When is a railway not a railway?

Surry_Iron_Railway

The Surrey Iron Railway, Wandsworth, London: Ordnance Survey Old Series 1805

The Surrey Iron Railway (SIR) was first public railway independent of a canal to be built by Act of Parliament (1801).

Although private railways were already in operation around Britain these were used exclusively by the owners of mines and quarries for moving their own goods. The SIR was different, it levied Tolls allowing independent goods hauliers to use their own wagons (with wheels at a suitable distance apart) pulled by horses.

Opened in 1803 it ran for approximately nine miles along the side of the River Wandle from Wandsworth Wharf, on the River Thames, towards Mitcham and Croydon

The Surrey Iron Railway is famous for being the first company in the world to include the word “railway” in it’s title.  Despite this it was not what we today would recognise as a railway.  It was actually a plateway, where vehicles with plain wheels ran along flanged rails.

The track comprised iron L-section rails 4ft 2in (1.27m) apart secured onto stone blocks. The trucks were horse-drawn, typically 8ft x 4ft x 2ft deep and weighing about 1 tonne. They could carry 3 tonnes of coal, lime or grain. One horse could pull up to ten wagons but the usual number was about four.

The original plan for a transport connection between Wandsworth, on the River Thames, and the Wandle Valley had been for a canal, but doubts about the availability of water led to the adoption of a plateway.

The railway was only briefly successful financially. It lost much traffic after the Croydon Canal opened in 1809 and continued to decline as steam railways took hold. The advent of faster and more powerful steam locomotives spelled the end for horse-drawn railways. In 1823, William James, a shareholder in the railway, tried to persuade George Stephenson to supply a locomotive. Stephenson realised that the cast-iron plateway could not support the weight of a locomotive and declined and railway was finally closed to traffic on 31st August 1846.

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Cassini Maps Sale – 25% OFF!

Cassini Quad Map

Last few days of this Special Offer! – 25% Off all maps (ends 30th Sept 2015)
Use the code C-SUN15 to claim your Discount.

Simply enter the code when prompted during checkout. P&P applies as normal.
Offer applies to all maps available on www.cassinimaps.co.uk
Including our Quad maps (4 maps of the same location but from diferent time periods) as shown above.

New! – Cassini brings you Ordnance Survey’s most detailed historical mapping.
Cassini’s Town Plan mapping is the most detailed historical Ordnance Survey mapping available. Easy to find and download.
Town Plan Map

Maps published from the mid 1800’s to the 1920’s
• Instant downloads only £9.99 (RRP:£14.99)
• Ideal for Family History research
• Choose maps from 468 available Towns
• Amazing detail – 1:500, 1:528 and 1:1056 scales (dependent on location)

These maps were published for larger towns and cities at scales of 1:500, (c.10′ to 1 mile), 1:528 (exactly 10′ to 1 mile) and 1:1056 (5′ to 1 mile) from the mid 1800’s onwards. An immense amount of detail is shown, down to every lamp-post and every pillar-box, even paths, trees and sheds in peoples gardens. For those who are particularly interested in local history and genealogy, the town plans are essential research tool.

Find maps of your area on the Cassini Maps website Town Plan Maps

Mapmaker Plus – Price drop!

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Mapmaker PlusNow available from £14.99

Large format maps supplied folded or rolled. A total combination of 13 map scales and series. Maps available from 1805 to the present day. Choose from seven OS Historical Map Series.

Now includes six present day Ordnance survey mapping series.

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Bazalgette and the Woolwich Ferry

Woolwch Ferry

Woolwich and the Free Ferry –  Map: County Series 1:2500 1894

The Woolwich Ferry (sometimes also called the Woolwich Free Ferry) is a free vehicle ferry service across the River Thames in East London. There has been a connection between what is now Woolwich and North Woolwich across the Thames since the Norman Conquest. The area was mentioned in the Domesday Book as 63 acres belonging to Hamon, the steward. There is also evidence of a ferry service in the area since the early 14th century. In the first half of the nineteenth century a commercial ferry operated in Woolwich between 1811 and 1844, but the company failed and the service ended.

In 1880 local pressure began for a renewal of such a service provided by the town authorities, but costs were prohibitive, and eventually the Metropolitan Board of Works was brought in to manage the embryonic project.

Following the establishment of the Metropolitan Board of Works, which had taken over toll bridges in west London and opened them to free public use, it was suggested that the Board should fund a free crossing of the Thames in east London. The service was instigated in September 1887 by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, famous for the significant impact he had both on London’s appearance and, through his design of an efficient sewage system, on the health of its inhabitants.

The service was officially opened on 23 March 1889, with the paddle steamer Gordon. Two days before the first service, the Metropolitan Board of Works was replaced by the London County Council (LCC), and the opening ceremony was conducted by Lord Rosebery instead of the expected Bazalgette.

The ferry typically attracts about two million passengers a year, although many cross-river foot passengers now take the foot tunnel beneath the river, alongside the ferry route. Further competition arrived in 2009 with the extension to Woolwich of the Docklands Light Railway, which crosses under the river to the east of the ferry route.

Sadly for history it seems inevitable that a bridge upstream of the ferry will be built, making crossing faster for the cars and lorries that use the service, with doubtless the demise of the ferry following the opening of that bridge.

To buy this map, or a Mapmaker Plus map of your area:  Cassini Mapmaker Plus

Map of the month – Euston Station

Euston Station
Euston Station, London (Town Plan 1:1,056)

Euston was the first inter-city railway station in central London, opened on 20 July 1837 as the terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway.

The site was selected in the early 1830s by George and Robert Stephenson, engineers of the London and Birmingham Railway. The area was then mostly farmland at the edge of the expanding city of London. The station was named after Euston Hall in Suffolk, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Grafton, who were the main landowners in the area.

Before Euston was built the trains from Birmingham had an unsatisfactory endpoint at Chalk Farm, built in 1833. It was George Stephenson who planned the original station at Euston Grove with just two platforms, one for arrivals, one departures, sheltered beneath a massive wrought-iron roof. The building was designed by Philip Hardwick, fronted by a 72’ high porticot. This portico acquired the name Euston Arch.

There was a notable engineering oddity about Euston from its opening on July 20 1837: because Lord Southampton, master of the Quorn Hunt, Conservative grandee, and a major landowner locally, objected to the potential noise and dirt, no locomotives were allowed between Euston and Camden Town. Instead trains were pulled from the terminus to Camden by a cable device until 1844, when engines were at last allowed.

The station grew rapidly over the following years as traffic increased. It was greatly expanded in the 1840s, with the opening in 1849 of the spectacular Great Hall, designed by Hardwick’s son Philip Charles Hardwick in classical style. It was 126 ft long, 61 ft wide and 64 ft high, with a coffered ceiling and a sweeping double flight of stairs leading to offices at its northern end.

The pioneers who established the railway network built Euston Arch, the massive Doric portico, outside the first terminus in London, Euston Station; in the 1960s their ancestors knocked it down in what many consider to be an act of cultural vandalism. Perhaps there is hope for this generation as a campaign now exists to have the Euston Arch restored.

If you have an interesting story and would like to see a historical map of your area then why not let us know by emailing us.

Map of the week – A bat, ball and plenty of gas

Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2500 – 1875 The Oval Cricket Ground.
The Oval Kennington

The Oval is an international cricket ground in Kennington, South London. Home of Surrey County Cricket Club and a historical venue for many other sports.

In 1844, Kennington Oval was a market garden. The Oval was then (and still is) owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. In 1845, the Surry County Cricket Club signed a lease ‘to convert it into a subscription cricket ground’, for 31 years at a rent of £120 per annum plus taxes. Additional costs included 10,000 grass turfs from Tooting Common purchased for £300 to create its first ever playing surface.

By 1868 the game and the ground had grown and 20,000 spectators gathered at the Oval for the first game of the Aboriginal cricket tour of England, the first tour of England by any foreign side. Thanks to C. W. Alcock, the Secretary of Surrey from 1872 to 1907, the first ever Test match in England was played at the Oval in 1880 between England and Australia. The Oval thereby became the second ground to stage a Test, after the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Australia.

In 1882, Australia won the ‘Ashes Test’, at the Oval, by seven runs within two days. The Sporting Times printed a mock obituary notice for English cricket, leading to the creation of the Ashes trophy. The obituary stated that English cricket had died, and ‘the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia’. The English media dubbed the next English tour to Australia (1882–83) as the quest to regain the Ashes.

In addition to cricket, it has hosted many other important sporting occasions and can lay claim to be the most historically important general sports ground in the world. In 1870 it staged the first ever England football international, against Scotland. In 1876 it held England v Wales and England v Scotland rugby internationals, and in 1877 rugby’s first Varsity match.

It staged the first FA Cup final in 1872 when the Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers 1–0. This final was notable for the Engineers’ modern footballing style of teamwork rather than individual play. The ground hosted all subsequent FA Cup finals (1873 excluded) up until 1892.

Other events to be held at the Oval include Hockey, Australian Rules and a was even used as a training ground for a visiting American Football team.

The famous gas holders just outside the Oval’s wall are actually newer than the ground by several years, having been built around 1853. Now disused, there has been much speculation of late as to whether they should be demolished; however, many believe they are an integral part of the Oval’s landscape and therefore their future looks secure.
If you have an interesting story and would like to see a historical map of your area then why not let us know by emailing us.

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Cassini’s map of week – Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace 1878 – Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2,500

buckinghampalace2

Originally known as Buckingham House, the building which forms the core of today’s palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1705 on a site which had been in private ownership for at least 150 years.

It was acquired by George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte, and known as “The Queen’s House”. During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, forming three wings around a central courtyard.

Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the royal family traditionally congregates to greet crowds outside. However, the palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb in World War II; the Queen’s Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection.

buckinghampalace-todayThe Palace at the time of the above map had a facade of soft French stone that became blackened over the years due to pollution. The familiar white Portland stone facade of the Palace that we see today wasn’t added until 1913 by Architect Sir Aston Webb.

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Lions, Vesuvius and a parachuting monkey

Map: Cassini Maps – Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2500 – 1875
Surrey Zoological Gardens

Royal Surrey Gardens – Surrey Zoological Gardens and the Surrey Music Hall

Royal Surrey Gardens were pleasure gardens in Kennington, London opened in 1832, comprising of the Surrey Zoological Gardens and later the Surrey Music Hall. The gardens occupied 15 acres to the east side of Kennington Park Road, including a lake of about 3 acres. The land, originally the grounds of the manor house of Walworth, was acquired by impresario Edward Cross as the location of his new Surrey Zoological Gardens with the aim of competing with the new London Zoo in Regent’s Park.

A large circular domed glass conservatory was built, 300 feet in circumference with more than 6,000 square feet of glass, to contain separate cages for the animals including lions, tigers, a rhinoceros, giraffes and in a female gorilla. At that time it was the largest building of its kind in England. The gardens were also dotted with picturesque pavilions, heavily planted with native and exotic trees and alongside the broad walk Parrots, Maccaws, and Cockatoos sat on perches in the open air.

Other attractions included the leading balloonist in Britain at the time, Charles Green. As balloon flights became more commonplace, the accompanying attractions became more bizarre. Two of Green’s ascents from the Surrey Zoological Gardens on May 26 1835 included him being “ … accompanied by the Celebrated Monkey Jacopo who will Descend in a Parachute!”. Jacopo was credited as “… the Monkey who has seen the World”

From 1837 the gardens were used for large public entertainments such as re-enactments of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the Great Fire of London, The Siege of Gibraltar and Napoleon’s passage over the Alps, using large painted sets up to 80 feet (24 m) high, and spectacular firework displays.

By 1856, following the death of Edward Cross and with the intense competition from the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, the animals were sold off and the money used to build Surrey Music Hall, a building capable of holding 12,000 seated spectators, making it the largest venue in London.

Apart from the nightly musical entertainments, religious services were held at the Music Hall at weekends by the famous Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, who at just 25, had established himself as the “most wonderful preacher” in England. The first service was held on the evening of Sunday 19 October 1856 with an audience, estimated at 14,000, crammed inside with many thousands more outside. It was, however, to end in tragedy when someone shouted fire and panic ensued. Seven of the congregation were killed in the crush, and many more injured. Not daunted, Spurgeon returned a few weeks later and the services continued to attract audiences of over 10,000.

Charles Spurgeon moved to new premises in 1859 but the music hall continued until it was destroyed by fire in 1861. The gardens finally closed to the public in 1862.

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Map of the week – The Agricultural Hall, Islington

Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2,500 – 1877
Business Design Centre

The Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington (now the Business Design Centre).This Grade II listed building was opened in 1862 and was one of the world’s largest exhibition halls of its time. It was built to provide a home to the Smithfield’s Club annual exhibitions of agricultural produce and livestock (later known as the Royal Smithfield Show).However, it has been put to many uses over time and has hosted Crufts and the Royal Tournament as well as acting a temporary Parcels Sorting Depot during WW2.

The hall fell into disrepair after the war and was not used again until 1986 when it was converted to house the Business Design Centre.

If you have an interesting story and would like to see a historical map of your area then why not let us know by emailing us.

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IAAA-logoThis summer sees the Business Design Centre host the 3-day
It’s all about Art” event and workshops run by the SAA, society for all artists.

The show runs from 25th to 27th July and is an ideal opportunity to give painting a try. Whether just starting out or been painting for years, It’s all about Art will inform, encourage and inspire you to get painting and enjoy this rewarding and relaxing past time. Plus, there’s lots to see and learn whatever your ability, and you’ll have a fantastic day out with friends too.

AASThere’s something for everyone at this three day event and it is a great chance for you to come along and meet with celebrity TV artists, take part in hands-on workshops (with all materials included), watch demonstrations, learn handy hints and top techniques, get your hands on all the latest products and be inspired to try something new.

Tickets are just £12 each and Cassini Map customers can receive a special discounted ticket price of ‘Buy one ticket and get the second for half price’.
Just click here and enter the code CASSINI or call 0800 980 1123 and quote CASSINI when ordering. Why not order some tickets today as they make a great Father’s day gift too.

Blood, The Tower and the Crown

Colonel Thomas Blood

Map: Ordnance Survey 1:1056 County Series 1871 – Interior of The Tower Of London

Colonel Blood and the theft of the Crown Jewels.

Colonel Thomas Blood (1618 – 1680) was of Anglo-Irish origins, born in County Clare, in what was then the Kingdom of Ireland.Following the Restoration of King Charles II, the 1662 Act of Settlement cancelled a grant of land allocated to Blood by Cromwell, as a reward for his services during the Civil War, and brought Blood to financial ruin. Blood sought to unite the remaining Cromwellians in Ireland with the aim of insurrection.

A plot to storm Dublin Castle, overturn the government, and kidnap the Duke of Ormonde (The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland), was foiled and Blood fled to the Netherlands. A few of Blood’s collaborators were captured and subsequently executed. As a result, historians have speculated that Blood swore vengeance. Blood returned to England in 1670 where, six months later he made his notorious attempt to steal the Crown Jewels.In 1671, he visited the Tower of London, dressed as a parson and accompanied by a female companion pretending to be his wife. While viewing the Crown Jewels (made possible by the payment of a fee to the custodian), Blood’s companion feigned stomach pains and begged the Master of the Jewel House, 77-year-old Talbot Edwards, for help. Edwards’ wife invited them upstairs to their living quarters to recover, after which Blood and his ‘wife’ thanked the Edwards and left.

Over the following days Blood returned to the Tower to visit the Edwards and presented Mrs. Edwards with a present of white gloves as a gesture of thanks. As Blood became friendly with the family, he proposed that a fictitious nephew of his should marry the Edwards’ daughter, a marriage that he said would make her eligible for an income of several hundred pounds.

By the 9th May 1671 Blood, now accepted as a potential moneyed in-law, convinced Edwards to show the jewels to himself, his supposed nephew, and two of his friends. On entering the Jewel House a cloak was thrown over Edwards, who was then struck with a mallet, bound, gagged and stabbed. Blood then used the mallet to flatten the ‘St. Edward’s Crown’ so that he could hide it beneath his clerical coat. Blood’s accomplice, his brother-in-law, used a file to saw the ‘Sceptre with the Cross’ in two to enable it to fit into a bag, while the third man, Parrot, stuffed the ‘Sovereign’s Orb’ down his trousers.

Fortuitously Edwards’ son was returning from military service and stumbled upon the scene. At the same time Edwards managed to free the gag and raised the alarm shouting, “Treason! Murder! The crown is stolen!”  Blood and his gang fled to their horses. They dropped the crown and the sceptre and fired at the warders who attempted to stop them. They were finally chased down and captured by Captain Beckman, brother-in-law of the younger Edwards.

Following his capture Blood refused to answer to anyone but the king and was consequently taken to the palace. To the disgust of Lord Ormonde, Blood was not only pardoned, but also given land in Ireland worth £500 a year. Following his pardon Blood became a familiar figure around London and made frequent appearances at Court, before he died on August 24 1680 at his home in Bowling Alley, Westminster.

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