition was to be made to the Midland system, 
by the union with it and with the London and South- 
Western Companies jointly of the lines known as the 
Somerset and Dorset railway. The lines grouped under 
that name were originally formed under different auspices. 
On the 17th of June, 1852, an act was passed authorising 
the construction of a railway from the harbour at High- 
bridge on the Bristol Channel, across the Bristol and 
Exeter line, with which it had a junction, to Glaston- 
bury. Highbridge is situated on the north side of the 
river Brue, which is navigable to this point for vessels 
of 80 tons burden; and Glastonbury, about 13 miles 
distant, is a place of great antiquity and some modern 
interest. Three years later extensions were authorised 
to Wells and Burnham, with a pier at the latter ; and 
the year following powers were obtained to construct 
another line from Glastonbury to Bruton, a distance of 
12 miles. The company is also interested in the tidal 
harbour at Burnham. These railways constituted the 
Somerset Central. 

The Dorset Central had a later origin. It was not till 


1856 that the act was passed authorising the construction 
of a line from Wimborne, on the Dorchester extension 
of the London and South ^yestern, to Blandford, a dis- 
tance of about 10 miles. In the following year it was 
resolved to continue this line along the Vale of Black- 
more, a distance of 24 miles, to the Somerset Central at 
Bruton. The capital to be expended was £400,000. 

On the 1st of September, 1862, the two companies 
were amalgamated as the Somerset and Dorset on equal 
terms, the lines thus united being 66 miles in extent ; 
and as, by an arrangement with the South- Western, they 
obtained access to the port at Poole, they formed a 
through communication between the English and the 
Bristol Channels. 

Some nine years of an uneventful and unsatisfactory 
history passed away, when it was thought that some 
extension of the company's lines, wdiich woidd secure 
access to the new line of the Midland at Bath, would 
give the company a better chance of success. Accord- 
ingly, in August, 1871, powers were obtained to construct 
a branch from the line at Evercreech to a junction with 
the Midland at Bath, and with a branch to the Bristol 
and North Somerset at Radstock. 

The progress of the company, however, has not been 
encouraging; and, though the Midland brought traflSc on 
to the line, and opened through communication over the 
line to Bournemouth, the Somerset and Dorset endured 
the sorrows of a poverty-stricken company ; its engine- 
power was inadequate, and its arrangements defective ; 
and though it probably did its best, the public suffered 
in those ways in which the public always will suffer 
unless a railway is fairly prosperous — a truism on which 
persons both in Parliament and out might reflect with 

This state of things continued till a few months since, 



Tvhen the Midland Company, having by various leases 
reached Swansea, the policy of amalgamation by lease 
came to be the order of the day. The Great AVestern by 
these means obtained exclusive possession of most of the 

large area of coal-fields covered by the Monmouthshire 
lines ; and then, it is understood, opened negotiations 
with the Somerest and Dorset with the view to a similar 
appropriation, hoping thereby to occupy the whole terri- 
tory stretching between its Bristol and Exeter extension 
and the South Western Company's district, and thus to 
secure an almost undisturbed monopoly of the West. 
Fortunately for the public, the Midland and South 
Western interposed, and concluded arrangements with 
the Somerset and Dorset, by which they are jointly to 
lease and to use it, guaranteeing the latter a certain 
minimum traffic receipt per mile — the amount to be 


gradually increased as years pass and as the resources of 
the district are developed. It is stated that these terms 
came into practical operation on the 1st of November, 
1875 ; but, of course, the sanction of Parliament will have 
to be obtained in the usual way. 

The Midland Company also purchased from the new 
Manchester South District Railway Company their rights 
in a projected line from Manchester, by way of Chorlton- 
cum-Hardy and Northenden, to Alderley. 

The autumn of 1875 was marked by deluges of rain 
and by floods, which spread over wide districts of the 
country, and were injurious, and in some instances de- 
structive, to the railway communication. The midland 
counties had their full share of these troubles. The 
river Trent rose seven yards ; Burton-on-Trent was 
flooded, and its artesian and other wells were deluged 
with surface water and town sewage, and had to be 
emptied before they could again be used, and on one day 
10,000 loaves had to be sent into the town and dis- 
tributed gratuitously, to save the people from famine. 
The lines, towns, and villages, along the course of the 
river suff'ered seriously. Trent station became almost an 
island. The lower part of Nottingham was like a sea — 
yards in depth ; till the flood had partially subsided, the 
traffic could not be resumed, engines and trains even 
then tiaving to pass through about two feet of water ; 
while, near Newark, the line was carried away, and a tem- 
porary bridge had to be erected before the communica- 
tion could be restored. The scenes thus presented were 
in the highest degree remarkable, and will live long in 
the painful recollections of many. 


Who was Saint Pancras ? — Historical Associations. — " An Abomina- 
tion of Desolation." — Chaos and Cosmos. — The Fleet Sewer. — 
— Level of the station. — Four acres of stowage. — A new 
Unit of Construction. — The roofing. — One span or two ? — Con- 
struction of the roof. — Erection of the roof. — The travelling 
scaffold. — Moving the scaffold. — Size and strength of the roof. — 
Three floors of railway. — Magnitude of the work. — Cost of the 
work. — Colouring of the roof. — General appearance of the Station. 
— Mr. G. G. Scott. — Midland Grand Hotel. — Entrance hall. — 
Grand staircase. — Drawing and reading room. — Private and 
bed rooms. — Clock tower. — Basement. — "Potatoes for oae!" — 
Refectory, laundry, etc. — The Manager. — Old St. Pancras Church- 
yard. — Junction with the Metropolitan. — Kentish Town. — Totten- 
ham and Hampstead. — Belsize Tunnel. — London clay. — The tunnel 
under construction. — Brent Junction. — South Western Junction. 
—Mill Hill School.— Woodcock Hill Tunnel.— Herts.— Elstree.— 
Radlett. — Gorhambury and its associations. — Sopwell Nunnery. — 
St. Albans. — The Abbey. — Historical incidents. — Water-cresses. 
— Harpeiiden. — Beds. — The Chiltern Hills. — " The gulfy Lea." — 
Luton Hoo. — Luton. — Lord Wenlock. — Dallow Farm. — Geology 
of the district. — Harlington. — Flitwick. — Ampthill and park. — 
Houghton. — Geology. — Elstow. — Bedford. — Bedford and Leicester 
line. — Gradients. — Cost of the line. — "Which Brassey?" — The 
Ouse. — Sharnbrook Viaduct. — Northamptonshire. — Ironstone. — 
Wellingborough Viaduct. — Locomotive establishment. — Cuttings. 
—The Ise. — The Pytchley Hunt. — Kettering. — The Baptist 
Mission House. — Rushton. — The Triangular Lodge. — Leicester- 
shire. — Market Harborough. — The Mortuary Chapel. — Glen. — 
" Wigston Two Steeples." — Leicester. — Historical Associations. — 
Humorous description by Sir. E. Beckett. — Leicester Station. — 
Syston. — Legends. — Barrow Line works. — Mount Sorrel works. 
— The Castle. — Soar Bridge. — Charnwood. — Loughborough. — 
The second Soar Bridge. — Doubling of the line. — Trent Bridge. — 
Amusing dispute. — Trent Station. — Asphalting. — Borrowash. — 
Elvaston Castle. — Derby. — Introduction of the silk manufacture. 
— Duffield Church. — Interest of scenery. — Belper. — Crich Hill. — 
Remarkable geological formation. — Lea Hurst. — High Peak Rail- 
way. — Willersley Castle. — The Arkwrights. — " The cradle of the 
cotton manufacture." — Matlock. — Darley Dale. — Seat of Sir 
Joseph Whitworth. — The "Peacock " at Rowsley. — Haddo Hall. — 
Chatsworth. — Bakewell. — MonsalDale. — Miller's Dale and viaduct. 
Chee Vale and the Wye. — Beauty of the scenery. — Blackwell Dale. 
— Buxton. — Blackwell Junction. — The Manchester Extension. — 
Difficulties of the country. — Dove Holes Tunnel. — "Swallow 
Holes." — Difficulties discovered. — Engineering operations. — Per- 


foration of the mountain. — Construction of the line. — English 
and Ii'ish navvies. — Chapel-le-Frith Viaduct. — Bugsworth slip. — 
Sixteen acres of land run away. — " A wonderful slip." — Ener- 
getic measures. — Timber viaduct built. — Line reconstructed. 
— Traffic resumed. — New Mills. — Hayfield. — Marple. — Manches- 
ter Joint Station. — Midland Goods Station. — New Central Station. 
— Main line to Liverpool. — Risley Moss. — Railway Works. — War- 
rington. — Garston. — Central Station at Liverpool. 

"And lolio was Saint Pancras ?" we inquired of a friend 
who was sauntering with us on the departure platform 
of the Midland Company's London terminus, and who 
eloquently expatiated on the wonders of the place. 
"Who?" he replied, stroking his beard and looking 
as wise as could be expected under the circumstances, 
" Why, of course. Saint Pancras was — yes — he was — that 
is, she was — ah.em — well, to tell the truth, I haven't the 
faintest idea ! " So we may as well mention that Saint 
Pancras was a Christian martyr ; and that the seal of the 
vestry of the London parish named in his honour re- 
presents him with a sword uplifted in one hand and an 
olive branch in the other.* 

This spot has also other interesting historic associations. 
Here, formerly, a principal Roman station and encamp- 
ment stood; and hard by is Battle Bridge, where a great 
battle was fought between the Roman legions and the 
Britons under Boadicea. In later days the neighbour- 
hood was devoted to pastoral pursuits ; and in the time 
of Queen Elizabeth, Nash could send his greetings to 
Kemp the actor in the words : "As many alhailes to thy 
person as there be haicocks in luly at Pancredge." 
Afterwards the ever-encroaching metropolis drew near, 
and then covered the once pleasant fields with an inter- 
minable wilderness of bricks and mortar, of dwelling- 
places and shops, of factories and " works." 

* St. Pancras was the son of Cledonius, a Phrygian nobleman. At 
fourteen years of age he was taken to Rome by his uncle Dionysius ; 
after whose death, being apprehended as a Christian, and persisting in 
that doctrine before the Emperor Diocletian, he was beheaded, a.d. 286. 
— Dr. Huffhson's London. 

3-32 "an abomination of desolation." 

Last of all the Midland came ; and when it came 
wrought a mighty revolution. For its passenger station 
alone it swept away seven streets of three thousand 
houses, and a church ; Old St. Pancras Churchyard was 
invaded ; and Agar Town was almost demolished. Yet 
those who knew that district at that time have no regret 
at the change. Time was when here the wealthy owner 
of a large estate had lived in his mansion ; but after his 
departure the place became a very " abomination of desola- 
tion." In its centre was what Avas named La Belle Isle, 
a dreary and unsavoury locality, abandoned to mountains 
of refuse from the Metropolitan dust-bins, strewn with 
decaying vegetables and foul-smelling fragments of what 
had once been fish, or occupied by knackers' yards and 
manure-making, bone-boiling, and soap manufacturing 
works, and smoke-belching potteries and brick-kilns. 
At the broken windows and doors of mutilated houses 
canaries still sang and dogs still lay sleeping in tlie sun, 
to remind one of the vast colonies of bird and dog- 
fanciers who formerly made Agar Town their abode ; 
and from these dwellings wretched creatures came, in 
rags and dirt, and searched amid the far-extending refuse 
for the filthy treasure by the aid of which they eked out a 
miserable livelihood ; while over the neighbourhood the 
gasworks poured their mephitic vapours, and the canal 
gave forth its rheumatic dampness, extracting in return 
some of the more poisonous ingredients from the atmo- 
sphere, and spreading them upon the surface of the 
water in a tliick scum of various and ominous hues. 
Such was Agar Town before the Midland came. 

But it was some time after the Midland Company re- 
solved to occupy the ground before Cosmos arose out of 
Chaos. The ground was " cleared," so to speak, of its 
former dwellings and population ; but it long presented a 
scene more confused and desolate than it is possible to 



describe. On every hand were huge mounds of eartli ; 
heaps of burning clay ; the fragments of streets ; and 
labourers digging in holes and passages thirty or forty 
feet below the level of the earth, apparently intent on 
something ; but what that something was, no one could 
divine. Parallel with the Euston Road a mighty trench 


was made, in which eventually a tunnel was laid for the 
use of the Metropolitan Company, when it needs to 
double its present railway. Further back, another mighty 
cutting came sweeping round, along which the Midland 
Company's underground junction with the Metropolitan 
was to be made. So vast indeed were these subterranean 
operations, that the St. Paucras Station is, in fact, as a 
writer has remarked, "like an iceberg, the greater por- 
tion below tlie surface ; " and, remarkable as is the en- 
gineering skill displayed in the mighty building which 

* This engraving represents the scene as it appeared under what is 
now the froid of the hoteL The hoarding on the left cut ott' the 
Euston Road from the works. 



towers so majestically above all its neighbours, "it is as 
nothing compared with that, not indeed ' displayed,' but 
cancealed below." For right underneath the monster 
railway station are two other railways, one above another, 
and none the less wonderful because they will never see 
the light of day, but are " irrevocably doomed to ' waste 
their sweetness ' on even less than desert air. These 


works are the Underground Railway and the Fleet Sewer;" 
while the branch of the Metropolitan that joins the 
Midland, " not only crosses it ' slaiitendicularly ' at the 
southern extremity, but thence runs up under the western 
side of the station, only to recross at its northern end 
to the eastern side, where it gradually rises to its 
junction about a mile down the line." 

The Fleet Sewer was a very difficult work. The 
Underground Railway operations were " comparatively 


simple — the mere driving of a tunnel in a somewhat 
eccentric direction and throug^h rather delicate eround. 
The Fleet Sewer affair involved the ' taking up ' a main 
artery of metropolitan drainage, the diversion of a minia- 
ture — indeed scarcely a miniature — Styx, whoso black 
and foetid torrent had to be transferred from its bed of 
half -rotten bricks to an iron tunnel running in an entirely 
different direction, and that, too, without the spillino- of 
' one drop of Christian ' sewage. To what signal grief 
came the Metropolitan Company, in its dealings with this 
identical difficulty, will be remembered. It is no little to 
the credit of the engineers of the present undertakino- 
that, profiting, no doubt, by the experience then so 
dearly purchased, they have succeeded in their delicate 
task without an accident or a hitch." 

In designing the St. Pancras Station, it was found 
that, in order to cross the Regent's Canal at a suitable 
height, and to secure good gradients and proper levels 
for stations at Camden Town, Kentish Town, and Haver- 
stock Hill, it would be necessary to raise the level of the 
terminus from twelve to seventeen feet above the Euston 
Road, which passes in front; and originally it was in- 
tended to obtain this elevation by making a solid embank- 
ment of earth. Second thoughts, however, were best; 
for the station being bounded on three sides by roads, 
and the difference of elevation being such as to admit of 
the construction of a lower floor with direct access to these 
streets, it was resolved that the whole area should be pre- 
served for traffic purposes, and that communication with 
the rails should be secured by means of a hydraulic lift 
opposite the centre of the station, at the north entrance. 
It was also determined that iron columns and girders, in- 
stead of brick piers and arches should be used ; and, as the 
area was to be devoted to the accommodation of Burton 
beer traffic, the distances between the supports were ar- 



ranged at such intervals as to allow of the largest number 
of barrels of beer being placed between them. These dis- 
tances were found to be twenty-nine feet four inches. As 
the great outlines of the superstructure had necessarily 
to be adjusted to the position of the supports below, the 
unit of the entire fabric came to be founded on the length 
of a barrel of beer. 

The changes thus contemplated were so important 


that they led to a reconsideration of the question of 
roofing the station. " It became obvious," said Mr. 
Barlow, the consulting engineer of the Midland Com- 
pany, "that if intermediate columns were employed, 
they must be carried down through the lower floor, be 
about sixty feet in length, and of much larger diameter 
than the rest of the columns under the station. More- 

THE EOOF. 337 

over, these columns must have carried large areas of 
roofing in addition to the flooring, involving a greatly 
increased weight on its foundations, which must have 
been enlarged accordingly ; and as some of them would 
necessarily have been placed on the tunnel of the St. 
Pancras branch, special means and increased expense 
would have been required to carry the imposed weight 
at these places." 

On the other hand, if an arched roof were used that 
spanned the station, then its floor girders would make a 
ready-made tie ; all the usual arrangements of roller ties 
required in ordinary roofs to provide for the eff*ect3 of 
variations of temperature, would be avoided ; the cost of 
the columns and their foundations, and of a longitudinal 
girder to connect them, and of a valley drain between 
the roofs, would be saved ; and the whole area would be 
available for station purposes. When, therefore, it is con- 
sidered, says Mr. Barlow, " that the Company obtained 
their station in the metropolis at such great cost for land 
and works ; that its total area, in reference to the extent of 
railway, is less than that of any of the other important 
metropolitan termini ; and that the Midland system is not 
yet in communication with all its expected sources of traffic, 
— the sacrifice of a width of five or six feet, for the entire 
length of the most valuable part of the working space of 
the station, could hardly have been justified, even if the 
saving had been greater than is estimated. As the sta- 
tion has been built, the whole working area is free from 
obstruction of any kind ; and the Company may make any 
alterations in the arrangements of the lines and platforms 
which may from time to time best suit their large and 
growing traffic. The roof is of great strength ; it is not 
more costly than other roofs previously erected ; and in 
regard to its general eff'ect and appearance, it will pro- 
bably not be deemed unsuitable for the London terminus 



of SO great and important a system of railways as tliat 
of the Midland Company." 

But we must now go down into the foundations and 
see how the work of construction is being carried on. 
In what seems to be the confusion of earthworks worse 
confounded, the men are laying vast quantities of con- 
crete one-and-twenty feet down in the London clay, and 
fifty-four feet below the surface of the ground ; on these 
they will build massive brick piers ; the piers will carry 
the columns that support the floor, and each brick pier 
will have to stand a pressure of five-and-fifty tons. 
Gradually order appears. The work of 100 steam lifts, 
1000 horses, and 6000 men, tell their tale. The colossal 
brick walls and arches which form the underground 
tunnels are built deep down in the cuttings prepared 
to receive them ; 720 cast-iron columns, each thirteen 
inches in diameter, are set with stone bases on the 
piers; across the station are forty-nine main wrought- 
iron girders ; fifteen similar ones are placed longi- 
tudinally ; 2000 intermediate girders and innumerable 
"buckle" plates are riveted together; and thus arise 
four acres and a half of what will serve at once as 
the roof of the cellars and the floor of the future 
passenger station. Its strength is everywhere sufficient 
to carry the enormous weight of locomotives. The 
cost of the ironwork was £3 a square yard. 

Such being the construction of the cellar and floor of 
the station, we may now look at the superstructure. 
Under ordinary circumstances, an erection of this kind 
would consist of two side walls with a roof resting upon 
them, but in this instance it may be described as all 
roof. The girders of the walls and roof spring directly 
from the undermost foundation, and the iron floor of the 
station takes the place of ties which hold the whole 
together. These roof girders, too, are of remarkable 


construction, resembling in their appearance a lobster's 
claw, fromVhicli the shorter nipper has been broken off; 
and instead of being set, so to speak, horizontally, they 
are fixed vertically in pairs, the two pointed extremities 
meeting, and forming a Gothic arch overhead. 

In the arrangement of these girders a special contin- 
gency had to be guarded against. It was not enough, by 
means of massive concrete and brick foundations, to resist 
the pressure dowiuoards, it was necessary also to provide 
ample resistance against all pressure upwards. " A build- 
ing 100 feet in height by 700 in length offers, as may 
well be imagined, a considerable object for the attack of 
a gale of wind ; and, being too tightly bolted together to 
run any risk of being blown down, like an ordinary 
structure of wood and brick, exchanges this danger for 
that of being blown bodily over, like a ship thrown on 
lier beam ends by a squall of wind, or carried up, like an 
unruly umbrella, straight into the sky. To provide 
against these contingencies, the same piers which prevent 
it from sinking: into the c:round are also utilized to 
prevent its being lifted from it. Through each pier, at 
a distance of twenty-one feet below the surface, is run an 
" anchor plate " of great strength, and to the extremities 
of these each girder is made fast, by means of strong 
iron rods three inches in diameter. Each girder, there- 
fore, if it lifts, must not only lift with it the enormous 
additional weight of a solid brick pier twenty-one feet 
in depth, but must drag this mass, like a stupendous 
double tooth, from the solid earth in which it is em- 

Having provided against these two dangers, there is 
yet a third. Besides the weight to be supported and 
the lifting tendency to be restrained, there is also what 
is termed the lateral " thrust." In a building of ordinary 
construction this is partly borne by the walls on which 


it rests, and these are strengthened by buttresses, erected 
where the pressure comes. In this roof the " thrust " is 
resisted by the solid ground itself, in which the lower end 
of each girder is, as we have seen, embedded, while the 
iron floor of the station supplies the place of ties, and 
binds the whole structure together. For all structural 
purposes, therefore, the building was complete before any 
of the walls were commenced ; and they are in fact mere 
screens or partitions, contributing in no way towards the 
solidity of the edifice. " In result we have an arch, not 
only of extraordinary lightness and beauty, but of equally 
extraordinary strength ; whilst in point of economy the 
difference in the walls and the dispensing with the ties 
give it obviously an almost equal advantage." The 
weight of each of the principal arches is fifty tons. We 
may add that when the roof of the station was originally 
designed by Mr. Barlow, it was his intention that it should 
at the south end "terminate against the walls, in the same 
way as the roofs of the Cannon Street and the Charing 
Cross stations. But the acceptance of Mr. Gilbert 
Scott's desisfn for the station offices and hotel led to this 
an^angement being departed from. In the original 
design the hotel was carried over the upper portion of 
the southern range of station offices ; but as it was 
feared the steam and smoke of the engines would find 
entrance into the hotel windows, Mr. Scott planned a 
second gable and screen for the southern end, so as to 
separate the passenger station from the hotel buildings." 
The method by which this stupendous structure was 
reared was not a little remarkable. In order to provide 
an elevation from which the men could work to raise the 
girders and form the roof, a new plan was adopted. A gi- 
gantic travelling scaffold was designed by the Butterley 
Company, Mr. (now Sir) G. J. N. Alleyne being the mana- 
ger. It consisted of two parts, each made in three di- 


\dsions, so that each part of either stage could be moved 
separately; and eight miles in length of massive timber, 
1000 tons weiofht, and containinor about 25,000 cubic feet 
of timber and eighty tons of ironwork, were used in their 
formation. Besides these, there were more than 200 tons 
of timber employed in fixing them together ; and 100 tons 
of stone and iron were usually in actual use upon them, 
making: a total of 1300 tons ; the whole of which had to 
be carried upon an area of the station not exceeding 
90 feet in length and 200 in width; or, in other words, 
by not more than 96 of the iron columns planted below. 

Here then was an enormous scaffolding of 1300 tons 
weight ; but it was even more startling to discover that 
it stood upon wheels, that the wheels rested on rails, 
that the rails extended from one end of the station to the 
other, and that thus the same scaffolding availed for 
every part. The process by which the movement was 
accomplished was very simple. A workman was stationed 
at each wheel, who placed a crowbar in such a position 
that it could be brought to bear against the wheel. 
When all were ready, a signal-man stood with a loose iron 
plate and a hammer, which were to serve as a gong, and 
the moment he struck it each workman pressed his crow- 
bar lever-like asfainst the wheel. The whole mass at 
once moved a distance of about an inch and a half, and 
this with very little exertion on the part of the men. 
The sisrnal was as^ain sounded, the movement was 
repeated, and any required distance was reached in a few 
minutes. "We may add, that when the scaffolding was 
done with, it was bought by the Company at the rate of 
about 9(Z. a foot, instead of its full value of about lofZ., 
and that half of it was cat up, with which to form the 
wooden block pavement of the station. 

No other roof of so vast a span has been attempted. It 
is double the width of the Asrricultural Hall at Isling^ton. 


It is ten yards wider than the two arches of the Great 
Northern terminus, each of which is only 105 feet. 
We say " only"; yet it is but the other day when those 
arches were considered to be a triumph of modern 
engineering. There is in fact in the world nothing of 
the kind that will bear comparison with it. Yet, gigantic 
as " is its span, — for it measures 240 feet across, and 
rises to a heiQ:ht of 100 feet above the rail level, — and 
constructed as it has been of hundreds of tons of iron 
framing, it looks so light and pretty from below, that the 
first impression is that it cannot possibly bear even the 
glass and slate with which it has been covered. It is only 
when the pieces of framework are examined separately 
before being lifted into their places, and the elaborate 
system of interlacing is seen, under which each section is 
made to bind the other until the whole is girdered and 
' tied ' together in almost indissoluble bonds, that all 
fears vanish, and any sceptic has the ground fairly taken 
from beneath him." 

The strengtli of this vast structure is, indeed, enor- 
mous, and even surprised so experienced an engineer 
as Mr. Barlow. One day, shortly after the roof was 
finished, when visiting the works, he found a party of 
men engaged in raising some of the iron girders which 
form the screen that hangs across the northern end of 
the roof. These men had fastened a block, not to one of 
the principals, but one of the cross pieces, and not at the 
crown of the arch, but at the side of the arch ; through 
this block they had passed a rope, and with it they were 
raising masses of iron weighing up to as much as seven 
tons each. Mr. Barlow at once interposed ; but he was 
assured by an experienced subordinate in charge of the 
details of the work, that they had lifted even heavier 
weights by the same means with perfect safety on the 
dnv before ; and an assistant, who was directed to ascer- 


taia the deflection produced by the strain, found that 
it amounted to only tiiree sixteenths of an inch, and 
that the moment the weight was removed the iron 
recovered its position. 

The rapidity with which the work of erecting the 
station was carried on was remarkable. The last fourteen 
principals of the roof were placed in their position in 
seventeen weeks, each being 29 feet 4 inches from the 
other ; and the slating and glazing followed at the same 
speed. There are two acres and a half of glass in the 
roof. " In consequence," says Mr. Barlow, " of a delay 
in obtaining face-bricks for the side walls, a considerable 
number of ribs were erected, boarded, slated, and glazed 
before the side walls were built ; and in that state the roof 
endured several gales of wind, one of which was un- 
usually heavy, without the slightest visible movement." 

As now completed there are now three levels of rail- 
way, one above another, at this station : the lowest is the 
St. Pancras branch down to the Metropolitan ; it crosses 
on a curve obliquely from the western to the eastern side. 
Above this are the rails of the lower floor which com- 
municates with the street ; and above this again are 
the rails and platforms of the passenger station. There 
is also the portion of the second line of the Metropolitan 
Eailway, which passes under the end of the hotel and 
under the southern approaches of the station. Of the 
magnitude of the work generally, some idea may be 
gathered from the fact that in the station and its 
approaches some 60,000,000 of bricks, 9000 tons of 
iron, and 80,000 cubic feet of fourteen diff"erent kinds of 
dressed stone have been employed. 

It may be interesting to add that the twent3'-four main 
ribs, with bolts, ornamental spandrils, etc., cost some- 
thing more than £1000 apiece. It is estimated that a 
roof with two spans instead of one would have cost only 


about £6000 less. "With reference to the colourinsr of 
the roof of the station, an important improvement has 
lately been made. When originally completed, it was of 
a dark-brown hue, and looked heavy and dull. " Its 
colour," said Mr. Allport, in a discussion on the subject 
of the St. Pancras Terminus, which took place before the 
Institution of Ci\al Engineers, " in his opinion marred, to 
some extent, the grand appearance which the station 
would otherwise have exhibited. He thought the colour- 
ing of a roof ought, as much as possible, to be made to 
represent nature ; and he certainly never saw a sky the 
colour of that roof — not even when it was cloudy. He 
had discussed this matter with Mr. Barlow and Mr. 
Gilbert Scott on several occasions, and be believed the 
latter had come round to the opinion, that the colouring 
ought to be different from what it was. Nature, it had 
been said, never erred ; and in colouring walls nature 
should be imitated as closely as possible. AVhcn the sky 
Avas cloudy, it was a light white colour, or pale grey ; 
ordinarily it was a beautiful l)lue, sometimes tinged with 
tints of vermilion and gold." ^Ir. Allport's arguments 
have, happily, prevailed ; and the roof of St. Pancras 
station has recently been repainted and decorated with a 
blue sky-like appearance.* 

Of the general appearance of the St. Pancras terminus 
the reader can judge for himself. Occupying a site in 
the Euston Road, between the Great Northern and 
London and North Western stations, it is incomparably 
more complete and ornate than either of them. The 
design of the station offices and hotel is from the pencil 
of Mr. G. Scott ; it was selected from a number sent in 

* Objection has been made by observers to the disfigurement of the 
station bj the advertisements upon some of tlie walls. The only argu- 
ment to be advanced in their favour is, that tliey bring into the pockets 
of the Midland shareholders something like £1000 a year. 


for competition ; and is in the ornate Pointed Gotliic style. 
Ttie total frontafye is about 600 feet. It is not too 


much to say that "it is one of the chief architectural 
ornaments of the metropolis," — that it is " a veritable 
railway palace." As another authority has declared, it is 
" the most perfect in every possible respect in the world." 

Before we take our place in the train, and journey over 
the Midland system, there is one part of the station which 
deserves special notice. It is the Grand Hotel, which, 
when completed in a few weeks, will be unsurpassed and 
probably unequalled for combined comfort and magni- 
ficence in Europe. The other day we had the pleasure, 
in company with the manager, of seeing over it from the 
laundries and kitchens to the summit of the clock tower, 
and it may be interesting to our readers to know in 
detail what the final arrauo^ements will be. 

The entrance into the hotel for foot passengers and 
carriages will be direct from the Euston Road into the 
western curved w^ing. Alighting under a magnificent 
porch, the guest will find himself in a large hall. Imme- 
diately to the right are the offices of the manager, for 
" information," and of the bedroom clerk ; and on the left 
is one for hall porters, and for letters and parcels. Pass- 
ing along the corridor, there is a small sitting or waiting 
room on the left ; then a gentlemen's lavatory ; and 
above, up a mezzenin, or half-flight of stairs, a ladies' 
lavatory. Further on is the passenger lift, and in a 
recess to our left the luggage lift, both of which ascend 
to the fifth story, and are worked by hydraulic power. 
Immediately to our right we enter the general coff'ee 
room, which sweeps along the whole curved wing of the 
building, 100 feet long by 30, and 24 feet high, and ven- 
tilated with shafts. Close by are the waiters' pantry and 
the still-room, whence dinners and tea and coffee are 


Turning tlirougli a door at our left, we find ourselves 
at the foot and in front of the grand staircase. It rises 
to the third floor, is lighted bj three two-light windows 
which continue up to the roof, a height of 80 feet, and 
are divided by four transom windows ; the whole being 
crowned by a groined ceiling, with stone ribs and carved 
bosses at the intersections, filled in with Portland con- 
crete a foot thick, the face being finished with Parian 
cement, which some day will be coloured and decorated. 
The groined ribs spring from stone corbels, and are sup- 
ported by green Irish polished marble columns. 

Ascending the first floor of this staircase, on turning 
to the right we again pass the lifts and lavatories, and 
reach the general drawing and reading room, a spa- 
cious and beautifully decorated and furnished apart- 
ment. The five front windows look into Euston Road, 
over a terrace, whicli will be adorned with flowers and 
plants, and covered with an awning in summer. Three 
side windows look westward down Euston Road, and 
three others eastward alone: the whole fronta^fe of the 
building. From hence we enter the music room, 
another splendidly furnished apartment; and immediately 
adjoining there will be " the private coffee room," for 
the use of which it is intended to make a somewhat 
higher charge, in order to keep it more select. AVe are 
now near the west end of the corridor, which runs from 
one end of the building to the other, a total distance of 
some 600 feet, and conducting to the noble suites of bed- 
rooms and sitting-rooms with which present visitors to 
the hotel are familiar. 

We pass along the deep-piled silent Axminster car})el . 
On our right are suites of rooms, with a balcony in front, 
looking out upon the wide space in front of the hotel 
and on to the Euston Road. The spacious and lofty 
apartments, the handsome furniture, the Brussels carpets. 


the massive silken or woollen curtains, and the pinoleum 
blinds ; the wardrobes, chests of drawers, clocks, writing- 
tables, sofas, arm-chairs, with which they are supplied, 
leave nothing to be desired by the wealthiest and the most 
refined. On the north side of the corridor are apartments 
equally well appointed, side by side with others less spa- 
cious ; while on the floors above there are from three to 
four hundred other bedrooms, of various sizes, but all 
finished and furnished with completeness. Yet all are 
to be enjoyed with such moderation of cost that it is 
obvious that the design of the Company has not been 
how to make the largest amount of profit out of the 
hotel, but to give the largest amount of comfort to their 

Continuing our ascent of the grand staircase, we reach 
the second floor. This is wholly occupied by private 
apartments and single bedrooms. The western wing can 
easily be extended so as to give, on four floors, fifty 
additional bedrooms. 

From the eastern end of the fifth floor we enter a room 
which leads into the clock tower. Here we climb a series 
of iron ladders, and at length find ourselves out on the 
open, 130 feet above the ground. Above are the four 
faces of the clock. They are of iron and glass ; they are 
thirteen feet in diameter; and they are illuminated at 
night. The hour hands are three feet seven inches, and 
the minute hands six feet in length. This clock, as well 
as that over the platform, was constructed by Mr. John 
Walker, of Cornhill, London.* From our lofty elevation 
outside the clock tower we look around and beneath. 
Far below is the mighty roof of the station itself, with 

* The platform clock dial is of slate. It is eighteen feet in diameter. 
The length of the hour hand is four feet five, and that of the minute 
hand seven feet three. It is the largest clock at any railway station in 


its ribs and rido-cs of o^lass and iron. There are also the 
Great Northern Station and Hotel, both seeming dwarfed 
in their proportions by the contrast with the Midland. 
The dome of St. Paul's and the column of the Monument 
are beneath the level on which we stand ; while for miles 
in all directions stretch interminable lines of streets, the 
roofs of countless thousands of houses, the spires of 
churches, and the vast black swollen receivers of gas- 
Avorks ; while just beneath us, adorning a lofty pinnacle 
of the hotel, a giant figure of Britannia looks benignly 
over to the east, with her trident in her hand, but, sad to 
say, with an electric rod thrust into the crown of her 
head ! The clock tower itself is 240 feet in height. 

"We descend into the basement of the hotel, where, 
however, there are more departments of interest than we 
can stay to describe. We walk over the sawdust-strewn 
floors to the bottling room, where the bottler is at work ; 
celhir after cellar is unlocked for us, wliere perhaps 
£10,000 -worth of wine is treasured up in thirty-six 
gallon casks piled one upon another, or stored away in 
stacks of bottles arranged with geometrical precision in 
open wooden bins. Here is the plate room, where the 
elejrant handiwork of Messrs. Elkinofton is cleaned and 
placed ready for use. Xow we stand in the kitchen, 
before a fireplace with a vast iron screen full of iron 
cupboards that keep plates, dishes, and covers hot 
for use ; and turning back the screen, we see the huge 
fire, in front of which a couple of dozen joints could be 
cooked at once. " Potatoes for one," says a voice 
behind us, for an order to that effect has come on a 
ticket down the lift ; "potatoes for one," repeats a sub- 
ordinate, who with a little gum sticks a ticket on the 
handle of the cover under which the said potatoes are 
immediately deposited ; a warning bell rings, and the 
lift carries ticket and potatoes swiftly away to their 


destination. And as with the potatoes so with ten 
thousand other commodities and comestibles every day. 

We linger for a moment in the refectory, where the 
chief pastrycook and his assistants are at work. A 
wedding party is at breakfast upstairs, and we watch 
the cunning skill with which the wondrous piles of viands 
of magic mould and brilliant hue and wondrous delicacy 
have been reared, the builder striving to deceive even 
the connoisseur as to the composition of the dish before 
him, and to make him feel, as he thrusts his spoon into 
the mystic mass, that he is solving a conundrum. Here 
is a mighty salmon girt around the ribs with a gorgeous 
wrapping, and with a parsley crown about his neck, — a 
victim adorned for sacrifice ; while there, in one fell pile, 
the breasts of a whole covey of partridges lie in a rounded 
glistering tomb of jelly. 

We pause for moment to cool ourselves before the bed 
of ice covered with canvas, on w^hich rest fowls, game, 
and fish, oysters in their shells and shell-less. We 
notice in the next apartment that the vegetables are 
cooked by steam, in iron steam-chests (fortunately 
guarded with safety valves) ; and then we are in the 
boiler room, with two boilers of IG horses each, which 
alternately supply steam and steam-power for the whole 

Hard by is the laundry. Here the washing machine, 
six feet in diameter, boils by steam and washes to a snowy 
hue from 2500 to 3000 pieces of linen a day of average 
size ; in twenty minutes the centrifugal wringing machine 
will extract all the water; and after having passed through 
the drying closets, the heated rollers of the two steam 
mangling machines will bring them a stage nearer fitness 
for use ; and finally the airing room will, we dare say, 
finish them off. But of that we know nothing except that 
from the fervent heat of its threshold we made a precipi- 


tate retreat. The linen of visitors staying at the hotel 
is got up in a department by itself. Whichever of these 
subterranean abodes we visited, order, cleanhness, and 
method seemed to reign supreme. 

Among the minor arrangements we may mention that 
the ventilation of the kitchens is conducted up the " ser- 
vice " staircase and shaft, being completely separated 
from the establishment generally ; that a dust shaft runs 
from the top floor to the bottom, provided with a closed 
mouth on each for the reception of dust, and terminating 
in a fireproof cistern ; that apparatus for the prevention 
and extinction of fires is provided in all parts of the 
hotel ; that electric bells and speaking tubes run in all 
necessary directions, giving the maximum of accommoda- 
tion with the minimum of noise ; and that an office for 
the receipt of letters is found on every floor, a leaden 
weight coming down from the top to the bottom each 
time the letters are despatched, in order to prevent any 
one of them being by chance lodged in the tube in its 

We may add that the manager, Mr. Etzensberger, has 
for many years had charge of the Victoria Hotel, in 
Venice, and also for several years the commissariat of 
the Nile steamers as far as the first cataract ; and we 
have no doubt that the hotel will fulfil the prediction of 
Auofustus Sala, that it is " destined to be one of the most 
prosperous, as it is certainly the most sumptuous and 
the best conducted hotel in the empire." 

But our train is alongside the departure platform, 
ready to start ; so we must away, asking our kind reader 
to accompany us in our journey, and we will endeavour 
to beguile the way by telling some facts of interest with 
regard to the ^Midland line over which we travel, and by 
pointing out some objects worthy of special notice in the 
scenes among which we pass. 


The train has scarcely left the platform of the station, 
when we find that we are crossing over the graveyard 
that belongs to Old St. Pancras Church. The difficulty of 
carrying the line here without any avoidable disturbance of 
the graves of the dead was extreme ; and, although every 
precaution was adopted, it is said that a serio-comic 
incident occurred. " The company had purchased a new 
piece of ground in which to re-inter the human remains 
discovered in the part they required. Amongst them 
was the corpse of a high dignitary of the French Romish 
Church. Orders were received for the transhipment of 
the remains to his native land, and the delicate work of 
exhuming the corpse was entrusted to some clever grave- 
diggers. On opening the ground they were surprised to 
find, not bones of one man, but of several. Three skulls 
and three sets of bones were yielded by the soil in which 
they had lain mouldering. The difficulty was, how to 
identify the bones of a French ecclesiastic amid so many. 
After much discussion, the shrewdest gravedigger sug- 
gested that, being a foreigner, the darkest coloured 
skull must be his. Acting upon this idea, the blackest 
bones were sorted and put together, until the requisite 
number of rights and lefts were obtained. These were 
reverently screwed up in a new coffin, conveyed to 
France, and buried with all the pomp and circumstance 
of the Roman Catholic Church." 

After passing the churchyard, we cross over the Regent's 
Canal. Here during the construction of the works was a 
scene of the busiest activity. *' Engines," said a writer at 
the time, " are flittinof to and fro, drag^o-inor trains loaded 
with bricks to the station, and returning laden with cla}^ 
Employed in the manufacture of the bricks are two 
machines that turn out 20,000 each per day, and two 
others that manufacture 10,000 each per day. These 
are dried and burnt by a new mode, which is the inven- 


tion of a German, and while the bricks are being burnt, 
the clay mould is drying. The building in which this is 
done is circular, divided into 24 cells, each capable of 
receiving 15,000 bricks. A chimney passage goes from 
the interior of each cell to a centre shaft, and the roof of 
the cells forms the drying ground for the clay. Over 
the whole is a light tile roof. By this arrangement the 
most important processes in brickraaking are carried on 
independently of the weather." 

The line now passes under the Xorth London Railway 
by a bridge of three arches ; and their construction was 
a matter of no ordinary difficulty, on account of the 
ceaseless traffic on the lines above ; it was, however, ac- 
complished without the interruption of an hour. The Mid- 
land main line is here joined on the right by the branch 
which comes up from the Metropolitan. The lines ac- 
tually converge near the Camden covered way ; but the 
point for the transfer of passengers is at Kentish Town 
station, where every arrangement is provided for the inter- 
change of communication between the Midland, the Me- 
tropolitan, and the London, Chatham and Dover systems. 

Immediately north of Kentish Town is a locomotive 
establishment, with sheds for 48 engines. Here, too, the 
Tottenham and Hampstead branch line diverges to the 
left, and, rising by a steep gradient, passes over the main 
line, and bears away to the right. By its means access is 
obtained to several suburbs of interest in the north of 
London ; and also, via Stratford, to the Victoria Docks, 
and to the Great Eastern system generally. It is a 
matter of great convenience to residents in the west of 
the metropolis, that they can travel to many of the chief 
towns on the Great Eastern, vict St. Pancras, instead of 
having to go as far east as Broad Street. This is the 
route usually taken by the Prince of Wales when he goes 
down to Sandringham. 


A little north of Kentish Town we pass Haverstock 
Hill Station. Here in the cutting we observe that, in 
addition to the massive retaining walls erected on either 
hand, iron girders stretch across the line from wall to 
wall to help to resist the inordinate pressure of the Lon- 
don clay. At the entrance to Belsize Tunnel it was found 
necessary even to erect a series of arches or bridges over 

/■■■''■ ■ 


the line, the lights and shadows of which, as the traveller 
passes under them, have a surprising effect. 

This London clay, though troublesome to the engi- 
neer, has however its merits. Of it London is built. It 
fills up what was an ancient gulf of the ocean, and varies 
from 300 to 600 feet in thickness. Its dark touch soil 
is occasionally intermixed with green and ferruo-inous 
sand and variegated clays, and it contains enormous quan- 

A A 


titles of organic remains. The fossils of this deposit, — 
crabs, lobsters, and other Crustacea, and leaves, fruits, 
stems of plants, and trunks of trees, — are innumerable. 
And it may not make a railway journey through these 
clay cuttings less interesting when we know that we are 
riding where crocodiles and turtles have formerly walked, 
and where nautili have spread their sails to the wind. 

AVe have now entered Belsize Tunnel. The ceremony 
of laying the first brick of tliis important work took place 
on the 27th of January-, ISG-j, at Barham Park, and was 
in the midst of a driving snowstorm, and of a foot deep 
of half melted snow. A score or thirty gentlemen as- 
sembled to support Mr. Price, then the deputy chairman 
of the Midland Company, who was to officiate on the 
occasion ; and the brick, bearing his initials, was laid 
some five feet below the surface of the ground in a 
circular cutting that would eventually form the shaft ; 
"the said brick being destined, by the gradual under- 
mining of the earth beneath, to take its place at the bottom 
of the shaft, where it joins the top of the tunnel." A 
short and lively address from ^Ir. Price released the 
shivering group from their duty, and they adjourned to 
a large timber shed, where the contractor had provided 
luncheon; where, as the deputy chairman remarked, each 
sought to " manifest an honoural)le rivalry to excel ;" and 
where "an amount of energy and cheerful industry" 
were witnessed which had only to be imitated by other 
labourers on the field, and eventually all material obstruc- 
tions to their great enterprise would pass away. 

During the subsequent progress of this work the scene 
presented was one of much interest, though perhaps to 
many it could scarcely be called attractive. " We obtain 
access to the tunnel," says a Avriter, whose vivid descrip- 
tion we are happy to quote, " tlirough the contractor's 
yard, quite a little town in itself, witli its offices, dwell- 


ings, workshops, stables, etc. About 150 men are em- 
ployed in or near tlie yard, and it is the home of above 
100 horses. Mr. Firbank has about 1300 men employed 
upon his length, and many portions of the work are pro- 
secuted night and day without intermission. The tunnel 
is about a mile and a quarter in length, and in many 
parts above 100 feet deep. The stuff, or ' muck,' as our 
guide seemed accustomed to call it, is uniformly clay, but 
not uniform in its density. In some cases it has been 
met with so hard as to require to be blasted by gun- 
powder. We have heard of many stories that have been 
considered apocryphal, of live toads being found in blocks 
of stone and coal ; but it is a true story, we believe, 
that in this tunnel a live frog has been found, imbedded 
in the stiff clay, at a depth of 80 feet from the surface. 

" There are five shafts to the tunnel, two of which are to 
be permanent. We did not splash through the clay, — it 
was too tough for splashing ; but getting to the shaft 
mouth, — and dodging the two gin horses that are em- 
ployed to raise and lower the workmen, to haul up the 
clay, and to lower the timber, bricks, mortar, and other 
materials, — we sprawled the best way we could into one of 
the clay wagons, and were swung off and let down to the 
bottom. On our way we asked our guide (who answered 
any question put to him very cheerfully, but was l)y no 
means a speechmaker) * What is that pipe for ? and 
that? and that?' And the answers were, 'for air, 
water, and gas.' And so, sure enough, we found, when 
we got bumped out at the bottom, and hastened, to the 
serious damage of our shins, from under the dripping 
wet and very heavy pellets which kept descending the 
shaft, that the tunnel is actually lit with gas, and sup- 
plied with water and air from the upper regions. AVe 
had no occasion to make a note that the expenditure 
of gas was on a profligate scale. 


" The lights, however, were only where the workers 
needed them, and we gladly accepted a tallow caudle, 
with an improvised clay socket, to light us on our way in 
this Plutonian region. About eighty yards on each side 
of the bottom of the shaft there is a species of illumina- 
tion, and strange sounds proceed from both quarters. 
Passing along in one direction we reach the lights, and 
liml about a dozen men at work, half a dozen with pick- 
axes tearing away at the tough clay, and accompanying 
every stroke with a stentorian noise, half grunt, half 
groan, which may be a help, but which we thought a waste 
of hing power ; other men were constantly employed in 
filling the loosened clay into the railway trucks, which 
run on a gauge 1 foot 7 J- inches, and other two in 
pushing the filled trucks to, and the empty ones back 
from, the shaft bottom. The miners are protected by 
immensely strong shorings, which are shifted from time 
to time as need recpiires. Leaving the navvies at the 
end, we floundered to the other end of the tunnel, and 
then^ found half a dozen bricksetters casing the 12 feet 
length which had been cleared for them by the navvies. 
We may here remark that this is the uniform practice in 
each of the five shafts. Navvies having cleared a length 
of 12 feet, the centres are put up, and the bricklayers 
take their place, the miners proceeding to another end. 
Both of these classes work night and day continuously 
by relays. Some of the labourers in the tunnel work for 
two days and the intervening night without cessation. 
The finished tunnel is about 25 feet wide, and about 20 
feet from the crown of the arch to the bottom of the 
invert. The brickwork is 3 feet 6 inches thick all round. 
There are 33 cubic yards of brickwork in each lineal yard 
of tunnel, and every 12 feet lengtli consumes 50,000 

'* Returning up the shaft, we observe that it has bands 



of elm, which we learn are about ten inches by six, 
placed at distances of six feet. These were used, we 
believe, for the travelling downwards of the brickwork, 
which was commenced near the surface, and let down 
by gradual excavation — a method common in the con- 
struction of colliery shafts. The walls of the two per- 
manent shafts, one of which is twelve feet and the other 
fifteen feet in diameter, have to be lined with blue 
Staffordshire bricks, which are almost as hard as iron, 
and impervious to moisture. The walls of the shaft will 
then be about eighteen inches thick. 

" There is nothing very wonderful about boring a 
hill right on from one side, and coming through at the 
other, within a few yards to the right or left, higher or 
lower, than was intended ; but we confess to regard it as 
a great triumph of science and of engineering skill, that 
ten sets of men should be let down one hundred feet 
below the surface of the earth, and that two other sets 
should be set to work on the sides of the hill, and that 
all the twelve parties should meet, not in a zig-zag hole, 
but with an opening, even in roof, sides, and bottom, 
of a massive and costly tunnel." 

We may add that the tunnel runs askew under the 
well-known grove of trees on the hill of Belsize Park, 
the line being 120 feet beneath them. On emerging from 
the tunnel we pass under a railway, which is carried by a 
bridge over our heads. It is the Hampstead Junction of 
the London and North Western Company, running from 
Camden Town to Willesden. 

We now approach a place of some importance in the 
administration of the London goods and mineral traffic 
of the Midland Company — the Brent Junction. Here 
more than 150 acres of land have been obtained for the 
use of the locomotive department, and especially for the 
marshallino: of trains for the various lines in the neigh- 



bourliood of London to wliicli the Midland has access, 
or for their being re-marshalled as empties for the 
down traffic of the Midland Company. Here also the 
South "Western Junction bears away to the left, commu- 

r.uiLiiji:: I'Niuiu n\MisTEAD ji'Scri".N. 

nicating with the South Western system ; and over it 
throus^h Midland trains run direct to Richmond and 
other places to the south of the Thames. Access is also 
obtained from hence to Clapham Junction, which, Mr. 
Venables remarked, " is the road to everywhere." 

Leaving Hendon, the line runs in a direct course for 
many miles ; and to the left- of it, and almost parallel 
with it, is the old Roman road to St. Albans. A little 
more than a mile from Hendon, and nine miles from 
St. Pancras, a railway passes under the Midland. 
It is a branch of the Great Northern, and runs from 
that Company's main line, by Highgate and Finchley, 
to Edo-ware, which is about a mile and a half left of the 
Mill Hill Station of the Midland Railway. Here, upon 
the wooded hills to the right, may be seen the stately 
facade of Mill Hill School, under the able and successful 
presidency of Dr. Wearmouth. Its religious teaching 
is unsectarian. 

We are now passing through a district singularly rich 
and pleasant, which will doubtless become a favourite 
suburb of the metropolis ; and soon we reach the 


northern confines of the county. When we enter 
Woodcock Hill by Elstree tunnel, 1060 yards long, 
we are still in Middlesex ; before we have emerged at 
the northern end we are in Herts. The boundary, unless 
we can see through the carriage roof and the tunnel top, 
is invisible, for it is along the summit of the hill. On 
emerging from the tunnel, we have passed the village on 
our left. It stands on elevated ground, near the site of 
the Roman station of Sullonicce, one of the three princi- 
pal Roman stations connected with this county of 
which any traces remain. The manor was granted by 
Offa to St. Alban's Abbey. The village, thougli ancient 
and small, stands in four parislies. 

The county of Herts which we are now crossing lias 
many features of interest. " There is scarce one county 
in England," wrote Camden, that " can show more foot- 
steps of antiquity ;" and in the earliest times, he tells 
us, its hills gave shelter, its woods fuel and timber, and 
its ricli valleys and winding rivers furnished pasturage 
and food. " Its sweet, clean, and very beautiful air," 
says a later writer, " led many of our kings to build 
palaces in the county for their own residence, as well 
as for the traininof of their children." Nobles and 
gentlemen followed the example, so that the county 
became subdivided into a large number of comparatively 
small estates; and the competition for land became so 
keen that it was a common saying, that " He who buys 
land in Hertfordshire, pays two years' purchase for the 

At one time silk and cotton were largely manufactured 
in this county. Turnips were first introduced here in 
the time of Cromwell, who gave £100 to the farmer 
as a reward for his enterprise ; and wheat, at Wheat- 
liempsted, on the Lea, is so fine, that it has given its 
name to the district. 


Geologically, the county forms part of the Loudon 
chalk basin. There are some 47,000 acres of chalk 
in Herts, and we shall see much of it. Three miles 
from Elstree we reach Radlett station, which at one 
time it was proposed to name Aldenham, after another 
village in the neighbourhood. Soon after leaving Rad- 
lett, we cross over the little stream of the river Colne, 
and immediately afterwards pass on the left what some 
will consider to be the most picturesque residence on the 
Midland line ; while the cedars of Lebanon that adorn the 
park give dignity to the scene. It is Parkbury Lodge, 
formerly occupied by the Marquis of Blandford. 

We now run in an almost straight line till we come 
in sight of the town and abbey of St. Albans, to the 
left of which we see the wooded hills of Gorhambury, 
where Lord Bacon had his country residence. This 
place derived its name from one De Gorham, who, in the 
twelfth century, built a mansion, which being called 
Gorham-Bury, gave its name to the estate. Two hundred 
years afterwards it was re-annexed to the abbey, to which 
it had previously belonged ; some 200 years later Henry 
VIII. gave it away ; and subsequently Gorhambury was 
sold to Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal 
of Queen Elizabeth. 

At a short distance westward of the old mansion. Sir 
Nicholas erected a new one. Here he was frequently 
visited by the queen, who dated many state papers from 
Gorhambury. It is recorded that one day, when Sir 
Nicholas was *' under the hands of his barber, and the 
weather being sultry, he ordered a window before him 
to be thrown open." Being corpulent he fell asleep, 
and on awaking found himself in a cool draught, and 
"distempered all over." "Why," he demanded of the 
servant, "did you suffer me to sleep thus exposed ? " The 
man replied, that it was because he durst not awake 


liis master. " Then," said the Lord Keeper, " by your 
civihty I lose my life; " and in a few days afterwards he 

But while we have been telling this story of Gorham- 
bury, and long before we have finished it, we have 
passed another spot of interest, Sopwell Nunnery, and 
reached St. Albans. Sopwell Nunnery was founded 
in 1140, on, it is said, the site of a humble dwelling 
constructed of branches of trees by two women, who 
lived here in abstinence and seclusion. Tradition gives 
us an unlikely derivation from the fact that these 
women were wont to sop their crusts in a neighbouring 
well, and thus gave the name to the place. There were 
thirteen sisters, for whose support sundry estates were 
left. In 1541, Henry YIII. gave the site and buildings 
to Sir Richard Lee, who enlarged the premises as a 
dwelling, and the surrounding grounds he enclosed as a 
park with a wall. 

" The ruins," says Brayley, " are mostly huge frag- 
ments of wall of flint and brick ; the windows in what 
appear to have been the chief apartments are square 
and large, with stone frames ; some of them have been 
neatly ornamented." The gardens, he remarks, are now 
orchards; and in a wall over the door leading into 
the principal one is a square tablet of stone, sculptured 
with a fio^ure holdino; a broken sword. In an ano'le 
in this garden is a strongly arched brick building, with 
recesses and niches in the walls. " One of the out- 
buildings is yet standing at a little distance, and is used 
as a barn." 

Verulam was an important British city, and, accord- 
ing to the Roman historians, more ancient than Lon- 
don. British coins, said to have been struck here, bore 
the name of Yer. Under the Romans the town at- 
tained the dignity and privileges of a free city ; but this 


honour was dearly purchased by bringing upon it the 
vengeance of the hosts of Boadicea. Subsequently, 
however, it rose to its former lustre as a Roman city. 
During the persecution of the Christians under Dio- 
cletian, Albanus or Alban was here martyred ; and in 
order to inspire terror in others of his faith, the story of 
his death was inscribed on marble and built into the 
prison walls. Yet within a few years after the cessation 
of that persecution, a church was founded in honour of 
his memory, on tlie spot where the abbey church of St. 
Albans now stands ; and the marble that told the tale 
of his shame was removed, and memorials of his fidelity 
were erected, both there and over the city gates. 

The massiveness of the ruined walls, twelve feet in 
thickness, built of flint and Roman tiles; their wide extent ; 
the immense embankments, called the Yerulam hills, and 
the deep ditches against them ; the traces of temples ; 
the innumerable coins and other antiquities, — not to men- 
tion what Camden tells about marble pillars and cornices, 
and statues of silver and gold, — afford al)undant testimony 
of the magnificence of this ancient cit}'. 

Many a remarkable story, too, is told in the annals 
of yonder abbey. How it was enriched with costly 
garments and vessels, and with the relics of the saint, 
one of which, we are assured, was restored by monks 
from Nuremberg, who said that Canute had brought it 
to them. How the abbey was relieved from all ecclesi- 
astical jurisdiction except that of the Pope himself. How 
Henry II. withstood the Pope, and kept the abbacy 
vacant for months ; and how, when afterwards it was 
filled up, and the then Bishop of Lincoln wished to re- 
assume jurisdiction, the king demanded : " What is it, 
my lord of Lincoln, that you would attempt ? Do you 
think these things were done in secret ? I, m3^self, and 
the most chosen men of the realm, were present ; and 



what was then done is ratified by writiDgs the most 
incontestible, and confirmed by the testimony of the 
nobles. The determination stands good; and whoever 
sets himself to combat this abbot and monastery, combats 
me. What seek you ? to tonch the apple of mine eye ? " 
How it is recorded, many a year afterwards, that the 
abbey was furnished with the modern device of chimneys, 
probably the first occasion on which such an event is 
recorded. How within sound of its walls the battle of 



St. Albans was fought in 1455, the king, Henry VI., 
being present ; and a second battle a few years after- 
wards. How in the reign of " bloody Mary," " a little 
heap of ashes and a blackened circle on the grass " on 
the Abbey Green told that another martyr had fallen at 
St. Albans for the truth of God ; and how eventually the 
monastery was dissolved, and its lands divided : — all 
these are chronicles of undying interest and pathos, but 
over which we may not longer linger. 

To turn to conventional railway matters, we may 
mention that the staple trade of the town is gentlemen's 


straw hats ; ladies' hats being made at Luton. St. Albans 
is also a great place for watercresses. " When they are 
in season, and it is warm weather," remarked the station 
master, " we send away perhaps two tons or more a 
night, for months together. They go chiefly to London 
and Manchester, and are packed in hampers containing 
half a hundredweight each. The watercress beds extend 
for five or six miles over this district. They are regularly 
planted : a stone is placed on a bit of the stem, and 
in due time the whole becomes a mass of green." 

Leaving St. Albans we pass among beautiful hills 
and dales, woods and meadows, farms and farmsteads, 
till we see on the left an open common, running over 
the hillsides, and we soon reach the pretty village of 
Harpcndcn, nestling down along the side of the valley 
to the left of the line, and almost embosomed in wood. 
This place, fomiliarly called Harden, belonged in the 
reign of Edward I. to a family named De Hoo. The 
church appears to have been erected in Norman times. 
It is built in the form of a cross, with a tower at the 
west end. 

A mile north of Harpenden we run through AYestfield 
"Wood, soon after through Ashfield Wood ; and we think 
of the time when these Chiltern Hills were covered with 
dense forests, the haunts of wild bulls and stags, of 
bears and wolves, and the hiding-places of outlaws and 
robbers. We now see a river and a railway approaching 
us from the right. The former is the Lea, which gives 
its name to Luton and Leagreave, — " the gulfy Lea with 
sedgy tresses," as Pope said ; " the wanton Lea, that 
oft doth lose its way," as Spenser declared; The railway 
is the Luton and Dunstable branch of the Great North- 
ern. It diverges from the main line between Hatfield 
and Welwyn, and, bending to the west, here passes 
under the Midland line, and proceeds with a devious 


course on through Luton to Dunstable. Immediately 
after we have passed over it we cross the Lea, and are in 
Bedfordshire. From hence on to Luton the view is very 
beautiful. We look down from the embankment upon 
the rich masses of beech and birch woods that encircle 
the waters, the park, and the mansion of Luton Hoo, one 
of the noblest residences in this county. It was recon- 
structed and improved by John Earl of Bute. The river 
Lea, which meanders through the park, has been formed 
into a lake nearly a quarter of a mile in width, with 
islands and plantations, at the foot of the eminence on 
which the house is seated, and the grounds have had 
every improvement that could enrich a situation naturally 
picturesque and beautiful. The whole is the property of 
Mr. John Shaw Leigh, who has, we believe, the right to 
stop any passenger train passing on the Midland line 
when required for the accommodation of his family. 

In passing through the chalk cutting near Luton Hoo 
Park, the geologist may observe a remarkable seam, 
separating the upper from the lower bed of chalk 
rock. Thoug^h it does not averao;e more than a foot or 
eighteen inches in thickness, it is very extensive, and is 
useful " as a line of demarcation between the upper and 
lower beds of the cretaceous series." Though not uni- 
formly compact, it is excessively hard, and when struck 
with a hammer has a metallic ring. It abounds in green - 
coated nodules. It is easily recognised in the cutting, 
for it was found impracticable to " face " it to the same 
plane as the softer strata of chalk immediately above 
and beneath. It does not occur in uniform continuity, 
but is broken in several places ; and sometimes, for a 
few yards, two beds lie parallel with one another. 

The town of Luton is pleasantly situated in a valley 
between two extended series of hills. Before reachino; 
the station we see the church on our left, the handsome 



embattled tower of wliicli is chequered with flint and 
freestone. At the corners are hexagonal turrets. On the 
north side of the choir are a vestry-room and a chapel 
founded by Lord "VVenlock. He lived in the reign 
of Henry VI., and Brayley tells us that he rendered 
services to the crown, and received rewards ; was 
severely wounded in defence of the king at the battle of 
St. Albans, but afterwards joined the Duke of York. He 
fought on Towton field, and was advanced to rank and 

favour; and tlien, changing sides, engaged in schemes 
with the Earl of AVarwick to restore the deposed Henry. 
He raised forces ; and was appointed by the Earl of 
Somerset to high command before the battle of Tewkes- 
bury. The earl, finding himself unsupported in his attack, 
returned to discover the cause. He found Lord AVenlock, 
witli his troops, standing in the market place; and, 
enraged at such conduct, with one blow of his battleaxe 
cleaved the head of AVenlock. The AVenlock arms are 
in several parts of the walls of Luton church. The lofty 


spire and handsome building in the middle of the 
town is the Congregational church. 

Luton is the second town in the county. At the time 
the Midland line was contemplated the population 
amounted to some 18,000, and it has since largely 
increased. It is the centre of the straw plait trade ; the 
plait being made in almost all the villages of the county. 
Mr. James Howard, of Bedford, several years ago esti- 
mated the value of the trade at £1,000,000 a year, 75 
per cent, of which was paid in wages. This large pro- 
portion arises from the fact that the raw material is of 
little value except so far "as labour is mixed up with it" : 
a product worth 10s. consuming a material not worth 
more than Is. The consumption of coal in this town is 
between 20,000 and 30,000 tons a year ; and the open- 
ing of the line caused a saving in that commodity 
alone to the amount of £5000 or £6000 a year, enough 
to pay all the poor's rates of the parish. 

Concerning the trade of this town, it has been quaintly 
said : — 

" Some ladies' heads appear like stubble fields : 
Who now of threatened famine dare complain, 
When every female forehead teems with grain ? 
See how the wheatsheaves nod amid the plumes ! 
Our barns are now transferred to drawing-rooms ; 
And husbands who indulge in active lives, 
To fill their granaries, may thresh their Avives. 
Nor wives alone prolific, notice draw : 
Old maids and young ones — all are in the straw." 

The neighbourhood of Luton is full of historic associ- 
ations. One of the most interesting spots is Dallow 
Farm. As the train runs along the embankment to the 
north of the station, the traveller may see, about half a 
mile to the left, just under a wood that crowns the 
height (exactly as depicted by our artist), the gables of 
an old farmhouse nestling in the valley. This is Dallow 


Parm. Ifc was one of tlie five manses given by King 
Offa to the abbey of St. Albans in 795. On the dis- 
solution of the abbey, the house, like others, was sold 
or given away, and became henceforth private property. 
" In the persecuting times of Charles II., says the Rev. 
J. Hiles Kitchens, " the Nonconformists met here,* 
secluded from general observation, for divine worship ; 
and in the roof of the house is the trap door by which 
some of the persecuted Nonconformists escaped from 
their pursuers. It is said that John Bunyan was con- 
cealed for several days in this house. "When li])erty of 
conscience was granted by James II., the worshippers in 
the Dallow Farm removed to Luton, and formed them- 
selves into a Christian comniunitv." 

<* 'C^ f 

r: f*k. , 


Before reaching Leagrave station, the traveller may 
notice a bed of chalk like that previously observed. It 
is so hard that blasting was necessary to excavate it. It 
divides into thin lamina?, and the natural cleavages have 
a greenish tinfje. It contains numerous fossils. 

At Leagrave is an excavation in the drift formation 
that exhibits a series of sands, gravels with water-worn 
flints, and clays, through which are interspersed rolled 
fragments of fossils from the secondary strata. The 
strata in the ballast pit adjoining the station, show the 


subaqueous origin of the beds ; the lines of stratification 
by the water being as distinct as though formed yester- 
day.* The villag^e of Leagfrave is on the left of the line. 
The Lea, which gives it its name, rises at Leagrave 

About a mile south of Harlington is an excavation 
known as the Charlton Cutting, " upwards of a mile in 
length, through the range of hills that constitute the 
watershed of the district, the springs on the north-west 
side flowing towards the Ouse, those on the south-east 
formino; the source of the Lea. The Chiltern Hills also 
form the north-west chalk escarpment, and the scenery 
from them at various points is very picturesque. 

" The deepest part of the excavation at Charlton, where 
it is about 60 feet deep, exposes the lower chalk, without 
flints ; and beneath this is a bed of dark chalk, almost 
like clay, containing many pyrites, locally termed crow- 
gold. The cutting has proved peculiarly rich in organic 
remains, and has furnished at least one species f new to 
the geology of England; " and also a portion of jaw, and 
several teeth of a huge crocodile, besides ammonites 
from an inch to upwards of a foot in diameter, and a 
species of nautilus of nearly equal size. 

The hill now observed upon our right is known by the 
Saxon name of " Wanluds Bank." Its naturally rounded 
sides have been scarped in a remarkable manner ; but 
when or by whom we are unable to ascertain. A short 
distance before we reach Harlington Station, and be- 
tween the two hills on the left, is the rising: g^round of 
Cono;er Hill. Behind it is the villa2:e of Todding^ton ; 
and its old park is close on our left. Harlington is 
prettily situated to the right of the station. 

* Mr. J. Saunders, of Luton, has favoured us witli some interesting 
" Notes on the Geology of South Beds," which, he remarks, has been 
" beautifully illustrated by the extension of the Midland Railway " 
through the county. 

t A Crustacean. See Geo. Mag , Nov., 1870. 


" The cutting at Harlington at the north-east side of 
the Mil, where it faces the Oxford clay and greensand 
strata, exposes a thick bed of heavy dark clay, containing 
a profusion of selenite crystals. It is succeeded by 
other beds of a lighter colour, containing a larger pro- 
jDortion of rolled chalk and flints ; until, at the south-east 
side of the hill, or that facing the chalk formation, the 
beds are composed almost entirely of sand and water- 
worn fragments from the cretaceous beds." 

On the left, as we leave Harlington station, is Harling- 
ton "Wood End, then AYestoning Wood End, and then 
Westoning. " The cutting," says Mr. Saunders, " south- 
east from Westoning exposes a dark heavy clay, which, 
upon a very close examination, furnishes not the least 
trace of rolled fragments of chalk or flints, or any other 
substance so frequent in the tertiary clays of this 
neighbourhood, which would lead to the inference that it 
had been deposited subsequently to the cretaceous era. 
It contains, however, what would strongly indicate that 
it is coeval with the upper greensand, namely, a contin- 
uous band of coprolitic nodules," — an extension of that 
worked at places farther east for manure on account of 
the large amount of phosphate of lime that they contain. 
The fossils are marine, and include teeth of sharks and 
bones of huge crocodilian reptilia. 

Flitwick station is nearly three miles north of Har- 
lington. Near it are two cuttings in what is called the 
lower greensand, consisting of white and yellow sands 
with bands of ironstone. These strata extend for con- 
siderable distances across the county ; and may be 
observed at Sandy on the Great Northern, and at 
Leigh ton on the London and North Western, Railways. 

Less than two miles forward we reach Ampthill, 
pleasantly situated on two hills near the centre of the 
county. In the church is a mural monument to the 

• • AMPTHILL. 3 / 1 

memory of Richard Nicholls, who fell in battle, and the 
ball with which he was slain (a five or six pounder), is 
preserved. An inscription tells that it was " the in- 
strument of death and immortality." 

Leaving Ampthill station, we soon afterwards ent«r a 
heavy cutting, and a tunnel through Ampthill Park. 
Another cutting at the northern end of the tunnel shows 
a series of beds of clay, brown at the top and merging 
into dark blue below, with intermediate bands of hard 
grey limestone, from a foot to eighteen inches in thickness. 
In the sides of the cutting, at the entrance of the tunnel, 
the limestone beds show the rise and fall of the strata 
very clearly. The upper beds of brown clay contain 
many small crystals of selenite, or spar, as it is often 
called, very similar to that found in the caverns at 
Matlock Bath. In the lower beds the crystals are 
comparatively rare, but are much larger and more 
beautiful. Amons; the fossils found were bones of a 
huge reptile, one vertebra of which weighed upwards 
of ten pounds. 

Passing northward out of the cutting, we observe upon 
our right the stately mansion called Ampthill House. 
It was built by Lord Ashburnham in the time of Charles 
II. In late years it has been occupied by Lord and 
Lady Holland, by Lord Wensleydale, and subsequent^ 
by his widow. Formerly a castle stood on the higher 
ground behind the house. This was built, Leland says, 
by Lord Fanhope, in the reign of Henry YL, " with the 
spoils he won in the wars in France." It formed the 
retreat of Catherine of Araofon while the business of the 
divorce was being heard at Dunstable. Across has been 
erected on the site of the castle. 

Ampthill Park is remarkable for its ancient and stately 
oaks. Hougfhton Park is now united with it. Hough- 
ton House was built by the Countess of Pembroke, 


sister of Sir Philip Sydney. With the exception of some 
ornamental portions, which form a picturesque ruin, it 
has been pulled down. Fine views may from hence be 
enjoyed over the northern parts of the county. At the 
tow^ entrance to the park was a lodge, " and a pear-tree, 
on which Sir Philip is reported to have written part of his 
Arcadia." The entire neighbourhood is very beautiful, 
and a favourite resort for pleasure parties. 

A mile north of Ampthill we are running almost par- 
allel with the London and North Western Railway from 
Bletchley to Bedford, but the lines are at some distance 
from each other. The Ampthill station of the London 
and North Western is, by road, some three and a half 
miles from the town ; and the benefits conferred by having 
a railway station close at hand, may be imagined by a 
traveller who, like the writer, once landed on a winter 
night at what he thought was Ampthill, but found he 
had to walk either by a circuitous route along the road, 
or, as it happened, to avail himself of the proffered and 
pressing services of an entire stranger to guide him along 
muddy and invisible paths over hill and dale, grass lands 
and fallow, and occasionally by some deep wood, where 
the idea pleasantly occurred that it was a convenient 
time and place to be murdered in. 

About three miles north of Ampthill is a cutting in 
Oxford clay, the upper portion of which is dark brown 
merging into dark blue beneath. " It abounds in fossil 
wood in various stages of carbonisation, the colour of 
which ranges from brown to a jet black, and is so 
abundant in places, that some of the navvies thought 
they were coming upon a coal mine. Running through 
the mass of clay is an abundance of roots and fibres in 
inextricable confusion, of the extinct plants that flourished 
during the deposition of the bed. Associated with these 
are found belemnites and ammonites ; but the latter are 



so hopelessly compressed and fragile as to render it 
impossible to extricate tliem entire, save in the smallest 

As we approach Bedford, the excavations are slight, 
and exhibit only the drift sands and gravels of the rich 
valley of the Ouse, in which have been discovered " in- 
dubitable evidence that herds of elephants and other 
similar creatures roamed the primeval hills and forests 
of Bedfordshire." 

We are now in sight of a spot of interest to every 
Englishman, the birthplace of John Bunyau. He was 

born at Elstow, in 1628, and was one of the ringers in 
the church seen among the trees on our right. Tho 
tower is detached. 

After passing on our right the new middle class 
" County School " of Bedfordshire, and crossing the 
Ouse, we notice the extensive and well-known agri- 
cultural implement establishment of Messrs. Howard. 
We are now at the pleasant town of Bedford, having 
reached it by a line which has cost several millions of 
money ; but which, says Mr. Allport, " have been very 


well expended, in tlie interest both of the public and 
of the Midland Company." 

It is thought that the name Bedford is the Bedican- 
ford of the Saxon Chronicle, the word signifying " a 
fortress on a river." Mention is made of a stronghold 
on the south side of the Ouse ; and subsequently Ruf us 
erected a castle with an entrenchment, and with thick 
and lofty walls. " While this castle stood," says Cam- 
den, " there was no storm of civil war that did not burst 
upon it." He speaks of its ruins, in his time, overhang- 
ing the river on the east side of the town. Not many 
years ago its site might be traced at the back of the 
Sw^an Inn, where there is now a bowling green. Within 
the walls of the old gaol on Bedford Bridge, the im- 
mortal allegorist wrote his " Pilgrim's Progress." For 
seventeen years he was a Baptist minister in Bedford. 

"We now enter on the Bedford and Leicester portion 
of the Midland line. This, as our readers are aware, 
was intended and was used for several years to give the 
Midland a nearer approach, via Ilitchin, to London, than 
had previously been possessed by way of Rugby. The 
opening of the direct through Bedford and London 
line has, however, thrown the Bedford and llitchen 
portion into the position of a subordinate branch. 

In travelling from Bedford to Leicester, the trains 
have to ascend to and descend from five summit levels, 
two of them of considerable length and sev^erity. The 
principal are the Irchester and the Desborough " banks," 
each of which rise some fifty feet a mile for four miles, 
or 200 feet in all, and then fall for a similar distance. 
The cuttings are fifty or sixty feet deep, and the em- 
bankments are fifty or sixty feet high, as deep and 
as high as they could with safety be caiTied. '* But 
if you could not alter your banks and cuttiugg," we 
inquired, " might you not have got over the difficulty, 


or at any rate diminished it, by tunnelling?" "Yes," 
replied the engineer ; " by putting tunnels at your sum- 
mit levels, and viaducts at the lowest part of 3'our 
embankments the proportion of earthwork would have 
remained the same, and the levels might have been 
Immensely improved. But there was one objection to 
that : we hadn't the money to do it with. It was just 
at the time of the Russian war; money and men were 
very difficult to get, and the shareholders could not 
be induced to raise more than a million, with which to 
construct a line sixty-three miles long. " Now, Charles 
Liddell and John Orossley," said old John Ellis, " there 
are £900,000 to make your line with. If it can't be 
done for that, it can't be done at all. So you must put 
all your fine notions into your pockets, and go and do it 
for £15,000 a mile. And then there is the rollino- stock to 
find." " And it took," said Mr. Crossley, " a great deal 
of ' scraping,' to get it done. Mr. Brassey was the 
contractor for the work, and Mr. Horn was his agent." 
"Which Brassey?" we asked. "Thomas Brassey," 
was the reply. " There w^as only one Brassey. There 
are Brasseys who are members of Parliament, and that 
sort of thing, but there was only one Brassey — that was 

About a mile north of Bedford, we cross the Ouse for 
the second time. "Within a distance of seven miles, we 
pass over it no fewer than seven times ; and the river has 
so winding a course through this county, that though, 
as the bird flies, the whole distance would be less than 
seventeen miles, the w^ater flows not fewer than forty- 

A little more than three miles brings us to Oakley 
station. Before reaching it Ave see the village on our 
left, and behind it the park, through which the Ouse 
winds its way. Oakley House is a seat of the Duke of 


Bedford. We now ascend the long incline called Sliarn- 
brook Bank. A little south of Sharnbrook we cross over 
the Ouse by a viaduct. It is the most important viaduct 
on the line between Bedford and Leicester, and, remarked 
the engineer, " it was a very troublesome one to make. 
The water was twenty-five feet deep, and the foundations 
had to be carried twenty-five feet down through the soft 
clay at the bottom before a foundation could be found." 

About a mile south of Irchcster Station we enter 
Northamptonshire, " the midmost of the midhinds." It 
is so far from the sea, and fish are supposed to be such 
a rarity, that a proverb declares that " the mayor of 
Northampton opens oysters with his dagger." The 
county is three times as long as it is broad, and 
stretches from the liiLjfhhinds of Edfjehill to the fens be- 
yond Peterborough. It is singuUir that it has no rivers 
but those to whicli it gives birth ; and its own waters 
flow both east and west, to the Wash and the Severn. 
Once it was a laud of " great herds of swyne," of char- 
coal burners, and woad growers and woodlanders. At a 
later period it was declared by Xorden that " the fer- 
tilitie, salutarie ayre, pleasant prospects, and convenience 
of this shire in all things to a generous and noble mynd " 
early " allured uobilitie to plant themselves within the 
same ;" and, he adds, even " the baser sorte of men here 
prove wealthie, and wade through the world with good 
countenance to their calling." It is now a land of 
" spires and squires," of rich pastures, — the worst of 
which, Drayton averred, " are equal to the best else- 
where ; " of ever-recurring ridge and furrow ; of hedge- 
rows and of ash-trees innumerable, — the favourite tree of 
the Anglo-Saxon. 

After passing, on our left, the village and church, we 
run under a road, immediately north of which is the 
ancient Roman station of Irchester, on the verge of 


which very extensive fields of ironstoue liave, of late 
years, been opened. Mr. W. Butlin smelted the first 
piece of ore from this county, and he is regarded as the 
father of its iron trade. It is remarkable that so lately 
as in 1836 a shaft was sunk at Kingsthorpe, near North- 
ampton, for coal, while all the while iron was lying 
unheeded on the surface. Domesday Book had spoken 
about the " Ferraria " in this district of Edward the 
Confessor ; slags were found in all the old forest lands ; 
royal furnaces existed at Geddington in the reign of 
Henry II. ; but the impression seemed to be that the 
iron had been brought from" elsewhere to be smelted 
here. Morton refers to the red lands of Roth well and the 
neighbourhood, and adds : " There is no iron ore to be 
met with in this county." The existence of ironstone 
appears to have first been noticed by a railway traveller, 
who happened to see blocks of it brought to mend a road 
near a station. " Thus," says an observant writer, " the 
iron road led and paved the way to its own resources." 

At the present time the Midland line runs for sixteen 
miles through beds of Northamptonshire ironstone which 
are many miles in breadth. It is found on the surface, 
from fourteen to sixteen feet thick ; the railway cuttings 
have laid the beds open; and the town and station of 
Wellingborough stand upon it. The ore is rich, con- 
taining from 35 to 50 per cent, of metal, besides, 
in some of the beds, 15 per cent, of lime ; and it is 
easily fusible. More recently it has been found near the 
Twywell station of the Kettering and Huntingdon line, 
and the ore is of remarkably good quality and thickness. 
In six years the amount raised here increased 500 per 
cent. ; in 1866 the output amounting to nearly 500,000 
tons ; and it has since been enormously augmented. 
Several new furnaces have been constructed, and the 
district between Kettering and Wellingborough pro- 


mises to become another Middlesborougli. A^ast fields 
of wealth lie here almost untouched, every ton of which 
will yield traffic and profit to the Midland Company. 

A mile north of Irchester the line reaches the verire 
of a wide valle}^, along which the Nene flows (and in 
winter often overflows), and down which the London 
and Xorth Western Railway from Blisworth to Peter- 
Ijorough runs. The Midland crosses the river and the 
rail at right angles by a long and lofty embankment, b}'' 
a viaduct and a bridge. The viaduct is represented in 
our sketch.* The erection of it was a difficult matter ; 
for, after they were built, all the abutments and the wings 
slid forwards, without, wonderful to say, displacing a 
single brick. It was necessary, however, tliat the side 
arches should be taken down and rebuilt. " This was a 
very singular instance," remarked ^Ir. Crossley, '* of how 
solid masonry may shift without injuring itself. The 
accident was caused by the pressure of the bank behind 
tlie brickwork." 

Almost immediately south of Wellingborough Station 
there is a timber bridge over the Ise ; and from near the 
station itself two branch lines, right and left, coniinuiii- 
cate with the North Western. That to the left gives the 
Midland Company access to Northampton. 

Wellingborough is situated on an eminence to the 
west of the station. It was rebuilt, in 1738, after a 
fearful fire. The town is said to have derived its name 
from its wells or springs, one of which, " the Red 
AVell," a chalybeate, was formerly in high repute. 
Charles I. and his queen resided here under canvas for 
nine days, to have the benefit of the waters. 

The requirements of the Midland system and the 
development of the iron trade in this district have 
greatly altered the character of the town and its neigh- 

* See page 145. 



bourhood. Instead of being a quiet station in the midst 
of a purely agricultural district, it has been made the 
first great mineral and goods station on the Midland 
line out of London. Its distance is about sixty-five miles 
from the metropolis, making a journey to and from 
Wellingborough a convenient day's work for a goods 
engine, and accordingly large locomotive establishments 

■w - 


have been created. Some fifty engines are usually sta- 
tioned here, and extensive sidings are provided for the 
marshalling of the trains both up and down. The bird's- 
eye view we have sketched is taken from the roof of 
a large provision store established to supply all the 
horses of the Midland Hallway with provender on the 
district between London and Normanton. There is 
another district between Bristol and Birmingham, and 
Nottingham takes the remainder. During the winter 
season, when this department is most busy (more 
horses being required for shunting purposes, when cold 
freezes up the wheels and axles), no fewer than 1400 horses 


are fed from hence. The corn and hay are bought 
through the stores, and are here cut, ground, and 
mixed, and hence .forwarded in bags ready for use. 
Two hundredweight of hay and corn are required each 
week for each horse, or 140 tons a week for the district. 

On the hill on the right of our sketch may be seen 
the lodging-house for the drivers and firemen who 
happen to be here for the night. Every provision is 
made for their comfort. 

In various cuttings north of Wellingborough the clay 
is very heavy, and the banks, after they were made, 
slipped repeatedly. " These oolitic clays," remarked 
the engineer to us, " are very soapy ; and the ironstone, 
a ferruginous oolite, presses heavily upon them. After 
wet weather the clay becomes a mass of grease, and 
then the stone slides off into the cutting. These slips 
just north of Wellingborough Station were so fre- 
quent that at length they exposed the abutments of a 
three-arched bridofe. It is now a bridsce of five arches," 
as seen in the eno^ravinor. 

Beside the line to the north of Wellingborough, we 
observe a river winding its w^ay in so devious a fashion 
that it is sometimes of a horse-shoe shape. This is 
the Ise. It rises north-east of Kettering, receives 
a tributary from the north-west, then flows almost 
close to the railway down to Wellingborough. It is 
twenty-four miles long. 

After passing some large ironworks on the right, we 
reach the next station, Finedon ; and then comes Isham, 
with its large mill, known as " The Woollen Mill." The 
embankment curving^ towards us from the rio:ht is the 
commencement of the Kettering and Huntingdon branch, 
at the junction of which we are abreast of a spot on 
our left of great interest to many. It is the village of 
Pytchley, the home of the Pytchley hunt. 


Here, says a writer in the Qjiartcrli/ Review, not 
on a clear and beautiful day, for such a " gaudy thing " 
they do not value, but on some soft ground, with dull 
weather, an easterly wind and a cloudy skj^ " see how 
quietly along every high road, bye road, and footpath, 
horses and riders, of various sizes and sorts, walking, 
jogging, or gently trotting, are converging towards a 
central point. Schoolboys are coming to see the start 
on ponies ; farmers on clever nags ; others on young 
horses of great price ; neatly dressed grooms, some 
heavy and some light, are riding, or riding and leading 
horses magnificent in shape and breeding, in the most 
beautiful condition, all as clean and well appointed as if 
they had been prepared to do miserable penance in 
Rotten Row." There, too, are the Pytchley hounds, on 
their way to a cover that has the advantage of being 
surrounded by large grass fields, and " enlivened in every 
direction by the severest fences in Northamptonshire." 


The next station is Kettering, the houses of which 
climb up the hillside on our right ; and above all is the 
noble spire of the church. Towards the north end of 
the town, in the direction of the windmill, the passenger 
may see a large white building, with three dormer 
windows in the roof. It is known as the " Baptist 



Mission House," for in one of tlie parlours, on tlie 2nd 
of October, 1792, Dr. Carey, Andrew Fuller, and others, 
founded missions to the heathen, and a collection was 
made of £13 2s. 6d., the firstfruits of a harvest of 
millions sterling devoted to the highest well-being of 
man. Fifty years afterwards some 10,000 persons as- 
sembled here to celebrate the jubilee. 

Leaving Kettering, we rise up a heavy incline ; pass 
through some almost perpendicular cuttings, that tell of 
the presence of iron ore, and soon we are in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Glendon iron pits. 

Running over an embankment across the valley, we 
reach the pretty village of Rushton. AVithin 100 


yards of the station, on our left, is the singular Trian- 
gular Lodge, built by Sir Thomas Tresham. It was the 
rendezvous of the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot ; 
and "it would certaijuly be no unfavourable place; for 
its form and isolation deny ears to its walls. The 
trinary symbolism which exists in the name and arms of 


Tresham (three trefoils) is liere shown forth in every 
conceivable architectural form and device." 

From the Treshams, the estate at Rushton passed 
into the family of the Lords Cullen. It is said of the 
second viscount, that " he had been betrothed, at the 
age of sixteen, to Elizabeth Trentham, a great heiress, 
but had, while travelling abroad, formed an attachment 
to an Italian lady of rank, whom he afterwards deserted 
for his first betrothed. While the wedding-party were 
feasting in the great hall at Rushton, a strange carriage, 
drawn by six horses, drew up, and forth stepped a dark 
lady, who, entering the hall, and seizing a goblet, ' to 
punish his falsehood and pride,' drank perdition to the 
bridegroom, and having uttered a curse upon the bride, 
in stronger language than we care to chronicle, to the 
effect that she should live in wretchedness, and die in 
want, disappeared. The curse was in great measure 

The clean little village next seen on the left, close to 
the line, is Desborough. Just beyond the station we 
reach the summit of the incline, and we now begin a 
descent which extends for between three and four miles, 
nt the rate of 1 in 132, nearly to Harborough. This is 
called the Desborough Bank. 

Crossing the Welland, we enter Leicestershire, and are 
at Market Harborough, formerly spelt Haverburgh. The 
fine church is said to have been founded by John of 
Gaunt, as a penance for one of his crimes. The town 
has no lands belonging to it ; hence a threat sometimes 
used to children, " I'll throw you into Harborough 

Immediately to the left of the station is a burial- 
gi'ound, and in it a mortuary chapel. It occu23ies the 
site of an ancient edifice, of which the porch and the 
circular doorhead are, we believe, the only remains. 


It was originally the parisli cliurcli, and was named 
St. Mary-in-Arden, or " the cliurch in the wood." It 
achieved an evil reputation for the celebration of clandes- 
tine marriages ; the curates were " ignorant and dis- 
orderly," and at length the privilege of matrimonial and 
other services was transferred to the church in the town. 
Subsequently the steeple fell upon the church, and 
for thirty years it lay in ruins. The parish of St. Mary 
is in two different townships, manors, counties, and 
dioceses. ^larket Ilarborough gave shelter to Charles I. 
on the night before the battle of Naseby, and from hence 
Cromwell dated his despatches to Parliament, announcing 
the victory. At Harborougli vehicles may be obtained 
by which the field of Xaseby, seven miles distant, may In' 

]\I:iik('t Ilarborough Station, and the line for a mile 
forward, arc the property of the London and North 
Western Company. 

Running througli the fat pastures of Leicestershire we 
reach the two Kibworths, one on either side the line. 
Kibworth Beauchamp, on our left, was the birthplace of 
Dr. Aikin, the father of ^Irs. Barliauld. On the right 
are the prettily situated church and rectory of Kibworth 
llarcourt. A little to the south of Kibworth is Tur 
Langton, where King Charles watered his horse on his 
flight from Naseby. Almost immediately north of 
Kibworth is a sunnnit level of the line. 

The next station is at Glen Magna, the village of 
which was once declared to be " great for nothing, except 
for containing more dogs than honest men." On our 
left is the Union Canal. When originally proposed, this 
undertaking shared the opposition cherished against all 
innovations. It was urged that no canal should be 
allowed to come within four miles of a populous town ; 
employment, it was said, would thereby be secured to 



carriers in conveying the various cargoes to and from 
the wharves. 

There are two stations at Wigston, — one on the main 
Hne, the other on what was formerly the main line, but is 
now only a branch, from Rugby to Leicester. The villago 
used sometimes to be called Wigston Two Steeples, 
on account of having two churches. There is now 
direct communication from hence, via Whitacre, to Bir- 
mingham, and trains run between that town and London 
in successful competition with the London and North 
AYe stern. 


As we approach Leicester, we see at Knighton 
Junction the line from Burton-on-Trent and Asliby 
curving in on our left; we pass through a tunnel, or 
covered way, 100 yards long, under the *' Freeman's 
Piece " of land ; we skirt the new cattle-market on our 
left, and the cemetery on our right. Looking down on 



the cemetery is the County Lunatic Asylum, and be- 
yond is the racecourse; while, on our left, across the 
open green, a baronial looking pile, with flanking towers 
and turrets, is the County Gaol. It has more than three 
acres of land within its precincts. 

The town of Leicester is full of historic associations. 
It makes, says an old chronicler, " an evident fair show 
of great antiquity." Here a Britisli temple stood, and 
sacrifices were offered. Here the Romans held an im- 
portant military position. Here the Saxons erected walls 
of "amazing thickness and strength," " like great rocks," 
to defend themselves against the desolating incursions of 
the Danes. Here in Xorman times was a city " well 
frequented and peopled." From this spot, in 1 iS-j, Richard 
went to fight the battle of Bosworth Field ; and hither 
his dead body was brought " without so much as a clout 
to cover it, trussed behind a pursuivant at arms, like a 
calf — his head and arms hann^inof on one side the horse, 
and his legs on the other, all besprinkled with mire and 
l)lood ; " a spectacle, says Hutton, whicli " humanity and 
decency ought not to have suffered." In the Civil War 
the town was successfully besieged by the king; and the 
house where the Parliamentary committee had sat was, we 
are told, destroyed, " every soul therein was put to the 
sword," and the kennels ran down with blood. A few 
weeks later the battle of Naseby was fought, and the town 
was now surrendered to Fairfax without a shadow of 

With regard to the trades now carried on in this town. 
Sir Edmund Beckett, on a recent occasion, thus playfully 
commented : *' First of all there is the shoe trade, and 
20,000 people are employed in it, and they get leather 
from everywhere. Leeds is a great place for making 
leather, and there is a great trade between Leeds and 
Leicester for leather, besides machinery and wool, and I 


may add cotton. Another peculiar trade is tlie makinp; 
of clastic webbino^: and tlioiiofli I read in a scientific 
paper the other day that it sometimes makes people's toe- 
nails come off, this was contradicted immediately after- 
wards, and therefore I don't know which is true ; but in 
spite of the alarm which some people have about their 
toenails, elastic webbing is made very largely in Leicester. 
There is also a large cigar trade, and although I do not 
know that it is very bulky, it is very valuable. There is 
also the manufacture of articles for the use of the town ; 
and you will be surprised when jo\i hear that one firm 
uses not less than 5000 tons of wood a year in making 
bobbins, — reels on which thread is wound, which, however, 
have a tendency to get bulkier in the stomach and to 
carry less thread. That wood comes from the agricul- 
tural districts. Building-stone also is required here. 
There is also the pork-pie trade from Melton Mowbray, 
and I am sorry to hear that the gentleman is dead who 
had that trade. I remember remarking that the gentle- 
man's pork-pies did not seem to agree with him, either 
from eating too much or eating too little of them ; and I 
am sorry to say that I was right." 

When it was decided to bring the Midland Counties 
railway into Leicester, the station was to have been in 
the lower part of the town, near St. Greorge's Church. 
The present site was, however, eventually selected ; the 
amount of land secured beinsf about nine acres : " an 
extent," said some local authority, " manifestly absurd," 
but which has since been found to be totally insufficient. 
When first erected, the station was pronounced a " mag- 
nificent building." It contained offices connected with 
the general administration of the new company : these 
have long since been transferred to Derby. The board 
room opened on to a balcony, from which a view of the 
line could be obtained. The platform was on only 

388 A LEGEND. 

one side of the line, and was sheltered by a projecting 

Leaving Leicester for the north, we pass on the left 
the vast buildings and sidings provided for the goods 
and mineral traffic. Clearing this busy scene, we have 
on our right the new Borough Asjdum ; beyond which, 
among the trees, is the village of Humberstone, where a 
coarse kind of alabaster is quarried. On the opposite 
side of the line is Belgrave, from whence the eldest son 
of the Marquis of AVestminster takes his title. A little 
farther on, on the same side, the spire of Thurmastou 
Church appears. 

Four miles from Leicester we reach Syston, passing on 
our way througli a cutting in which some splendid blocks 
of gypsum have been laid bare. The old station stood on 
the right of the line, but a new one has recently been 
erected. Immediately beyond is the South Junction with 
the Syston and Peterborough branch of the Midland 
Railway. Syston village is to the right. Soon after- 
wards we see the rivers Soar and AVreke winding their 
several ways. 

There are three spots in the district through which we 
have been passing, where, according to tradition, a re- 
markable event occurred. A giant, we are assured, 
once took three mighty leaps, and cleared the whole 
distance from Mount Sorrel to Belgrave. His first leap 
was to Wanlip ; his second to Birstall, where he burst 
himself and his horse ; his third, for he managed to take 
another, to Belgrave, where he was buried. Hence the 
saying : " He leaps like the bell-giant of Mount Sorrel." 

Three miles from Syston we reach Sileby, the railway 
embankment cutting the village in two ; but access 
between the two parts is obtained by a lofty railway 
bridge of two arches of considerable height. The Soar 
w^inds its way below, crossed by a little bridge. 


AVe shall not have travelled far before we see on our left 
the celebrated limestone pits and kilns of Barrow-on-Soar, 
the white smoke from which so drifts through the train, 
whenever the wind is westerly, that the passenger can 
recognise the spot by night as well as day. These works 
supply some of the finest, if not the finest, hydraulic lime 
in England. It comes from the blue lias, which stretches 
over a large district, but the quality here is specially 
excellent. Usually limestone is worked from a hill-side ; 
here it is dug from a quarry, or " delph," some thirty to 
fifty feet beneath the surface. The thickest bed is about 
thirteen inches, and there are six or eight beds. The 
spot is interesting also to the geologist and the anti- 
quary. The geologist has found here specimens of 
saurians — icthyo- and plesio- saurians ; and the anti- 
quary has been gratified by the discovery of some 
perfect specimens of Roman glass vases, the mouths of 
which had been closed with lead, and within which are 
the calcined bones of the dead. A large amphora has 
also been obtained. All have been presented by Mr. 
E. S. Ellis to the museum at Leicester. 

A little beyond Barrow limeworks we see upon our 
left a spot well worthy of a visit, — the Mount Sorrel 
granite quarries. As we walk over the little branch line, 
about a mile long, that conducts to the Soar and the hill 
of the Soar, we think of the time when on the height 
before us, still called the Castle Hill, there w^as built, 
towards the close of the Conqueror's reign, a stately 
castle; a castle which, in King John's reign became, as 
Camden tells us, " a nest of the devil, a cave of rob 
bers ;" a castle which stood here till Henry III. gave 
command to the forces of Nottinq-ham to invest and 
destroy it. 

The huge granite rock, Mount Sorrel, is described 
by Professor Sedgwick as an " outlying boulder." How 


precipitous are its sides is shown by the fact that wheiv a 
well was sunk for the use of the works to a depth of 100 
feet within a distance of 100 yards from where the 
granite begins, no trace of granite was found, — all was 

Before us, as we approach, stand the perpendicular and 
broken faces of the hill, the windmill (it is said 100 years 
old) on the summit, and the town and river at the foot. 
Crossing over the iron bridge, and performing a strategic 
movement to avoid a diminutive but energetic little loco- 
motive, one of two which perform some of the manifold 
duties of the Mount Sorrel Company, we are at the 

Here from 500 to GOO men and boys are at 
work. Some are pecking and blasting the masses of 
rock from the face of the cliff: some are drawiufr 
it away to the sheds, where it is to be broken into 
the required shapes ; its fine grain and splendid 
cleavage enabling the workmen, by a few blows 
of their massive hammers, to split it anywhere and 
almost anyhow they like, so as to be ready for pavings, or 
crossings, or straight or curved curbstones, or anything 
else for which granite can bo used. Those smaller por- 
tions again are broken to the size required for macadam- 
izing roads, partly by hand and partly by machinery 
which, with its iron jaws, first crunches the lumps down 
like so many enormous nuts, to their proper proportions, 
and then riddles them out, and pours the macadam stone 
into one truck and the smaller stone into another, waiting 
below to receive them. These, when filled, are drawn 
one at a time on to a weighing machine, which tells 
how much stone they contain, and they are ready to be 
despatched down the branch to the sidings, from which 
the Midland Company will in due course remove them to 
their destination. 



, Immediately past tlie next station (Barrow-on-Soar) on 
our left is Quorndon, wliicli for a hundred years lias been 
the metropolis of fox-hunting ; and a mile forward the 
line crosses the Soar, just after it has divided into two, 
the two portions running for some miles on either side 
of the railway. The bridge is on the skew, and rests on 
two series — each of ten iron pillars — which go down into 
the bed of the river. The traveller may perhaps here 
observe with surprise, that after the river has been 
divided it seems the wider and deeper for the division. 


The reason is, that the waters on the right of the line 
are dammed up for the convenience of two mills. 

The railway bridge that here passes over the Soar has 
recently been reconstructed and enlarged. The new 
portion was first built. Screw piles were driven into the 
bed of the river, and then the superstructure was built 
of wrought-iron girders. After the portion necessary 
for the widening of the line was completed, the main-line 
traJB&c was diverted on to the new portion, and then the 
old main-line bridge was taken down, and constructed on 
the new method. 


In the recent doubling of the width of the line a diffi- 
culty arose here in consequence of the embankment, when 
tipped, slipping forwards into the river Soar. To stop 
this " I got," said Mr. Crosslej, " several old Trent 
barges, good for nothing but to be l^roken up, for about 
£4 a piece, loaded them with ironstone slag, which is 
very heavy, and practically insoluble to water, and put 
them to form the ' toe,' as our men call it, — the ' foot,' 
as you would call it, — of the embankment. We thus 
obtained a firm foundation at the bottom of the river; 
and it held up the stuff afterwards put upon it. As, 
however, we had taken a slice off one side of the Soar, 
we had to restore the area of the water-way by widening 
the river on the other side." 

For some miles along this part of the line we have the 
noble range of Charnwood Hills on our left. " These 
rocks," said Professor Sedgwick when visiting them, 
*' are of igneous origin, and are entitled to be called 
mountains." " Yes," replied Professor AVhewell, " and 
here arc all the accompaniments of a mountain chain : 
coal measures on the west, carboniferous limestone on 
the north, sienite on the east and south, an anticlinal line 
traversing the centre, accounting for the dislocation of 
the strata, and referring the origin of the rocks to igne- 
ous agency." 

On approaching Loughborough we see on our left the 
mill and warehouse of Messrs. Cartwright & "Warners, the 
largest firm in the town, and, we believe, the largest manu- 
facturers of merino and angola underwear in the world. 
This firm were the original patentees of the article, a.d. 
] 79 i ; and they are also spinners of the material of which 
the articles are made. Directly and indirectly the welfare 
of several thousands of the population of Loughborougli 
and neighbourhood is dependent upon them. Extensive 
additions to the establishment have recently been made. 


Lougliborough, said Leland, is "yn largeness and good 
building next to Leyrcester of all the markette tonnes 
yn the shire, and hath in it 4 faire strates, or mo, well 
paved." Leaving the station for the North, we pass 
along an embankment over Loughborough Moors, famous 
for their pasturage and hay. A mile to our left is Dishley 
Gransfe, with a ruined church in the middle of a farm- 
yard, where Robert Bakewell, of sheep-breeding renown, 
was buried. We now recross the Soar, and enter Not- 
tinghamshire by a bridge recently constructed in a 
manner similar to that adopted with the Soar bridge near 
Barrow; only, instead of screw piles, cast-iron cylinders 
were used. These were forced down into the bed of the 
river on to a foundation of red marl, were emptied, and 
built in from bottom to top with solid brickwork. The 
superstructure was then erected. 

The next station is Hathern, formerly spelt Hawthorn, 
said to have derived its name from the hawthorn trees 
which grow with unusual luxuriance in the parish. From 
the embankment to the north of the next station (Keg- 
worth) we see on our left the 'village and the fine spire 
of the church ; and soon, on our right, we observe two 
mansions, the larger one being Kingston Hall, the resi- 
dence of Lord Belper. 

"We now approach a ridge of hills running from east 
to west, known by the name Red Hill. To this point the 
line from Leicester has been doubled, giving two up and 
two down roads ; one chiefly for passengers, the other for 
goods. The congestion of traffic at this part of the Mid- 
land system rendered this duplication necessary. The 
estimate of cost for the addition of a single pair of rails 
was £9000. The actual doubling cost £20,000 a mile, 
or, for twenty miles, £400,000. One item in the en- 
hanced price is the fact that wages had risen from 
2s. lOd. or 3s. to 4s. 6d. a day. 


Trent Bridge consists of three arches, each of 100 feet 
span. Tlio piers and abutments are of stone. At the 
north end are two land arches of 25 feet span, under 
wliich the Trent often pours its swollen volume of water. 
The bridge was commenced in June, 1 838, the ironwork 
being supplied by the Butterley Company. 

The northern end of the Red Hill Tunnel is of cas- 
tellated architecture, the arch being flanked by towers 
and battlements of stone, contrasting well with the 
wood-clad liill behind. The tunnel is 170 yards long. 
The material through which it was made was of so hard 
a texture that much of it had to be blasted away with 

Scarcely have we emerged from the tunnel, than we 
are passing over the beautiful Trent, the waters of which 
spread out widely on either band. 

When the ])roposed amalgamation of the three com- 
panies that originall}' formed the Midland Railway was 
under discussion, an amusing controversy with regard 
to the works connected with this bridge took place at 
one of the meetings. A North Midland shareholder 
inquired how it was that the ^lidland Counties' Com- 
pan}' had not performed a work which he thought would 
entail a very great expense on the united companies — he 
meant the weir over the river Trent. 

Mr. Ellis said that it was made, and nearly all paid 

]\Ir. Sutton replied that he had l)een at the place that 

Mr. Ellis added that he had been there also. 

Mr. Sutton : " And does Mr. Ellis mean to say that 
the weir is made and paid for ? " 

^Ir. Ellis answered with emphasis : " I mean to say 
it is " (applause). 

• See page 15. 


Mr. Sutton looked increclulons. 

Mr. Ellis continued : " The Trent Navig^ation Com- 
panj (with wliicli it was wliispered Mr. Sutton was con- 
nected) has moved for anotlier injunction, but the works 
are finished and the superintendent has gone. The 
banks on each side are completed; and," continued 
Mr. Ellis, in a full tone, " I say it is done, with the 
exception of clearing away " (applause), 

Mr. Jeremiah Strutt stated that the superintendent 
had gone away, after having executed the work per- 
fectly. Whereupon Mr. Sutton again marvelled. The 
chairman now repeated to the honourable proprietor 
Mr. Ellis's assertion that the weir was complete ; and 
added that, even supposing it was contracted for, but 
not done, it could make no essential difference. 

Mr. Ellis said that he had looked at it in the morning, 
and the water was as low below the new weir as it could 
be. Not a ripple could be seen where the old weir was, 
and the company had contracted for the old weir being- 
taken away. 

Mr. Sutton (deliberately) : " It is not done (laughter). 
I came here purposely to make the statement that the 
work is not completed." 

Mr. Ellis once more emphatically repeated that it was ; 
and Mr. Sutton once more added, " I say it is not." 

Here the skirmish closed. The chairman called Mr. 
Sutton to order, and brought back the attention of the 
meeting to the business of the day. 

Immediately after passing over the Trent Bridge, we 
cross the " Cranfleet Cut," as it is called, a short 
canal, the locks of which are under the railway, through 
which vessels may pass in order to avoid the weir. 
Less than a mile forward we are at Trent Station. 

The Trent Station was opened on the 1st of May, 
1862, though it was not completed in some details till 


some time afterwards. It has greatly facilitated the in- 
terchange of passenger traffic from north and south, east 
and west. It is possible, however, that it has now 
reached its palmiest days ; and that before long, by 
means of the new lines in course of construction from 
Melton Mowbray to Nottingham, and that already 
opened from Radford to Trowell, Nottingham itself 
may be placed on the direct main line north and south 
of the Midland system; Derby and the West being served 
by a service of trains starting from Leicester. At any 
rate, such an arrangement would be worthy of con- 

At the Nottingham end of Trent Station, are sidings 
set apart for the use of men who have charge of the 
asphalting of station platforms between Lincoln and 
Derby, Trent, Syston, and Peterborough. The mate- 
rials consist of engine cinders and gas tar, riddled out 
into three sorts, and then mixed together hot, the heat 
being produced by the burning of a little coal. Some 
small white stone, obtained from Trent river-ballast, is 
sprinkled over the work when it is nearly finished. The 
coarsest and second kinds of material are used for what 
is called " bottoming," and the best for " topping." 

Leaving Trent Station for Derby, we pass the 
" Sheet Stores," and the noble building of Trent Col- 
lege, for the education of middle class boys, and are soon 
at Sawley. This station was formerly named Breaston, 
after a village half a mile to the right of the line ; it 
is now called Sawley, after the name of a village a mile 
to the left. The change was made to avoid the con- 
fusion that might arise from the similarity between the 
sounds of Bees ton and Breaston. Sawley was formerly 
Salle or Sallowe ; and at one time it had a charter to 
hold markets and fairs, and also a market-house. These 
privileges have lapsed through disuse. 


Passing Breaston, the spire of wliicli seems to have 
crushed down the tower, a large square mansion em- 
bosomed in trees is seen on the summit of a hill. It is 
Hopwell Hall. At the time of the Norman survey, we 
are told there were in Sawley, Hopwell, and Drajcott, 
" a priest and two churches, a mill, one fishery, and 
thirty acres of meadow." 

The old station at Borrowash was on the bank of a 
cutting twenty-five feet high ; a new one has been 
erected a little further west. On the right of the line 
the strong stone wall is the retaining wall of the Derby 
Canal, which runs alongside the line and above the level 
of the railway for more than 130 yards. With the 
canal on the right and the Derwent on the left there is 
only just room for the line of railway to pass. A little 
further forward the canal had to be diverted from its 
course for a distance of half a mile.* In carryino- on this 
work some interesting discoveries were made. On an 
elevated spot, and about two feet below the surface, the 
soil had a black tinge ; bones that had evidently been 
burnt were found; and then some seventy or eighty 
human skeletons were exhumed, some of them beino- of 
gigantic stature, and lying due east and west. In one of 
the skulls was the head of an arrow. A curious box 
lined with gold, and containing amulets and jewels, some 
ornaments, and a small vase, with the bones of a bird, 
were also discovered, besides the burnt bones of oxen, 
sheep, and boars. It is believed that there was here a 
British tumulus, or barrow, and that the place derived 
its name from " the ashes of the Barrow," Barrow-ash. 

Spondon (locally pronounced Spoondon) is the last 
station before we reach Derby. The manor is in Domes- 
day Book named Spondune ; and at that time it had a 
priest, a church, and a mill. From this point may be 

See page 26, 

398 DERBY. 

seen, to our left, tlie distant Gothic towers of Elvaston 
Castle, the seat of the Earl of Harrington. In 1643, the 
Parliamentary forces, under Sir John Gell, attacked and 
took Elvaston. To complete his conquest over his ene- 
mies, according to one historian, Sir John first mutilated 
the effigy of Lord Stanhope in the church ; " nor did his 
revenge stop here, for he married the Lady Stanhope." 
The grounds are entered by gates which formerly be- 
longed to the palace of Madrid. 

The inhabitants of this neighbourhood were formerly 
required to " brew four ales, and every ale of one quarter 
of malt," tlie profits of the sale of which were to go to 
the support of the church. " And all the inhabitants of 
Ockbrook shall carry all manner of tymber, being in the 
dale- wood now felled that the said priest of the said 
town shall occupy to the use of the said church." 

After leaving Spondon station the line divides into two 
routes. The left is what is called the Spondon Curve. 
It was made in order to give additional facilities of ac- 
cess to Derby Station, so that trains, instead of having 
to " back " either in or out, can now run through. 

Derby, the central station of the Midland Railway 
system and the seat of its administration, formerly had 
its chief distinction as the first place where a silk mill 
was erected in England. This was in 1718. "In the 
early part of the 18th century the Italians exclusively 
possessed the art of spinning, or, as it is technically 
called, ' throwing,' silk ; and the British weaver had to 
import thrown silk at an exorbitant price. In 1702, a 
Mr. Crochet erected a small silk mill ; but his capital and 
machinery were insufficient, and he failed. In 1717, Mr. 
John Lombe, who had in disguise and by bribing the 
workmen obtained access to the machinery of the silk 
throwsters of Piedmont, agreed with the coTporation of 
Derby to rent, on a long lease, for £8 a year, an island 

DUfTlELD. 399 

or swamp in tlie river Derwent, 500 feet long and 52 
wide. Here lie erected, at a cost of £30,000, an immense 
silk mill. The foundation was formed with oaken piles 
IG to 20 feet long, and over this mass of timber was laid 
a foundation of stone on which were turned stone arches 
that support the walls. In 1718 Lombe took out a 
patent, and was proceeding successfully in his business 
till he died, cut off, as it was thought, by poison, through 
the agency of an Italian woman employed by the Italian 
manufacturers whose business he had drawn away to 
himself." Many throwing mills have since been erected 
in Derby, and thus this branch of industry became the 
staple of the town. 

Soon after leaving Derby, and running up the noble 
valley of the Derwent, we pass on our right the Little 
Eaton Junction ; and then we are close to the church 
on the right of the line, and the village of Duffield is 
on our left. The church contains a monument to the 
memory of Anthony Bradshaw. There are the figures of 
himself, his two wives, and twenty children, whom he 
perhaps naturally, but prematurely, considered would 
include his whole family ; but three other children being 
subsequently born, who could not be similarly immor- 
talized, their names and configurations have, sad to say, 
been invidiously consigned to oblivion ! Immediately to 
the north of the station is the site of what was once 
the strong fortress of " Duffield Castle." No traces of 
it survive, except the name it has given to the " Castle 

At Duffield Station the branch to Wirksworth com- 
mences. In looking at the map it seems at first sight 
strange that a long and excellent line should be made 
through so quiet a country for the accommodation of so 
small a town as Wirksworth, especially as it is only three 
or four miles from Cromford or Matlock stations on the 

400 EELPEK. 

main line to Manchester. But tlie wisdom of the policy 
that led to its construction has already been shown. 

Leaving Duffield, the interest of the scenery increases. 
We are now passing from the quieter valleys around the 
banks of the Trent, and the southern district of the 
county, and are approaching " the southern outliers " of 
the mountain range known as the backbone of England, 
some of the miglity articulations of which occupy the 
northern parts of Derbyshire, and are popularly known 
as the Peak. The wide valley of the Derwent con- 
tracts ; the rounded hills grow steep and rugged ; and 
all around are woods which hang over the rocks, and 
shelter the ferns and undergrowth beneath. We have 
already crossed and recrossed the Derwent, and tunnelled 
under the hills. We now pass another tunnel and an- 
other bridge, and are at Belpcr. 

The present station is, we believe, to be superseded 
by another somewhat farther to the north, and nearer 
to the centre of the town. Belper is well situated; but 
little of it is seen by reason of the line running through a 
cutting about a mile in length, and under some bridges 
on the way. The traveller will, however, have the con- 
solation, such as it is, of knowing that he is passing 
very near to mills that employ about 2000 hands ; and 
if he is sitting u^th his hade to the engine, and looks 
sharply out of the window at his right hand, he may 
obtain a glimpse of the mills of Messrs. Strutt, and of 
the Derwent, which here, held back by a weir, gathers up 
its waters to supply the " power." On the west side of 
the Derwent rises Bridge Hill, the residence of Mr. G. 
H. Strutt. 

Emerging from the Belper cuttings and from another 
hillside, on the ledges of which the ferns have planted 
their roots, and from which they hang their foliage over 
the cold stones in graceful forms, we cross the Derwent. 



A fine valley opens right and left, and we are at Amber- 

Hitherto the line has been running north, but here its 
direct course is stayed. In front of us rises the hill of 
Crich, which compels the main line to turn away to 
the rio^ht and the Manchester line to the left. The 
name Ambergate is derived from the river Amber and 
the word gate^ a passage. Here three beautiful valleys 
meet, from the north, the west, and the south. The 
Derwent, overhung with wooded hills, sweeping from the 
west, and then curving away to the south ; the bright, 
meandering Amber pouring its waters into the Derwent ; 
the " halfpenny bridge," with its three arches, spanning 
the river ; the cattle in the meadows ; the uprising crags 
and cliffs, almost hidden by the birches and beeches 
that bend over them ; and the distant hills filling up the 
background, — form a scene of singular interest and 

Crich Hill, which rises loftily above us, is itself deserving 
of a special visit. "There is one spot," says Dr. Mantell, 
"which perhaps is not equalled in England for the lesson 
it teaches of some of the ancient revolutions of the globe. 
It is called Crich Hill." The country around consists of 
horizontal strata of millstone grit; but Crich Hill, amass 
of limestone, has been thrust through once superincum- 
bent strata, the layers of limestone being broken and 
bent by the dome-like position into which they have been 
forced. But what could have forced this vast mass of 
matter to an elevation nearly 1000 feet above the sea ? 
A o^eolosfist miofht sug^grest that it was the result of vol- 
canic action. And he would be right ; for a shaft has 
been sunk through the limestone hill by miners who were 
in pursuit of lead, and the ancient melted lava has been 
found lying beneath. " Such is Crich Hill — a stupendous 
monument of one of the past revolutions of the globe, 



with its arches of rifted rock, teeming with mineral veins, 
and resting on a central mound of molten rock, now 
cooled down." 

Leaving Ambergate, the line sweeps away to the left ; 
then, skirting the slopes of Crich Chase, we see beneath 
us the valley of the Derwent, and beyond are the hills, 
covered with woods, that form part of Alderwasley Park 
(pronounced Arrowslea), " famous for its oak timber." 

At Whatstandwell Station, locally abbreviated into "Wat- 
sail, there is a considerable trade and traffic in the fine 
stone of the district. From this point also a view ma}' 
be obtained of Lea Hurst. If the traveller will crane his 
neck out of the window, and look right ahead in the 
direction in which the engine is pointing, he will see, about 
a mile and a half away, a hill top crowned with trees, and 
the gable of a house peering from among them. The 
house, though almost covered by ivy, is a comparatively 
modern erection. Its quaint mullioned windows and 
high gables, and its oriel, crowned by an open balustrade, 
projecting from the south end, look down the valley of 
the Derwent, while all is sheltered from the east by the 
woods and hills of Lea and Holloway. It is the home of 
one of England's most honoured- daughters — Florence 
Nightingale. On our left we see the steep inclined plane 
of the High Peak Railway. It runs from the Cromford 
Canal to the Peak Forest Canal at Wbaley Bridge, in 
Cheshire. It cost nearly £200,000, but did not pay, and 
eventually it was leased to the London and North- 
western Railway Company in perpetuity. 

As we approach Cromford station we observe, across 
the meadows to our left, standing on a platform on the 
hill side, the mansion of the Arkwrights, — "Willersley 
Castle. It was built in 17SS. It is quadrangular and 
castellated ; it has embattled parapets and a tower gate- 
way in the centre. Thick waving woods and the rocks 



of Wild Cat Tor fill up the background. Richard 
Arkwright, the founder of the family, was the thirteenth 
child of a working man at Preston. He was apprenticed 
to a barber, and carried on his trade at Wirksworth. He 
patented his spinning jenny in 1769. Near the line on 
the left is Cromford Church, founded by Sir Richard 
Arkwright. It contains a monument by Chantrey. Crom- 
ford was " the cradle of the cotton manufacture." Itn- 


mediately past Cromford station is a tunnel, and then, 
a cutting through the rock. Our engraving exactly 
represents the beautiful appearance presented by this 
cutting in a recent winter, with its walls of ice. Our 
illustration is copied from a photograph taken at the 

Less than a mile from Cromford we are at Matlock 
Bath. The Heights of Abraham, which are to our left. 



is a name given on account of their supposed resemblance 
to those at Quebec. We pass from this beautiful spot by 
a tunnel under the High Tor, which rises, a mass of lime- 
stone, nearly perpendicularly from the water's edge, to 
a height of nearly 400 feet, its base being hidden with 
tangled underwood, its slopes covered with elms, ashes, 
and sycamores, mingled with the light forms of the birch; 



while the Derwent winds rapidly at its base, murmuring 
over a rocky bed. 

Passing ^latlock Bridge, which is situated at tlie 
" convergence of two valleys which descend from Tans- 
ley Moor to join the widening vale of Derwent," and 
noticing the town which of late years has risen up on its 
slopes, we are running up the pleasant valley of Darley 



Dale. Hard bj is the cold and naked slope of Oker Hill, 
a singular insulated eminence, probably of volcanic origin, 
rising abruptly from the plain. It is stated to be the site 
of an entrenched fort erected by the Romans to overawe 
the disaffected Britons, whom they had driven from the 
neighbouring lead mines. To this military station " the 
Romans gave the name Occursus, or the hill of conflict," 
of which Oker Hill is a corruption. Near the southern 
verge of the hill are two sycamore trees, said to have 
been planted by two brothers, who resolved here to part 


for ever. ^Yordsworth commemorates their sorrow and 
their separation. 

Up the wide glen on our right is Stancliffe Hall, the 
residence of Sir Joseph Whitworth, of engineering re- 
nown. The site is one of extreme interest and beauty. 
In his grounds are quarries of fine stone, from one small 
corner of which St. Greorge's Hall, Liverpool, was built. 
These quarries form natural rockeries of vast size. In 
the churchyard of Darley Dale is a yew-tree, said to be 
2300 years old. Its girth is 10 yards. 



Continuing our way up tliis beautiful valley, we ap- 
proach Rowsley station. Just before reaching it we see 
the confluence of the Derwent, which comes down from 
the right, with the Wye, which has flowed down from 
Buxton. To the right of the station is what was 
formerly the terminus of the Ambergate and Rowsley 
line. It is now the Midland goods station. On the left 
of the passenger station is the well-known " Peacock," 
with its gables and mullions of the 16th or 17th 
century, and its good fishing quarters. 


We are now in the neighbourhood of two spots of the 
deepest interest to tourists, — Haddon Hall and Chats- 
worth. The former is situated about half way between 
Rowsley and Bakewell, and is an admirable specimen of 
the baronial mansions of the loth and 16th centuries, 
and is in perfect preservation. Chats worth is some three 
miles to the right of the line, and is accessible by any 
of three or four routes : — by road from Rowsley ; by a 
charming footpath walk among the woods, and over the 
fields direct from Haddon Hall ; and bv road either from 


Bakewell or Hassop. It is a magnificent residence of an 
owner distinguished for the highest culture, taste, and 
wealth. Haddon should first be visited. Its modest 
proportions, quaint style, and towers and battlements, 
nestling among the woods, will not unfit the mind for 
the appreciation of " the Palace of the Peak," with its 
superb appointments, its picture and sculpture galleries, 
its orangery and arboretum, its conservatories, and its 
aqueduct, and the boundless beauty within and around. 

About a mile from Rowsley we enter the tunnel or 
covered way behind Haddon Hall, to which reference has 
already been made,* and on emerging from it we skirt the 
sides of a range of hills beneath which the Wye mean- 
ders in endless turns along the meadows, and soon the 
spire and town of Bakewell come into view. This is the 
principal market town of North Derbyshire. Here, in 
924, Edward the Elder planted an entrenched fortress 
and military station to overawe the disafi*ected Mercians. 
The remains of these works may still be traced. On the 
summit of the Castle Hill is a square plot with a tumulus 
upon it, hollow at the top ; and around are fields known 
as the Warden Field, the Castle Field, and. the Courtyard. 
In Domesday Book we learn that Bakewell was " a 
burrough." The waters were held in high repute before 
the Conquest. The church occupies a commanding 
position : it is Saxon and Norman, and also contains 
work of later periods. 

A mile north of Bakewell we are at Hassop station ; 
a mile to the right of which is Hassop Hall, the seat of 
Colonel Leslie. It was garrisoned for Charles I. by 
Colonel Eyre, in 1643. 

Passing the little station of Longstone, where it is said 
that Henry YII. had a hunting seat, we run between 
the rocky walls of a cutting into a tunnel through a 

* Pa^e 148. 


ridore of limestone, called Blackstono Edo^e. Emerorinor 
into the light, we enter on the remarkable scenery of 
Monsal Dale. We would, however, recommend that if 
practicable it should be approached by road from Long- 
stone. In doing so the tourist suddenly finds himself at 
the edge of a cliff from which he can see the vale lying 
before him ; the river, with the " lepping " stones and 
bridge, the undulating eminences sloping steeply down, 
the rustic homes of the scanty population, and, not least, 
the line itself skirting the hills to the left, its viaducts. 

cuttings, and station ; and in the far distance, the tiny 
hole in the mountain through whicli runs the iron path 
from these solitudes on to the busy cities of the north.* 

The scenery through which we have now to pass, and 
the engineering works by whicli the journey is accom. 
plished, must be seen to be appreciated — they cannot be 
described at length. The rivers, the valleys, and the 
railways, seem at certain points to be almost confused 
together ; spot after spot of beauty flashes upon the 

* Pase 148. 



eye of tlie traveller, and then is gone. A little beyond 
Cressbrook, at tlie northern end of Monsal Dale, is a 
charming view of very unusual beauty, where the line is 
carried round the bed of the river, between the two 
tunnels, by a retaining wall of masonry ninety feet high. 
Ao-ain the line burrows into the limestone hills. On 
emerging into the light, it skirts, at a great elevation, the 
valley; and, just before reaching Miller's Dale Station, is 


b^ t 


carried over the river by a viaduct, the three centre 
arches of which are of 90 feet span, and nearly 100 
high. The contrast presented between the heavy and 
abrupt masses of the rocks, and the light and graceful 
outline of the iron bridge which obliquely overleaps 
them, is very striking. 

Leaving Miller's Dale Station, the railway crosses the 
valley of the Wye, and then passes into a tunnel. It 
has not run far when it emerges into daylight, and again 



crosses the Wje and Cliee Vale by a single arch of 
masonry, the abutments of which rest on the perpendicular 
rocks on either side.* The momentary glimpse of the 
scenery right or left has, however, been wonderfully 
beautiful, for the traveller has crossed Chee Vale at its 
best part. We now pass along the side of the Vale, and 
have fine glimpses of some of its interesting peculiarities. 
It is, however, better enjoyed by the tourist who wanders 
up its bending course. Now he finds himself closed 

millek's dale viamct. 

in on cither side with rocks and hills ; then naked lime- 
stone walls are tinted with lichens and mosses ; and anon 
the ledges and slopes are covered with vegetation, and 
overhung with mountain ashes, birches, and elms, which 
intertwine their branches, and hang in a thousand lines 
and curves of beauty over the swift flowing waters. Now 
he is climbing steeply up a path a few inches wide, 
almost concealed by wood ; then with bending form he 

* Parre UO. 



creeps under the overhanging walls which the river has 
worn aw^ay ; now he is crossing the Wye by a rustic and 
perilous bridge, and again he is out in the green meadow- 
lands which fringe the river, where he can watch the 
May-fly and the trout. And all this wealth of loveliness 
is on the right and left of the traveller as he flashes 
over the bridge between the two tunnels, half a mile or 
so north of the station at Miller's Dale. 


TOl'LEY riKE. 

The train is now running on a lofty terrace, formed 
on the hill side, which looks down on the foaming 
torrent of the Wye. So tortuous is the course of the 
river, that in the last three miles the railway has crossed 
it five times. Four of these bridges, though of iron, 
are of light and even elegant appearance, and at. the 
same time of vast strensfth. 

We are now in the long ravine, called Blackwell Dale. 



Here the vegetation thins off, and the country soon 
grows more open and barren. But the river is with us, 
first on the right, and then on the left, till we come to 
the junction of the Buxton and Manchester lines. Here 
we turn to the left to Buxton, and pursue our way by a 
course full of interest and beauty. The lofty crags are 
covered with masses of ivy, and on every ledge, round 
every base, are tangled woods of ash, and oak, and 


birch ; and evevy spot is the home of rooks and daws 
and starlings innumerable. Near Topley Pike, which 
we see on the left, we enter a tunnel. It is the back of 
Pig Tor, a " savage-looking headland ;" and on emerging 
from the gloom, we enter Ashwell Dale, and immedi, 
ately pass the ivy-shrouded toll-house in the valley 
below, where the lino crosses the road by a lofty viaduct. 
Presently we come to the Lover's Leap. It is a rock 



on our left close by tlio road, crested with fir-trees, aud 
forming the entrance to Sherbrook Dell, a quiet glen, at 
the further end of which is a waterfall. 

Here we may pause to quote the words of one well 
competent to speak of the beauties of this district. " He 
who would know Derbyshire," says James Croston, 
" must follow the sweet meanderings of the mountain 
streams, winding hither and thither through shady 





nooks and fairy glens, all fringed and festooned with 
greenery ; where the tributary rills come trickling down 
from the mossy heights, gladdening the ear with their 
tiny melodies. He must loiter in her bye-lanes, between 
banks rife with ferns, foxgloves, and blooming hare- 
bells ; where the thick hedgerows and the noddiug 
trees mingle, and form a bower overhead, and the bright 
sunbeams, playing through the leaves, dapple the green 

414 BUXTON. 

sward with their restless and ever chaiio'iua: shadows." 
Herein abundance is the traiUng "lichen, that clings so 
fondly to the weatherbeaten rock ; the green moss that 
wreathes itself round the decayed and rotten-looking 
stump of some old, withered, and blasted tree ; the green, 
dustlikc confervce, — all these, with a host of others, 
unfold their beauteous forms." 

We are now at Buxton, where the stations of the 
Midland Company and of the London and North Western 
join one another. Concerning the past history of this 
town, we are told by a writer, " that in the seventeenth 
century the gentry of Derbyshire and of the neighbour- 
ing counties, repaired to Buxton, where they were 
crowded into low wooden sheds, and regaled with oat- 
cake, and with a viand which the hosts called mutton, 
but which the guests stronglj' suspected to be dog." 

At a later period Buxton seems not to have been 
unduly interesting ; for some years ago a writer thus 
spoke of the pursuits of the visitors : " They hobble 
up that wearisome treadmill, the Hallbank, and toddle 
down it again ; sit on the benches observing the new 
arrivals, and admiring the well graduated courtesy with 
which mine host of St. Ann's, in his white waistcoat, 
pays his graceful devoirs to each handsome turnout that 
turns into his hospitable doors. They drink the water, 
plunge into the water, talk, read, and dream of the 
water, and wonder liow it does not relieve them of their 
spasms and aches all at once." But those times have 
passed away, and while the medicinal springs of Buxton 
have powerful attractions to the invalid, the charms of 
the place and neighbourhood are numerous and abiding 
to all. 

But we must return to Black well Mill, where we left 
the main line in order to pay a visit to Buxton. And 
here we may remark that, when it was resolved to make 


an extension of this Buxton line towards Manchester, 
serious difficulties had to be encountered. " The thing- 
was," as a practical engineer remarked to the writer, 
" having got up the hill, how we were to get down 
again by workable gradients." This problem, however, 
was eventually solved by the ability and experience of the 
engineer in chief, Mr. Barlow, assisted by Messrs. Camp- 
bell, Campion, and Langley. As early as 1 860, Mr. Barlow 
had begun to study the country with a view to the 
selection of the best route ; and eventually he fixed upon 
that along which the line now runs. It passes with a 
gradient of 1 in 90 up a remarkable valley, without 
water, known as the Great Rocks Dale, following for the 
first two miles of its course the tortuous course of the 
valley, with heavy cuttings and embankments, till it 
reaches Dove Holes, where the summit level is attained, 
and from whence there is a descent through a very heavy 
rock cutting to the Dove Holes tunnel. The hill pene- 
trated by this tunnel, forms the northern side of the 
range known as Cow Low ; * and though it stands high 
and bleak, it is the lowest pass through the hills, which, 
commencing in Derbyshire and extending northwards 
through Yorkshire, form what is termed the Backbone 
of England. The gradient is 1 in 90, *' the best that 
could be obtained without going underground alto- 
gether ; " and the Midland line is no less than 183 feet 
below the level of the London and North AVestern, which 
passes overhead. 

In the Dove Holes hill, throus^h which the Midland 
line passes, says Mr. Barlow in some particulars with 
which he has favoured us, " the mountain limestone 
ceases. The beds dip rapidly to the west, and the old 
red sandstone and shales then commence and continue 
onwards for many miles. The tunnel is 2860 yards in 
* "Low," in Derbysliire, always means something high. 


length, about a third of it being in limestone, and the 
remainder in sandstone and shale. 

" Near the south end of the Dove Holes tunnel, and 
closely adjoining the turnpike road that leads from 
Chapel-en-le-Frith to Buxton, is a well-known spot called 
' the Swallow Hole.' It is so named because a consider- 
able brook, which rises some miles distant in the direc- 
tion of Buxton, ran to this hole and there disappeared." 
This brook attracted the attention of the engineer when 
laying out the course of the line ; but one or two other 
circumstances subsequently occurred which he did not 
anticipate. " Between what is now the south end of the 
tunnel and the turnpike road, there are some limestone 
quarries in the direct course of the railway, in the rocks 
of which arc many natural fissures which form caverns of 
various depths. Shortly before commencing the works it 
Avas found that a considerable body of water was running 
through one of these fissures, the flow being distinctly 
audible in the quarry. Ladders, ropes, and lights were 
jirocured ; the fissure was explored ; and at a depth of 
thirty feet a very considerable stream of water was seen 
to be flowing underground from the direction of the 
Swallow Hole. The effect of this discovery led to such 
an impression of the peculiarity of the district, and the 
costly and speculative character of all works carried on 
in it, that contractors declined to undertake the responsi- 
bility except on terms which were considered excessively 
high. This was an unexpected difiiculty to the Company; 
but, after much deliberation, it was decided to make the 
tunnel without a contractor, and Mr. James Campbell 
was appointed to carry out the work, under the superin- 
tendence of Mr. Barlow. 

" One of the first operations now to be undertaken 
was to divert this underground river ; or, by attacking 
it above ground, to prevent it flowing underneath until it 


was out of harm's way. Accordingly a cliannel was cufc 
near the Swallow Hole, in the direction of the Great 
Rocks Dale, and the water was turned along it. But now 
another remarkable circumstance occurred. The river 
ran along its new course to a point about half a mile 
south of the tunnel ; but here it found another fissure, 
into which it fell, and disappeared. So matters con- 
tinued for some six months, when, it seems, the brook 
filled up this underground cistern ; and it then resumed 
its course along the diverted watercourse which had been 
provided for it. Finally it found another fissure not far 
from the present Peak Forest Station, into which it has 
been running ever since, and from which it is believed 
there is an underground outlet down the Great Rocks 
Dale." The course cut for the brook is a total length of 
nearly two miles through land over which the company 
had no legal power ; and so great was the difficulty, 
even under the special circumstances, of acquiring this 
right, that eventually parliamentary authority had to be 
secured to take possession of the land under one of the 
" additional powers " acts. 

"The body of the underground waters," Mr. Barlow 
continues, "being thus diverted from the tunnel, the 
operations of sinking the shafts and driving the heading 
from the lower end were commenced. These operations 
were of great difficulty from the extreme hardness of the 
beds of sandstone and the quantity of water contained 
in the hill. Nevertheless, by great patience and perse- 
verance, and the excellent arrangements of Mr. Campbell, 
the work proceeded, and the tunnel, as completed, is one 
of the finest and most substantial works in the country. 

" At the north end of the tunnel there is a consider- 
able cutting formed in the beds of sandstone and shale. 
The beds rise rapidly towards the north-east, and here a 
slip occurred, suddenly bringing down an extensive mass 

E E 


of sliale wliich filled up tlie cutting, and crushed up four- 
teen waggons before they could be got out. This part 
of the line was then reformed by a massive covered way 
in masonry." 

The perforation of this mountain occupied more than 
three years. So numerous were the watersprings that 
were tapped in the progress of the tunnelling, that 
as many as six engines of from twenty to fifty horse 
power were employed at a time in pumping. The gangs 
of navvies had, in this lonely wilderness, to extemporise 
habitations for themselves, by the erection of conical 
mud huts, or cave-houses of two or three rooms each, 
cut iu the solid rock, or by cottages built of stone. 
Many difficulties arose with the men, especially in con- 
sequence of the feuds that existed between the English 
and the Irish navvies ; and eventually the latter were 
driven off the field, and were afraid to return unless they 
were specially protected at night by the police. The 
engineer promised that they should be taken care of ; 
and he arranged with the authorities that three police- 
men should be placed at his disposal. These he directed 
to appear at certain points of the works, and in certain 
attitudes and positions, at certain times ; and, taking an 
Irishman under cover of the night to these points at the 
right moments, he showed one after another of what 
seemed to be a little army of constables. The three 
policemen grew into a multitude; the Irishmen were 
satisfied of the abundant sufficiency of the protection 
aff'orded, and they returned to their work. 

After leaving the tunnel and covered way at the 
northern end of the Dove Holes, " the line," says 
Mr. Barlow, " emerges upon a table land forming the 
watershed between the Black Brook on the east side 
and the brooks which rise on the west side and run 
towards Whalley Bridge." Following the apex of tliis 


table land, tlic line passes close to Cliapel-en-le-Fritli, 
where there is a commodious station ; " after which 
it crosses the Black Brook and a tramway of the 
Sheffield Company, at Chapel Milton, by a stone viaduct 
of fifteen arches, one hundred feet high. The line then, 
by a falling gradient, skirts the hill-side still it runs along 
a timber viaduct and hij a stone one at Bugsworth, where 
for a moment we must pause. 

Here, towards the close of 1866, a remarkable incident 
occurred. It had been a very wet autumn. England 
had been drenched with rain ; every brook had become a 
river, every river had overflowed its bed, and the low- 
lands had been drowned. Railroads generally had suf- 
fered ; the permanent ways of the old lines had been 
soddened, and the works of new ones had been carried 
on with extreme difficulty and with many delays. The 
new line to Manchester had, however, been completed ; 
goods trains had run for months, and it was intended 
that in a short time the passenger traffic should com- 
mence, when it appeared that there were symptoms of an 
inclination in some parts of the works near Bugsworth 
to give way horizontally. The first movement was in 
the bridge just north of the viaduct, a bridge that crosses 
the public road ; but the fracture was comparatively 
slisfht. Then it was found that the five-arched viaduct 
was going ; and that, though it had been built in the 
form of a curve, it had, by the pressure of the slip, become 
straight. Two cracks opened in the arches of the via- 
duct large enough to have held the body of a man ; the 
road bridge was swept away ; three large ash trees that 
had grown on the north side of the high road were 
carried to such a distance that the road, when recon- 
structed, instead of being to the south of them, is now 
to the north; and no fewer than sixteen acres of land went 
down towards the river at the foot of the hill. Here the 


bed of the "Black Brook," a tributary of the Goyt, was 
raised several feet, so that it became dry; and the 
stream had to find a new course for itself in an adjoining 
field in the next county, Cheshire, instead of Derbyshire ; 
but eventually, as an observer remarked, it " fought its 
way" backward to its old bed. 

" And did you know about this slip ? " we inquired of 
a respectable looking countryman who had come to fetch 
his milk-cans from the station. 

" Yes," he replied. " It was a wonderful slip ; but we 
were not altogether surprised. The road had been 
partly on the move before. The hill is mostly clay and 
shale, and it slipped off something harder, I expect. 
However, it went at last, and no mistake. A goods 
train ran over the viaduct, if I recollect right, that morn- 
ing; but it was the last. Tluit day and the day after 
this road was all of a move. The walls were crackling 
down ; the fences were going ; the whole hillside 
seemed," as he repeated, " of a move. The regular road 
was stopped ; the walls tumbled down, stone after stone, 
and piece by piece ; the road went, and they had to make 
a new one. The station windovv'S cracked. Yon house 
was all agait agoin'. It was moving day by day before it 
went. The owner had a little farm," he added, " and he 
stayed till he durst not stay any longer." 

" You see," said the tenant of the ruined house, as we 
looked down on some heaps of stones that once formed 
his premises, " you see, when the paving stones of the 
cottage floor began to stand up on end, I told my missus 
it was time we were moving." 

" Had you lived there long ? " 

"Yes, we'd been there a matter of several years," he 
replied. " Yon was the house, where the big heap is, 
and that was the ' shippen ' at this end of the garden, 
where I kept my cows. There we stayed, missus, and 


big clog, and cows and all, till we dursn't stay any 
longer. Then we flitted." 

" And were any of you hurt ? " 

" No. We got ourselves out, and part of the furniture 
out ; but some of it — chests of drawers and such like — 
was jammed in, and we had to leave it. A carpenter 
came from the railway to try to fasten up the roof of 
the shippen ; but I told him it wasn't no use : and it 
wasn't. So we let the pigs out of the sty and the cows 
out into the field, and they weren't hurt. But you see 
those two dead ash trees. They were killed by the slip. 
They were moved and twisted underground ; and when 
their roots were breaking they cracked like thunder. So 
when I knew it was no use and I couldn't do anything, 
I came and stood up here on the bank and watched 
the house go. It fell at three times, the middle first." 

The means adopted by the railway company to restore 
the line were as effective as the disaster was great. For 
about ten weeks more than four hundred men were em- 
ployed night and day — as many as could find elbow room 
to work. The line itself was first diverted on to solid 
ground. The bottom of the landslip, which had its seat 
in the shale, was drained by underground headings of 
great depth, having lateral headings in every direction in 
which water could be detected. Meanwhile a new viaduct 
of great strength, containing about 50,000 feet of Baltic 
timber; two skew bridges of 30 feet span, with wrought- 
iron girders ; a connecting embankment at one end, and a 
deep rock cutting at the other, were completed. " The total 
length of the deviation is about 300 yards. The viaduct 
has 60 openings of about 20 feet between the centres of the 
uprights, the greatest depth being about 56 feet." Every 
difficulty was at length effectually overcome, and the line 
Avas opened fi^r passenger traffic in February, 1867.* 

* See page 223. 


The next station to Bugsworth is New Mills, where we 
are upon the line of the Manchester, SheflSeld, and Lin- 
colnshire Company ; now, however, with the little branch 
on the right to Hay field, the use of it is shared by 
the Midland Company. Three miles and a half farther 
on we arrive at Marple, a station likely to be of growing 
importance, as the point where the trains respectively to 
Manchester and Liverpool are finally arranged, and the 
station and its accommodation have with that design lately 
been greatly improved. The trains destined for the "West 
shortly afterwards bear away to the left, while those for 
Manchester, instead of making, as lately, a detour to 
the right, pursue their way by a new and direct line to 
that city. 

The present Manchester terminus of the Midland Com- 
pany is the London Road Station. This, a few years 
since, was rebuilt. Owing to the immense traffic that was 
ofoinsr on, and the vast number of trains which had to be 
received and despatched every day while the works were 
proceeding, great care and skill were needed, both on the 
part of those Avho designed and those who executed the 
works. No fewer than 450 trains arrived and departed 
daily; and during one hour of each day some 60 trains 
were due at the station, equal to one a minute. 

The covered roof of this station is 800 feet in length, 
a distinct platform being provided for both the arrival and 
departure of each of the two companies, the London and 
North "Western, and the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lin- 
colnshire, so that there are eight lines of rails, 800 feet 
long, under cover for passenger traffic. The whole 
length is divided by a road for cal)s to pass up and down. 

The Midland Company have made special provision at 
Manchester for tlieir goods traffic. After the trains have 
run over the Slieffield Company's line as far as Ashbury's 
Station, the Midland have a separate line to Ancoats, 


where at an early period tliey secured a fine old liall, 
called Ancoats Hall, with its gardens and grounds. 
There they pulled down houses and pulled up streets, 
and made their goods depot on an area of probably 
some 70 acres of land. 

This station was opened on the 2nd of May, 1870. It was 
about two years in course of construction, and was fur- 
nished with every modern convenience and appliance for 
the easy and rapid despatch of traffic. A shed 300 feet 
by 328 is provided with arrival and departure platforms, 
fitted with crane work and hydraulic power. The entire 
area below is cellared for storage, and above is a room for 
warehousing goods, fitted with hydraulic cranes for lift- 
ing goods from beneath. Hydraulic power is obtained by 
a 40 horse engine, pumping the water into two upright 
cylinders, fitted with solid plungers, or, as they are called, 
" accumulators." These plungers, or pistons, are acted 
upon by two circular vessels loaded with a weight of 70 
tons each, a pressure thus being obtained of 700 pounds 
on the square inch. The operation is so simple that a 
boy may work any crane without the slightest difficulty. 
A piece of ground, about 20 acres in extent, has been laid 
out for a stone, mineral, and station to station traffic. The 
cost up to the time of the opening was nearly £500,000. 

In addition to this station the Midland Compau}'-, in 
conjunction with the two other Cheshire Companies, are 
about to erect a new Central Station in the rear of the 
Exchange at Manchester. This will be a most com- 
modious and convenient terminus, especially for the 
Manchester and Liverpool traffic. The outlay necessary 
to secure the accommodation required will be very con- 
siderable. " The Central Station at Manchester," says Mr. 
W. G-. Scott, in a communication with which he has fa- 
voured us, " will, when completed and opened for traffic, 
form the main line Midland terminus in Manchester, and 


being placed in the heart of that great city, adjoining the 
magnificent Albert Square, the new Town Hall, and the 
Exchange, must become the favourite point of arrival or 
departure for all parts of the United Kingdom. 

"Leaving this station the line traverses the western 
suburbs of Manchester, crossing the River Irwell by an 
iron bridge of large span, and passing for several miles 
though the property of the De Trafford family, vice 
Urmston, Flixton, and Glazebrook stations. At this last 
point the eastern portion of the Cheshire lines diverges 
in the direction of the city of Chester, and, via Stock- 
port, ]\Iarple, and Aml^ergate, to London. Proceeding 
from Glazebrook the line is carried over what is termed 
E/isley Moss ; which, in reality, forms apart of that exten- 
sive 'bog' well known as Chat Moss, where the elder 
Stephenson, in the construction of the first Manchester 
and Liverpool line, had to contend with such enormous 
difficulties, and which at this point is about twenty-five 
feet deep. In the case of the Cheshire lines, the whole 
length of about two miles that passes over the morass 
was first drained on each side of the course of this rail- 
way ; temporary cuttings, resembling canals, were pro- 
vided, and the water was drained from the moss for 
upwards of eighteen months before the contractors were 
able to proceed with the excavations down to 'formation 
level.' These difficulties were eventually overcome, and 
the line has remained stable ever since. 

" Leaving Risley Moss, Padgate Station is passed, and 
at about sixteen miles from Manchester the ancient town 
of Warrington is reached. Very important engineering 
works were required at this place, as the Committee's 
new Central Station had to be erected near the centre of 
the town. Extensive cotton mills, workshops, and other 
valuable property were removed to enable the engineers 
to construct the viaduct, which carries the line across the 



town, at a heiglit varying from twenty to twenty-five feet 
above the street level. A handsome and commodious 
station, with platforms protected by glass and iron 
roofing, was here erected, and owing to this station being 
adjacent to the business portion of the town, the line has 
been found of immense service for local traffic between 
Liverpool and Manchester. Continuing westward, the 
line is carried by a viaduct about sixty yards in length 
across the Sankey Brook Valley and St. Helen's Canal, 
and passing through Farnworth, Ditton, and Halewood, 
reaches Garston, a place which within the last twenty 
years has risen from a small village to an important and 
flourishing seaport town. 

"The T^emaining six miles of the journey to the Central 
Station is constructed through rock cuttings and a number 
of short tunnels, the terminal station in Liverpool being 
at the junction of Ranelagh and Bold Streets, the most 
frequented and central point in the town of Liverpool. 
The engineering works on the last six miles of railway 
were extremely heavy and costly. This is admitted to 
be, both as regards accommodation and completeness, 
one of the finest termini in the kinirdom." 



Trent. — The Ei-ewash Valley. — Lon^ Eaton. — Erewasli Canal. — 
Stanton Gate. — Ilkeston. — The Shipley CoUieries. — Heanor and 
Eastwood. — Codnor Castle and Park. — Piuxton Tramway. — 
Kirkby Castle. — Coats Park Tunnel. — Alfreton. — Clay Cross. — 
Return to Ambergate. — Crieh Hill. — Limeworks. — Bull Bridge- 
box. — Wingfield Manor House. — Clay Cross Collieries. — George 
Stephenson. — Amusing incidents. — Coals and railways. — "Winger- 
worth Hall. — ChesterKeld. — Tapton House. — "Old George," his 
rabbits and bees. — " Revolution House." — Dronfield. — Bradway 
Tunnel. — Bcauchief Abbey and Hall. — Yorkshire. — Sheffield. — 
Difficult works. — Sheffield and Rotherham line. — Wincobank. — 
!R[asborough. — Old main line from Chesterfield. — Staveley. — 
Treeton. — Rawmarsh. — Wath. — Cudworth. — " Bleak" and "Black 
Barnsley." — Royston. — Chevet Park and Hall. — Walton Hall. — 
"Wakefield. — Heath Hall and its ghost. — Norraanton. — Hunslet. — 
Leeds. — The Brigg-shot. — Kirkstall Abbey. — Airedale as it was, 
and is. — Otley and Ilkley Branch. — Wharfcdale. — Ben Rhydding. 
— Dr. Macleod. — Apperley Gap. — Thackley Tunnel. — Gui.seley 
Branch. — Bradford. — Saltaire. — Bingley. — The Worth "Valley. — 
Haworth. — Charlotte Bronte. — The p'ople of the valley. — Keigh- 
ley. — Kildwick. — Skipton. — Colne Branch. — Yorkshire dales. — 
Gordale and Malham. — Settle. — Clapham. — Ingleborough. — Lan- 
cashire. — Hornby Castle. — Lancaster. — Morecambe. — Camforth. 
— Engineering difficulties and successes. — The Lake Side Sta- 
tion. — Barrow-in-Furness and Piel Pier. 

Trent Station, for passenger traffic purposes, is a central 
ganglion of the Midland system; and here we now take 
our departure along the great trunk line, up the Erewash 
Valley, for the North. Time was, and not far distant, 
when both the vale and the line were in different financial 
circumstances from those of to-day ; and amusing stories 
are told of how the original projectors of the railway had 
to hawk their shares about, and how they considered it 
a triumph of diplomacy when they had disposed of one 
or two. Now the line is loaded with the mineral wealth 
of the valley ; and yet it leaves enormous stores behind. 
In fact, a map of the valley marked with the spots that 
indicate the coalpits, presents an appearance as if the 
district were sufferino: from a maliGrnant attack of black 


The Erewasli Valley is called after tlie name of the 
river, which first issues from a grassy bank near Kirkby, 
and is represented in the initial letter on the first page 
of this volume. The river itself is said to derive its own 
title of Erewash, Erwash, or Errewash, from the Cambro- 
British word Erwyn, the river of heroes. It separates 
Derbyshire and Notts ; and, as the line crosses and 
recrosses the water, the traveller is now in the one 
county and now in the other. The valley and the line 
descend from within three or four miles of Clay Cross to 
the Trent Station, and thus form a specially convenient 
incline for the loaded trains of minerals bound for the 
south; while, from the slopes on either hand, many tribu- 
tary branch lines feed the trunk. In addition to the 
mining population with which the valley teems, there are 
numerous villages occupied by small manufacturers of 
hosiery and lace, who take their products to the county 
town, and bring back supplies of food and clothing for 

One of the first of these is the large and increasing 
village of Long Eaton, conspicuous in which are the 
extensive waggon works of Mr. J. S. Claye, and the new 
lace factory of the Messrs. Fletcher. Extending to the 
northward, are the numerous and commodious cottages 
occupied by servants of the Midland Company ; and then 
we see the large engine stables and sidings of Toton. 
This is a place of almost as much importance in the 
working of the mineral traffic of this district as Trent 
Station is for the passenger traffic. Here the loaded 
trains for the North and the empty ones from the South 
are marshalled for their next journey to their respective 
destinations ; and for this service some five and twenty 
miles of sidings have been laid down. 

The Erewasli Canal now comes into view. This work 
was begun in the year 1777, by the coalowners, in order 


to secure a watery way from Langley Mill to the Trent, 
opposite the Soar, The railway and canal run nearly 
parallel with each other for many miles. The general 
direstion of the canal is nearly north for eleven miles 
and a quarter ; it falls 108 feet by means of fourteen 
locks. So great was the traffic that at one time the 
shares sold for three times their orisfinal value. 

On a hill-top upon our left, the village and church 
with a large chancel, of Sandiacre now appear. It 
was formerly called Saint Diacre. Stapleford is on the 
right, and on the high ground behind is Bramcote. At 
Stapleford is the handsome residence and grounds of 
Colonel Wright. We soon observe, about a half a mile to 
our left, the smoking chimneys of the vast ironworks of 
Stanton Gate. The river Erewash meanders on our right, 
and the Erewasli Canal runs parallel to us on our left. 
We now pass a tall chimney, near the top of which, at a 
height of perhaps 200 feet from the ground, is a narrow 
cornice, some six feet in wiJth : when it was finished 
one workman wheeled another round it in a barrow. 
Tlie village of Trowell is now near the line on the east ; 
and, just as we pass over the river, and are for a moment 
in Nottinghamshire, the branch line from Radford to 
Trowell joins us. We have not remained in Notts for 
half a mile when, crossing the Erewash, we are again in 
Derbyshire; then another minute, and we recross the 
river. The hills on our left are occupied by the town 
and church of Ilkeston. For many years this town was 
approached by an inclined plane of the railwa}'-, worked 
by horses. With this arrangement the people became 
dissatisfied ; they called a town meeting, and invited Mr. 
Allport to attend. " I went over," he said, *' and attended 
the meeting ; heard all that was to be said ; and the pro- 
position was this : The station at present was at the north 
end of the town. They proposed that we should make 


a better station, tliat we should go to parliament to buy 
land, make a road, and build two bridges, one across 
the river, and the other across the canal, and they would 
form the road and repay us for the land. An engage- 
ment was entered into, and eighteen persons signed the 
agreement. "We went to parliament, obtained powers, 
constructed our portion, and paid for the land ; and to 
this day we have never even been refunded the money 
we paid for the land, and the whole cost of land and 
road has fallen upon us." * 

Of the development of the coalfields of this valley, an 
illustration may be furnished by the example of the Ship- 
ley collieries which are now near at hand. 

" When first I recollect the Shipley collieries," said Mr. 
Sanders, the agent, in evidence before parliament, " the 
output was not more than forty to fifty tons per annum. 
At the present time (1872) it is nearly 400,000 tons per 

We now reach Langley Mill. On our left are the hills, 
crowned with the village and church of Heanor, — a spot 
visited by many an English lad with interest as the scene 
of the early life and sports of William Howitt, whose 
" Boy's Country Book " has been as interesting to manj^ 
as " Robinson Crusoe." It was by the river Erewash that 
the incident occurred, so graphically described, of the 
tailor's theft of the bathers' clothes. On the hills on the 
right are the church and hall of Eastwood, and in the 
centre of the village is the Sun Inn, where the Midland 
Company had its birthplace. f We are now in the heart 
of the collieries of the Erewash Valley, the most exten- 
sive of which is, we believe, that known by the name of 
Messrs. Barber and Walker, at the head of which is Mr. 
Robert Harrison. 

We now pass through an undulating but uninteresting 
* Evidence : May 30th, 1872. f See page 8. 


country, tliinlj wooded, with pits at work every here and 
there, or worked out, until on the hill about three-quarters 
of a mile on the left of the line may be seen, by good eyes, 
the remains of Codnor Castle. Here, six hundred years 
ago, on an eminence in the undisturbed seclusion of the 
park, was a castle, deeply moated, approached from the 
east by an avenue of trees, which looked far down the val- 
ley of the Erewash. On its western side was a spacious 
courtyard, well fortified ; the massive round towers were 
battlementcd, and had cruciform loopholes for the bow- 
men. Within these defences was the main building, por- 
tions of which remain, consisting of outer and inner 


walls, aiul containing several windows and doorways, 
part of a turret, and a chimney. Near the ruins is the 
dovecote, a circular stone building of considerable height, 
covered by a tiled roof, from which a square wooden 
turret rises. The immensely massive walls are honey- 
combed within for hundreds of bedchambers. Near is a 
spacious pond, which, though on the summit of a high 
hill, is said never to be dry, a circumstance which has 
given rise to a local distich : — 

" When Codenour's pond runs dry, 
Its lordes may say good-bye." 

But " good-bye " they have said long ago ; and now the 


district is kuown only for its ironworks. These are con- 
nected with those at Butterley by a private railway. In 
every direction on the hill-side are pouring forth the red 
gleaming fires of the blast and puddling furnaces, and 
the smoke of the huge chimneys ; w^hilc all around are 
tramways, canals, engines, and trucks, bearing their costly 
burdens hither and thither. The new lines of the Great 
Northern may here be seen upon the right. 

On reaching the next station, Pye Bridge, we observe 
on our left the extensive ironworks of Messrs. Gates, of 

Just beyond Pye Bridge, the Midland line divides, 
and curves right and left. To the right it runs on to 
the well-known collieries and district of Pinxton, and 
in the course of a few miles joins the direct line from 
jSTottingham to Mansfield. The old Pinxton tramway 
ran in the same direction, the curves of which had to be 
altered before they were suitable for a railway. It had 
wound right and left around the bases of the little hills 
on either hand. This was no disadvantaq;e with a horse 
road ; for, in proceeding up hill, the windings were only 
like those which a good waggoner makes in going up hill ; 
and, in descending, the flange of the wheel pressing 
against the rail would ease the load downwards. The 
four deviations that had to be made for the railway may 
be noticed if we pass from Pye Bridge to Kirkby. 
"We may add that over the hill on his right he will pass 
Kirkby Castle ; but all that is left is some thirty yards 
of thick rubble wall, five or six feet thick. From the 
heights on which the castle stood might be seen the hills 
and dales far away to the south, — a fine expanse both 
then and now. 

Eeturning to the main line at the north of Pye Bridge, 
we enter on what is known as the Erewash Valley Ex- 
tension, a much more modern affair than the Erewash 


Valley line. The act was obtained in 1859, and the con- 
struction was begun in 1860. The line is short, but 
there are some heavy works upon it. One of these is a 
cutting through sandstone and " bind ; " and another is 
the Coats' Park Tunnel, some 1200 yards in length, which 
runs through the upper coal measures. It touches 
some " smut " at the lower end of the tunnel. 

Almost immediately north of the tunnel is Alfreton, 
the Alfredingtune of the Saxons, said to have been 
built by Alfred the Great, and where, it is stated, he had 
a palace. Here on a fine day is a beautiful view of some 
of the Derbyshire Hills, Crich Stand l)eing conspicuous 
upon the summit of the more southern of them. 

The town of Alfreton is about a mile to the left of the 
station. The line, which has been rising from Codnor 
Park to this point, now begins to fall away to the north. 
It rises again at Doe Hill, and tlien inclines downwards 
as far as Clay Cross. 

Several important coal lines run off at our right, — to the 
Blackwell, Tibshelf and Teversall, and Pilsley collieries ; 
and before long we find ourselves near, and almost under, 
the church of Xorth Wingfiehl, wliicli stands boldly on 
the crest of the hill. AVe are soon at Clay Cross itself; 
and liere we join the direct line from Derby, and then 
run into the station. 

At this point we must ask our reader to pause in his 
journe}^ and then to take a flight more easy to accomplish 
in fancy than in fact. On our first trip from London to 
Manchester and Liverpool, we turned off the old Xorth 
Midland line at Ambergate, and swept away to the left. 
We will now return to Ambergate, and come down the 
line from thence to Clay Cross. 

The station at Ambergate stands near the southern 
entrance of a tunnel, to which we have already referred.* 

♦ Page 49. 


On emerging into daylight, we see on our left tlie Cricli 
Limeworks, erected by George Stephenson at a cost of 
£20,000, for the purpose of profitably disposing of the 
small coal produced from the Clay Cross pits. There 
are twenty kilns ; and these would burn, if required, 
1 000 tons of limestone a week, and would in that case 
consume some 500 tons of coal. The limestone is 
brought to the kilns by an inclined plane, down what 
appears to be a perpendicular hillside. The loaded 
trucks in their descent draw the empty ones up. When 
these works were first established, lime was largely used 
l)y farmers for their turnip lands. A few years after- 
wards, however, Liebig published a book to show that 
when lime and manure were mixed, the lime absorbed the 
ammonia, and did more harm than good. The trade fell 
off, and this lime is now used by farmers only when pre- 
paring their land for wheat. Large quantities of Crich 
lime are also consumed in fluxing, in the manufacture of 
gas, and for kindred purposes. 

Leaving the limeworks, we cross the Amber several 
times in a short distance, we pass over a road, and then 
under what seems to be an ordinary bridge, but it is 
the aqueduct of the Cromford Canal, and heavily laden 
barges are perhaps being towed over our heads while we 
are running beneath. This is Bull Bridge, the interest- 
ing peculiarities of which we have already described.* 

On the left of the line are some limeworks of the 
Butterley Company. Here is the "Bull Bridge Box," 
wherein we found a one-armed guardian of the sidings, 
and a very respectable guardian too. On his hut wall 
was fastened a " Stirling " tract, admonitory of the perils 
of the public-house. 

" Well," we asked, looking at his armless sleeve, " and 
how did this happen ? " And he told us how it was 

* Page 50. 

¥ F 



caused years ago in the sliunting of some tip waggons 
at the making of the Leicester and Hitchiu line. 

" And so the Company have found you a berth ? " we 

"Yes, sir," he answered cheerily; " and they will let 
me keep it as long as I behave myself." 

A mile or so farther on the line enters a cutting, and 
approaches the Wingfield Tunnel. The redness of the 
soil on the slope is caused by the quantity of clay that 
was burnt here for ballasting the line. The tunnel is 
short, but a fine view may be enjoyed from the top of the 
hill through which it passes. Crich Hill is south-west, 
and north and south is the valley of the Amber, closed in 
by copses, farms, and wood-covered hills, while tlif i-iver 
winds tln-ouirli the meadows beneath. Half a mile from 


the nortli end of the tunnel we pass a mill on the right, 
still known as " the wire mill," though now it grinds 
flour ; and on our left, on the summit of a hill, partly 
hidden in summer time by trees that climb up its 
slopes, are what appear to be the towers of a castle, a 
spot that grows more and more beautiful as it is ap- 


proaclied by the visitor. It is the ancient manor house 
of Wingfiekl. 

" And which is the road to the manor house ? " we 
inquired of a httle girl whom we met on the road. 

" Eh," she rephed, as if in a sentence she would ex- 
haust all possible information on the subject; " eh, and 
you must go along the road, and turn up by my grand- 
mother's ! " 

Bless the child ! she thouo^ht all the world knew her 
grandmother, for she was all the world to her. It was 
almost cruel to say a word that might help to dispel so 
beautiful an illusion, but we were obliged to reply, — 

" And where, my dear, is your grandmother's ? " And 
then she pointed out the pretty winding ways over hill 
and dale along which she had come, and which would 
surely lead us safely to her grandmother's and to our 

Passing down the beautiful glen that separates the 
rectory of Mr. Hulton on the right from the manor house 
hill on the left, we stood in front of this fair historic pile. 
It is " one of the most charming ruins in the kingdom," 
and " a goodly specimen of domestic architecture of the 
later part of the fifteenth century." " The great hall is 
more than seventy feet long." Wingfiekl was built by 
Lord Cromwell. Mary Queen of Scots was -detained in 
confinement here for nine years, under the custody of the 
Earl of Shrewsbury, who was husband of " Bess of 
Hardwick." Durino; the Civil War Wino-field was taken 
from the Royalists by Sir John Gell, and the castle dis- 

Three quarters of a mile north of Wingfiekl we pass a 
coal branch. It turns ofi* to the right, somewhat abruptly 
disappears into a tunnel in the side of a hill, and after a 
run of about a mile, reaches the Shirland Collier3\ 

A short distance north of Stretton Station, and 


just before we enter the Clay Cross Tunnel, is another 
summit level of the line, and from hence it continues to 
ftill clown as far north as Kilnhurst. From the red sides 
of the heavy cutting a tincture of iron seems to flow on 
our left, and the black wall on the right appears to be 
made of coal. The Clay Cross Tunnel is ventilated by nine 
shafts. It passes under a cold and dreary hill, on which 
is built the mining town of Clay Cross, and over which 
runs the ancient Rykneld Street.* Coal has been worked 
in this neighbourhood for a hundred years. As pumping 
machinery was little understood, water soon accumulated, 
and coal could be drawn out only along levels run into 
the hill-sides from the outcrop ; and as there were no 
means of carrying it to any distance from the pits, it was 
disposed of only by " handsale " for local purposes. 

When the North Midland lino was in course of con- 
struction, the question arose how the locomotives were 
to be supplied with coke, no coal at that time being al- 
lowed to be used ; and George Stephenson, the engineer, 
— as a friend of his remarked to us, — " tried to get to the 
bottom of this subject, as he tried to get to the bottom 
of any and every difficulty, greater or less, that presented 
itself to his mind, lie learned that coke was made near 
Dron field for some steel melters ; he traced the bed of 
coal that supplied this coke as far as Staveley, where the 
Midland would jiass ; and he entered into communication 
with the Duke of Devonshire's agent for the lease of the 
Staveley property. But before concluding any arrange- 
ment, Stephenson sent by the Chesterfield Canal and by 
sea to London, and to the coke ovens of the London 
and Birmingham Company at Camden Town, samples of 
the deep soft coal of Staveley, and of the black shale 
coal at Dronfield, that it might be determined which of 

* Tlie course of this ancient way can be traced at frequent intervals 
across this county. In one place it is known as " Straight Lane." 


the two would yield the better fuel for locomotive pur- 
poses. The report was so strongly in favour of the 
Dronfield coal that the negotiations for the lease of 
Staveley (which did not then yield the black shale coal) 
were relinquished. The outcrop of the Dronfield coa 
was traced to the neighbourhood of Clay Cross, and it 
was found in the cutting at the south end of the tunnel. 
Overtures were now made for the Wingerworth estate, 
where it was intended to sink pits and work the coal for 
railway purposes ; but these negotiations also came to an 
end. Stephenson then bought and leased some small 
properties in the immediate neighbourhood of Clay Cross, 
sank a pit, built a number of coke ovens at a cost of 
£3000, and on the day of the opening of the North Mid- 
land line, not only supplied all the engines wdtli coke, but 
sent a train of coal from Clay Cross to Derby." 

For thirteen years after the Clay Cross collieries were 
opened they had to contend with difficulties. Other pits 
had been sunk, the yield of coal in the district had greatly 
augmented, and yet the area of consumption had en- 
larged but little. In addition to this, a strong prejudice 
existed against the coal itself. Its bituminous character 
made it resemble the seaborne coal of the north, so 
familiar to and valued by Londoners ; and the metropolis 
would then, as now, have welcomed it ; but it was con- 
sidered impossible that it should be carried so far by 
railway, and sold at a remunerative price, in competition 
with the north country coal brought by the coasting 
colliers. But in the midland counties the bright swift 
coal of the district was cheap, and the people preferred 
it. Nottingham, Derby, Birmingham, Leicester, Burton, 
would have none but it. This new coal, they said, " was 
not their kind of coal." 

Everywhere the agents returned unsatisfactory re- 
ports, and amusing stories were told of the objections of 


customers. A woman at Duffield, for instance, had 
been assured that if she wanted to keep the fire in, she 
had only to put a little "small" on the top, and leave it ; 
and she tried the experiment. On her return, however, 
she found, as she thought, that the fire was out; and, 
disgusted, she took up the tongs to carry the black mass 
away into her back yard ; but she had only got half 
across her room when the lump fell into two, burst 
into a blaze, and nearly set fire to the woman and her 
house. At Birmingham the agent was sent for by a 
man who was confined to his room by gout. His 
indignation was extreme. "Why," he said, " it spits, 
and fumes, and squirts, and squeaks l^y day and by 
night ; I can neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep, for the 
noise it makes." Only one man in the town of Notting- 
ham could be prevailed upon to be a customer : tlie 
landlord of an inn ; but he affirmed that it was the most 
sociable coal ho liad ever seen in his life. " If me and 
my wife," he said, " go out for a walk, it goes out too ; 
and when we come l)ack, and I put the poker into it, 
it comes back as well." In addition to these arguments 
and prejudices, come the fact that the coke made from 
these pits was not of the quality expected ; and, as soon 
as a line was opened from York to Darlington, the 
superior quality of the Durham coke drove that from 
Clay Cross out of the market. 

In connection with these circumstances an incident 
occurred that ought to be mentioned. Shortly after the 
death of George Stephenson, when his sou Robert was in 
Egypt, examining the then proposed Suez Canal, an agree- 
ment was made between the proprietors of the Clay Cross 
collieries and the London and North AVestern Railway, 
to convey 60,000 tons of coal to the metropolis, at the 
rate of a halfpenny per ton per mile. Robert Stephenson, 
however, after his father's death, was the largest 


proprietor in the compan}^ and accordingly the arrange- 
ment was not concluded till on his return his sanction 
could be obtained. This he refused to give, on the 
ground that such a rate of carriage would be injurious 
to the railway company ; and he would not, he said, 
consent to sacrifice the interests of the company, of 
which he was the consulting engineer, — and, as he con- 
sidered it, his own honour, — for his private interest as 
a Clay Cross proprietor. Once more the company was 
placed in difficulties ; and one result of the withdraw- 
ment of this contract was, that a change took place in 
the partnership of the company, and the concern passed, 
with the exception of one original shareholder, into the 
hands of Mr. (now Sir) William Jackson, Sir Morton 
Peto, and Sir Joshua Walmsley, who immediately 
carried out the arrangement with the North Western 
Company on the terms previously proposed. 

In the year 1847, ironworks were established at Clay 
Cross, principally for the purpose of using the coals that 
were not saleable at a profit in the markets. The native 
ores were a long time smelted without much success ; 
but for many years ores have now been brought from 
Northamptonshire, which, when mixed with those of 
Clay Cross, have been proved of excellent quality for all 
foundry purposes. 

Two miles to the north of Clay Cross, Wingerworth 
Hall stands boldly out on the slope of the hills on our 
left. It was purchased by Nicholas Hunloke, in the 
reign of Henry VIII. " His grandson, while attending 
on James I. in his progress through Derbyshire, fell 
dead at the king's feet." The Hall was held by the 
Parliamentary forces in 1643. " The grounds extend 
for a considerable distance up the slopes of the hills." 

On either hand a river may now be observed following 
the course of the line. It is the Rother, which when 


first seen, is a little stream ; but as it attends the line, 
and is crossed and rccrossed, the brook eventually 
becomes of sujB&cient importance to give its name to 

Four miles north of Clay Cross is Chesterfield. It de- 
rives its name from the Castle Hill, at Tapton, a little to 
the north of the town, of which " castle " or " Chester " it 
was " the field." It stood on the Roman road that ran 
from Derby to York. The neighbourhood has been the 
scene of many vicissitudes in English story. The town 
itself has little to attract ; though its remarkable rather 
than beautiful spire is a conspicuous object. It is twisted 
out of its original position, both to the south and west, 
probabl}" by the heat of the sun acting through the lead 
with which the wooden spire is covered. 

Immediately beyond the station, the hill-side on the 
right is seen to have been broken and blackened by the 
debris from some coalpits. These were " wallow pits," 
that is worked by hand, or " giuney pits," that is 
worked by horses. Some of them appear to have been 
managed on the scale on which it is said coal-mining was 
formerly carried on : the miner began in the morning, 
sank his pit by noon ; and before night had obtained 
coal enough to reimburse him for his capital and his 

Just beyond this hill is another on which Tapton 
House is situated. This was the residence of George 
Stephenson ; and his friend, Mr. Charles Binns, the 
manager of the Clay Cross works, has recounted to 
the writer many interesting incidents of the habits of the 
eminent engineer. " He was a man," said Mr. Binns, 
" of very large ideas. He was large in all his ideas. 
He was large in his religious ideas. If you put anything 
new before him in science or nature, he kept it in mind 
till he had worked it out as far as possible to its ultimate 


results. If it were a peculiarity in an animal, ' Why,' he 
would inquire, ' was it so ?' If there was some difference 
of form in an object, how did it become so ? He would 
tell how that his father had an engine in a wood ; and 
how when George was a little lad he used to go and watch 
the birds, their nests and their ways ! He was tenderly 
attached to all animals. He kept rabbits at Tapton, and 
he loved to notice their habits, and to sport with them. 
He had a tiny dog ; and he would put it among the rabbits 
to see them play together. They would stamp their feet 
at it, and gambol and run races with it ; and Old George 
would look on to see that on no consideration the dog 
should hurt the rabbits .or the rabbits the dog. He was 
also very fond of bees. He did not understand them 
scientifically; but he would go with his wife "Betty," 
as he called her, and watch their ways, and would 
poke his finger into the hive till they clustered on his 
finger. They never stung him, except once ; and then 
he got some carbonate of soda and cured the wound. 
He was as pleasant a man as you ever could find when 
he was in a good humour ; but if he took a dislike to 
any one, it was very difficult to get him rid of his 
prejudice against the offender." Trinity Churchyard, 
on the opposite hill, to the north of Chesterfield, contains 
the grave of George Stephenson. 

About a mile forward, the line, which from Clay Cross 
has been double, divides : two of the four lines of railway 
bearing away to the left, and carrying the traveller along 
the new main line towards Sheffield. A heavy em- 
bankment leads past the Sheepbridge Station and the 
extensive w^orks of the Sheepbridge Iron Company ; 
and soon afterwards we see to the north the villag^e of 
Whittington. Here formerly was an inn called " Revolu- 
tion House," because in 1688 a meeting of " Friends to 
Liberty and the Protestant Religion " adjourned here 


after tliey had assembled on the moor. In 1788 the 
centenary of the event was celebrated by many persons 
of influence and eminence. 

Passing over Tinstone Viaduct, to which we have 
already referred,* we see to our right a mineral line 
curving away to the east. From this point the Midland 
Company are about to make a loop of their own, which, 
touching several collieries and works, will join the main 
line at the south end of Dron field Station. From Tin- 
stone we climb up an incline of 1 in 90 to Dronfield, on 
the Drone, a place of increasing importance in connec- 
tion with the coal and iron industries. Here, so far 
back as 1794, Messrs. S. & J. Lucas took out a patent 
for making small castings, comprising fancy and useful 
articles of various descriptions, by melting ordinary pig 
in crucibles until it Ijccomes as fluid as water, and then 
running it into delicately formed moulds. The whole 
district from Sheepbridge to Dronfield is rich in iron- 
stone and coal, and before long will probably form an 
unbroken series of works. 

A mile north of Dronfield we enter the great Brad- 
way Tunnel. It is a mile and a half long, through mill- 
stone grit, and it pierces the hills that so long separated 
Sheffield from direct communication with the South. In 
sinkinsr the shafts of this tunnel the influx of water was 
so Qfreat that it is estimated some 16,000 orallons flowed 
in every hour, and it had to be pumped out by means 
of seven or eight engines erected for this purpose, and 
working day and night. As soon, however, as the 
" heading " was driven through, — a sort of little pioneer 
tunnel, — " we got rid," remarked Mr. Crossley the other 
day, " of the water ; and this is an illustration of the 
advantages of having a heading in such works. This 
water, coming from the millstone grit, was of unusual 

* Pasre 260. 



purity, was carried down to Sheffield, and there furnishes 
an unfaiUng supply for all station purposes." 

On emerging from the tunnel we are in a deep cutting 
through shale and sandstone, along the foot of which 
we see the once underground river which the tunnelling 
set free. On coming out into the open we have on our 
left the river Sheaf, — after which Sheffield takes its name, 
— and which alone separates us from Yorkshire. 

Beauchieff Station is near a spot of much interest, 
Beauchieff Abbey. Five minutes' walk on the right of the 


line, would bring us within sight of the short thick 
tower of the chapel, and a lane leads to the gates of the 
Beauchieff estate, immediately within which is the chapel. 
On the left of the abbey a long ridge rises, covered with 
dark green woods. Service is held in the chapel every 
Sunday. A bend in the road which winds up the hill 
beyond the abbey is the way to Beauchieff Hall, a mansion 
built in the reign of Charles II. The village of Norton 
lies about a mile further back. Here an obelisk of 
Cheesewring granite stands on the village green to the 
memory of Chantrey, who was born here in 1781, and 
who was buried here. The house, " which has been 
modernised and spoilt," is at Jordansthorpe, to the left 


of the village from wliicli Chantrey in his early days used 
daily to carry milk on the back of a donkey to ShejQ&eld. 
Adjoining the village is Norton Hall, the residence of 
Mr. Charles Cammell. 

Returning to Beauchieff Station, and renewing our 
journey, we see the Sheaf still upon our left. We flash 
over it for a moment into the next county, and back 
again into Derbyshire ; and at Heeley we again enter, and 
shall for many a mile remain in, Yorkshire. Of this county 
it has been said : " It is not only that a vast extent of 
landscape studded with church and tower and minster, 
with crumbling walls of castle and abbey, and rich with 
the site of many a famous battlefield, stretches away till 
it is lost among the grey masses of the opposite hills ; 
but that the whole wide scene, so beautiful and so inte- 
resting from its host of associations, is looked upon from 
a rough foreground, purpled with heather, and broken 
into deep scars of rock ; or from a lofty hill of wood, 
with a foam-whitened stream dashing onward from 
below, and then winding out from the hills to glance 
like a thread of silver across the wide green landscape." 
There is, we may add, "no part of England of equal 
extent which is so ricli in historical sites, or which has 
maintained so decided a political importance from the 
very dawn of history to the present da}'." 

Sheffield is approached through a tunnel under the 
grounds of the Duke of Norfolk, who has a seat hard by. 
The station is^ built in the valley of the Sheaf. This 
site was chosen simply because almost insurmountable 
engineering difficulties prevented the selection of a more 
central position. It was not an easy work to build a 
railway station over a river like the Sheaf. Yet it was 
done ; and three arches of fifteen feet span, and of great 
length cover in the river and carry the line. The station 
buildings stand on the solid; the rails and roof are over 


the water. " The roof is of h'on and glass, and is sujj- 
ported by forty-two iron columns. There are one and 
three quarter miles of wrought-iron girders, and about 
90,000 bolts and rivets in the roof; and 37,500 feet of 
glass. The footbridge is 105 feet long. The clear span 
is ninety feet, and the weight about thirty tons. The 
total weight of the wrought and cast iron is G30 tons. 
The building is of rock-faced wallstone, tool-dressed, 
and the style of architecture is Grecian, with Gothic 
headings. The platforms are 700 feet long, and 30 
feet wide." At the north end are two docks ; at the 
south end there is one. Four lines of railway run 
through the station ; a spacious area opens in front of it, 
and it has all the appliances suited for the administra- 
tion of the executive and the accommodation of the 

Leaving the station for the north, we pass through 
heavy and difficult works, in what is called " The Park." 
This is a high hill of sandstone overlying coal measures 
and clay ; but the stone had been quarried, and nothing 
but debris left in its place ; and the coal had been " got,'' 
so that, as Mr. Crossley remarked, " We dared not tunnel. 
The only course left was to make an open cutting for 
about half a mile, with an immense number of bridges, 
till we came out into the valley of the Don. We cross 
over the river and the turnpike road with a bridge, and 
then we have a long viaduct through the low part of 

At Attercliffe there is a station, and a large iron bridge 
over the road ; and soon afterwards we see on our left the 
former station imbedded in a mass of ironworks, whose 
contiguity rendered its extension impossible. We now 
pass on to the old Sheffield and Rotherham line, upon 
which we shall run nearly as far as Masborough. This 
railway, when originally contemplated, like all the earlier 


lines, encountered mucli opposition. " A hundred and 
twenty inhabitants of Kotherham," we are told, " headed 
by their vicar, had petitioned against the bill, because 
they thought the canal and the turnpike furnished 
suflBcient accommodation between the two towns, and 
because they dreaded an incursion of the idle, drunken, 
and dissolute portion of the Sheffield people as a conse- 
quence of increasing the facilities of transit."* These 
and similar objections had weight, and the Lords' Com- 
mittee rejected the Bill in 1835. But the promoters were 
resolute ; in the following year they were successful ; 
and on the 31st of October, 1838, the line was opened. 
A pilot engine was sent first, and then followed the train 
itself, with its "very elegant" carriages painted yellow, 
carrying Earl Fitzwilliam, the directors, and other influ- 
ential persons, who were delighted with the " wonderful 
velocity " with which they ** shot along; and who won- 
dered still more when on the return journey they passed 
the pilot engine." 

The region through which we pass from Sheffield to 
Masborough would be a desolation were it not full of the 
grimy life which does its dark and necessary work ; and, 
in doing it, tears open tlie bowels of the earth, flings 
vast masses of debris in every direction, and fills the air 
with inky smoke and OTidless din. Behind Attercliff'e are 
the wooded hills of Tinsley Park, rent and seamed with 
collieries, quarries, and works. 

Brightside is on the Don. Its name is scarcely so 
appropriate to the district as that of Grimesthorpe, 
through which we have just passed. The next station is 
AVincobank, on the hill of which is a " large camp, nearly 
circular, with a deep ditch and vallum," from which 
extends north-east what is called the Roman Ridge. It is 
a bank partly natural, formed by a fault in the coal for- 
• Sheffldd and Eotherham Independent. 


mation, and partly artificial. On its south side is a deep 
ditch. This ridge has been traced from Sheffield as far 
as Masborough. "It is probable," says Murray, " that 
these lines formed the main defences of the Brigantes on 
this side of their territory." 

In this district the Midland Company have recently been 
making extensive additions to their line. In order to 
prevent the possibility of a block during the coming 
season of heavy traffic, three and three quarter miles of 
additional sidings have been laid on the down side of the 
line at Wincobank, and two and a half miles of sidino-s 
on the up line at Grimesthorpe. A third line of rails 
has been laid down between Wincobank and the Holmes 
station, in order to relieve the main line traffic ; and an 
engine shed is being erected in the neio-hbourhood 
capable of accommodating forty-eight engines. The 
Company have also just erected at Sheffield a bonded 
warehouse at a cost of £30,000. It is 150 feet high, 
and is divided into four compartments. The two upper 
floors are to be devoted to the storage of corn, and their 
capacity will be equal to 25,000 sacks, or about 3000 
tons weight. 

Masborough is the next station. The ironworks here, 
founded by Samuel Walker in the middle of the last cen- 
tury, were probably at one time the largest in Europe. 
Southwark Bridge, over the Thames, was made at Mas- 

Rotherham, standing to the east of Masborough, is at 
the confluence of the Hother and the Don. The noble 
proportions, lofty spire, and crocketted pinnacles of the 
church of All Saints may be discerned, even though, as 
Eickman remarks, there are the " tall black cones of the 
Masborough forges for a foreground." 

Having arrived at Masborough by what is now the 
direct main line of the Midland Company, we may glance 


at the other route, which for some years formed an 
integral part of the original North Midland Railway, and 
served as the only available line from the South to Shef- 
field. The point of divergence was, as we have seen, a 
little north of Chesterfield, where both lines cross Whit- 
tington Moor. Bearing a little to the eastward, we soon 
reach Staveley, a place of historic interest as formerly 
the residence of the Lords of Frescheville, a family of 
renown in the 17th century; but now better known for 
its vast and famous ironworks. How greatly the largest 
anticipations of mineral wealth of tliis district have fallen 
short of the actual result may be illustrated at Staveley. 
When the Xortli Midhmd line was l)eing made the 
Staveley Company asked tliat sidings might be provided 
for their use. To this request the railway autliorities 
demurred ; but eventually it was arranged that the 
sidings should be put in ; but that the Staveley Company 
should pay interest on the outlay until the traffic sent on 
to the railway should amount to 20,000 tons a year, after 
which they should be free. At the present time the 
Staveley Company places on the railway that amount 
of traffic many times told. 

Passing over a viaduct of five arches, we approach 
Eckington, on the wood-encircled hill on the left of which 
is Renishaw Hall, the seat of Sir G. Sitwell. The hand- 
some church and village of Eckington are seen about a 
mile to the west after we have left the station, thoutrh 
partially shut in by woods and liills. It is a busy little 
place, with some foundries for making scythes and sickles. 
The Renishaw furnaces are close to the station. 

Three miles from Eckington we pass the Beighton 
Junction of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire 
Railway. The Midland Company has no passenger station 
here, though the line is useful for the interchange of 
goods traffic. Half a mile forward we cross the Rother, 


and enter Yorksliire. We now pass under a bridge 
which carries the Sheffield line over our heads, and a fine 
viaduct belonging to that company is seen on our left. 
Another mile brings us to Woodhouse Mill Station ; and 
two miles farther on we have before us, on our right, the 
village of Treeton, in which it is said that Bradshaw, 
"the regicide," was buried; but from whence his body 
was subsequently removed, and hanged at Tyburn. "When 
actually passing Treeton we cannot see it, for we are in 
a cutting ; but it is visible either on approaching or on 
leaving it. 

Half a mile from Treeton we cross, for the fourth time, 
the Rother, which with many curves pursues its way at 
the foot of the Oanklow woods, which cover the hills on 
our right, and over which peeps the tower of Boston 
Castle. For some distance the train now runs on an em- 
bankment, from which extensive views may be obtained 
on either hand till we arrive at Masborough. 

Leavino; MasborouMi throuQ-h a cuttino; the line bends 
away for three or four miles to the right, along the valley 
of the Don, till we reach Rawmarsh. Here are the Rock- 
ingham China Works, " where porcelain four-post beds 
have been made." On the right, over the Don, is 
Thrybergh Park. For three centuries it belonged to the 
Reresbys ; but in 1C89 it was gambled away by Sir 
William Reresby, who became " a tapster in the King's 
Bench prison." 

Wath Station is on an embankment. This villaofe is 
called Wath-upon-Dearne, to distinguish it from another 
Wath. The Midland line crosses the Dearne just north of 
the station, and the river with various windings accom- 
panies the line on the left nearly till we pass through a 
tunnel, 149 yards long, and reach Darfield. The village 
and church stand on an elevation, from whence a wide 
range of country may be seen. The traveller may observe 

G G 


from tlie vaihvay the monument erected in the church- 
yard over the remains of the 189 men and boys who were 
killed by an explosion in the Lundhill Colliery in 1857. 

The line now winds away to the left; crosses the Dearne 
four times : the third and fourth times near some 
richly wooded hills, beneath which the river winds away 
to the west to Barnsley. We next reach Cudworth, 
whence there is a branch to Barnsley. This line com- 
mences about three quarters of a mile north of the Cud- 
worth station, and soon carries us over one of the most 
imposing works on the Midland system — the Barnsley 
Viaduct.* It is more than 1000 feet in length; has three 
stone piers, on which massive girders rest; and the space 
from one abutment to another is supported by fourteen 
very lofty iron piers. These are bolted together, and 
though light in appearance, form a very safe and sub- 
stantial structure. 

Barnsley is situated on two eminences, and used to be 
called " bleak Barnsley." The " bleak" is now changed 
to " black." It is estimated that the value of goods 
manufactured here is not less than £1,000,000 annually. 
There are some fifty collieries in the neighbourhood. 

Resuming our journey from Cudworth to the north, we 
observe, on our left, the square tower of the church of 
Royston. We have now reached another summit level of 
the line, having been ascending, though by excellent 
gradients, almost the whole distance from Kilnhurst ; the 
line now continues to fall away as far north as Meth- 
ley. Near Royston is the Chevet viaduct of thirteen 
arches ; and on our left, about half a mile distant, are 
Chevet Park and Hall, a house of the time of Henry VIII., 
and the residence of Sir Lionel Pilkington, Bart. On our 
right, after passing the fine woods of Haw Park, a view 
may be obtained of Walton Pai-k, a spot to every 

* Pajre 178. 


naturalist of romantic interest. About two miles north 
of Eoyston is the Chevet Tunnel, 688 yards in length, 
passing through which we reach Sandal and Walton 
Station; and then are on a lofty embankment, from which 
views are obtained east and west over a wide sweep of 
country. On a hill crowned with trees are the scanty 
remains of Sandal Castle, where the Duke of York rested 
the night before the Battle of Wakefield. From a great 
distance on the right a line is seen approaching, which 
at length passes under the Midland. It is the Great 
Northern from Doncaster to Wakefield. And less than 
half a mile farther on we are running over another line 
that comes from east to west : it is the Lancashire and 
Yorkshire, from Pontefract to Wakefield. On the summit 
of the hill to the east is the square tower of Crofton 
Church, beyond which, about three miles distant, are 
Nostel Park and Priory, but they are hidden from our view 
by Crofton Hill. From this embankment, too, Walton 
Park can be seen to the south-east. When the observer 
is passing over the second of the two railways, he will 
notice that the canal winds its way in a serpentine form 
like a gigantic letter S. Over the top of the S, and on 
the summit of the hill, is a wood, with a dip of open land 
immediately on its left : that wood is in Walton Park. 
The Hall itself stands low over the hill, — is, in fact, almost 
surrounded by the water of the lake. The Midland has 
access to the Kirkgate and Westgate Stations at Wake- 
field, both of which are points of junction with other lines. 
Resuming our journey on the main line, we next pass 
Oakenshaw, and are soon in a heavy cutting where little 
is to be seen, — the greater the pity. For on our left 
are the village of Heath, the fine common of Heath, and 
the old hall of Heath, once owned, it is said, by Witham 
Witham, who was bewitched by a certain Mary Paunall 
who was executed at York for the offence. To add 


interest to the spot, -^ve are also assured that the ghost 
of one Lady Bolles, " a baronettess," the only one ever 
made, and made one by Charles I., haunts the house. 
What more could be desired to lend attractiveness to the 
spot ? A mile north of Oakenshaw, we pass under a 
Koman road; and a little farther on a branch of the 
Lancashire and Yorkshire is seen approaching on our 
left from "Wakefield ; it joins the ]Midland at Goose Hill 
Green. Another mile brings us to Norraanton, a centre 
towards which lines converge from different districts, and 
wIh^'c the readjustment of trains renders it necessar}'- for 
both passengers and railway servants to be somewhat 
specially careful to know that the}' are " right." 

Of Normanton itself we see little, though it lies im- 
mediateh' to our right. But on leaving the station we 
run for some distance on embankTuents of considerable 
elevation, from whence extensive views may bo enjoyed 
over a wide range of country to the east and west of the 
lino. A mile from Normanton Station the North Eastern 
line passes off to our right, and soon afterwards wo cross 
the canal, the locks of which are conspicuous, that has 
come hither from AVakefield, and now falls into the 
Calder ; then we cross the Calder River itself. The 
woods on our left are in Methley Park, the seat of the 
Earl of ^[exborough. Methley is a place of antiquity, and 
is mentioned in Domesday Book. 

The line now pursues its course on an elevation along 
the valley of the Aire, the flat meadows of which are 
formed by deposits from fresh water inundations laid on 
the rugged basis of an old arm of the sea. The river and 
its canal arc conspicuous on our right. Passing Oulton 
on the left, in the neighbourhood of which the last wolf in 
Yorkshire is said to have been killed by John of Gaunt, 
we reach Woodlesford Station, nnd see the fine woods of 
Swillinixton on the hills on the riirht. Beneath them are 



extensive coalfields. Here also is the well wooded deer 
park of Temple Newsam, perhaps tlie Templestowe 
described in Ivanhoe. The next station is Hunslet, from 
which we soon reach the AYellington Terminus, jointly 
used by the Midland and the London and North Western 

Of Leeds it were easy to say much, and difficult to say 

little. It must suffice to observe that here Romans 
smelted iron ; that after their departure Leeds became 
an independent kingdom ; that subsequently to the Con- 
quest the place is described in Domesday as " Wasta ; " 
that a great castle was erected here, no trace of which re- 
mained when Lelaud came, and said of the place, that it 
was " a praty market toune, as large as Bradeford, but 
not so quick as it." In 1G42 it was taken by the Eoyal- 
ists, and retaken by Fairfax. 

" It stands in a fertile country, intersected w^th rivers_, 

454 LEEDS. 

and possessing rich bods of coal. It communicates with 
the Humber and the German Ocean by means of the Aire 
and Calder Navigation, which allows vessels of 1 20 tons 
to come up to the town," and with the Mersey and Liver- 
pool by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Its rise, how- 
ever, to its present state of importance and prosperity is 
of comparatively recent date. It probably was a seat of 
the cloth trade from an early period, perhaps as far back 
as the time of Edward IIL ; and its cloths were called 
"narrow," says De Foe, when compared with the broad 
cloths of the West of England. The cloth market was 
first held on the bridge over the Aire, and the refresh- 
ment " given the clothiers by the innkeepers being a pot of 
ale, a noggin of porrage, and a trencher of boiled or 
roast beef, is called the hrigrj-shnt to this day." Leeds is 
now the greatest cloth market in tlie world. 

On leaving the gi'iniy manufacturing suburbs of 
Leeds, near which the Wellington Station stands, we are 
charmed to find suddenly that our train is pursuing its 
way up the beautiful valley of the Aire, with its water 
courses and water power, its quarries and woollen manu- 
factories, its wooded hills and stately mansions innumer- 

The first object of special interest that we pass is the 
abbc}^ of Kirkstall. It is on our right ; and in no 
other part of England are " the centuries brought into 
such close strange contact " as in a spot like this, in 
which " many a manor and grey village church, rich in 
memorials of ancient days, rises with a strange and al- 
most pathetic contrast" alongside of the enormous fac- 
tories and towns of modern civilization. 

The abbey was founded by Henry de Lacy, in 11 '")2, in 
fulfilment of a vow ; and here a colony of Cistercian 
monks were invited to settle from Fountains Abbey. 
They throve, got into debt, got out again, and were 



finally "dissolved" in 154-0, tlie site being granted b}^ 
Henry VIII. in exchange to Thomas Cranmer, and event- 
ually it came into possession of the Earls of Cardigan. 


The church is in the form of a cross, with a square 
tower at the intersection ; but in 1779 a large part of the 
tower fell. The east window is pointed ; the west is Nor- 
man. Noble remains survive of the nave and aisles, of 
cloister, court, and chapterhouse, of refectory and in- 
firmary. "It is to the neglect of two centuries and a 
half," says Whitaker, " the unregarded growth of ivy, 
and the maturity of vast elms and other forest trees, 
which have been suffered to spring up among the walls, 
that Kirkstall is become, as a single object, the most pic- 
turesque and beautiful ruin in the kingdom. Add to all 
the mellow hand of time, — the first of all landscape 

" Since the day," says Professor Phillips, " when 
Henry de Lacy brought the Cistercians to this sweet re- 
treat (1152), how changed are the scenes which the river 


looks upon ! Then from the high rocks of Malham, and 
the pastures of Craven, to Loiclis in Elmete, the deer, 
wild boar, and white bull were wandering in unfrequented 
woods, or wading in untainted waters, or roaming over 
boundless heaths. Now hundreds of thousands of men 
of many races have extirpated the wood, dyed the 
waters with tints derived from other lands, turned the 
heaths into fertile fields, and filled the valley with mills 
and looms, waterwheels and engine chimneys. Yet is 
not all the beauty of Airedale lost; nor should the 
thoughtful mind, which now regards the busy stream of 
the Aire, lament the change. The quiet spinner is hap- 
pier than the rude and violent hunter ; the spirit of true 
religion fills these populous villages, as well as it once 
filled those cloistered walls. The woods are gone, and in 
their place the iron road ; but that road conducts the in- 
telligent lover of beauty to other hills and dales, where 
art has had no contest with nature, and by enabling him 
to compare one region with another, corrects his judg- 
ment, heightens his enjoyment, and deepens his sympathy 
with man." 

On reaching Apperley, a line is seen rising by a rapid 
gradient upon our right. It is the Otley and Ilkley branch, 
and was opened August 1st, 1865. The line runs through 
the magnificent scenery of the valley of the Aire, towards 
the upland which separates it from the valley of the 
Wharfe. The principal station is Guiseley, which crowns 
the ridge, and up to which the line rises nearly all the 
way by a gradient of about 1 in 60 ; but as it sweeps on 
throuofh the maefnificent dale of the Wharfe, it descends 
at first by a gentle fall and then by a heavy gradient. 
Menston Junction, the next point on the line, is situated 
at one angle of the triangle by means of which the two 
railway systems communicate. Another angle is occupied 
by the next station, Hurley, and the third is at Milnerwood 



Junction. The lines between Menstone and these last 
two points are the exclusive property of the Midland 
Company. Between Milnerwood and Burley, however, 
is the central portion of the joint line from Otley to Ilk- 
ley, over which the two companies run in common, and 
which is one of the most beautiful portions of the whole 
route. The length of the North Eastern line from Ar- 
thington to Ilkley is about nine miles ; but that of the 
new portion from Otley is only six. From Ilkley to Bur- 
ley the line is a steep ascent. The only cuttings are near 
Burley, and they are not of great depth. The deepest 



met with on this part of the line is between Milnerwood 
and Otley. It is, however, through a sandy formation, 
whereas a deep cutting in the neighbourhood of Guiseley 
is through rock. The remainder of the line to Otley lies 
at the base of Otley Chevin. 

This valley of the Wharfe has, however, special interest 
to many beyond that created by the beauty of the scenery. 
Around its breezy hills and flowing waters cluster memo-' 



ries of health restored and of life prolonged. Ben Rbyd- 
ding and Ilkley have thns become centres of attraction to 
growing numbers. Thirty-one years ago, where there 
are now the vast and stately mansion and the thriving 
village, were then only the wide ranges of the heathery 
hillsides and the game and sheep pastures extending 
away for many a mile on every hand. Mr. Stansfeld, 


a relative of the present member of parliament, had, 
however, been to Graeffenberg, under Preissnitz, and 
had derived so much benefit from the medical treatment 
he received, that he resolved to form a company, and 
to plant a similar establishment here; his motives in 
this undertaking being both philanthropic and financial. 
Accordingly he erected what is now the central part 
of this noble buildir.g, in the Scottish baronial style of 
architecture, and Ben Rliydding came into being. The 



work was successfd. In 1847 Dr. Macleod came as the 
pliysician in charge ; eventually lie became the proprietor, 
and won for himself wide and deserved esteem for his 
skill, kindness, and enterprise. Important additions were 
from time to time made by him to the building. The 
north and then the south winn^s were added, and other 
improvements effected, until standing on the slopes of 
the moorland hills, 500 feet above the sea, enclosed with 
wood, and adorned with gardens, flowers, and a thousand 
objects of interest, Ben Rhydding has become one of the 


most beautiful and attractive spots in England. More 
than seventy acres of land are connected with the man- 
sion; accommodation is provided for 150 patients ; and 
everything is supplied that is calculated to ensure the 
health and comfort of the inmates. Ilkley is the next 

Returning to Apperley, and pursuing our way westward, 
we cross the valley and river of the Aire by means of a 


viaduct. Here, in the mouth of Noveiuber, 1S6G, an 
incident of special interest occurred. There had been 
for some time such a downfall of rain as had been un- 
known in the recollection of " the oldest inhabitant " of 
the district. The river Aire had been fed by tributary 
rills that flow down the slopes of the valley as far away 
to the north-west as Malham and Chipham, — rills that 
had swollen into torrents ; and on the night of the IGth 
the river near Apperley had overflowed its banks to a 
breadth of half a mile, until all communication by road 
had been arrested. A phitelaycr was returning along the 
line from his work, when, on passing over the viaduct, 
he suddenly discovered a rent in the masonry of the stone 
arch he was crossing, — so suddenly, indeed, that he 
nearly fell into the abyss, and only by a leap reached the 
other side in safety. lie hastened forward with the 
tiilings ; tlie station-master at Apperley immediately 
made arrangements to stop the down trains; and then, 
knowing that an uj) goods' was nearly tlue, wnit forward 
to meet it. Hurrying along the line lantern in hand, ami 
followed by the platelayer and station-j)orter, he had not 
reached the viaduct when he saw the goods' emerge from 
the tunnel. The red lights were waved ; the driver saw 
tliciu, and shut off the steam, the fireman applied tlie 
brakes, and then both men leaped off and escaped. Had 
they stayed to reverse the engine, it, too, might have 
been saved ; but with the momentum it had acc^uired it 
came onward, fell into tlie hole, struck the already broken 
arch with a fearful, and in a few minutes the via- 
duct went down like a pack of cards, carrying with it 
engine, tender, guard's brake, and a train full of dead 
meat intended for the London market. "We had just 
time," said the station-master, " to get back to the 
station, where the signals had stopped the Otley train 
full of passengers coining from Otley statutes, when wo 


lieard tlie crash of the falling: viadnct. All was broken 
to pieces except the engine ; and all the fragments were 
washed away except the heavy oak frameworks and the 
wheels and springs. A gang of thirty men from the 
locomotive staff came down from Derby ; put rails 
into the river under the engine-wheels ; drew her inch by 
inch by windlasses out on to the meadow, and up an 
incline on to the line. Then they did the tender the 
same. But they were three days and three nights before 
they could make a start with the engine." The most 
energetic measures, also, were at once adopted for the 
reconstruction of the road : the piers were rebuilt ; sixty 
new iron girders were cast, brought, and fixed in their 
places ; and in five weeks from tlie time the viaduct 
fell, " Apperley Gap " was closed, and the traffic was 
resumed. It had been estimated by competent judges 
that the work would have required six months to com- 

Soon after leaving the viaduct we enter the tunnel that 
pierces Thackley Hill. Here, also, a singular combina- 
tion of circumstances occurred. The rain liad been fallinfr 
long and furiously, and the London express had just passed 
the hill, when a flash of lightning struck the southern 
entrance of the tunnel, and flung the heavy coping stones 
down upon the line as if they had been pebbles. Mean- 
while, beyond the western end of the tunnel, alarm had 
been felt lest a reservoir connected with a mill should 
burst its banks ; and the owner, to prevent its contents 
flowing upon his property, had had the bank cut, so as 
to turn all the water upon the railway. The water 
accordingly swept its way two or three feet deep into the 
tunnel, carrying with it bales of wool and barrels of oil, 
against which the express ran, and by which (fortunately 
without injury) it was arrested. To be sealed up in a 
tunnel by lightning at one end, and to be met by a deluo-e 


at the other, was a remarkable combinatiou of mis- 

Emerging from the tunnel we have a range of 
wooded hills upon our left, and the Aire on our right. 
Across it, approaching from the north, is a new branch 
railway from Guiseley to Shipley, which is intended to 
]jlace Ilkley and Bradford in immediate communication. 
Though the line is short, the works are heavy. The 

fp' /^.>% 





engraving represents one of the viaducts, — not the largest. 
It carries the line over the valley of the Aire. 

At Shipley the branch line turns away, and runs up 
a wide valley down which the Beck flows from Bradford 
to the Aire at Shi})ley. The town is said to have derived 
its name from being a " broad ford" over a marsh. It 
" has little ancient history preserved, though it must 
have been a seat of ironworks in the Roman period, a 
number of Roman coins having been discovered in the 
midst of a mass of scoria?, the refuse of an ancient foundry 
in the neighbourhood of the town. The supply of ore 
is still abundant ; l)ut the works, though considerable, 
are not so extensive as perhaps might have been anti- 



cipated. The great supply of coal in the neighbourhood 
lias, as in the case of Leeds, been one of the main causes 
of the growth of the prosperity of the place. In the 
Civil Wars of the reign of Charles I. Bradford stood for 
the Parliament, and twice repulsed attacks from the 
Cavalier garrison of Leeds before it was taken by New- 
castle, Lord Fairfax cutting his way through the besiecrers 
to Leeds ; but his v/ife being made prisoner before she 

could (on horseback) reach the brow of the hill, 
Newcastle sent her to her husband in his own carriaofe. 
Bradford is now the great centre of the worsted trade ; 
Norwich, which was the cradle of the trade, beino- now 
supplied from Bradford ' with finer yarns than she can 
herself make, and at a far lower price.' The earliest 
manufacture of Bradford, however, was that of woollen 

Less than a mile from Shipley is Saltaire — named after 

464 S ALTAI RE. 

its founder, Sir Titus Salt, Bart. Of the processes 
carried on in the factory, -svhich covers twelve acres, and 
where eighteen miles of cloth a day can be made, we can 
say nothing; but of the town, the chapels, the baths, the 
almshouses, the infirmanes, the schools, the club and 
institute, and the Saltaire Park, it has been well remarked 
that the whole is the realization of a great idea, and shows 
" what can be done towards breaking down the barrier 
that lias existed between the sympathies of the labourer 

mid tlic ('m])loy<T. Xo finer picture could be imagined 
bv the dreamer who could tliink of a probal)lc future of 
progress for mankind, than that of a city wliere education 
is open to every child, — where labour is respected, — 
wluMv intemperance is banished, — where the graces of 
life and the higher intt^llectual pleasures are open to the 
eniovment of all, — and whore misfortunes are tempered 
by forethought and kindness. Such is Saltaire." 

Rising behind Saltaire to a height of nearly 1000 feet 
is a hill, the summit of which is known as Baildon Com- 
mon. The train now nins through Hirst "Wood ; and 
tlien the country opens suddenly and l)eautirnlly on 


either hand, the hills on the right looming largely and 
finely to the north ; and, passing through a tunnel 150 
yards long, under part of the town, we reach the plea- 
santly situated worsted-making Bingley. 

The lordship of this place was bestowed by William 
the Conqueror on one of his followers. There was also, 
some 250 years ago, a castle ; but no traces of it remain. 
On the moist banks at Bellbank once grew the rare fern 
TrirJwmanes radicans. It was discovered by Dr. Richard- 
son. It is possible that a diligent hunter may find spe- 
cimens of it in the neio-hbourhood. 

Near Bingley are, what were somewhat glowingly de- 
scribed at the time as, " the noblest works of the kind 
perhaps to be found in the universe, namely, a fivefold, 
a threefold, a twofold, and a single lock, making to- 
gether a fall of 120 feet ; a large aqueduct bridge of seven 
arches over the river Aire, and an aqueduct on a large 
embankment over Shipley Valley." On the day of the 
opening " five boats of burden passed the grand lock, the 
first of which descended through a fall of sixty-six feet in 
less than twenty-nine minutes." At Skipton the canal is 
272 feet above the Aire at Leeds ; and farther west it 
rises as much as 500 feet above the level of the sea at low 
water. This undertaking was forty-six years in progress : 
it was completed in 1816. It connects the vast manu- 
facturing district of the valley of the Aire, — Leeds, Brad- 
ford, Keighley, and other towns, — with Lancashire and 

About a mile from Bingley, on the summit of the steep 
hill on our left, are some large square rocks projecting 
over the precipice, and easily recognised. They are 
known as the Druid's Altar ; and behind them is the wide 
expanse of Harden Moor. Beyond the rugged heights 
on the opposite side of the valley is the far wider expanse 
of Rumbold's Moor, behind which, to the nortli, at a dis- 

11 H 


tance from Bingley, as the bird flies, of five or six miles, 
is Ilkley. 

As the line i-uus on an embankment from which we have 
fine views on either hand, we notice that the hills on the 
left gradually decline ; and, as we skirt round the out- 
lying flank of some of them, we find a valley opening to 
the south, at the entrance to which Keighley is situated, 
down which comes the river Worth, and up which runs 
the "Worth Valley branch of the Midland Company. It rises 
about 500 feet in less than five miles. Here is one spot 
of special interest : the village of Haworth, — the home of 
Charlotte Bronte. The church, with its grey tower, stands 
above the village, and behind it rise the moors. It is 
doubtless such a church that Miss Bronte had in her mind 
when she wrote, " This is an autumn evening, wet and 
wild;" the wind " Imrries sobbing over hills of sullen out- 
line, colourless withtwibght and mist. Rain has beat all 
day on that church tower ; it rises dark from the stormy 
enclosure of its graveyard; the nettles, the long grass, and 
the tombs, all drip with wet." The parsonage is a plain 
house a little higher up the hill than the church, and looks 
out on the graveyard and the moors : " a wilderness, 
featureless, solitary, saddening," but with *' the blue tints, 
the pale mists, the waves and shadows of the hjorizon," 
and the line of " sinuous wave-like hills, the scoops into 
which they fall only revealing other hills beyond of similar 
colour and shape, crowned with wild bleak moors." 

Of the scenery of the neighbourhood generally she 
wrote : " It is not grand; it is not romantic ; it is scarcely 
striking. Long low moors, dark with heath, shut in little 
valleys, where a stream waters here and there a fringe of 
stunted copse. Mills and scattered cottages chase ro- 
mance from these valleys ; it is only higher up, deep in 
amongst the ridges of the moors, that imagination can 
find rest for the sole of her foot, and even if she finds 


it there, she must be a solitude-loving raven — no gentle 

The people of the valley of Haworth, Mrs. Gaskell 
declares, have " little display of any of the amenities of 
life. Their accost is curt ; their accent and tone of speech 
blunt and harsh. Something of this may probably be 
attributed to the freedom of mountain air and of isolated 
hillside life; something be derived from their rough 
Norse ancestry. They have a quick perception of 
character, and a keen sense of humour; the dwellers 
among them must be prepared for certain uncomplimen- 
tary, though most likely true, observations, pithily 

Hard by Keighley Station are the works of Messrs. J. 
and J. Craven, the mansion of the partners, and the orna- 
mental chimney-stack. The chimney is double, and up 
one of the two shafts is a spiral staircase which conducts 
to an observatory near the top, from which far-reaching 
views may be obtained. The town is one of the busiest 
and wealthiest in Yorkshire, " They mean," said one who 
knows them, " money ; money is what they want ; money 
they will get, and when they get it they keep it." The 
chief tj;ade is the manufacture of machinery — of woollen 
spinning machines for export, and of sewing, washing, 
and wringing machines. No cotton is worked here. 
Coals come chiefly from near Leeds. A fine walk may 
be enjoyed from Keighley along the hilltops, by the 
Druid's Altar to Bingley. 

The line continues its course to the north-west, — the 
noble ran^e of hills of Eumbold's Moor on our right, — 
passing spots the names of which are suggestive to the 
antiquary. We now cross over the highway which leads 
from Steeton, under the hills on the left, to Silsden, on 
our right, and up a hill of three miles long to Silsden Moor 
and Addingham. On these hills is a reservoir for the 


supply of tlie Leeds and Liverpool Canal. On Rumbold's 
Moor itself nothing can live but heather — "ling" as it is 
called. The tourist will "lose sight of land," and see 
nothing but sky and ling, the latter in autumn in beautiful 

"We now approach the hills on the right, on which rise 
tlio village, church, and hall, of Kildwick, the latter fur- 
nishing, says Murray, " a very good example of a Craven 
' hall,'" of the seventeenth century. Passing Cononley 
Station, we run over the Bradley *' Ings," or meadows ; 
and, keeping the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on our right, 
we soon reach Skipton, the so-called " capital " of Craven. 
It is spoken of in Domesday as Scepeton, from f^rpp, a 
sheep. It is still surrounded by vast sheep walks. A 
castle, which has survived from the times of the Conquest, 
stands on ground so elevated that from its battlements 
we have looked down into the rooks' nests, built on the 
topmost branches of the lofty elms, and watched the 
parents feed their callow young. 

From Skipton the Midland has a line to Colne, and 
from thence has running powers southward. This branch 
was originally constructed in order to make a connection 
with the East Lancashire, then an independent compau}-; 
and the ^lidland subsequently obtained the running 
powers to Liverjx)ol and ^Manchester as the price of their 
consenting not further to oppose the amalgamation act of 
the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company, whose bill the 
Midland had once thrown out. These powers were held 
in reserve in the event of the new company behaving un- 
fairly to the Midland, but hitherto they have been in abey- 
ance. The opening of the Settle and Carlisle has, however, 
lately led to arrangements between the Midland Company 
and the Lancashire and Yorkshire, which will probably 
cause a considerable amount of the enormous traffic be- 
tween Lancashire and Scotland to be sent by this route. 


The course of the Midland now bears away to the north- 
west among the western dales of Yorkshh-e, shut in by 
rugged hills and wide-stretching moors covered with 
heather — scenes which are little trodden by pedestrians, 
but abound with scenes of extreme beauty and grandeur. 

At Bell Bank Station we are at the nearest point from 
Malham, three and a half miles distant, close to which 
are Gordale and Malham Coves.* " Gordale chasm is 
probably unrivalled in England (and even in the Scottish 
highlands we should not easily find a scene that would 
surpass it) in its almost terrific sublimity." 

" Gordale chasm, terrific as the lair 
Where the young Hons conch." — Wordsworth. 

At Malham the Aire takes its rise. It " has a very 
sing^ular origfin. On the limestone hills above Malham 
is a large piece of water, once larger than at present, fed 
from an immense area of dry rocks which absorb the 
rain and yield a part of their stores to this elevated lake." 
Malham Water is on the line of the North Craven fault, 
overlooked on the north by the limestone ranges of 
Hardflask and Fountains Fell. The natural exit of the 
water is to the south, as a superficial channel distinctly 
shows ; but instead of following this channel, and falling 
in a mighty cascade over the tremendous precipice of 
Malham Cove, " the water sinks into an open jointed 
limestone rock, and bursts forth in a full and per- 
petual stream at its foot. This is the Aire ; it is speedily 
augmented by a stream from the cleft rocks of Gordale 
and other small branches, and flows south through an 
undulating country till its valley opens into the broader 
and more level regions of Craven." 

At Hellifield there is a new line to Clitheroe. It will 
place the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company in more 

* The landlord of the Buck, at Malham, will, if written to, send a 
trap for travellers to Bell Busk Station. 


direct communication with the Midland, and, via the Settle 
and Carlisle, with the north, and aid the interchange of 
traffic between both companies. 

The next station we pass is Long Preston, and soon 
afterwards the junction of the Settle and Carlisle line is 
seen on our right. Setl is the Anglo-Saxon for a seat. 
Five miles and a half forward we pass over a remarkable 
timber viaduct, and arc at Clapham, where the trains for 

— >■/•-. 


Scotland have been wont to turn off to the right, and 
run for four or five miles to the station at Ingleton, 
where they come under the control of the London and 
jN'orth Western Company. Clapham is a place of much 
interest, being one of the most accessible points for those 
who intend to visit Ingleborough Mountain, — that "huge 
creature of God," as Gray calls it, — or the wondrous 
limestone caves of Clapham, that stretch half a mile into 
the earth ; and it is not improbable that further re- 
searches may open up chambers leading yet farther into 
the recesses of the mountain. Stalactites and stalag- 



mites may here be seen in every stage of tlieir formation, 
from a drop to a pillar. One stalagmite is ten feet in 
circumference at the base and two in height, it is estima- 
ted that it is the growth of 260 years. One part of the 
cave is called the " Gothic Archway." A stream of 
water flows through the cave. Excellent accommodation 
is to be had at the inn close by the Clapham Station. 

The summit of Ingleborough is the site of an ancient 
British camp. It is of an irregular quadrangular form 



400 yards on its longer side, and 220 on its shorter. 
The area enclosed is some fifteen acres, within which are 
the horse-shoe foundations of nineteen ancient huts, 
about thirty feet in diameter, all of them opening to the 
south. Ingleborough is 2361 feet high. Here beacon 
fires used to be burnt, to give warning of a threatened 
incursion of the Scots. 


Between Bentliam and "Wennington we enter Lancashire, 
where we find the junction of the Midland and Furness 
Railway, and then pursue our way by Hornby. The 
castle stands on a conical hill washed by the river, — a 
site formerly occupied by a Roman villa. It is a place 
full of histories of sieges and struggles " from the time 
of the notorious Colonel Charteris down to the period 
when the poet Gray received inspiration from its battle- 
ments." Anon we proceed down the beautiful valley of 



" the stony Lune," as Spenser calls it, to the Green Ayre 
Station of the Midland Company at Lancaster. The 
Castle Station of the London and North Western Com- 
pany is a short distance farther forward. Some of the 
Midland trains run into it. 

From Lancaster the Midland Company has immediate 
access to Morccambe. We pass over the iron bridge 
across the Lune depicted in our sketch, and leaving on 
our left another and older bridge which conducts to the 



Castle Station, we run under the lofty embankment of 
the Lancaster and Carlisle line, and are soon out in the 
fields on our way to Morecambe. A few years a(^o the 
very name, except as that of a beautiful and dangerous bay, 
was scarcely known ; and in the present time, in all legal 
documents the old name of Poulton, an obscure fishing 
village which stood upon this spot, is retained. AVithin the 
last twenty years, however, a large and increasing town 
has arisen : the promenade has been completed ; by the aid 
of the Midland Company, the sea-wall has been extended ; 
the new pier has been built, improvements and enlarge- 


ments have been made in all directions ; and visitors and 
residents have become so numerous that the place is 
known among many as " Little Bradford." The hand- 
some and commodious railway station, the pleasant sea- 
side views, the interest of the nciGfhbourhood, the wide- 
spread bay, the cheering coastline of hill, and to the north 
and west the mountains of the Lake District, have made 
Morecambe one of the most attractive spots on the 
Eno^lish coast. 


Returning to Wenuingtou Junction, and curving to the 
right, we are on the Midland and Furness line, and soon 
passing Moiling, we run over a viaduct of thirteen 
arches that crosses the Lune. Here a fine view of the 
river may be enjoyed, with Hornby Castle in the distance. 
Emerging from a tunnel under Melling Moor, we observe 
various country seats, pleasantly situated on the hill- 
sides ; and on our left, at Arkholme, across the valley, is 
the noble residence known as Storr's Hall ; and, in a few 
minutes, we cross over the London and North Western 
main line, immediately north of Carnforth Station, and 
reach the Carnforth Station of the Furness Company. 
Here, strictly speaking, we should pause, and leave the 
rest of our journey westward to the historian of the Fur- 
ness lines. But that company has a special intimacy with 
the Midland, and there are two points which they may be 
consi<lei-eil to hold almost in common : access to the Lake 
District by the Lako Side Station, at Windermere, and to 
the Isle of Man and Ireland, via Piel Pier, near Barrow-in- 
Furness. We may, therefore, briefly refer to these two 

Leaving Carnforth for the West, we pass along the line 
of coast tiuit encloses Morecambe Bay on the north. 
Many hairbreadth escapes are recorded of those who used 
to try to cross these sands even on foot. " The registers 
of the parish of Cartmell show that not fewer than one 
hundred ])ersons have been buried in its churchyard wlio 
were drowned in attempting to pass over the sands. 
This is independent of the similar burials in other church- 
yards in adjacent parishes on both sides of the bay. The 
principal danger arose from the treacherous nature of the 
sands, and their constant shift inc: durinc; the freshes which 
occurred in the rivers Howiug into the head of the bay." 

It is not surprising that great difficulties were encoun- 
tered by the railway engineer in crossing the estuary of 


the Leven. The borings told of nothing but sand for a 
depth of thirty feet. "In one case the boring was 
carried seventy feet down, and still there was nothing but 
sand. It was necessary, in the first place, to confine the 
channel of the river to a fixed bed, which was accomplished 
by means of weirs formed of ' quarry rid.' No small 
difficulty was experienced in getting these weirs run out 
in the right line, in consequence of the eddies produced 
by the tide at its flux and reflux washing deep holes in 
the sand on either side. When the current had at length 
been fixed, a viaduct of fifty spans of thirty feet each was 
thrown over the channel, and in the viaduct was placed 
a drawbridge to permit the passage of sailing vessels. 
To protect the foundations of the piers of this viaduct, 
as well as the railway embankment, weirs were also formed 
parallel with the current of the stream, which had the 
further effect of retaining the silt inland, and thus en- 
abling large tracts of valuable land to be reclaimed. 

" The crossing of the Kent estuary was accomplished 
in a similar manner, by means of weirs and embankments, 
over ground where the borings showed the sand to be of 
the depth of from fourteen to twenty-one feet ; a viaduct 
of similar dimensions to that across the Leven providing 
for the outfall of the river. The land reclaimed behind 
the embankments at this point is now under cultivation, 
where only a short time since fishing boats were accus- 
tomed to ply their trade.'' Eventually by the use of iron 
piles the engineer overcame these difficulties, and found 
a solid foundation amidst the shifting sands for the piers 
of the extensive viaducts that he stretched across the 
mouths of the rivers. 

At Ulverston we pause, and take the branch line that 
leads in a north-easterly direction up the beautiful valley 
of the Leven to the southern verge of the lovely lake of 
AVindermere. Here the traveller, instead of finding him- 



self, as at the Windermere station of the London and 
North AYestern Company, a mile away from the lake, 
and several miles from Ambleside, has simply to ^yalk 
from the platform of the station on to the deck of the 
boat, and he is in the midst of scenery wdiich c^rows more 
and more delightful, until he reaches the northern shore 
of AYindermere, within a mile of Ambleside. This is in- 
comparably the more pleasing route by wdiicli to visit 
the Lake District. 


I.AKi; Sliii: sIAIluS, WIM'tlUilEUK. 

Foi* jiassengers to tlie north of Ireland, the route to bo 
taken is past Ulverston, in a westerly direction, till the 
wondrous pile of Furness Abbey is reached. Here tlic 
train usually divides : travellers going to Barrow travel- 
ing in one portion, those to the steamer in another. The 
former soon reach the remarkable town of Barrow, which 
for centuries was a mere dull fishing village, and which 
even a few years since consisted of a few* fishers' and 
sailors' cottages; it now includes a ]iopulat ion of some 
25,000 souls. Iron has done it all. Tin* train witli tlu" 



voyagers turns away to the left along a pier that takes 
them far out to sea to Piel Pier, where the steamer is 
lying alongside, ready for them to embark. Boats to the 
Isle of Man run also through the summer months ; the 



Belfast steamships ply all the year round, and are, we 
beheve, in all respects admirably built, found, and 
manasfed. The ag^ents are Messrs. James Little & Co., 
of Barrow-in-Furness. 


The newspaper express. — The Settle aud Carlisle projected. — Extra- 
ordinarj difficulties of the country. — The Pennine Chain. — Mr. 
Sharland. — Settle Station. — The dinner hour. — "Machines" and 
bogs. — Settle. — Craven limeworks. — Stainforth. — " Bridges, 
ancient and modern." — An old tarn. — Ilelwith. — The boulder clay. 
— Geologi.sts and engineers. — " Slurry." — Sdside. — A pot hole. — 
Blea Moor. — " Batty Wife." — A moorland town. — Batty Moss 
Viaduct. — Storms. — " A forlorn party." — Tlie contractor's hot^-l. 
— "A mile a week." — Blea Moor Tunnel. — Shafts. — Railway 
cuttings and marble mantelpieces. — A journey through a tunnel. — 
Hoisting a boiler up a mountain. — Tunnel work. — Dynamite and 
potted lobster. — The Dent Valley. — Hibble Head. — Dent Head. — 
Constructing a viaduct. — Arten Gill. — Cow Gill. — A'iews of the 
country. — Hill Tunnel. — Inside a tunnel. — Strange sights and 
sounds. — Garsdale. — "The M(K)rc()ck." — The Huwes branch. — 
An extraordinary embankment. — Dandry Mire Viatluct. — Remark- 
able geological formation. — Railways at the glacial period. — 
liunds Viaduct. — Ais Gill Moor. — Westmorland. — The old manor 
houses. — Bail company. — The Forest of Mallerstang. — Ais Gill 
X'iaduct. — Deep Gill. — Pendragon Castle. — The Morvilles. — The 
Countess of I'enibroke. — Intake Bank. — Birkett Tunnel. — The 
Pennine fault. — Rock drilling machine. — Geological formation. — 
Wharton Hall. — Kirkby Stephen. — The waterfalls. — Smardale 
Viaduct. — " The last stone." — Alarming incident. — Enormous 
works. — Drilling and blasting. — Boulders. — Crosby Garrett. — GaU 
lansey Cutting. — Griseburn Viaduct. — Crow Hill Cutting. — Helm 
Tunnel. — Orm and Onnsido. — Ormside Vijuluct. — The Eden. — 
Appleby. — Historic as.sociations. — The border wars. — Cromwell's 
declaration. — The Restoration. — Water wanted. — Battle Bn)W 
Bank. — A skew bridg**. — Trout Beck. — Newbiggin Hall. — Amus- 
ing incident. — Crowdundle Beek and Viaduct. — Westmorland. — 
Visit to the works. — Culgaith. — Waste Banks. — The Eaniont and 
the Eden. — Eden Hall and its "luck." — Longwathb>'. — Robberby 
Beek. — Eden Lacy Viaduct. — A cofferdam. — Long Meg and her 
Daughtei*s. — La^onby. — Kirkoswald. — Barren Wood. — Samson's 
Cave. — The Nunnery and its history. — Armathwaite. — Drybeck 
Viaduct. — A landslip. — Eden Brow. — Heavy works. — Carlisle. 

If a long day's work or pleasure i.^ wanted, commend us 
to one of tlie newspaper expresses. We do not mean to 
say tliat to leave St. Pancras at 5.15 a.m. would not tax 
the fortitude of the most inveterate early riser, unless he 


liad spent the niglit at tbe Midland Grand; but the 
ordinary specimens of our sleep-loving race might manage 
to catch the train in its downward course, say at Bedford, 
Leicester, or Trent. At any rate, whoever does not go, 
the newspaper express train goes, with eager speed and 
exact punctuality ; and the traveller on the Midland finds 
himself careering along the magnificent valleys of the 
High Peak country at a time when common mortals are 
eating their breakfasts ; that he has reached Manchester 
at ten o'clock ; and that he is on 'Change before the 
Manchester manufacturers. 

Our errand, however, was in a somewhat different 
direction. We had heard, as everybody had heard, a 
great deal about a certain new railway in the North, which 
is to bring England and Scotland more closely together. 
" The Settle and Carlisle " is a line which (as dear Tom 
Hood says of Miss Kilmansegg's leg) was " in every- 
body's mouth, to use a poetical figure." Some millions 
of money had been spent upon it; Midland shareholders 
had long eagerly awaited its completion ; and the great 
east and west coast lines had been preparing, with 
whatever fortitude they could summon, to share a traffic 
worth, it is said, two millions a year, with their great and 
growing Midland rival. It was generally understood that 
the line was approaching completion ; that some twenty 
goods trains a day would soon be hastening up and down 
those then silent valleys, and that the passenger traffic 
would commence so soon as the stations were finished and 
the road was consolidated. So we resolved to go and see 
that part of the world for ourselves. 

It was well known, when the Midland Company de- 
cided to secure a route of their own to the gates of Scot- 
land, that no common difficulties would have to be over- 
come. Years before, Mr. Locke, the eminent engineer, 
had been daunted by the obstacles he met, and had 


declared that even a west coast route to Scotland ums 
impossible ; and when, later on, the Lancaster and Carlisle 
was made, it had to be carried over the gorge of Shap, 
which, with the best gradients that could be found, re- 
quired an incline for many miles up and down of 1 in 70. 
Across the whole North of England lay too the giant 
Pennine Chain, which seemed resolved to bar the way 
acrainst any further access for an innovatin": and ob- 
trusive civilization. 

Undaunted, however, by these obstacles, the general 
manager and the enrrineer-in-chief of tlie Midland Com- 
pany went down to see for themselves what could be done. 
In their researches they ascertained tliat tliere was one, 
and only one, ])racticable route. The great wolds and 
hills that stretch far over the West Riding of Yorkshire 
are fortunately bounded by one series of natural valleys 
that run from south to north, flanking the western out- 
lines of the county, continuing across Westmorland, and 
forming part of the great Eden Valley of (\imberland. 
But when we speak of a series of valleys, we must not 
be misunderstood. It was no easy thing to find a route 
for a railway even among these. Over any such path 
frowned the huge masses of Ingleborough, and Whern- 
side, and Wildboar, and Shap Fells ; and if a line were to 
wind its way at the feet of these, and up and down these 
mighty dales, it would have to Ijo by spanning valleys 
with stupendous viaducts, and piercing raouutain- 
heights with enormous tunnels ; miles upon miles 
of cuttings would have to be blastwl through the 
rock, or literally torn through clay of the most extra- 
ordinary tenacity ; and embankments, weighing perhaps 
250,000 tons, would have to be piled on peaty moors, on 
some parts of which a horse could not walk without 
sinking up to his belly. " I declare to you," said a some- 
what rhetorical fai'inur to us, ** there is not a level piece 


of ground big enough to build a house upon all the way 
between Settle and Carlisle." A railway for merely local 
purposes might indeed have been made by running up 
and down steep gradients, and twisting and twirling right 
and left with rapid curves, so as to avoid cuttings or em- 
bankments ; but such a line would have been useless for 
the very purposes for which the Settle and Carlisle was to 
be constructed. An ascent would also have to be made 
over the country to a height of more than 1000 feet above 
the sea, by an incline that should be easy enough for the 
swiftest passenger expresses and for the heaviest mineral 
trains to pass securely and punctually up and down, not 
only in the bright dry days of summer, but in the darkest 
and greasiest December nights. Knowing all this, the 
enofineers set to work. However o^reat the obstacle that 
lay in their path, they had simply one of four courses to 
take — to go over it, or to go under it, or to go round it, 
or to go through it : go they must. Hence the marvel- 
lous variety of work, the endless resources of ingenuity, 
and the immense demands of labour and capital which 
characterise this remarkable railway. 

After the visit of the general manager and engineer, 
the first pioneer sent into this remarkable country on 
behalf of the Midland Company was a young engineer 
named Sharland. A Tasmanian by birth, he had been for 
some time professionally engaged on the Maryport and 
Carlisle Railway, and had become familiar with this en- 
tire district. Immediately on his appointment he started 
off to fiuxd the best route for the proposed line, and in ten 
days walked the whole distance from Carlisle to Settle, 
taking flying surveys and levels, and determining on what 
he considered the best course for the railway to take. 
Unhappily, a very few years afterwards, though he was 
apparently strong, and unusually commanding in figure 
and appearance, the toils of his work and the severity of 

I I 

482 SETTLE. 

the climate to which he was exposed suddenly developed 
lurking seeds of disease, and he died at Torquay, regretted 
by all who knew him. 

The first sod of the new line was cut near Anley, in 
November, 18G9; and, by the time of our visit, skill, 
energ3% and money had brought the work nearly to its 
completion. As our train began to slacken speed for 
Settle Station, and we saw the new line curving away to 
the north, wo were at the base of a rugged but beautiful 
valley, down which the roaring Ribble runs. Near the 
southernmost end of this valley, the town of Settle 
("quite," says an admirer, **a metropolitan town ") stands 
among wooded hills, overhung, as one writer says, " in an 
awful manner," by a lofty limestone rock called Castleber ; 
while far beyond, on the left and right, rise above the sea 
of mountains the mighty outlines of Whernside and Pen- 
negent, often hid in the dark clouds of trailing mists. 
Up this valley the new line runs, pursuing its way among 
perhaps the loneliest dales, the wildest mountain wastes, 
and the scantiest population of any })art of England ; yet 
destined to become one of the world's highways, along 
which the busiest mercliants, the costliest produce, and 
the ponderous mineral wealth of England and Scotland 
will liie their way. 

Settle presented, when we first saw it, a strange and 
confused appearance. The pretty passenger station, 
built of freestone and in Gothic style, was nearly finished; 
the walls of the spacious goods shed were almost ready 
to receive the roof, and the commodious cottages hurd by 
for the Company's servants would soon bo completed ; 
but around were whitewashed wooden sheds, the tem- 
porary oflices or homes of the Company's staff', and in- 
numerable piles of contractors' materials no longer re- 
quired, but ready marked off in lots for a great clearance 



It is the dinner hour, and a strange silence prevails 
throughout the works. Navvies are taking their siesta 
on the great piled-up baulks of timber, in various and 
grotesque attitudes ; apparently sleeping as composedly, 
and certainly snoring as satisfactorily, as any alderman 
could hope to do on his feather bed; while ever and anon 
some foreman or mason comes to his wooden cottage door, 
and wistfully gazes at the strangers, wondering what their 


errand may be. Two vehicles (if so they could be called) 
standing in the yard, deserve special notice. One, the 
ambulance, a covered-in homely-looking four-wheeled 
conveyance, has completed for a time its humane but 
melancholy work, and is marked with chalk as a " Lot " 
for sale. 


" And what is this for ? " we inquired, as we stood in 
front of the other vehicle, one which our Scotch friends 
might well call " a machine," that consisted of a huge 

484 BOGS. 

barrel, over TvLicli was a liglit cart-bodj and shafts, so 
arranged that as the horse pulled, the barrel would turn 
round underneath like a gigantic garden roller. 

" You'd be a long while before you guessed," was the 
reply ; and our attempts were in vain. " We used to fill 
it," said our informant, " with victuals, or clothes, or 
bricks, to send to the men at work on the line, across 
bogs where no wheels could go. I've often seen," he 
added, " three horses in a row pulling at that concern 
over the moss till they sank up to their middle, and had 
to be drawn out one at a time by their necks to save their 
lives." And another ^lidland engineer subsequently re- 
marked that he had watched four horses drajj<jinor one 
telegraph pole over the boggy ground, and the exertion 
was so great that one of the horses tore a hoof off. 

But the dinner-hour is over. A busy tribe of masons 
are chip, chip, chipping the rough stones into shape ; 
the carpenters are fitting their timl)ers together; the 
cattle are driven into the truck for the dinners of the co- 
lony of " Batty Wife's Hole" up the line ; the locomotive 
that is to convey us has drawn, with full steam up, along- 
side the platform ; and Mr. E. 0. Ferguson, the com- 
pany's engineer, is ready to start. We are ready also, 
and in a minute our engine is puffing and snorting its 
way up the incline of 1 in Kxi that runs fourteen miles 
:ni(l more to the summit level, near the entrance of the 
groat Blea ^foor tunnel. 

Leaving behind us the stonc^-built and cleanlv houses 
and streets of Settle, we rise up a heavy embankment con- 
taining a quarter of a million cubic yards of earth, and then 
enter a blue limestone cutting, where spar lodes of copper 
have been found, and a likely place, it was thought, for lead. 
We now pass the works of the Craven Lime Company, 
which, by favour of the Midland authorities, had for 
some time past been sending off large quantities of lime 





and limestone by the then unopened railway. The great 
kiln is formed by one continuous chamber, built in an 
oval, and communicating with the flue, so that the fire 
is never allowed to go out, but keeps travelling round. 
The workmen stack the coal and lime in front of the 
fire, and when the lime is burnt and has become cold, 
it is unloaded, and the kiln is restacked. The lime is 
said to be of admirable quality for fluxing, bleaching, 
and agricultural purposes, as it is nearly perfectly pure. 


Three miles from Settle we reach Stainforth. Here, 
about half a mile on the left of the line, the Ribble has a 
fall down a rock twenty feet in height. This is Stainforth 
Force ; and though the cascade is not itself visible from 
the train, we can see the spot where the fall must be. 
Just beyond the Force we observe what we learn is the 
site of a Roman camp ; a large column of rough stones 
indicates the centre, and is thought to be part of the re- 
mains of the camp itself. A mile beyond Stainforth we 


for the first time pass over the wide rocky bed of the 
Ribble by a three-arched bridge. Here the engineers had 
great difficulty in selecting the best route to be taken ; 
the alternatives being, whether to cross and re-cross the 
river, or by two very heavy cuttings, and perhaps tun- 
nels, to take the line farther to the east. The bridge is 
built at an angle of 34 degrees, and the long wing walls 
that sustain the embankment are of ingenious construc- 
tion, though they were not liked by the builders on ac- 
count of the number of " (juoius " or corners they re- 

We now recross the river, and enter a cutting seventy 
feet in depth, the clay slate strata of which have the 
remarkable peculiarity of standing perpendicular to the 
level of the line ; they are also rippled like the sands on 
the sea shore. Here a county road has for many years 
been carried over tlie Ribble by a little bridge ; but the 
county authorities refused the railway company permission 
to make a level crossing, so the public road had to be 
diverted and conducted over the river and the railway by 
a viaduct of considerable length, which, standing beside 
its little old predecessor, furnished, our engineer re- 
marked, a contrast between "bridges, ancient and 
modern." Near this spot the line passes along what was 
once the bed of the river, which had to be diverted along 
a new course blasted out for it ; and by the side of the 
river a long wall has been erected to protect the embank- 
ment from floods. The pcoj^le at Helwith are chiefly 
engaged in working the slaty kind of stone we passed in 
the cutting. It comes out in bedded slabs, perhaps 15 
feet wide and 18 feet long, varying from six inches to 
two feet in thickness, according to the natural beds. It 
is used for tanks, pavings, landings, troughs, and tomb- 

We now run for nearly half a mile on the only bit of 


level line between Settle and Blea Moor. It is on the 
bed of an old tarn, through which the engineers had to 
sink for the foundations of the bridge ; and in doing 
this they found they were at the bottom of what had 
been a lake. To our right lies the quaint old village 
of Horton in Ribblesdale, behind which are the great 
heights of Pennegent, rising, as one has said, from the 
deep vale, with his rounded back like a monstrous 
whale. "Where is Pennegent near?" we inquire of 
Mr. Ferguson, our engineer. " Near nowhere," he re- 
plies. " Everything is near Pennegent." We now 
stop at a wooden tank to give our engine water, for 
it is the best water on this part of the line ; and then we 
enter a cutting. It is of a material we have noticed 
before, and the fame of which has spread far and wide 
among engineers, — the boulder-clay. Geologists will take 
us back to what they call the glacial period, and tell us 
how, when much of this fair England was lying under 
the wild waste of waters, the boulder-clay lay as the soft 
mud beneath ; and how the melting icebergs dropped their 
freights of boulder stones, scratched, grooved, and striated 
by mighty glaciers, into the clayey bed beneath.* But 
the engineer views the subject from a different standpoint. 
He will narrate how it resists almost all his efforts to cut 
through it; how it is to-day so hard that it must be 
drilled with holes, and blasted with gunpowder ; and how 
to-morrow, because some rain has fallen, it will turn into 
a thick gluey clay, so adhesive and tough that when the 
navvy sticks his pickaxe into it he can hardly get it 
out again; or if he does, will not have loosened so 
much as a small teacupful of stuff. Even when it has 
come out as dry rock and been put into the tip-wagon, 

* One geologist wfis so charmed with some of these boulders, that a 
mighty specimen was sent to him at Gloucester, where it adorns his 


a shower of rain, or even the jolting of a ride of a mile to 
the tip end, will perhaps shake the whole into a nearly 
semi-fluid mass of " slurry," which settles down like glue 
to the bottom of the wagon, and when run to the " tip 
head " will drag the wagon over to the bottom of the 
embankment. " I have seen," said our engineer, " sixteen 
tip- wagons lying at one time at the bottom of the tip ; 
and they would all have gone if we had not put on what 
we call a bulling-chain between the tip-rails, which, the 
moment the wagon tipped its load, pulled up the wagon, 
and prevented it from following." 

" 1 have known the men," remarked Mr. Crossley to 
us the other day, " blast the boulder-clay like rock, and 
within a few hours, have to ladle out the same stufl* from 
the same spot like souj) in buckets. Or a man strikes a 
blow with his pick at what he thinks is clay, but there is 
a great boulder underneath almost as hard as iron, and 
tlie man's wrists, arms, and l)ody are so shaken by tlie 
shock, that, disgusted, he flings down his tools, asks for 
his money, and is off." 

Two miles from llorton, and nine miles from the 
junction south of Settle, is the village of Selside. Half a 
mile from the line is a remarkable chasm in the limestone 
called a " pot hole," and named after one Allan Pot. 
Explorers from Settle have descended it by means of 
rope ladders to a depth of 3U0 feet. These pot holes 
seem to be fathomless ; for they will carry off any amount 
of water poured into them, and save all trouble of surface 
drainage. There is an undergi'ound stream into this pot 
hole, and there is a waterfall from it. The engineers also 
found a similar hole sixty feet deep near the line, and to 
prevent the possibility of any slip of the works in that 
direction, they filled it up. In doing this, an old tip- 
wagon fell to the bottom ; and it being more trouble to 
recover it than it was worth, it was left tlierc. 


Four miles from Selside we cross the turnpike that 
runs from Ingleton to Hawes ; and now the heaviest 
part of the works begins. The changes here made by 
the construction of the railway have been stupendous. 
A few years since, not a vestige of a habitation could be 
seen. The grouse, and here and there a black-faced 
mountain sheep, half buried among the ling, were the 
only visible life. Beyond the valley lay the great hill of 
Blea Moor, an outlying flank of the mighty mountain 
Whernside, covering 2000 acres of land, where sundry 
farmers feed their sheep according to the number of 
" sheep gaits " they possess. A few months afterwards, 
dwellings had been erected for the 2,000 navvies who 
were to work at the viaduct and tunnel, and £20,000 
worth of plant had been put uj)on the ground before the 
works could be commenced. We may add that the 
principal owner of the moor required the Company to 
bury their telegraph wires, in order to prevent injury to 
his grouse when on the wing. 

This is the moorland town, if by such a title it can be 
dignified, of Batty Green. Tradition offers two explana- 
tions of the origin of the name — a name which, till 
recently, was local and obscure, but which henceforth will 
be identified with some of the most important and 
difficult railway works in the land. Once upon a time, we 
are told, a person named Batty wooed and won a fair 
damsel who lived in Ingleton Fells ; but after a while he 
fell into evil ways, and went on from bad to worse, until 
his wife sought refuge from her miseries in a watery 
grave in what is locally called a "hole" of fathomless 
depth. The other tradition, scarcely so aff'ecting, is, that 
the aforesaid Mrs. Batty, pursuing the even tenour of her 
conjugal and domestic duties, was simply wont to supply 
her washtub with water from a " hole " which has thus 
had fame thrust upon it. We leave our readers to make 
their choice which tradition they prefer. 


The town of Battj Wife had, when we visited it, a 
remarkable appearance. It resembled the gold diggers' 
villages in the colonies. Potters' carts, drapers' carts, 
milk carts, greengrocers' carts, butchers' and bakers' carts, 
brewers' drays, and traps and horses for hire, might all be 
found, besides numerous hawkers who plied their trade 
from hut to hut. The Company's offices, yards, stables, 
storeroom, and shops occupied a large space of ground. 
There were also the shops of various tradespeople, the 
inevitable public-houses, a neat -looking hospital, witli a 
covered walk for convalescents, a post-office, a ])ublic li- 
brar}', a mission house, and day and Sunday schools. But, 
despite all these conventionalities, the spot was frequently 
most desolate and ])leak. Though many of the men had 
been engaged in railway making in rough and foreign 
countries, they seemed to agree that they were in " one 
of the wildest, windiest, coldest, and dearest localities" 
in the world. The wind in the Ingleton Valley in the 
winter was so violent and piercing that for days together 
tlic bricklayers on the viaduct were unable to work, sim])ly 
from fear of being blown off. At the present time, though 
the viaduct is wide and well ju-dtected by substantial 
parapets, such is the fury with which the western winds 
blow up the hollow between Whernside and Ingleborough 
that it is averred that it would be at the risk of one's 
life for a person in such weather to walk over alone. Yet 
here five great railway works follow one another in 
succession — the viaduct, tlie embankment, the cutting, 
the tunnel, and then another viaduct. 

The labour of commencing and carrying to a comple- 
tion so remarkable a series of works in such a district was 
necessaril}^ increased by the local difficulties. In former 
times, when coaches* ran between Lancaster and Rich- 

* Mail coaches first went from London to Glasgow bj Kendal and 
Slinp roads 100 years ago. 


mond, the journey across tliese elevated wilds was allowed 
to be most harassing. It was no unusual thing for rain 
to comedown upon the travellers "in torrents; for snow 
to fall in darkened flakes or driving showers of powdered 
ice ; for winds to howl and blow with hurricane force, 
bewildering to man and beast ; for frost to bite and be- 
numb both hands and face till feeling was almost gone; and 
for hail and sleet to blind the traveller's eyes, and to make 
his face smart as if beaten with a myriad slender cords." 
And now all these hardships had to be borne by the work- 
men on the line. " The wet heather, the sinking peat, the 
miry and uneven pathways, the little rills draining the hills 
and winding and leaping on the edge of the huts, dark 
clouds dissolving in showers and drenching everj^thing 
permeable to water, the wind moaning in the brown heath 
in sympathy with the people and the place, were sights 
and thinofs to be remembered in a ramble over the moors." 
Even Mr. Sharland,at the commencement of engineering 
operations in this district, was destined to learn a lesson 
of the severity of the climate. When he was engaged in 
staking out the centre line of the then intended Settle 
and Carlisle, and had taken up his quarters at a little inn 
on Blea Moor (a bare and bleak hill 1250 feet above the 
level of the sea, and miles away from any village), he was 
literally snowed up. For three weeks it snowed con- 
tinuously. The tops of the walls round the house w^ere 
hidden. The snow lay eighteen inches above the lintel of 
the front door, — a door six feet high. Of course all com- 
munication with the surrounding country was suspended. 
The engineer and his half-dozen men, and the landlord 
and his family, had to live on the eggs and bacon in the 
house; in another week their stock would have been 
exhausted ; and it was only by making a tunnel, engineer- 
like, through the snow to the road that they got water 
from the horse-trough to drink. 


Such were the scenes among wliich, in the first week of 
December, 18G9, a " forlorn" party, as military men might 
well call it, commenced the gigantic undertaking of mak- 
ing the Settle and Carlisle Railway. It was known that at 
this point the heaviest work would have to be done ; and 
here, therefore, according to the practice of railway people, 
the task was begun. Half a dozen men migflit be seen 
wending their way across the moors, and carrying with 
them a levelling staff. The first thing to be accomplished 
was to ascertain the best means by which to ojicn com- 
munication between the Ingleton road and the mountain- 
side through which the tunnel was to be made. Picking 
their way among the peat bogs and the heather, sinking 
in every now and tlien, perhaps up to their knees, they at 
length reached the hillside of Blea Moor, and surveyed the 
]U'ospect spread out around them. For miles and miles 
away stretched the bare and rugged hills and the rolling 
mountains and moors; not a vestige was to be traced of 
a human hal)itation, or even of any sort of shelter for man 
or Ijeast. As they looked southward, the vast and gloomy 
outline of Whernside lowered over them on the right ; 
Ingleborough was before them ; and Peunegent and the 
great hills of AVestern Yorkshire were to their left. 

But they did not stay long in contemplation, and it 
was decided that a tramway should bo laid across the 
moors from the Ingleton road up to the mountain. But 
here, at the outset, dilHculties arose : the landowners were 
hostile to any practical operations being taken, and a bill 
for the abandonment of the line was, by the influence of 
sundry ^lidland shareholders, being pressed upon Par- 
liament ; so, although arrangements could be made, no 
definite action could be taken till the following June. By 
that time it was thought that perhaps the abandonment 
bill wi^uld be rejected; possession could be obtained of 
the land, aTiil work be commenced. 



On so desolate a field of operations, it was of course 
necessary that accommodation should be secured for the 
workmen. The ]\Iidland Company are renowned for 
their hotels — of which they have three, in London, Derby, 
and Leeds; their contractors now provided a fourth, 
of which we are happy to give an engraving. It was 
what one of Mr. Charles Dickens's friends would call 
" a wan " ; what the reader, with more decorum, would 

THE contractors' HOTEL, BLEA IIOOB. 

perhaps designate a " caravan," on four wheels, resem- 
bling those vehicles in which certain peripatetic pot and 
brush sellers take up their residence, and from which they 
dispense their wares to a confiding public. Here ten con- 
tractors' men lived for many months hard by the Ingleton 
road ; and from thence they sallied forth day by day to 
their work. 

In addition to the spacious and cheerful accommoda- 
tion thus provided, some tents were erected on the hill- 
side of the future tunnel, the materials for which were 
carried on donkeys' backs. These preliminaries com- 
pleted, and possession of the land being legally secured, 
the work of construction commenced by the formation of 
the tramway across the moors, from the road to the foot 
of the hill. This was a distance of two miles and a 
half. As Mr. Ashwell remarked to us, " We worked like 
Yankees, and laid nearly a mile a week. A month after 
we began, we had a locomotive running over it. We 


used it till within a month of the opening of the line 
and some of it was there the other day. It would 
scarcely, however, have done for a main thoroughfare, 
for there were gradients of 1 in 25, and of 1 in 16; and 
there were curves of two and a half and three chains 
radius;* but up and down and in and out we went till 
we reached our destination." 

Meanwhile arrangements had to be made for getting 
stone suitable for the works. A quarry had to be found. 
" Ordinarily," said ^Ir. Ashwell, " you can get the help 
of the people of the district, who tell you of the brooks, 
or the stone-pits, or where you are most likely to find any- 
thing you want; but the only inhabitants here were the 
Grrouse. Search had therefore to be made, and trial holes 
to be sunk in various directions ; and eventually, in the bed 
of a mountain beck, about half a mile from what is now 
the tunnel mouth, stone was traced; and from it, event- 
uallv, upwards of '50,000 cubic yards were t<aken." 

The first work at the tunnel itself was the sinking of 
the shafts. Tliis was done by the aid of a *' jack roll," 
which is like the windlass over a common well, until horse 
gins could be got into position ; and these in their turn 
were superseded by four winding engines, placed at the 
four principal shafts, with which the work involved in 
making the shaft and lifting out the debris was accom- 

" But how in the world did you ever manage to get 
that lumbering, ponderous engine up here? " we inquired 
of our friend, Mr. Ashwell. " Pulled it up witii a crab," 
he replied. "A crab!" we asked, "what's that?" 
*'Wcll, a windlass perhaps you call it. We fixed the 
windlass in its place ; laid a two-foot gauge road up the 

* A cliain is ('»<'> feet ; a cnrvc of one cliain radins is tlitroforo a 
circle of 132 feet diameter. A tlirce chain nidiua would mean a circle 
the diameter of which is 132 yardi. 


hill-side in places sometimes as steep as one foot perpen- 
dicular rise in two and a half feet length, and then 
dragged it up 1300 feet above the sea. By having crabs 
placed one above another, we pulled up first the boiler 
which weighed two tons and a half, and then the 
engine, the lot weighing very likely six tons. The 
riveters put it together. It was a strange thing to hear 
the * tap, tap ' of the riveters' hammers up there in that 
howling wilderness. When one engine was set to work, 
we used it for drawing up some of the others." 

" And did you get them all up that way ? " " Well, 
no ; we had to get another up the flatter side of the hill ; 
and that was more difiicult still, because of the bogs. We 
managed that on a drug, — a four-wheeled timber wagon 
sort of thing. It was an uncommonly strong one, you 
may be sure. We brought it along the lugleton road ; 
and then, for two miles and a half, we pulled it by means 
of two ropes working round the boiler ; as one rope was 
drawn off the other was rolled on. And so, stage by 
stage, we dragged it over the rugged and boggy ground, 
and up to the top of the mountain on which it stands." 
And there for four years and more those engines did their 
almost ceaseless work, the two at either end windiuo- 
materials or men up the inclined planes from near the 
tunnel mouths, while the others were lowering bricks and 
mortar in "skeps"down the shafts, or raising the ex- 
cavated rock or the water that found its way into the 
workings, and threatened, ever and anon, to drown them 

From the tunnel ends, and from the bottoms of the 
shafts " headings " w^ere run till they met. " You see," 
said Mr. Ferguson, the engineer, " there is room for only 
four men to work at one time and one place in making a 
tunnel ; and if we had not had shafts from the top, the 
tunnel would really have had to be bored by eight men, 

496 snAFTfs, nEAniXGS, and dynamite. 

and I am afraid the patience of the Midland sliareholdcrs 
would have been exhausted before the Blea Moor tunnel 
was finished. But every shaft we sank gave us two more 
faces to work at, and two more gangs could be put on. 
By such an aiTangement, seven shafts and two tunnel 
entrances would give sixteen tunnel faces ; sixteen gangs 
of men, day and night, could work; and thus the tunnel 
could be completed in four years, instead of thirty-two, 
a period which would have landed us in 19.03." Besides, 
four at least of these shafts are permanently required for 
the proper ventilation of the tunnel. 

" "When we had made our shafts," continued our en- 
gineer, "we began to run headings north and south, till, 
at last, they met. The strata through which we had to 
pass were limestone, gi'itstone, and shale; but in making 
the heading we chiefly followed the shale, because it was 
the easiest, though this sometimes brought us to the level 
of the rails, and sometimes to the top of the arch. We 
now started what we termed a * break up ' ; that is, we 
enlarged a certain jiortion of the tunnel sufficiently to 
enable us to put in the arch in brick, filling in the space 
behin<l the brickwork with ih'hni<, which, being inter- 
j)reted, means any loose rock we could get hold of. We 
then excavated the tunnel down to the floor, till the level 
of the future rails was reached." 

So the work went on, from Sunday night at ten till 
Saturday night at ten ; relays of men relieving one another 
at six in the morning and six at night. The rock was 
broken up by hand-drilling, the holes being filled with 
dynamite, guncotton, or gunpowdiM', and fired l)y means 
of a time fusee. " What is dynamite ? " Dynamite looks 
very nnich like potted lobster. It will not explode unless 
heated to 420 deg. Fahrenheit. If a match is placed 
against it, it burns like grease. It can be carried about 
in one's pocket ; and is even carried about in the men's 


trousers' pockets to warm it for use. At the same time 
it has such terribly explosive powers that railway com- 
panies dare not convey it ; and every ounce used on this 
line had to be carted from either Carlisle or Newcastle, 
and cost about £200 a ton, or more than five times as 
much as gunpowder. We may add that the temperature 
of the headings, before they were joined, was 80 degrees ; 
but, when the passage was made through, the heat fell 
23 degrees, and the thermometer stood at 57. Black 
damp was met with in the headings, and also an explosive 
stone ; yet, although the strata through which the tunnel 
passed were of so hard a nature as to require blasting 
throughout, the compressed air in the hill forced the stone 
outwards where excavations had been made ; and the at- 
mosphere had such an effect on the rock, that the tunnel 
had to be arched from end to end. It was anticipated 
that the cost of the tunnel could not be less than £45 for 
every yard formed, and we have no doubt these expecta- 
tions have been more than realized. 

Meanwhile the task of erecting the viaduct at Batty 
Moss was laboriously carried on. It stands on the water- 
shed of the nibble and on Little Dale Beck, and is the 
largest work on the line, consisting of 24 arches, the 
height of the loftiest from the bottom of the foundation 
to the level of the rails being no less than 165 feet. The 
arches are each of 45 feet span, and they are nearly 
semicircular in shape. The foundations have been 
carried 25 feet down through the peat-washing and 
clay, and they all rest upon the rock. The arches 
are of brick; and in constructing them, an arch was 
finished in fine weather every week, the first five of them 
being completed in five weeks. It is estimated that a 
million and a half of bricks were used in these arches. 
The work is of the most solid and durable character, and 
the stones are of very large dimensions, some of them 

K K 


weighing seven or eiglit tons, and many courses being 
from three to four feet in thickness. Every sixth pier is 
made of enormous strength, so that if, from any unlooked- 
for contingency, any one arch should ever fall, only six 
arches could follow. The lime used for mortar is hy- 
draulic lime from Barrow-on-Soar. The first stone of 
this vast structure was laid by Mr. William Ashwell, 
October 12th, 1870; and the last arch was turned in 
October, 1874. Our engraving represents the Batty 
Moss Viaduct in course of construction. As many 




viaducts embellish these pages, it was thought it would 
be more agreeable to the reader to have some of them 
depicted in some intermediate stage of their erection. 

But we now move forward from the viaduct on to the 
great embankment that succeeds it ; and as we do so, we 
notice right athwart our path the mighty range of 
Whernside, nearly 2500 feet in height ; so, to avoid it, 
the line bends to the right, and before long we cnt-er the 
cutting that leads to Blea Moor Tunnel. We first run 
through a short tunnel and under a mountain stream 


called Force Gill. This gill was tlie source of mucb 
trouble to tlie engineers, for it carried away their tempo- 
rary bridges and drowned their quarries ; but it now runs 
peacefully above our heads along a large stone trough 
that has been set with hot asphalte to insure its being 

The cutting itself is through strata principally of mill- 
stone grit and black marble, both of which cropped out 
on the surface before the work was begun, and some 
400,000 cubic yards of which had to be removed before 
the tunnel entrance was reached. How many hypotheti- 
cal marble mantel-pieces were destroyed in the process 
we have not been informed. 

"We can now see through the " spectacles ^* of the 
powerful little engine which is drawing us, that we are 
approaching the mouth of what may perhaps be more 
strictly called the " covered way" that leads to the famous 
Blea Moor Tunnel. It was intended to make the entrance 
some distance farther north; but eventually it was 
thought safer (in order to avoid any slipping of earth 
down the mountain or down the sides of the cutting, 
which would have been nearly 100 feet deep) to cover 
in the cutting, and, in effect, to commence the tunnel 400 
yards farther south. 

We are now in the tunnel. Nothing is to be seen but 
the lamp, which our engineer has just lit, dangling 
from the roof, and throwing its bull's-eye light on the 
tunnel wall. Nothing: is to be heard but the roar of our 
puffing snorting little engine, and the hollow reverbera- 
tion of the mighty cavern. Onward we go, beneath a 
mountain, which rises yet 500 feet above our heads ; 
when suddenly some sharp shrill whistles are sounded, the 
speed is slackened, and we find ourselves slowly moving 
among groups of scores of men with flickering lights and 
candles stuck on end on the projecting crags of the rocky 


tunnel sides. For a moment we pause. " "What's up ? " 
shouts a deep voice ; and some answer, inarticulate to 
us, is returned. 

The steam is turned on ; again we move forward into 
the thick black night ; other whistles follow ; other lights 
glimmer and gleam ; anotlier group of workmen is 
passed, looking, by the red light of their fire, a picture 




fit for Rembrandt ; and at last, not unwilHng, we emerge 
into the sweet briglit light of heaven. 

Four hundred yards from the southern entrance of the 
tunnel we were at the summit level of contract No. 1 ; 
some 1150 feet above the sea, a greater elevation tlian 
tliat attained by any other railway in England except the 
Tebay and Darlington brancli of the North Eastern, 



which at Stainmoor is 1320 feet above the sea. The 
line now begins its descent towards Carhsle : the tunnel 
itself inclines downwards, and its drainage runs north. 

Alio-htinof from our enmne, we stroll forward to look 
at the next viaduct : it is in the magnificent Dent Yalley, 
the town of Dent being, however, some eight miles to our 
left. This viaduct is 200 yards long, of ten semicircular 
arches, rising 100 feet above the public road, and also 
over a little mountain torrent that falls into the Dee, 
which runs hard by on our left. The line continues 


up the valley of the Dent, which is richly cultivated at 
its base, but is enclosed right and left by hills that soon 
become too steep to retain the soil, much of which is 
carried downwards into the meadows, or is washed away 
by the waters of the river Dee, which rushes and roars 
over a bed wonderfully paved, as though by hand, with 
black marble ; the line itself skirting along the hill-side 
at an elevation of some 300 feet above the stream, and 
not more than 200 yards from it. 

But it was time for us to return to Settle. We had been 


drawn up, as we have said, by au engine; but " No. 568" 
had gone, and our carriage was to run down the incline 
of 1-i miles by itself. In the morning, when ascend- 
ing, we noticed that only the up line of the perma- 
nent way was in use, and we asked whether there was 
any possibility of meeting a train coming down. " Oh 
no," said our engineer; " there are only two other small 
engines on the road, and tlicy always cut out of the way 
wlien they see us coming." So having been drawn back 
through the tunnel by one of the aforesaid Httlo engines, 
and started off at the other end on our descent, we trusted 
to the law of gravitation, the strength ui' our brake, and 
the skill of our engineer. " AVe can drop you down in 20 
minutes," he remarked ; and all we need add is, "drop 
us down," he did. 

Resuming with the company of our reader our journey 
northward, we ought, however, to pause and visit a spot 
of much interest, — the spring at Ribblo Head. " The 
source of tliis important river is at a short distance from 
the Ilawes road, between Batty Green, and Gearstone Inn, 
on the right hand side. The wat<)r issues from the 
springs in the limestone rock with a grassy mound in the 
centre ; and then, after purling over a bed of pebbles for 
about twenty yards, it drops with a jingling sound through 
various openings, and continues its course for some 
distance underground." It is pleasing to look upon this 
" insignificant stream, murmuring its sweet mountain 
music, and its clear water sparkling in the morning 
sunshine, and then to compare it with its full-grown self 
at Lytham." 

Starting northward from the Dent Viaduct, and creep- 
ing up the side of the hill, we reach, at about 17 miles 
from the commencement, the end of the first contract, and 
enter on " No. 2." This was about 17 miles in length; 
was placed in the hands of Messrs. Benton and Woodiwiss 



in September, 1869, and was commenced early in the 
following year. It includes some of the most difficult 
work between Settle and Carlisle. 

Dent Head (where the Dee takes its rise, and from 
whence it flows into the Lune) is at the beginning 
of this contract, and is one of the wildest and loneliest 
parts of Yorkshire. All around is wild moorland, 
closed in by vast hills. A few minutes' walk along 
the heavy cutting brings us to what is now known sa 


the Arten Gill Viaduct. The gill is deep ; the banks on 
each side are steep ; and before the viaduct was com- 
menced there was a waterfall of 60 feet descent. The 
stream is spanned by a viaduct 660 feet long, of eleven 
arches, each of 45 feet span, and the rails are 117 feet 
above the water. The viaduct is built of the same 
sort of stone as that which, when cut and polished at 
Mr. Nixon's marble quarries close by, is known by the 
name of black or Dent marble. Great difficulty was 
experienced in obtaining a firm foundation for several of 


the piers, and then they had to be sunk in some cases as 
much as 55 feet. *' It would be impossible," said the 
resident engineer, " to build piers to such a depth in loose 
ground like this, and to keep the sides from falling in ; we 
therefore use strong and numerous supports ; and to look 
down some of these foundations ready for putting in the 
masonry, it seems like one confused mass of timber and 
strutting." The foundations were, however, eventually 
laid on the rock, and then the lofty superstructure was 

The method by which the erection of such works is car- 
ried on in the case of these high viaducts, is indicated by 
(jiir i'!ii;i'aving. A liglit timber stage, called a "gantry," 
is constructed on each side of the work, sufficiently wide 
to allow of the piers and abutm(»nts being built between. 
A jenny, or crane, is then placed on a movable platform 
extending from one stage to the other. The materials are 
wound u|) either by hand or steam power, and are then 
moved slowly along till they can be lowered to the exact 
position they are to occupy. As soon as the masonry is 
built up to the height of the gantry, a fresh lift of timber 
is put on, the crane is raised to the new height, and so the 
work is continued to another stage. By these means 
stones of great size can bo used : one in this viaduct 
measures fourteen feet by six feet, is a foot thick, and 
wei'T-hs more than eight tons ; and the total amount for 
this work alone was upwards of 50,000 tons. 

Dent Dale is about ten miles in length. " It is," said 
a writer fifty years ago, " entirely surrounded with high 
mountains, and of difficult access to carriages, having 
few o])enings where they can enter with safety. In this 
secluded spot landed property is greatly divided; the 
estates are very small, and for the most part occupied by 
the owners." Yet in this " secluded spot," the engineer 
has come, and where " carriages could scarcely find a 


safe entry," he has hiid down his jniths of iron, and run 
his mighty trains. 

Soon after leaving Arten Gill we come to an occupation 
bridge, wliicli perhaps will not have so much as a passing 
thought of interest from the ordinary traveller ; 3'et in 
order to obtain a firm foundation, it was necessary that 
a shaft should be made some 30 feet deep, and then that 
piles should be driven five-and-twenty feet lower down into 
the earth. " We now pass through a cutting containing 
95,000 cubic yards, and for the next mile the work is 
comparatively light. A large culvert over Keld Beck is, 
however, well worth going down the bank to see. Owing 
to the very sidelong ground, it was found necessary to 
l)uild this culvert in steps, and the water pouring over 
them forms a cascade of 20 or 30 breaks, and has a very 
pretty effect." 

In the neighbourhood of this part of the line the scenery, 
says our engineer, is " beautiful. A bird's-eye view is ob- 
tained of the vale of Dent. Nearly 500 feet below, now 
sparkling in the sunlight, and now losing itself among some 
clusters of trees, winds the river Dee, while, first on one 
side, then the other, is the road that leads to Sedbergh. 
No busy smoky town is to be seen close by or in tlie 
distance ; nothing but the greenest of green fields, 
speckled over with lazy herds of cattle, while here and 
there lie the homesteads whose inhabitants have that 
simplicity of life which rural solitudes alone can give. 
The valley, however, is not always a scene of peace and 
quietness. In July, 1870, there swept along it one of 
the most terrific storms that had occurred for man}- 
years. A 'thunderstorm caused the river to swell so 
suddenly that a wave of several feet in height came 
rushing, not only, along the bed of the river, \mt also 
along the road, witli resistless force, carrying everything 
before it." 


We next find ourselves running: alons: a cuttincr from 
which loOjOUO cubic yards have been removed, across the 
middle of which runs the only accessible road between the 
valleys of Garsdale and Dent, — a steep and rugged one, 
rising to the height of nearly 2000 feet above the level of 
the sea. Emerging from the cutting we are upon an 
embankment which crosses Cow Gill at a sharp angle, 
and at a height of 80 feet above the stream. A 
culvert wide enough for a horse and cart to be driven 
through, has been built in the bottom, and is of the 
unusual length of bU) feet ; 14,000 tons of stone 
were used in its construction. The arch is pointed, or 
Gothic, on account of the unusual weight it has to 

A sliort distance from the northern end of Cow Gill 
is Black ^loss or Rise Hill Tunnel, one of the largest 
works on tlie line. Let us visit it as it appeared when 
in course of construction. We toil up the steep side of 
the Cow Gill ravine, and come to a small opening in the 
side of the liill whicli serves as the temporary heading 
into the tunnel. Unt there is not much to be seen here, 
so we mount to the top, go as far as the first shaft, and 
taking our place in tlie iron " skep," at a given signal 
are rapidly lowered into the depths below. " To one un- 
accustomed to such travelling, the sudden falling through 
space produces a giddy sensation, and involuntarily we 
clutch the chain by which we are suspended. We soon 
airive at the bottom, where for some minutes we can see 
nothing owing to the sudden change from light to almost 
])erfect darkness. Candles, however, are given to each of 
us, and following our leader we carefully pick our way to 
that part where the men are working. When one's eyes get 
more accustomed to the light, what a wonderful place it 
seems ! Solid rock above, below, and on each side ; what 
an enormous amount of labour must liave been expended 


in forming this subterranean passage, 26 feet wide, and 
20 feet high, at such a depth below the ground ! 

"After a long walk, we arrive at the face, where we see 
some 30 or 40 miners hard at work, whose occupation 
consists of drilling holes in the rock, which are afterwards 
charged with gunpowder and exploded. These men work 
in couples; one holds the drill, or jumper, and slightly 
alters the position of its cutting edge after every stroke, 
and the other, by repeated blows of a hammer, forces it 
into the rock. Great stalwart men are these miners, 
who seem to wield their heavy hammers with ease, and 
bring them down on the drill with tremendous force, the 
sharp click of each blow betraying to even an inex- 
perienced ear the hardness of the material which is being 
worked. Contrary to our expectation, the air seemed 
to be very good, but that we were told has only been the 
case since an opening has been made into the other 
shaft, through which a constant current of fresh air is 

To a stranger, it has been truly said by one who 
visited this tunnel, there is something unearthly in the 
sounds and sights of these mining operations. " Dimly 
burning candles, uncouth looking waggons standing on 
the rails or moving to and fro, men at the facings, some 
above and some below, with their numerous lights like 
twinkling stars in a hazy night, the noise of the twirling 
drills beneath the terrible force of big hammers wielded 
by stalwart men, and the hac, hac, or half sepulchral 
grunt at each stroke, the murky vapour, the chilling 
damp, and the thick breathing, make a novice to such 
scenes feel a thrill of more than ordinary pleasure when 
he ascends to breathe the unpolluted mountain air, and 
finds that all dread of being engulfed in the rocks (140 
feet below the surface of the earth) has fled. As we are 
leaving, we are alarmed at hearing heavy explosions and 


feeling the ground shake beneath our feet ; but it is only 
the miners firing the charges in the pit below. It is 
strange that though the tunnel is cut through the solid 
rock, it has had to be lined with masonry for three- 
fourths of its length for fear of any pieces becoming 
detached and falling on the permanent way." 

In the course of the erection of this tunnel a tem- 
porary village had to be built, witli liuts, sheds, and store- 
rooms, for 350 persons on the hill-top, at an elevation of 
1300 feet above the sea level. From here there was a 
tramway down a steep incline to the road in Garsdale, 
600 yards in length, up which all the railway material for 
this portion of the line had to be drawn l)y a rope 
worked by steam power. 

In this tunnel there are two permanent shafts. Nearly 
all the material removed in the boring of the tunnel had 
to be lifted by steam power to the top of the hill ; but it 
is curious that, owing to the scarcity of ballast, much of 
it had to be brought down again, and deposited in the 
permanent way. 

On leaving the tunnel, the line emerges into Garsdale. 
Here a different view from that with which we have be- 
come familiar appears ; and instead of a wild and dreary 
waste, we have a kindlier clime and brighter scenes. 
Some 400 feet below us the stream may be observed wind- 
ing over its rocky bed at the foot of the steep-sided valley, 
in the direction of Sedbergh ; while to the west the 
country opens out in extensive views. Soon we see, upon 
our right, a roadside inn, called " The ^Moorcock," nota- 
ble in the district as standing at the junction of three roads. 
This inn is at the head of three valleys : the Wensleydale, 
winding eastward down to Hawes, along which the Mid- 
land has a branch line in course of construction ; the Gars- 
dale Vallej^, going westerly towards Sedbergh ; and the 
Mallerstang, leading northwards towards Kirkby Stephen. 


These valleys and tlieir roads all meet ; and travellers 
innumerable liave been wont to dismount tlieir mountain 
ponies at " The Moorcock " to refresh themselves with 
mountain dew, perhaps the more willingly from the 
thought that it has been many a mile since they had such 
an opportunity before, and that it will be many another 
before they will have one again. 

As an indication of the inaccessibility of this spot, we 
may mention that every tip waggon here used by the con- 
tractor had to be brought by road up from Sedbergh, 
and that the carriage of them cost a guinea each. At 
this point 100 were required. 

The line to Hawes will, at its termination, form a junc- 
tion with the Melmerby branch of the North Eastern. 
The changes in the policy of the Midland Company 
curiously affected the destiny of these branches. When 
the Midland Company resolved on making its Settle and 
Carlisle railway, powers were obtained for making the 
Melmerby branch to unite with it. But when the Mid- 
land Company decided to apply to Parliament in 1889, to 
abandon the Settle and Carlisle, it was thought that the 
Melmerby and Hawes extension was unnecessary, and 
powers for its abandonment were also sought ; and, un- 
fortunately for its promoters, were only too successful. 
Meanwhile the Midland bill abandonment was rejected ; 
the Settle and Carlisle had to be made ; so, once again, 
for the third time, the North Eastern in 1870 had to 
ask that the deceased powers of the Melmerby line might 
be revived ; and their request was granted. 

An embankment was here required to carry the line, 
and tipping went on for two years. But the peat yielded 
to the weight placed upon it, and rose on each side in a 
bank, in some places fifteen feet high. After more than 
250,000 cubic yards had been tipped, it was decided that 
a viaduct of twelve arches over the deepest part of the 



works must be made. Tlie work thus erected is some 
fifty feet Iiigli, and for nearly the whole length it had to 
be sunk an additional fifteen feet through the peat before 
a firm foundation could be obtained. 

These difficulties are doubtless to be accounted for by 
the geological formation of the country. The strata be- 
long to what is called the carboniferous period. " But 
they are overrun," remarks ^Ir. Story, the resident 
engineer, in some notes with which ho has favoured us, 
" by the glacial drift, which at times exceeds a depth of 


eighty feet, and is composed of a stiff blue clay, filled 
with boulders of every size up to fifty tons weight. These 
boulders are the fragments of the stratified rocks of the 
district, some grit and some limestone ; and an examina- 
tion of them shows that they have been transported in 
some way or other for many miles from the place where 
they were originally deposited. The surface of them is 
marked in a very peculiar way with deep indentations, 
which show they must have met with some rough treat- 
ment on their journey, no doubt caused by their passage 


over the rocks of the district, the surfaces of which are 
marked in a similar manner." 

In carrying on these works a curious circumstance 
occurred. A gullet (a sort of preliminary cutting, with 
steep sides, and big enough for a few tip waggons to be 
pushed in) had been made, and the rails laid in it. But in 
the night the rain fell ; the walls of the gullet slipped in ; 
the road was buried several yards deep in slurry and mud; 
and there it was left. Two years passed away. Another 
and deeper gullet was made onward from the cutting; 
and to their surprise, the men, as they were digging out 
the boulder clay, found the remains of a former tram-road. 
"A splendid discovery," said one concerned in the work, 
"for a geological fellow. He could prove lots from this. 
' Here is a railway in the glacial drift, — in the glacial 
period ; rails, sleepers, and all. Then the world must 
liave been inhabited then ; and they had railways then ; 
and very likely a Settle and Carlisle railway into the bar- 
gain.' ' There is nothing new under the sun.' " 

"A short distance farther on," says Mr. Story, "is 
Lunds Viaduct, of five arches, and in the bottom is the 
quarry from which a great number of the viaducts and 
bridges were built. Another short tunnel, and a mile 
or two farther the line crosses over Ais Gill Moor, and 
attains its highest altitude of 11G7 feet above the sea, 
from whence it falls almost uninterruptedly down to 
Carlisle, 1 in 100 being the ruling gradient. The countr^^ 
here is very wild and rugged. Stone walls mark the 
division of the properties, and scarcely any house can be 
seen to remind one that the country is inhabited. On the 
west rises Wild Boar Fell, with its grandly impressive 
outline, which after sunset looms dark and terrible, and 
seems to frown on all around. On the east is Maller- 
stang Edge, which rises to an altitude of 2328 feet above 
the sea, five feet higher than the "Wild Boar opposite. A 


very narrow constricted valley runs between, along 
wliicli in winter the wind sweeps with bitter blasts." 

Three miles from the Moorcock, and in a cutting, we 
have entered the county of Westmorland. The boundary 
is marked by a stone wall ; but as there are scores of 
stone walls in the immediate neighbourhood exactly like 
it, we must leave to the sagacity of our reader to deter- 
mine for himself which is the particular one in question. 
The county, however, when one gets into it, is full of in- 
terest, and many objects around us are suggestive of the 
history of the past. " All the old manor houses," for 
instance, " and other edifices were built for defence 
against the incursions of the Scotch. The larger houses 
had areas or yards, strongly walled about, and garnished 
with turrets and battlements. Within these enclosures 
they shut up their cattle during the night, and thence they 
gave notice of an enemy by the firing of beacons and other 
modes of alarm. Even the farmhouses were secured by 
strong doors and gates, and had small windows, crossed 
with strong l)ars of iron ; and many of them had a cow- 
house and stable in their lower story." 

This was at the time (and the time lasted long) when 
danger was rife in these border lands ; and when on 
many a mountain-top beacons blazed, startling the 
night : - 

" A score of firca 

From height and hill and cliff were seen ; 

Each with warlike tidings fraught ; 

Each from each the signal caught; 

Each from each they glanced to sight 

As stars arise upon the night." 

Times happily have changed. We are not now sad- 
dened by the sight in these dales of the women carrying 
manure into the fields in wicker panniers on their 
shoulders, " while the men lay in groups on a sunny 


bank, employed in knitting; " or, as Pringle describes, tlie 
" beautiful servant maids of this county, toiling in the 
severe labours of the field, driving the barrows or the 
ploughs, or sweating at the dung-cart." Manners have 
mended, too, since it would have been said of any idle 
fellow : " He keeps vara bad company, t' parson and sich." 
We are now passing down what all old maps designate 
"the forest of Mallerstang," — renowned for its deep woods 
and its hunting parties, — though few traces of the forest 
can be found. Skirting along the hill on the left of the 
valley, in order to avoid too rapid a descent, we cross 
over numerous culverts, through which the mountain tor- 
rents flow down from the limestone hills toward the river 
Eden, covering it with rich soil. " Mallerstang," says an 
interesting writer, " with its high mountain ranges on the 
east and west of the line, with the farmsteads and fields on 
the slopes and in the hollows of the hills, will often call forth 
the admiration of railway travellers. Baugh Fell, Wild 
Boar Fell " (with its great cape-like head, on the summit 
of which the shepherds were wont to hold their horse 
races), " Lunds Fell, and High Seat, with their compeers, 
will always, when free from mists, form an exquisite 
mountain landscape. At one time Mallerstang, with its 
crowding forest trees, was the haunt of wild animals and 
of every variety of game ; and here the lordly owners of 
the manor, with their retainers and serfs, were wont to 
make both woods and hills echo with their shouts of glee 
over the slain of the chase. Though the upper part of 
the Eden Valley is now occupied by a few industrious 
and peaceful farmers and shepherds, there was a time in 
the past when the slogan of border chiefs and their 
clansmen sent a terror through Mallerstang, and when 
fire and sword did terrible work to man and beast. The 
desolation in Mallerstang and other portions of West- 
morland was so complete that the county, with those 

L L 



of Diirliam and Xortlnimbcrland, was considered by 
AVilliam the Conqueror not worth surveying." 

Soon after leaving Ais Gill Moor, the line passes over 
Ais Gill Viaduct of four arches, and attains a consider- 
able elevation above the road that runs by the river 
Eden, here still a stream. 

One spot of great interest must not be unnoticed here : 
it is the bridge, depicted in our engraving, over a ravine 
called Deep Gill. It is lialf bridiro, lialf culvert, and is a 

fine ]iiece of engineering work. Above it is the Wild 
Boar Fell, where tradition says the last wild boar was 
killed by one of the ^lusgrave family, and from this 
incident it takes its name. 

On the east of the line, in a narrow dale overlooked by 
mountains, and waslied by the Eden, is Pendragon Castle. 
Tradition tells us that it was erected by Uter Pendragon, 
and that he wished to make the river surround the 
castle, l)ut failed ; and hence an adage that *' Eden will 
run where Eden ran." Its founder, it is said, was slain, 
with one hundred of his courtiers, by poison [)ut into his 


" favourite spring," near the castle. Here Sir Hugli 
Morville, of a Norman house, lord of Westmorland, one 
of the knights implicated in the murder of a Becket, 
held his brief but lordly tenure ; and his sword was long 
preserved in Kirkoswald Castle as a memento of the 
assassination. In the year 1341 this ancient forest seat of 
the Morvilles was burnt by the Scots under King David ; 
and though rebuilt, it was again destroyed 200 years 
afterwards (1541). After being deserted for more than 
a century, the famous Anne, Countess of Pembroke, 
who, dressed in " a petticoat and waistcoat of black 
serge," built castles and churches, founded hospitals, 
spent £40,000 on her " manor mills," fought great law- 
suits, and married two husbands, with whom she had 
" crosses and contradictions," took the restoration of 
the castle in hand. It is said that she could " discourse 
of all things, from predestination to slea-silk;" and that 
when an objectionable candidate was forced on one of 
her boroughs, she wrote, " I have been bullied by an 
usurper ; I have been neglected by a court ; but I will 
not be dictated to by a subject. Your man shall not 
stand." In 1685, however, Pendragon Castle once 
more fell; enormous quantities of stone have of late 
years been removed for making fences, and all that 
remains of the former grandeur of the once stout strong- 
hold, are the crumbling ruins of a square tower. 

After passing through a heavy cutting, the line is 
carried along the Intake Bank, about 100 feet high. At 
this point an extraordinary circumstance occurred : the 
tipping proceeded/o?* twelve mouths without the emhanJcmcnt 
advancing a yard. The tip rails, during that whole period, 
were unmoved, while the masses of slurry, as indicated 
in the engraving, rolled over one another in mighty con- 
volutions, persisting in going anywhere and everywhere, 
except where they were wanted. 


Another heavy rock cnttiiifr, and the line enters Birkett 
Tunnel, which has been made through what is called the 
Great Pennine Fault. Here we pass through shale, moun- 
tain limestone, magnesian limestone, grit, slate, iron, coal, 
and lead ore in thin bands, all within a hundred yards. 
" The most curious combination," remarked ^[r. Crossley, 
'•' I have ever seen." In the same side of the hill the 
strata rise up from a horizontal position till they are 
perpendicular. Geologists had said that lead would be 

-<i^*y5 ^^*^?'^'v^* - 


met with in tlie tunnel, and tlieir predictions were veri- 
fied ; but it was not obtained in sufficient quantity to be 
of practical value. Part of the tunnelling was done by 
Burleiofh's rock drilling maeliine, driven by compn\ssed 
air. " Wo timed it carefully," says a writer in a local 
journal,* " and saw a hole a foot deep driven in five 
minutes. Two men drilling by hand would take forty 
minutes to do the same work." " This tunnel is also 

* The Aj^plehjj and Kirkbtf Skphen Ilcrahl. 


partly lined," says Mr. Story, " as beds of shale were 
interspersed with the rock. It is 428 yards long. Soon 
after coming: out of the tunnel a fine view is obtained 
of the valley of the Eden, with the Cross Fell range 
beyond, and the peculiar pyramidal shaped hills of 
Dufton, Knock, and Murton, to the north. Far below are 
the winding river, and the woods and the grassy slopes 
that border it." 

Of the geological formation of this district, Phillips* 
remarks that " the whole escarpment of the Pennine 
chain from Brampton to Kirkby Stephen has been 
caused by an immense disruption coincident with the 
elevation of a ridge of partially exposed slate rocks. The 
effect of this disruption is the relative displacement of 
the strata on the two sides of it (in one part to the 
extent of 1000 yards at least) for a length of 55 
miles. Perhaps the whole world does not offer a 
spectacle more impressive to the eye of the geologist 
than that afforded by the contrast between the mighty 
wall of mountain limestone rocks, soaring to the height 
of 2500 feet above the vale of the Eden and the plain of 
Carlisle, and the level beds of the red sandstone de- 
posited in later times at the foot of the ancient escarp- 
ment, upon the relatively depressed portion of the same 
mountain limestone series." 

About a mile before we reach Kirkby Stephen the line 
passes through the Wharton Park estates, and about half 
a mile on our right is Wharton Hall, the seat of the 
now extinct Dukes of Wharton. It was left to fall into 
ruins till, of late years, it was repaired and re-opened. In 
the kitchen and hall are vast fireplaces, memorials of the 
hospitality of other days. What was formerly the chapel 
has been converted into a dairy. Once a noble park 
surrounded the Hall. Of the first Duke of Wharton, it 

* " Geology of Yorksliire." 


is related that liis father spent £80,000 on elections ; and 
of his son that he allied himself with the Pretender, made 
peace with the Government, ruined himself by his prodi- 
gality, and at 32, entered a convent, where he died. 

The market-town of Kirkby Stephen lies nearly two 
miles to the east of the station, and is 300 feet below the 
level of the line. It is the second largest town in "West- 
morland, and contains about 2000 inhabitants. Near the 
town are two objects of special interest, — the Ewbauk 
Scar and Stenkrith Falls. At Ewbank Scar the water 
leaps over a ridge of rock, a distance of 00 feet ; and at 
Stenkrith, which is near the station, the waters " rush, 
and bound, and spout, and spread, and contract, over 
or through the creviced rocks, with roaring and hissing;" 
and after a storm they may be seen *' dashing, bounding, 
and whirling with maddened speed ; and then rebound- 
ing from the other side, in lieaps of water and spray, 
rumbling, rolling, and seething, with a noise of thunder.'' 

From Kirkby Stephen the works of tlie railway are 
comparatively light till we arrive at Smardale Viaduct. 
This is, we believe, tlie highest viaduct on the Midland 
system, being 130 feet from stream to rails ; and its 
length is 710 feet. In sinking the foundations of this 
viaduct an unexpected ditliculty appeared. The river 
seemed t(i be lunning clear immediately over the solid 
rock, which appeared to supply an excellent foundation. 
" We began to sink," said the engineer, " but not a bit of 
rock was to be found. The limestone rock and the 
' brockram' were gone ; and we had to go down 45 feet 
through the clay till we came to the red shale, and 
upon it we built." 

The viaduct is a noble work. It is erected of a grey 
limestone obtained from a quarry about a mile higher up 
the stream. No better material could have been found. 
" Self-bedded as it was, not much labour was required 



to bring it to tlie proper shape ; and tlie immense blocks 
in which it could be worked, rendered it well adapted for 
the construction of such narrow piers." As no sand, 
or anything like sand could be obtained on this contract 
the material used was clay burnt hard, and ground 
with lime in mortar mills. This proved an admirable 
substitute. The parapets and arch quoins are of mill- 


stone grit. More than 60,000 tons of stone were used 
in the construction of this viaduct. It crosses over 
Scandal Beck and also over the South Durham Railway; 
and a siding at some little distance from this point, 
runnino- into the South Durham, enabled the Midland 
contractors to bring 1000 tons of material a week for 
several months on to the works of the new line. From 
this viaduct we can see on the right " the Nine Standards," 
as they are called, on the hills to the right of Kirkby 


Stephen ; to the north-east is the Pennine range ; on the 
south-east the mountains of Ravonstonedale, while be- 
neatli us are the rich lands and woods of the valley, and 
the fine slopes of Scandal Beck. 

The work of constructing Sraardale Viaduct was com- 
menced in the autumn of 1870, and occupied four years 
and a half. As its completion was regarded with special 
interest, the contractors invited the wife of the en- 
gineer-in-chief to lay the last stone. Accordingly this 
massive block, six feet in length, was, with fitting 
ceremony, lowered into the bed prepared for it, and it 
will long bear the inscription: "This last stone was 
laid by Agnes Crossley, June 8tli, 1875." 

In connection with thr prosecution of these works in 
this district an alarming incident occurred. A party 
engaged on the line were one evening returning from 
their duties, and, having a rough road to walk u])on, 
anel a good incline, it occurred to them (engineer-like) 
that they could ride down the lull in a tip waggon. Ac- 
cordingly they placed a plank as a seat across a wag- 
gon, and having armed themselves with a piece of 
timber called " a sprag," to be used if required as a 
brake, they set off. ^lerrily they went along, and the 
excellence of the pace, which increased every moment, 
was unquestionable. At length, ivs they were approaching 
their journey's end, and iis the line some distance for- 
ward was blocked with loaded trucks, it was thought 
wise that the speed should be reduced ; and accordingly 
the brakesman leant over the side, and applied his sprag. 
A sudden blow, however, knocked it out of his hand ; he 
jumped off to pick it up, but could not overtake the 
waggon. " And there we were," said an engineer, who 
was one of the party, " running down an incline of 1 in 
100 at 20 or 3U miles an hour, with a ' dead end ' 
before us, blocked up, and going faster every minute." 


Mr. Woodiwiss, the contractor, seized the plank on 
which the passengers had been sitting, and tried to sprag 
the wheel with it ; but could not get it to act, till, at 
last, by standing on the bujQfer behind, putting the plank 
between the frame of the wag:o:on and the side of the 
wheel, and pressing it sidewise, he managed to pull up 
the runaway truck just in time to prevent a perhaps 
fatal collision. 

Contract " No. 2 " now ends. Before leaving it 
we may remind our reader that, in the carrying on of 
works like these, much obviously depends upon the ad- 
ministration of the affairs over a wide area of operations, 
and in every detail. " Unlike the construction of a 
building or a ship, Avhere, by reason of its compactness, 
the master can have the men working as it were beneath 
his eyes, the various gangs of men were here distributed 
over a length of three-and-twenty miles ;" and it was 
necessary to ensure that they were doing their w^ork, and 
doing it well, not only while the engineer was with them, 
but when he was unavoidably elsewhere. Mr. J. Somes 
Story was the resident engineer, and on our visit to his 
contract he courteously supplied us, as did all his 
brethren, with every assistance for the preparation of 
this narrative. 

The work actually accomplished on this contract alone 
was enormous. Forty-seven cuttings, five viaducts 
half a mile in length, four tunnels, altogether a mile 
long, 68 road bridges, and 100 culverts, besides fencing, 
draining, and a thousand other things form an extra- 
ordinary accumulation of work. Added to this was 
the fact that owing: to the hiofh level to which the line 
was carried (nearly 1200 feet above the sea), it was found 
that the fall of rain was greatest where the line was 
highest ; and that instead of some 25 inches average, as 
at London, the amount in 1872 at Kirkby Stephen was 



GO inches, and at Dent Head 92 inches. The effect was 
injurious in three ways : the number of working days per 
week was reduced from six to three or two ; the men left 
for parts of the country where the weather and the work 
were more settled ; and the cuttings and embankments 
were soddened and damaged. The wildness as well as the 
wetness of the country, the scarcity of population and of 
accommodation made it impossible to induce the men, 
unless they were allowed to work short time and at 
excessively high wages, to remain. A hundred and six- 
teen huts were erected for them; reading rooms, schools, 
and chapels were provided ; but with only partial success. 
As soon as a gang was i)roperly organized, it was broken 
up by several of the men leaving. Works that were " in 
full swing" one day were almost desertt'd the next; and 
though 1700 or 2000 men were the greatest number at 
work at one time, more than 33,000 came into and went 
from the service of the contractors on this one portion of 
the liiic. And apart from the severity of the work or of 
tlie weather, " they are a class of men," remarked the 
engineer, " very fond of change." 

A quai'ter of a mile from Smardale Heck the line enters 
a tunnel through limestone rock mixed with flint ; and 
thence we pass along an open cutting 740 yards in length, 
and nearly 50 feet deep, forming an immense gorge in 
the rocks, from which 70,0()0 yards have been excavated. 

The peculiar nature of this material occasioned special 
difliculty. The silica ran into the limestone in such a 
way that part was of one material, and part of the other ; 
the workmah did not know which he was coming to, and 
he sometimes blunted half a dozen steel drills to make a 
hole a foot deep. 

'* Now just ex])lain," we inquired of our engineering 
friend on tliis section (Mr. Drage), "exactly how this 
drilling is done." 


" Well," lie said, " tlie direction in wliicli the hole is 
to be made is usually pointed out by the ganger, and the 
hole is then bored either by a drill or a jumper. A drill 
is a short steel bar, and when pointed in the right spot, 
is hit on the head with a heavy hammer ; the jumper is 
longer, and is jumped up and down in the hole by the 
man who holds it, until he has got to a sufficient depth. 
The jumper is seldom used in tunnelHng, there being less 
room for the workmen." 

*' And at what rate do they carry on such work ? " 

" They will get a foot down through limestone in half 
an hour or so ; and the men who jump will earn 10.9. a 
day at the rate of about 5J. a foot, in eight or ten hours 
a day." 

" When the hole is made, what next ? " 

" The safety fuse is put in, which is like a long string, 
and is composed of some explosive material covered 
with canvas. It is very tough, and when lighted burns 
gradually. The hole is then charged with gunpowder, — 
about ^a pint — or two ' tots,' as they are called, being 
usually enough, but sometimes four ' tots ' are used in 
a shot. The fuse is put in first, then comes the pow- 
der, and lastly the ' tamping,' as it is called, which is 
the material that is rammed in to fill up the hole. 
When the hole is drilled, a stone is put upon it until 
other holes are ready. Then the men retreat, some- 
times 100 yards away, and the shots are fired by a man 
appointed for that service. It was he who also put the 
powder in." 

" Your drills must wear out rapidly in such work ? " 

"Yes; but there is alwa3^s a smith's shop near at 
hand, and he sharpens the drills by heating and then 
hammering them out to an edge." 

Sometimes in breaking up the boulders that lay, tons 
weight, in the way, djmamite was used. A bit of it. 


as big as half a candle, which in shape it somewhat re- 
sembles, is laid on a rock, the fusee is attached to it, a 
lump of clay as big as two fists is squeezed on to it, 
and when fired it will split the boulder through and 
through into any number of pieces — a boulder as big as 
a horse. It seems to act downwards as if a multitude of 
wedges were driven down into it. 

Leaving the cutting, we are on Crosby Garrett Viaduct. 
It crosses the village at a height of 55 feet, and has six 
arches. It is principally built of the limestone from 
the cutting we have just left. "At Crosby Garrett," 
Mr. Crossley remarked, " we found the same red shale 
bed that we had at Smardale ; and this revealed the 
interesting fact that the mighty limestone hill which we 
had to pierce in making Crosby Garrett Tunnel was 
superimposed upon tlie shale, and must bo newer a 
great deal tlian the shale." 

On tho summit of a steep hill at the northern end of 
the village stands the ancient church, with its low square 
tower. The views from the churchyard are very com- 
manding, the situation for such an edifice being un- 
equalled along the line. The station platforms are in a 
cutting 55 feet deep. 

From Crosby Garrett the line goes along an embank- 
ment to Gallansey Cutting, where the strata present a 
remarkable appearance, being coloured, before the grass 
grew over them, with masses of purple, yellow, and blue, 
and containing clay, sand, marl, limestone, and sand- 
stone intermixed, as though some violent convulsion of 
nature had destroyed the regularity of the beds. Lumps 
of limestone and sandstone are still to be seen near the 
bottom of the slopes. 

Two miles from Crosby Garrett, at Griseburn, is 
another \naduct, of seven arches, 74 feet above the 
stream. The piers and abutments are built of lime- 


stone broiiglit from the cuttings already passed, and the 
arches are turned with bricks made on the spot. 

Not far from this work we enter Crowhill Cutting, It 
runs to a depth of 40 feet, and for a distance of half 
a mile, through boulder clay. In forming the gullet 
through some parts of the cutting, masses of granite 
were found, some weighing as much as four tons each, 
and so numerous were the boulders that, as the engineer 
expressed it, "there was as much boulder as clay." The ■ 
granite was like that seen over the hills at Shap, ten 
miles away; and the amount of gunpowder consumed 
in blasting was enormous, sometimes as much as a ton 
a week.* The work occupied more than five years and a 
half, and huts for 100 men had to be built. 

From hence we pass along an embankment nearly half 
a mile in length, and in some places 60 feet deep, till 
we reach Helm Tunnel, in the neighbourhood of which 
the " Helm wind " blows in terrific blasts from the west ; 
and we soon reach the station and then the viaduct of 
Grreat Ormside. The work up to this point was Yery 
heavy. After the temporary roads had been laid for 
tipping the banks, the ground in some places slipped 
away so that the metals had to be lifted and packed up 
with stones to enable the contractor's engines to pass up 
and down. This doing the work over and over again, 
hero and elsewhere along this line, not only caused ex- 
traordinary delays, but swallowed up large sums of mone3\ 

Orm, after whom this village and this viaduct are 
named, was governor of Appleby Castle in 1174. Near 
Penrith there is a large cairn called Ormstead. The 
church has, in its north aisle, a burying place belonging 
to Ormstead Hall. This Hall was built as a place 
of defence as well as residence, being turretted and 

* There are also " ice-borne rocking stones on the liigli moors above 
Settle." — Quarterhj Review. 



embattled. Xcar it, two hundred years ago, on the 
banks of the Eden, several brazen vessels were found, 
some of which apparently had been gilt. 

The Ormside Viaduct has a noble appearance from 
the point at which we had the pleasure of sketching it. 
The lofty piers, the wide expanse of the work, the green 
and wooded slopes down to the broad and rushing Eden, 
which the line now crosses for the first time, and the 
view between the arches, of the winding river, and of the 
background of wood.'^, hills, and mountains, present a 


scene full of interest and beauty. The viaduct is of 10 
arches, 90 feet high. The sight from the viaduct itself 
is equally fine. Here the Eden bends away beneath the 
deep woods on the west ; close at hand stands an im- 
mense rock, looking like the lower basement of an ancient 
castle; while almost immediately opposite is a remark- 
able projection of laminated red sandstone wondrously 
waterworn, called Clint Scar. From Ormsido a beautiful 
walk to Appleby by the river side may be enjoj'ed. In 
the construction of this viaduct it was found necessary 



that one of the piers should stand in the river. When 
a pier has to be laid in deep water, a cofferdam has 
ordinarily to be made; but as in this instance there 
were only about two feet of water, it was merely diverted 
from the spot where the pier was erected. The engineer 
accordingly made some rectangular boxes of inch board, 
which were held together by braces ; the bed of the river 
formed the bottom of the box ; clay puddle was pressed 

in ; and thus a watertight breakwater was made round 
the space for the workmen to carry on their operations. 
The water was now pumped out ; the rock excavated in 
the usual manner, by means of picks, hammers, and 
wedges, till the proper depth was reached ; and then the 
foundation was laid, and the pier carried up to its proper 

The next place we reach is Appleby, 42j- miles from 
Settle. The view of the town as seen from the line, and 


depicted in our engraving, is very pleasing. The station 
is on a considerable elevation, and is 525 feet above tlie 
sea, although there has been a fall of 212 feet since we 
left Crosby Garrett. Directly in front of ns is the church, 
with its square tower, nave, chancel, and aisles, built in 
tlie 14th century on the site of another church of far 
more ancient date, which was burnt down by the Scots. 
It contains fine altar tombs of the renowned Countess of 
Pembroke and of her niotlier. It is dedicated to St. 
Lawrence ; and the seal of the borough represents on one 
side the arms of the town, and on tlie other the figure 
of the saint lying naked on a gridiron in the midst of 
burning coals. In tlie middle of the view before us is the 
town, almost encircled by tlie beautiful river; and tlie 
left is closed in by the hill, covered with fine trees, among 
which stands " Appleby Castle," the residence of Admiral 
Elliott ; while in front of it, near the lodge gates, is the 
grand keep of Cresar's Tower, 80 feet high, and covered 
with ivy, said to have been the Aballaba of the Romans. 
Many an interesting and many a tragic story might be 
told of the annals of Appleby. Though it is the county 
town, it has now only some 1500 inhabitants; but the 
time was when the population is believed to have ex- 
ceedetl n,(MM). Tlic Uro, sword, and plunder of Scottish 
invaders asfain and ai^ain laid it low. During: the reisrns 
of Henry VIII. and William and ^lary it was in ruins. 
In the year 159S a plague broke out with such violence 
that the town was almost deserted, and the markets were 
held five or six miles away ; and in the Civil War, the 
l)lood-red waves of battle again rolled over the scene. 
When Cromwell's proclamation against Charles II. 
was made, no one, we are told, in the *' loyal " town of 
Appleby could be induced to appear in " so hon-id a 
villany ;" so " the soldiers had recourse to a fellow in the 
market, an unclean bird, hatched at Kirkby Stephen, the 


nest of all traitors, who proclaimed it aloud, while the 
people stopped their ears and hearts," 

In Leland's time Appleby was but " a poor village, 
having a ruinous castle, wherein the prisoners were 
kept." This castle, the Countess of Pembroke records, 
had been " of note ever since William the Conqueror's 
time, and long before." " I continued," she remarks, in 
IGol, " to lie in Appleby Castle a whole year, and spent 
much time in repairing it." She also, she says, " helped 
to lay the foundation stone of the middle wall of the great 
tower of Appleby Castle, called Cjesar's Tower, to the end 
that it might be repaired again and made habitable, if it 
pleased God, after it had stood without a roof or a cover- 
ing, or one chamber habitable in it, since about 1567." 

At last, it was believed, times of peace had come in with 
the Restoration, and the outbreak of loyalty at Appleby 
was unbounded. There were as many bonfires in the 
town as houses ; a scaffold was erected, hung with cloth 
of arras and gold, to which a procession, after divine 
service, repaired, carrying amid the music of trumpets a 
crown of gold ; and the people drank to the health of 
the king upon their knees. 

As an illustration of the smaller matters that have 
to be regarded in laying out a new railway, we may 
mention that it was found necessary that some 50,000 
gallons of water daily should be provided at Appleby for 
the supply of passing engines ; but though the engineers 
searched far and wide over the neighbouring fells, the 
nearest mountain streams were some three miles distant. 
Eventually it was resolved to erect a pumping engine 
and establishment close by the river, and the water is 
raised from thence into a tank at the station, a heio-ht of 
140 feet. There is electric communication between the 
station and the pumping-room. 

Leaving Appleby for the north, there is a heavy 

M M 


ombankmcnt called Battle Barrow Bank, some 40 feet 
liifrli, and containing a quarter of a million cubic yards of 
material. Hard by this spot, in 1281, a white friary was 
established, near which once stood a home for lepers. A 
farmhouse now occupies the site. Along this bank 
we cross over a skew bridge. Some idea of the serious 
nature of railway work may be conveyed by the fact that 
this bridge, small as it seems, contains about 5000 cubic 
yards of masonry, and that in building it 10,000 loads of 
stone were required. Those were fetched from the 
Dufton quarries, two miles away, and involved no fewer 
than 10,000 journeys, each of four miles out and home, 
a distance of say 40,000 miles, which is nearly twice the 
distance round the world. 

Tliree (piartors of a mile from Appleby Station, and 
near the old lloman road, the line crosses the Kden 
Valley line of the North Eastern, with which it has com- 
munication by a branch, and then enters a cutting, 50 
feet deep, of boulder clay, with here and there a bed of 
sand. " Going northward," says ^fr. Drage, "wo reach 
Long ^fartoii, where we get a splendid view of the 
mountain pikes which lie on the cast of tlic line, three 
miles away, called Murton, Dufton, and Knock, and 
rise respectively 1950, 1570, and 1300 feet above the level 
of the sea. Along the sides of the fells near these pikes 
are several lead mines in operation, which return a fair 
profit to the proprietors. Trout Beck, at Long Marton, 
is crossed by a viaduct of five arches, GO feet high. It 
is budt of red sandstone from the excellent quarries in 
Dufton Gill, about two miles east of the line. At Stamp 
Hill, a mile farther on, some gypsum quarries near to 
the line are being worked, and the produce is sent away 
by the Eden Valley line from Kirkl)y Thore. The cutting 
here, and also the one at Blackleases, about a mile 
farther on, is through boulder clay of somewhat lighter 


description than that found in cuttings at the south end 
of the contract. Each of the two former cuttings is 
about a quarter of a mile long, and they are 25 and 40 
feet deep. 

"The village of Kirkby Thore lies a mile to the 
south-west, and is the reputed birthplace of the re- 
nowned Hogarth. The scenery around this district, 
embracing Lowther, Shap, and the intervening villages, 
is very grand; the country gently rises towards the Lake 
District. Saddleback and Skiddaw are seen standing 
out among the distant mountains. A little farther on is 
Newbiggin, a village near Crowdundle Beck. The line 
here passes through the estate of W. Crackenthorpe, 
Esq., ofNewbiggin Hall ; and the fine old oak trees, and 
the wood on the banks of the Beck, present a lovely ap- 
pearance. The line is now 100 feet lower than at 

Newbiggin Hall stands at the northern end of the 
village. Over the front door is an inscription :— 

" Christopher Crackenthorpe men did me call, 
Who in my tyme did builde this Hall, 
And framed it as you may see, 
One thousand five hundred thii-ty and three." 

The church at Newbiggin tells of the merits of one 
Richard Crackenthorpe, a clergyman, "who brought 
reputation to this family;" and of whom " King James I. 
used to say be ought to have been a bishop ;"" but," the 
inscription significantly adds, " he never made him one." 
Six miles from Appleby we are at Newbiggin Station, 
near which is the village. In this neighbourhood, in the 
early days of the Settle and Carlisle line, the engineer, 
Mr. Sharland, and his staff had been one day "busily 
engaged in making their surveys not far from this wood, 
when an elderly gentleman, with frill shirt very carefully 


got up, and tlic rest of his dress to match, came up to 
the little party. 

" May I inquire," he asked in a somewhat decided 
tone, " in what you are engaged on my property here? " 

" We are surveying for a new line," was the reply. 

" A new line ! " he exclaimed ; " where to and from ? " 

"From Settle to Carlisle." 

" And which way is it to go in this direction ? " 

'■ Onr present plan," replied the engineer, *' is to go 
through tliat wood." 

*' What ! through my wood, my old oak wood, that no 
one has touched a bough of for years and years ! " and 
tlie proprietor became as indignant and excited a-^ ;i 
l)enignant old gentleman with a frilled shirt front could 
l)e expected to be. <Mr. Sharlan«l, however, did his best 
to explain the matter and to pacify the proprietor, and 
they parted. 

Subsequently Mr. Alljxtrt an<l Mr. Crossley iK-ing in 
the neighbourhood, called on Mr. Crackenthorpe, the 
Druid-like reverer of his ancient oaks, and placed sucli 
arguments before him that he was somewhat placated ; 
and afterwards, meeting Mr. Sharland in the midst of the 
o.ik wood, their discussion of the matter was renewed 
witli a calmer equanimity. 

" Well," said Mr. Crackenthorpe, ** there is only one 
condition I have now to make." 

'* You have only to name- it, sir, and it shall be 
attended to," was the reply. 

" It is that you spare me the largest and finest oak in 
my wood." 


"Do you know what J want it for ?" continued the 

" No, sir ; but whatever you want it for, it shall l)e 



" Well," said Mr. Crackenthorpe, good naturedly, "it's 
to hang you and all the engineers of the Midland Rail- 
way upon it, for daring to come here at all ! " 

jN'ear the village of i^ewbiggin is Crowdundle Beck, 
which derives its name from the fact that the dale 
receives the united streams from Croix Fell, and Dun Fell. 
Here is the Written Crag, as it is called, because of the 
inscriptions in Latin found upon it. " At Crowdundale- 
wath," said Camden, "are to be seen ditches, ramparts, 


and hills thrown up." They are about half a mile south- 
east of the Written Eock, and cover about twenty acres 
of ground. Crowdundle is a place of some interest. 
The valley or dell itself is deep and narrow. The 
viaduct, some 55 feet high and 100 yards long, crosses 
about half of it, and the railway embankment the other 
half. The water of the beck flows at the foot of the 
wood-covered hills on our left, over a gravelly bed some 
20 or 30 feet wide, and then passes away under one of 


the northern arches of the Tiaduct. Tlie liill and tunnel 
to the left in our engraving are to the north of the line, 
and in the direction of Carlisle. The scene presented 
during the progress of the works has been well described 
by one who visited them. " In the deeply wooded glen 
at Crowdundle Beck," he says, " where the previous 
night nothing was to be seen but sombre looking trees, 
deserted masonry and earth excavations, and wliere a 
deathlike silence reigned, now all was life and work and 
noise. The rattling of steam cranes, the puffing of 
engines, the clang of masons' and carpenters' tools, and 
the din of tongues, and the singing of birds, were like 
life from tlie dead. The stillness of ages appeared to be 
ruthlessly broken, and the wooded banks of the once 
secluded jxlen " will now become more and more familiar 
Avith the rolling trains and tlio intrusion of civilization. 
Where the workmen who were so busy all came from, 
and at that early hour, seemed wonderful, for human 
habitations were not to Ix^ seen. 

" On reaching the almost jx^pendicular bank on the 
Cumberland side of the viaduct, I was richly paid for 
\\\c toilsome ascent, for the views of mountains antl 
woods, all robed in their summer hues, were grand beyond 
description. Light coloured clouds hung like beautiful 
drapery on the mountain ranges in the Eden Valley and 
Mallerstang, and the misty gauze, flushed with sunshine, 
draped ^Iin-ton Pike with rare beauty. On the west and 
north the country was thickly wooded, and on the east 
was a ]iartial glimpse of Cross Fell, and the neighbouring 
mountains. On the south-west the country was more 
open, and green meadows and pastures and graceful 
trees formed a picture of such a charming character, that 
the image of beauty can never fade from wie's mind. To 
brighten the enchanting scene there was the little stream 
fiir down, chanting its ceaseless song, and with its silvery 


wavelets forming a well-defined boundary of Westmor- 
land and Cumberland." * 

The next railway work of interest is at Culgaith, 
locally called Coolgarth, and formerly written Calfgarth. 
It is a tunnel 660 yards long, through hard red marl ; 
and then there is, as one has described it to us, " a nasty 
piece of sidelong ground running down to tlie Eden. 
The narrowness of the space along which the line had to 
pass, brings the foot of the slope close to the river, so 
that an encroachment was actually made upon the water, 
which caused an alteration of the county boundary." 
This spot is called Waste Banks. Then comes a short 
tunnel, which it was originally intended should be a 

About a mile beyond Waste Banks, a beautiful view 
opens out to the west, and we see below us the con- 
fluence of two rivers : the one on our left is the Eamont, 
locally called Yammon, which has come down from 
Ulles water, and now falls at rio^ht ano-les into the Eden. 
Many streams, indeed, find their way northward to the 
Eden. A local couplet says : 

" There's Loother, and Yammont, and lile Vennet Beck ; 
Eden comes, and clicks 'em 'a by the neck." 

Looking up the Eamont we see finely tim])cred slopes 
running ruggedly down to the sides of the rapid river, 
where the salmon are sporting, and where the fishing, 
we are assured, is " something wonderful." It is inte- 
resting to notice that the salmon seldom go further up 
the Eden than this point : they prefer the Eamont on 

* There appears to be a general (and particular) haziness in the 
English mind as to the confines of these two counties, and even official 
documents are sometimes at fault. The War Office not long since 
described the "Keswick Volunteers" as the second "Westmorland 
Rifles." Is the name, we may ask, of Westmorland really West- 
mere- land, the land of the western meres; or West-moor-land, the 
land of the western moors ? 


account of its gravelly bed. Here, as we pause abreast 
of the junction of tbe two rivers, and look in a north- 
westerly direction, we have a view of Eden Hall, the 
residence of Sir Richard Musgrave, Bart., the chief of the 
famous border clan of that name. The estate is beau- 
tifully wooded, and abounds in every kind of game. 
There is also a vast rookery among the woods towards 
the Hall, where interesting scenes of rook life may be 
witnessed on an autumn evening ; while to the water's 
edofe the deer come strollino: down to drink. The rail- 
way runs through about four miles of Sir R. Musgrave's 
grounds, and takes some 55 acres of his land. At the out- 
set the baronet was strenuously opposed to such an intru- 
sion upon his property ; but, eventually, he was one of 
the most energetic enemies of its abandonment. It has 
been remarked by a competent judge that if a house were 
erected on the high ground to the riglit of the line, and 
made to look over in the direction of the Eamont towards 
Penrith and the Lake District, with that wonderful fore 
and middle ground of meadow, field, woodland, hill, and 
dale, and Eden Hall estates, it would occupy the finest 
site between Carlisle and the metropolis. An old drink- 
ing glass called the Luck of Eden Hall is preserved. It 
is enamelled with colours, and the letters I H S on the 
top indicate the sacred uses to which it has been devoted ; 
but the legend is that a company of fairies were sporting 
near a spring in the garden, and that after a short 
struggle it was snatched from them ; whereupon they 
vanished into thin air, exclaiming : — 

" If that glass either break or fall, 
Farewell the luck of Eden Hall." 

The village of Longwathby, or Long-waldeof-by, as 
the name was formerly spelled (Langanby, as it is locally 
pronounced), is now upon our right, and near it is a 


fine old bridge of tliree arches. A mile forward is a 
viaduct of seven arclics over a stream called Briggle 
Beck ; and another half-mile brings us to Robberby Beck 
(a suggestive name) crossed by a Gothic arch of con- 
siderable size. The Eden has been on our left since we 
passed Waste Banks, but near Little Salkeld station it 
takes a fine bend to the right, and we cross it by a 
viaduct of seven arches. Here some difficulty w^as ex- 
perienced by the engineers in getting a foundation down 
on the red sandstone, in consequence of the gravel that 
had accumulated in the bed of the river ; and it became 
necessary to make a cofferdam. Accordingly a double 
row of piles was driven into the bed of the river so as to 
form an oval ; " puddling " was put between the two 
series of piles, to keep the water from running in ; the 
water inside the oval was then pumped out by engines, 
and the foundation excavated and cleared. The river, 
however, is subject to heavy floods. The autumn of 1872, 
when this undertaking was being carried on, was ex- 
tremely wet ; the piles were flooded over, and some of 
the temporary work was carried away ; but, at last, all 
difficulties were overcome, the workmen laid their 
masonry on the rock, and raised thereon the piers which 
to-day carry the arches and the trains. This is the 
Eden Lacy viaduct. We may add that on crossing the 
Eden we are on the red sandstone ; hitherto from Settle 
nearly all has been limestone. 

On the summit of a hill now upon our right we may 
find the remains of a Druids' temple, known by the 
name of " Long Meg and her Daughters." " Long 
Meg" is an upright unhewn square stone, 15 feet in 
girth, and 18 in height, the corners of which point to the 
four points of the compass. Long Meg's numerous 
progeny, it has been playfully said, "of G6 strapping- 
daughters, form a circle of about 350 paces, and there. 


in an erect attitude, await the commands of tlieir grand- 
mother. Some of these juveniles measure from 12 to 15 
feet in girth, and IG feet in lieight. In that part of the 
circle nearest Long: Meo:, four of her dauofhters form 
a square figure, and towards the east, west, and north 
two of her more bulky daughters are placed in the circle 
at a greater distance from each other than any of the 
rest. No doubt this arrangement was made that the 
elder daughters might keep watch and ward over the 
younger ones." 

About a quarter of a mile from this interesting spot 
tlie line goes through the grounds of Colonel Sanderson, 
whose house is seen on the right; and the bridge, which it 
was necessary to erect, is the most ornamental work on 
the line. After passing over a long embankment, we run 
throiiirh an egg-shaped tunnel, from which we emerge near 
Lazonl)y. It was intended that tliis should have been 
an open cutting; but the material being sand, and the 
line going almost close to the vicarage, a "covered way" 
was preferred. This village is in the midst of interesting 
historic associations. A Roman road passes ; there are 
cairns on the waste lands hard by ; at Castle Rigg there 
are ruins, encircled b}'" a moat ; about a mile away is the 
ancient viUage of Kirkoswald, sloping down from the 
north towards the river bank, and named after the re- 
nowned " king and martyr" of Northumberland; and near 
the " kirk " are the crumbling remains of an old castle, — 
" one of the fairest fabrics that ever eyes looked upon." 
From this point onwards for miles the scenery is full of 
loveliness. The railway works, too, have a very charac- 
teristic appearance because of the intense contrast of 
their colour with the rich greenness of meadow, field, 
and foliage around : this is on account of their passing 
through the " new red," and very red, " sandstone." It 
varies in quality and character, being of coarser and 


harder grit at this point tlian in the direction of Carlisle ; 
but it is the same geologically. 

On leaving the covered way we see Lazonby Hall upon 
our left ; and then we pass into a heavy cutting, 50 feet 
in depth and a third of a mile long, of this red sandstone ; 
from which, after the work itself was cleared, splendid 
blocks were cut and carried away for building purposes. 
We now enter and run for some three miles through an 
ancient and extensive forest, called Baron or Barren 
Wood, in some places thickly timbered with oak and ash, 
fir and beech ; and in others covered with brushwood 
and bracken. A heavy cutting runs through the wood 
for a distance of nearly a mile ; and at one point the line 
is so near the river, that on the one side it has the 
appearance of being in a deep cutting, and on the other 
upon a precipice that slopes 150 feet sheer down to 
the w^ater's edge. The scenery at this point is*such that 
the traveller will often wish he were able to stop the 
train every few minutes to enjoy it. Here, among beau- 
tiful views, are the remarkable rocks that raise, for per- 
haps 100 feet, their " shattered and fretted summits, and 
form the entrance to what is known as Samson's Cave. 
The water washes the base of these huge rocks ; but 
some pieces of iron and wood have been driven in as 
hand-holds, and footsteps have been cut in the rock for 
the convenience of the curious." So, says a visitor, 
moving cautiously round the jutting crag, he passed 
under these " overhanging rocks, worn by age, rain, sun- 
shine, and storm into such fantastic shapes," and, with 
some sense of relief, reached a point of safety at the 
entrance to the cave. In doing so he disturbed a colony 
of jackdaws ; and a hawk flew from its eyrie, on a ledge 
among some stunted shrubs, just where a honeysuckle 
was coming into flower, strewn with down and feathers. 
On the other side of the river is some of the most 

540 Tin: NrxxERv and ARMATfiwArrr:. 

l3eautiful sylvan scenery in Cumberland ; and the " Xiin- 
nery" walks are of great repute on account of their 
ancient date and their present loveliness. They abound 
with " shady paths beneath archways of living green, 
leading down to the margin of the Eden." The river 
l)anks sometimes appear like beetling precipices, and 
anon are softened down with shrul)s and trees ; while far- 
tlier on a wall of rock rises on either side the torrent, the 
glen becomes narrower and more gloomy. Two successive' 
cataracts roar down tlie rocky slope ; the second, " after 
its desperate leap, being nearly invulvcd in midnight 
darkness by the mass of wood which overhangs its abyss," 
while tlie " over-arching cliffs and solemn shades rever- 
berate the roar." 

The Nunnery is so named from the religious house 
established here by William Ihifus, who " trembled, like 
other profligates, amidst his impiet}", and was willing 
enough to secure a chance of lieaven, ])rovided it could 
l)e obtained by any other means than virtuous })ractice." 
At the dissolution its inmates consisted of a prioress and 
three nuns, whose revenues from 300 acres of land and 
other ])rop(,'rty were said to be only eighteen guineas, — 
the smallness of the amount being attributed to the 
border conflicts. 

Returning to th<> line, wc pass along a sandstone cut- 
ting ; then through a hill of sand ; two tunnels quickly fol- 
low, beyond which is a rock cutting; there is a third 
tunnel ; and, once more, a cutting GO feet dee[). All 
along our course the Eden winds beneath us with 
majestic curves and wonderful beauty, until, at Arma- 
thwaitc, with its ancient (piaint old square castle; its 
picturesque viaduct of nine arches 80 feet high ; its road 
bridge of freestone; its cataract, where the water "pours 
in sonorous violence over a bed of immovable crags, 
which whirl the stream into eddies;" and its elm, said 


to be the finest in Camberland, — we are surrounded by 
objects of interest and beauty which (to employ an ex- 
pression never used before) it is more easy to imagine 
than to describe. 

Soon after leaving Armathwaite we pass over one of 
the heaviest embankments on the line. It stretches from 
the station to a little beyond Drybeck viaduct, and con- 
tains nearly 400,000 cubic yards of material. As two and 
a half or three such yards of " stuff" would quite fill a tip 
waggon, it is plain that at least 133,000 separate journeys 
had to be taken, and 133,000 such loads had to be filled 
and emptied, before even this one work could be com- 
pleted. This viaduct has seven arches, and is 80 feet 
high above the surface. 

About a mile forward, and before reaching High Stand 
Grill, we pass a point where the river Eden curves so 
closely under the sloping hillside that serious difficulty 
arose in carrying on the work. " Shortly after we beo-an 
to tip," remarked the resident to us, " a landslip took 
place, and the whole ground (some five acres) be^-an to 
move. The ground between the line and the river 'blew 
up,' on account of being unable to resist the pressure of 
the embankment ; and the whole thing slid down towards 
the water." It had been known at the outset that this 
spot would be troublesome; and it had even been con- 
fidently predicted that no railway could ever be carried 
here. A proposal had been made that the line should be 
carried further to the left, by piercing the hill with a 
tunnel ; but the hill itself was on an inclined bed, and, 
enormous as it was, might, if tunnelled, move. The 
engineer-in-chief, Mr. Crossley, finally resolved to cany 
the line across the slope ; and though the incline of the 
bank was 200 feet from top to bottom, and though the 
bank slipped, and carried with it trees forty or fifty years 
old for a distance of 150 feet, driving the river sideways 


actual!}^ into the uext parish, the difficulty was eventually 
overcome by similar means to those which were employed 
at the Soar Bridge, in Leicestershire. The hill-side was 
also cleared of water by means of vertical shafts driven 
into the ground, and deep drains carried from one to 
another; and these holes were filled in with rock, which 
also served as a friction bed to stay the movement of 
the slip. The whole of the contents of the previous 
heavy cutting, containing upwards of 160,000 yards, were 
tipped here before a safe foundation could bo provided. 
On the left-hand side of the line, just beyond this iK)int, 
is Eden Brow, the residence of ^ir. Thomas llorrucks. 
Before reaching High Stand Gill Station is a viaduct OU 
feet high, with four arches ; and on the left of the station 
are considerable gypsum quarries. Immediately forward 
we pass over a long and heavy embankment, containing 
about li>0,000 yards of earthwork and several bridges ; 
and the line then passes under the public road by a hand- 
some skew three-arched bridge. 

I'rom hence to the end of our journey the country and 
the railway works become more (piiet and less interest- 
ing. Cumwhinton Cutting, however, is 1100 yards long 
and 40 feet deep. A mile farther on is Scotby, a small 
village with two stations, one belonging to the Midland 
Company and the other to the North Eastern ; and soon 
afterwards we pass through the property of ^Ir. Sutton 
and others into the large goods station of the Midland 
Company, which here occupies an area of some 40 acres. 
The contractor for the whole of these works, from Crow- 
dundle Beck northward, was Mr. John Bayliss ; the 
engineer of the last contract was Mr. Baine, of Carlisle. 
The passenger trains will run about a mile forward into 
the Citadel Station of Carlisle, and then join the other 
companies that so numerously congregate there. 

In the prosecution of the works of this line the chair- 



man took a very special interest. His visits and counsel 
in every stage of its operation, when the district was 
most difficult of access, when the works were rude and 
incomplete, and when the weather was in the last degree 
inclement, were most helpful to those who were struggling 
with the extraordinary difficulties of the undertaking. 
" The successful opening," writes an engineer, " and, I 
may almost say, the success of the whole undertaking, is 
due to the untiring energy and attention shown by our 
present chairman, Mr. Ellis; and, personally, I have felt 
that with his assistance I could pull through anything 
when I had his confidence and countenance." We should 
not be doing justice to those of our readers who are Mid- 
land shareholders if we omitted to draw their especial 
consideration to this fact. 



Derby to Birralnpham. — Little Chester. — Findem. — Repton. — Forc- 
rnark Ifjill. — Tlie Dove. — Rurton-on-Trent. — Messrs. Bass: their 
trade and traffic. — Drakelow Park. — Barton. — The Forest of 
Xcedwf)od. — Tamworth. — Fazeley Canal. — Whitacre Junction. — 
Tiawlej Street. — A uselessviaduct. — View of nirminc^ham. — King's 
Xorton. — Worcester and Birmingham Canal. — Weoly Castle. — 
Hawksley Hall. — Cofton Hall. — Lickey Hills. — The Lickey 
Incline. — Working the incline. — Bromsgrove. — Stoke Works. — 
Brine springs. — Droitwich. — Ix'gends and facta.— Wcstwood Park. 
— Sahvarp and Richard Beanchamp. — Hinlip Hall: conspiracies 
and concealments. — Opposition Ui canals. — Worcester. — Historical 
events. — The Severn. — Crookbarrow Hill. — " O. W. and W." — 
Ci-oome Court and Park. — DefTord Viaduct. — Bredon Hill. — 
Gloucestershire. — Ashchurch .Tunctii>n. — Clecve Cloud. — Chelten- 
ham. — The Zoons Farm. — Krmine Street. — Gloucester. — Hill 
range. — Gloucester and Berkeley Canal. — Priory of Llanthony. — 
Hempstead. — Broiwl Barrow Green. — St< nehouse. — Nailsworth 
branch. — Strondwater Canal. — Opposition to it. — Woodchester 
Park. — Dnrsley. — Berkeley Ca«tle. — The murder of a king. — 
Stinchcomix; Hill. — Stancorabe Park. — Nibley. — William Tyndale. 
— Wotton-nnder-Kdge. — Tort worth. — Wick war. — Yate. — Thorn- 
bury Castle and town. — Coalpit Heath line. — Mangotsfield. — 
Bridges or tunnels? — Tramway — Bitlon Cutting. — P(ick» ts of 
iron. — The Golden Valley. — Weston. — Bath. — Kingswood. — 

We must now ask our rcadiT to return with us to Derby, 
and to start on a visit over the Midland Railway to the 
West. In our journey we shall travel, in the first in- 
stance, over one of the oldest portions of the Midland 
system, — the Birmingham and Derby line, as it was 
called. And we may add, that the construction of it 
was easy ; that the works are light ; and that there is 
no tunnel. 

Leaving the Derby Station we pass under the Man- 
chester and London road, and soon the village of I^ittle 
Chester is seen on our left. It was formerly a Roman 
castra. Emerging from a cutting, we are in a fine open 
country, — the verdant valley of the Dove ; and we now 
cross, l)v an iron bridge, the Trent and Mersey Canal, 



which ruus for a considerable distance on our right. 
This watery highway, sometimes called the Grand Trunk 
Canal, is between 90 and 100 miles in length ; and at one 
time was so prosperous that its £50 shares were worth 
from £600 to £700 each. 

On the right is the village of Findern, formerly owned 
by the powerful family of the Fyndernes. There is a 
tradition that " Fyndern's flowers " never died. There 

was once a Nonconformist college here. On the left, 
among the trees, is the lofty spire of Repton Church. 
This village is full of historic interest. It was once a 
Roman colony ; it was long the capital of the Saxon 
kingdom of Mercia, and the burial place of kings ; on 
several occasions it was a battlefield ; it was the site of 
a rich priory; and its church was twice destroyed. Xo 
wonder that it is a favourite haunt of the antiquary, and 
that it well rewards the researches of the Eno-lish student 

N N 


of history. But lonpf Ix'fore these facts can be stated 
we have reached AVilhiigton Station, standing on an 
embankment. Three miles distant is Foremark Hall, 
built on the banks of the Trent more than 100 years ago. 
Less than a mile west of Williugton we pass under a 
bridge, and then immediately over a tributary of the 
Dove ; while to the right the Dove itself, crossed by two 
bridges, may be observed. The nearer bridge carries the 
road to Derby ; the farther one carries the canal over 
the Dove by a bridge of nine arches. We now cross tlu 
Dove. The village of Egginton is on the right ; and on 
the left the topmost battlements of Xewtou Castle rise 
amone: the trees on the summit of a hill. 

We are now at Burton-on-Trent, so called to dis- 
tinguish it from the fifty or sixty other Burtons in the 
land. There are few small towns, it has been remarked, 
so rich in historical associations as this. " Mure than 
one pitched battle has been fought near it; and the 
Trent, in its vicinity, has often been disputed inch by 
inch, and blood has flowed like water.** But " bitter" as 
may be some of the memories of the past, bitterness* 
has been the chief source of the material prosperity of 
this town, and the traffic thus yielded to the Midland 
Company has been large. As long ago as 18GG the 
manager of the one firm of ^Messrs. Bass gave evidence 
that durinsx that season thev had brewed about llMJ OOU 
quarters of malt ; and that the weight they had sent out 
from their yard during their previous season was more than 
100,000 tons, in 3G,656 waggons ; equal to 1000 trains of 
.'3G trucks each. The inwards weight was 72,000 tons, and 
came in 29,702 waggons. The following year the amount 
had risen 20 per cent., and has since largely increased. 

• It was rcninrkcd on one occasion by some liumorous mcnilxr of 
parliament in the bouse, that Mr. Basa bad " biltt-rly " comi)lained 
about something or other. 


'* The whole trade of Burton," said the manager, " has 
trebled in 10 years." "We have paid the Midland 
Company," said Mr. Bass, M.P., in 1866, "nearly 
£17,000 for a single month's traffic. But that is not the 
average. Ours is a season trade ; we do very little in 
the summer compared with what we do in the winter. 
Last year, I think we paid the Midland Company 
£100,000, beside what we paid to the other companies. 
The traffic of Burton," he added, "is very nearly 
£400,000 a year;" and the traffic here and elsewhere so 
rapidly increased that it was scarcely possible for the 
railway companies to provide sufficient trucks to carry it. 
So great became the demand that the waggon builders 
were unable to build waggons fast enough. "We 
ordered 1000 trucks," said Mr. AUport, in May, 1866, 
" which would cost about £75,000 ; and instead of having 
them delivered in about six months, as we expected, I do 
not think they are all delivered even now, and it is nearly 
eighteen months ago. There is the same demand every- 

Leaving Burton, a branch bears away on our left to 
Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Leicester. We also see Drake- 
low Park, situated on the Derbyshire side of the Trent, 
and " rendered famous from being the point where King 
Henry II., with his army, forded the stream in pursuit 
of his disaffected barons." The line now passes close to 
the village of Branston, and then we reach the station 
of Barton and Walton-on-Trent. The church at Barton 
was built by "Dr. Taylor, one of three sons of a peasant 
in whose cottage Henry VIII. was entertained by the 
forester when he lost his way in hunting." 

The Forest of Needwood now opens on the right, where 
of yore kings hunted deer and wild boars. It is of 
about 6000 acres ; but at one time was far more extensive. 
"Beneath its woods to the left, three rivers, the Trent, 

548 T AM WORTH. 

the Tame, and the Mease," mingle their waters. The 
Trent and the Tame are now crossed by a viaduct which 
cost £14,000 ; and we enter Warwickshire at Tamworth. 
The Midland passes over the Trent Valley line of the 
London and North Western by an embankment of con- 
siderable elevation. The stations of the two companies 
are connected. Extensive views may here be enjoyed of 
the country; of the town of Tamworth, once the site 
of a Mercian fortification, and the home of several 
Mercian kings ; of Tamworth Castle, built, it is said, 
by the daughter of Alfred the Great ; and of Drayton 
Manor, backed by the Sutton Coldfield hills, the seat of 


Sir Robert Peel. " No one," remarked the late baronet, 
" who looks on this district ; no one who sees the extent 
of its woodlands, the delightful rivers that water it, 
enriching the spacious meadows that border them ; who 
sees also the extensive champaign country, affording the 
opportunity of arable cultivation for pleasure and profit, — 
can be surprised to find that, in the earliest times, it was 
the chosen seat of those who were the conquerors of the 
country." In the plain brick church is the grave of Sir 
Robert. He declined a tomb in Westminster Abbey. 
We now pass over the Anker Viaduct.* The next 
• Sec page GO. 



embankment crosses the Fazeley Canal, wliicli connects 
Birmiugliara with the Coventry and Trent and Mersey 
Canals. At the village of Fazeley, part of which 
may be seen on the right, in 1785, Mr. Peel established 
his cotton mills, and there are still extensive cotton 
works and other manufactories here, belonging to the 
family. Passing Kingsbury Station we soon reach Whit- 
acre Junction, now an important point in this part of the 
Midland system, as it affords connection with Leicester 
on the east, Hampton on the south, Birmingham on the 
south-west, and Derby on the north. It is by the Wig- 
ston and Whitacre Junctions that the Midland Company 
now has direct communication between London and 

A run of 10 miles over 
a level line, and through 
fat meadow lands, brings 
us to the confines of Bir- 
mingham, one of the most 
enterprising and influential 
towns in the kin.s^dom, but 



of which our space for- 
bids us to say any- 
thing. Here we see upon our right the very extensive 
goods and mineral station of the Midland Company, at 


Lawley Street, formerly also the passenger terminus of 
the Birmingham and Derby line. 

Upon our left Ave may notice a long brick viaduct, now 
unused. When it was built the Grand Junction line 
(which afterwards formed part of the London and North 
AYestern) was on terms of intimacy with the Great 
Western Company; and this viaduct was intended to 
connect those lines together, the Oxford and Birmingham 
scheme having been originated as "a scourge to the 
London and Birmingham Railway." The project for the 
union of those lines was defeated ; but the viaduct was 
built in the hope that some day the union would be 
effected. " It cost," as a competent critic remarked the 
other day, "no end;" but it is not likely ever to be 
worth anything to anybody. Near this point the Mid- 
land Company unites with the London and North 
AVestern, and finds access to the New Street Station, 

It may be well for passengers to the West to observe 
that the quick through trains do not, as a rule, enter the 
New Street Station at Birmingham, but are taken direct 
from Saltley, on the Birmingham and Derby line, to 
Camp Hill, on the Birmingham and Bristol. From near 
Moseley Station, a mile forward, after crossing the canal > 
" a view is obtained of the enormous town of Birming- 
ham, with its numerous spires, towers, and chimneys 
rising above the haze and smoke in which its ordinar}- 
buildings are commonly invested." At King's Norton, 
seven miles forward, *" paper and rolling mills, india- 
rubber works, gun-barrel and bayonet manufactories 
flourish. The hamlet of Lifford, hard by, confers the 
title of viscount on the noble family of Hewitt." The 
church has a remarkably fine crocketed spire. A 
" curious vocal pedigree " records that the ancestors of 
a parish clerk here held their oflBce for upwards of two 


hundred years. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal 
on our left passes through a tunnel nearly two miles 
long ; and. it is so straight that it can be seen through 
from end to end. We shall shortly observe on our left, 
down in the valley, the fine open sheet of water which 
forms the reservoir. 

Nearly two miles from King's Norton we pass close by 
Northfield on our right, where there are the ruins of an 
ancient fortress, called Weoly Castle. It must at one 
time, with its defences, have occupied nearly two acres 
of ground, and it was surrounded by a large deep moat, 
filled with water from a brook. The parish church has, 
on the north side, an ancient doorway, with a round 
Saxon arch, which is thought to have been part of a 
Saxon building. The country around is well timbered. 

We now pass Hawksley Hall, at the foot of the 
Lickey Hills. *' The old mansion was fortified and 
garrisoned for the parliament; but, in 1645, the soldiers 
refused to defend it when they saw it attacked by the 
king in person, and it was demolished." The fine range 
of the Lickey Hills is now seen on our right. On their 
summit is a monument in memory of the sixth Earl of 
Plymouth. We now enter Groveley Tunnel, 400 yards 
in length ; and then pass through the Cofton estate. 
The Hall is an interesting timber mansion of the six- 
teenth century. As we pass along the embankment, we 
observe another picturesque half-timbered house, with 
numerous gables ; it is Barnt Green House. At Barnt 
Green Junction the Midland line to Redditch, Evesham, 
and Ashchurch turns off" on our left. 

The Lickey Hills consist chiefly of new red sandstone, 
the summits and sides of which arc, says Murchison, 
" covered with a vast quantity of the pebbles of the 
disintegrated conglomerate of that formation ; but their 
northern end, called the Lickey Beacon, is a trap rock. 


A lower ridge of quartz is composed of the older rock, 
extending for a distance of three miles, having all the 
appearance of a mountain chain, being covered with 
heath ; while the higher Lickey, which attains an eleva- 
tion of 1000 feet above the Severn, is verdant to the 
summit, a distinction which is well explained by the 
difference in their lithological structure." 

At Blackwell we arrive at the verge of the most in- 
teresting railway work on this line, — the Lickey Incline. 
Our readers are aware of the circumstances that originally 
led to the selection of this route for the railway,* and 
that it rendered unavoidable the passing down this 
incline. It is interesting, however, to recount the diffi- 
culties which were involved in the arrangement, and to 
observe the way in which they were overcome. The serious 
question was, how so steep an incline as 1 in 37 for 
two miles, from a point 400 feet above Cheltenham, 
could be worked safely. At an early meeting of the 
Birmingham and Gloucester Company, we find the chair- 
man referring to the subject. He stated that " increased 
economy had been practised in the locomotive depart- 
ment ;" and, as an illustration, " on the Lickey Incline 
they had done away with tenders, and had substituted 
tank engines, in which tlie waste steam was turned into 
the boiler, the water of which was kept at a great heat. 
They had, he said, solved the problem whether the 
inclined plane should be worked by locomotive engines, 
as at present, or whether it would be better to have 
fixed engines, or the pneumatic railway. It had beeu 
ascertained that a fixed engine could not be worked at 
less than £1 200 a year, and they all knew the incon- 
venience which attended the use of ropes. Indeed, he 
believed there was no question as to the superiority of 
locomotives, the only question was as to the expense. 
* Page 73, and onwards. 


That expense had now been brought to somewhat about 
£1200 a year ; and, if so, all the other ch'cumstances 
decide in favour of the use of locomotive engines. But 
the locomotive engines which they now employed were 
only probably of half the power of those that might 
1)0 employed in working the Lickey. By-and-by the 
engines must be entirely different, but it would be arrant 
folly to throw away what had cost £40,000, and lay 
out now another £60,000 in replacing them. By degrees 
these engines must be replaced." 

At the preseut time the trains passing up the Lickey 
Incline have to be assisted with tank engines, three 
being required for this service. The expense of the 
maintenance and working of each is not less than £1200 
a year ; in addition to which there is the cost of work- 
shops and machinery, amounting to £800 per engine per 
annum ; and there is the interest on the £3000 which a 
locomotive is worth. The annual expense of working 
the incline as compared with a level or a good gradient 
is thus over £4000 a year, or nearly £2000 a mile. Every 
precaution is adopted to prevent the possibility of acci- 
dent. Nothing is allowed to stand on the down rails at 
Bromsgrove Station while another train is descending 
the incline, lest by any possibility there should be any 
deficiency in the brake power or in the bite of the wheels, 
and it should overrun the distance intended. The result 
of these precautions has been that this portion of the 
line is worked with complete success, and with perfect 
immunity from accident. 

About half way down the incline, on the left of the 
line, is a reservoir, the water of which is carried in pipes 
laid under the six-foot down to Bromsgrove, for the 
engines and station. Formerly the Company had to pay 
£50 a year for the water they here required. 

" The town of Bromsgrove," said Leland, " is all in a 


manner of one street, very large, standinge in a plain 
ground. The town standetli something by clothinge," a 
trade for whicli that of needles, nails, fishhooks, buttons, 
and coarse linen has been substituted. " The heart of 
the town," he adds, " is meetly well paved. I rode from 
tlio AVyche to Bromsgrove, a four miles, by enclosed 
ground, meetly wooded, and well pastured ; and in this 
■wave I passed over two or three bridges over tlie water 
tliat Cometh from the Wyche." The tower and spire of 
the cliurch are nearly 200 feet in height, and stand up 
boldly from tlie vale. They are not to be surpassed, 
said an old writer, " for antique elegance ])y any others 
in the county." Some of tlio more ancient houses in 
tliis town are *' framed of wood, and curiously decorated 
with black stripes and cross pieces, scollops, flowers, 
leaves, and otlier ornaments." In the neighbourhood 
are some remarkable echoes. 

Two miles and a half beyond Bromsgrove is the 
Stoke AVorks Station, a seat of the salt manufactui'e, at 
the head of which is John Gorbett, Escj., .M.P. The 
Romans required the Britons to j)ay tribute of salt 
(salarium) as " salary." This word salarium is said to 
iiave originated the term " salt " as used at Eton. Rock 
salt at Stoke was discovered in 1828. At Droitwich the 
brine flows on the surface. Here the ordinary springs 
are pure ; but a "brine smeller" from Cheshire, after 
examination of the geological formation of the locality, 
expressed his belief that mines might here be opened, 
and his predictions were verified. "The salt," says 
Murray, " is in beds of immense thickness, and the pro- 
prietors excavated the solid material ; but subsequently 
they preferred to pum]i up the beautifully transparent 
brine from a depth IGO feet lower than is reached at 

AVe now leave the Midland proper (unless travelling 


by a " special " or a through goods train), and run to 
Worcester and on to Norton Junction, by the Oxford, 
Worcester, and Wolverhampton division of the Great 
Western.* The distance between the two pairs of rails 
(popularly called the six-foot) is here wider than usual. 
It is accounted for by the fact that formerly there was 
the mixed gauge for both broad and narrow gauge 
trains; but the outer rail has been removed. This 
portion of the line is now under the administration of a 
joint committee of the two companies. 

On approaching Droitwich, the line turns to west- 
ward across the Salwarp River ; and running along the 
north side of the town, again bends southward, and 
reaches the station. The Salwarp took its rise in the 
Lickey range ; and passing through Bromsgrove, Stoke 
Prior, and Droitwich (where it formerly received the 
overflowings of the salt springs), runs by West wood 
House towards the Severn. 

Droitwich is supposed to have been the Saline of the 
Eomans, and is said to have been populous as far 
back as the Conqueror's time. The salt works are more 
than 1000 years old. Tradition tells that the salt 
springs at one time failed ; but that they were mira- 
culously reopened through the intercessions of Richard 
de Burford, chancellor to Thomas a Becket. Where- 
upon Fuller remarks that this " unsavoury lie hath not 
a grain of probability to season it; it appearing by 
ancient authors that salt water flowed there time out of 
mind, before sweet milk was given by either mother or 
nurse to this saint Richard." At the Domesday survey 
the springs were annexed to estates around, in propor- 
tion to the wood those estates could supply. The 
principal pits belonged to the crown, and there were 

* The Midland througli goods continue on the old main Midland 
line route via Droitwich Koad, Dunhampstead, and Spetchley. 



great restrictions on tlieir use ; till, about the close of 
the seventeenth century-, Mr. Stcynor sank pits in his own 
ground, and vindicated at law his right to do so. In 
1725, Sir Richard Lane bored through a stratum of 
gypsum, which had formed the floor of the springs ; and 
immediately a stream of brine rushed up with such force 
as to drown the workmen at the bottom of the pit. 
Such was his success at the trade, that other proprietors 
followed his example. 

Immediately to the right of Droitwich Station is West- 
wood Park, the seat of Sir John Pakington, now Lord 

Hampton. It has 200 acres laid out " in rays of ])lant- 
ing," around the mansion. The fine old mansion stands 
on an eminence, and forms a square, from each corner of 
which is a wing. There is a lake of some GO acres. 
The house was the retreat of divers Royalists and High 
Church divines during the Civil AVar, who, " repaid the 
hospitality of Dorothy Lady Pakington, by aiding her in 
the composition of her celebrated work, * The whole 
Duty of Man.' " She also had " The Decay of Christian 
Piety " attributed to her ! 

Immediately south of Westwood Park is Salwarp, a 


village renowned as the birthplace, in 1381, of the famous 
Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, of whom it is re- 
corded that, when twenty-one, at the coronation of Henry 
IV.'s queen, he jousted all comers ; that subsequently he 
defeated Owen Glendower and the two Percies ; that 
he overthrew and would have slain an Italian knight at 
Verona ; that he was " eminently successful in all the 
glorious battles of Henry Y. in France ; " that he was 
designated by the Emperor Sigismund as " the Father 
of Courtesie ; " and that he performed innumerable other 
deeds as well in valour and chivalry. 

A mile and a half from Sal warp, on our left hand, is 
the village of Martin Husingtree ; immediately passing 
which, we cross over Atterburn Brook, and see Hinlip Hall 
before us on our left. This has been a place of unusual 
interest. It was built in Tudor times, and was provided 
with all the special safeguards suitable for a period of 
insecurity. " In fact," says one who visited it, " whoever 
has wandered with the writers of modern romance 
through towers, turrets, winding passages, creaking 
staircases, and dark closets, would here find themselves 
at home ; there is scarcely an apartment that has not 
secret ways of going in or going out ; some have back 
staircases concealed in the walls ; others have places of 
retreat in their chimneys ; some have trapdoors ; and all 
present a picture of gloom, insecurity, and suspicion." 
The builder has contrived, as Gray says, — 

" To raise tlic ceiling's fretted height, 

Each paimel in atchievenients cloathing ; 
Rich windows that exclude the light, 
And passages that lead to nothing." 

Such was Hinlip Hall ; and from so suitable a spot, the 
sister of Lord Monteagle wrote to him the secret letter 
which led to the disclosure of the Gunpowder Plot ; but 
four of the conspirators were so effectually concealed. 


that though it was known they were here, it occupied 
eight days to find two of them. Two surrendered after 
three days, having had only one apple to live upon ; the 
others had been fed by " a quill, or reed, through a 
small hole in a chimney that backed another chimney into 
a gentlewoman's chamber ; and by that passage caudle, 
broths, and warm drinks, had been conveyed to them." 
How disappointing, after all these romantic incidents, 
to find that the present Ilinlip Hall is only a modern 
mansion, erected in the Italian stylo on the site of 
its renowned predecessor, and that it is the residence 
of Mr. Henry AUsopp, who, it is to be feared, has not 
even a drop of conspirator's blood in his veins. 

Having passed Uinlip, we cross the Worcester and 
Birmingham Canal. To this project gi*eat opposition was 
made. It was solemnly affirmed that, by increasing 
through such means the outlet for coal, the collieries 
would be exhausted, and the manufacturers depending 
ujion them be ruined. It is amusing to notice that a 
later writer, severely criticising these statements, adds, 
that they were advanced by the very people who had 
been anxious to supply the metropolis with coal from the 
midlanil districts, " to the certain destruction," says tho 
writer, " of the Newcastle trade." These arguments, 
however, had such weight, that parliament ordered a 
survey to be taken of the coal country ; and it was not 
till after a favourable report had been received, and tho 
])rojector3 of the canal had undertaken to relinquish 
all claim to the millstreams, and to provide themselves 
otherwise with water, that witli an expenditure of 
£15,000 the act was obtained. The fall from the summit 
level near Birmingham, to the Severn is 100 feet. 

Worcester is said to have derived its name from Wyrc- 
Cester, the camp or castle