Imatges de pàgina

plishments. Give to society a generous, disinterested son or daughter, and you will pay with interest the debt you owe it. Blessed is that home, where such members are formed, to be heads of future families and fountains of pure influence to the communities of which they form a part. In this respect our education is most deficient. Whilst we pay profusely for superficial acccomplishments, very little is done to breathe a noble, heroic, self-sacrificing spirit into the young."

The means of refined indulgence to all classes of society may be found in the promotion of public improvements. Magnificent works of all kinds should be projected, by which great towns may be serviceably ornamented. We have now lying before us Sir Frederick Trench's letter to the Viscount Duncannon on the formation of a quay along the north bank of the river Thames. It is a design which should be taken in hand forthwith, and carried forward with “all appliances and means to boot.” Recent circumstances have, indeed, made the plan more desirable than formerly.

“The removal,” says the letter-writer, “ of the Old London Bridge and the erection of the new one produced the effects that were anticipated. Shoals increased to impede the navigation, mud banks accumulated, and a larger surface of the bank of the river at low water being exposed, therefore, the injurious or unpleasant effects from a discharge of the sewers is greater than before !' But the erection of the terrace on which the Houses of Parliament are to stand, has very much aggravated those evils; the irregular efforts at dredg. ing the river have created banks on which the backs of barges are frequently broken, and on the 14th of June, 1840, eight boats with passengers were seen aground upon these new shoals at one moment, · The banks of mud have increased in size and consistence; and near Westminster, where we used to have five feet water before the embankment took place, it is now all filled up with mud;' lower down the banks are covered with vegetation, which, being manured by the sluggish filth from the sewers, present the strange spectacle of a rich green crop, and make the air absolutely pestilential. These evils will all be remedied by the proposed embankment; "the lighterman can then go to all the wharfs up and down the river at all times of tide, instead of stopping till the tide turns, or running aground and losing a tide;' and in addition to these advantages, the majestic Thames will flow in a well-directed even current; and instead of fætid banks of mud will afford deep water and a clean shore (as at Millbank); and the filth of the sewers being brought at once into a strong current, will speedily be swept away. Questions 191 and 192 point out the cause of that nuisance which is now both seen and smelt,' and show how it will be effectually removed !

“Upon these grounds it is that I now anticipate zealous co-operation where in 1826 I found strong opposition. Every one can understand the difference between the freshness of the air which passes over deep water and a clean shore,' and the heaviness of that vapour

* Letter from Sir Frederick Trench to the Viscount Duncannon, First Come missioner of Woods and Forests, &c. &c. &c. London: John Ollivier, Pall Mall. 1841.

which hangs over the mnd banks of the river, disagreeable even at high water, offensive at half-tide, and at low water (with a hot sun) sickening and disgusting.

“The Emperor of Russia lamented that the finest river in Europe should be condemned to be a Cloaca Maxima, and complained that, after a fortnight's residence in London, he had not obtained a sight of the Thames of which he had heard so much. The plan I now propose will bring its grandeur and beauty into daily and hourly observation, and no one will deny that a railroad running from London Bridge to Hungerford Market (which may be passed over in four minutes), will be a great accommodation to the public; and I think it will be admitted that such a colonnade as I now propose to you, affording a walk of one mile and three quarters in length, and sheltered from sun and rain, will be a feature of utility and magnificence not to be equalled in any capital in Europe. Your lordship has already expressed your conviction of the great importance of the plan I submitted to your consideration when it first occurred to me-and if I can prove that it will not only pay its own expenses, but the expense of erecting the whole of the embankment suggested by Mr. Walker, as well as the railroad, and promenade, and carriage road which I now propose, and leave a very large surplus for its embellishment and for other objects of improvement; I am confident that such a plan will receive all the assistance and protection which your official situation enables you to give it!

“It is but justice to admit the judicious and effective manner in which you have administered the important department entrusted to your care. I have seen with pleasure your arrangements in Hyde Park and the Green Park. I find you endeavouring to establish a place of healthful recreation for the inhabitants of the eastern part of this crowded city; and I acquit you of the guilt of all the petitesse and cockney prettynesses which have disgraced the stately avenues of St. James's Park with little lakes, and little islands, and little clumps of pretty little shrubs ! very fit improvements for the twenty or thirty acres of a wealthy shopkeeper in the vicinity of London, but utterly unsuited to the character of a great park in the centre of a great city.

"I have taken great pains to ascertain the accuracy of the data which I am now about to submit to your consideration; I consulted Mr. Walker as you suggested; I also consulted my old friend, Sir Frederick Smith (who deservedly enjoys your confidence), and they both agreed in opinion that the plan i propose is not only practicable, but if carried to London Bridge, must be very profitable. Mr. Walker declined entering into details of ways and means, but his evidence before the Thames Embankment Committee affords most important data ; and Sir Frederick Smith's opinion was verified by notes made of the work actually executed and paid for at the Blackwall Railway. I have had the advantage of having my figures checked by Mr. Bidder, a very able and intelligent engineer, one of the superintendants of the works carried on at the station in the Minories. Supported by such anthorities, I hope to convince you and the public, that a railroad from London Bridge to Hungerford Market will not only pay for its own

formation and the embankment proposed by Mr. Walker, but will produce an immense surplus, which I should like to see employed, First, in completing an embankment on the south side of the river, and giving every possible accommodation to the occupants of its banks ;-and next, in opening to the river that beautiful portico aod front of St. Paul's, opposite to Paul's Chain, and forming a street from thence to the river, terminated by a fountain and jet d'eax, with a double flight of steps to the water, as copied from a lithograph of mine in your possession,—the effect of this you will see in the annexed sketch, from B to C. I have also sketched a small portion of the Temple Gardens, showing the chapel and a few trees, to give a faint idea of the effect which may be produced, as from A. to B.

“Mr. Walker's plan is fully and clearly explained in the evidence taken before the Committee on the Thames Embankment, printed July 29, 1840, and occasionally referred to in the margin of this letter. His embankment was to extend from Vauxhall Bridge to Dowgate Dock, which is one thousand feet from London Bridge. The shoals were to be removed, the river to be narrowed and deepened, and the materials taken out of it to be employed to fill up the interval between the new embankment and the present banks of the river, except where it was necessary to keep a passage open for barges ; at these openings the further accumulation of mud would be prevented by dwarf piles three or four feet above low water (by the Trinity Standard), over which the barges could pass and rest (as they now do), upon their beds of mud. The estimated expense of this work (facing the wall with brick) is £220,000 for the solid embankment, and £17,000 for the dwarf piling=£237,000.

“I propose to begin the embankment and railroad at Hungerford Market-io continue both to London Bridge, and I would face the whole with stone, or with plates of cast iron to imitate stone. The breadth of the railroad should be thirty feet, supported on columns thirteen or fourteen feet high. I calculate the whole of the embankment at four feet above high water of the Trinity Standard. In my sketch I have made the arches from two to four feet wider than the widest barge, but they may be constructed of any width that may be deemed better, either for convenience or beauty, and each pier will occupy the space of a certain number of dwarf piles. In passing through the arches at the very top of high water the barges will have three feet of head room, and every minute after will give greater facility of access; and any amount of air and light can be obtained by gratings in the promenade.

“I tried various modes of finishing the walls of the embankment to the river, first, by throwing them into panels—and again by making blank arches to correspond with the open ones. You will see two of these in the annexed sketch ; but, on the whole, I incline to prefer the simple, solid rustic wall. The colonnade would be just the height of the portico at the Pantheon, and the entablature and balustrade should be of the most chaste and simple description. Calculating upon so large a fund, as I confidently anticipate, I would propose that all the ground reclaimed from the muddy banks of the river (except so much as is necessary to form a carriage road along the side of the prome

nade) should be disposed of and arranged on terms the most advantageous, and in the manner most agreeable to the owners of the property on its banks. The Government can well afford to conciliate them all, and of every class, by the most liberal treatment. We may expect to see wharfs, warehouses, and dwelling houses erected hereafter, and they ought to be built according to such handsome architectural designs as the Government may approve. I think the alternation of arches, with a rustic solid wall, will produce a pleasing variety. I have made my sketch at half-tide, slighily indicating the lower half of the embankment and piers of the arches as if seen through the water. The ornaments in the spandrils of the arches (the crown, the rose, the portcullis, or any others) may be of cast iron (which is cheaper than stone), and the columns, entablature, and balustrades, the cross beams, and the frame of the railroad terrace, should all be of the same material. The carriages must be made as low as is consistent with convenience, and should be moved (as on the Blackwall Railway) by a stationary power, and be arranged so that each carriage starts from its station at the same moment and all arrive in due succession. The mode of stopping a carriage, or discharging it from the rope while in full action, is safe, simple, and effective. The electrical telegraph, employed to give signals along the line, may be made available to carry orders from the admiralty, or the treasury, or the board of trade, literally with the speed of light. I saw a message transmitted from the Minories to Blackwall, and an answer (containing several words) returned in less than one minute,

"I propose the rails for the trains to be of wood, so that there will be no more noise than when a carriage passes over the wooden pavement! and those who have walked under the galleries in the Quadrant, in Regent Street, may form an idea of what the proposed promenade will be by imagining the two trottoirs of the Quadrant brought together, supported on four columns, and continued for one mile and three quarters, protecting those who walk under it from sun or rain, but with the option of walking in the open air if preferred. The height of the whole railroad must, of course, be regulated by the height of the lowest arch under which it will have to pass !

"You will see that the inequality of the currents as now existing, have undermined some of the piers at Blackfriars and Westminster bridges, and is considered dangerous to the buildings on the banks of the river. Somerset House is quoted as an instance; and Sir Edward Banks, seeing the danger, proposed to throw down three thousand tons of stone in front of the existing terrace, with a view to preserve it and Waterloo Bridge from future injury.

“A terminus at Hungerford Market will place all the passengers from the city in the great connecting point of traffic, whether westward, towards Pall Mall, St. James's, Piccadilly, and Hyde Park Corner; or southward, towards Westminster Hall, Westminster Abbey, and the Houses of Parliament; and I should much regret the removing the general current of communication from so beautiful a line! But if at a future day it should be deemed advisable to continue a railroad from Hungerford Market to Westminster Bridge, it would be perfectly practicable to construct it in such a manner as not

to be the slightest annoyance to those who reside on the banks of the river !

“In that case (the present gardens being extended from 180 to 250 feet over the existing mud banks), I would suggest that the thirty feet next to the water should be formed into a terrace, with a handsome balustrade, and on a level with the existing terraces in front of the houses ;-upon a ledge or broad step under that terrace, and three feet above high water would run the railroad; and a balcony, on handsome corbals, thrown out a few feet beyond the balustrade, would effectually cover the railway, and carry the line of vision over the outward extremity of the balcony, so that the eye of a spectator at the balustrade of the terrace could rest only on the river; and if the rails are made of wood, the ear of the proprietor of the garden would be as little offended as his eye, and the carriages being moved by a stationary power, he would know no more of the passing trains than the man who stands over a tunnel does of what is passing at a depth of fifty feet below him.

“ According to my view the embankment and railroad might be completed in one year, and its formation will immediately effect many of the advantages contemplated!

“ The moment the line is marked out, a well-organized, systematic dredging of the river may be commenced, and the stuff taken from existing shoals as well as that from the foundations of the new Houses of Parliament may be deposited in places to be fixed on by the engineer even before the embankment itself is begun.

“ The improvement of the sewerage may be carried on with greater facility and better effect before the filling in at the back of the proposed embankment is completed; and we may include among the advantages to be derived from the immediate construction of the embankment,—the removal of the stench and mal-aria from the mud banks, and the relieving the trading streets from a portion of that omnibus nuisance, which, in a recent trial, is well described as creeping along the edge of the trottoirs, in an uninterrupted string, at the rate of one mile an hour;' and I think that any measure which will give freer access to the shops in the Strand, Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill, and Cheapside, ought to meet with the cordial support of all the shopkeepers on that line.

"In the Appendix you will find a report of Sir John Rennie and Mr. Mylne, dated Oct. 28, 1831, which affords ample confirmation of the advantages of the embankment; and shows that the land to be gained from the river, if sold at two-pence per superficial foot, would pay the whole expense of the work, and leave a surplus of £12,000 per annum.

“ Again, you will see a report of Messrs. Scott and Frith, dated Jan. 30, 1832, showing the efforts that have been made at different periods to improve the navigation of the Thames; and there you will find the opinion of these scientific gentlemen, as well as Mr. Jessop's, of the great importance of an embankment for that great object, as well as to remove the crying nuisance of unwholesome effluvia which now taints the atmosphere, and seriously injures the health of those who live in the vicinity of the river !

« AnteriorContinua »