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Author Topic: A curious event in the early 1830s  (Read 474 times)

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Offline Bernard C

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A curious event in the early 1830s
« on: September 04, 2010, 05:16:57 AM »
I live in Stony Stratford, in a street off the High Street, better known as the old A5 / Chester Road / Roman Watling Street.   At the north end of the town is the Ouse Bridge, a fine stone bridge of three arches, built 1834–35 to the provisions of an 1834 Act of Parliament.

The reason for this was that the old bridge had collapsed under the weight of wagons carrying plate glass making machinery from London to Birmingham.   It took forty horses to drag the equipment out of the river and up the hill at Old Stratford, where, presumably, it was cleaned up, reloaded onto wagons, and sent on its way.

That's all I know from our local history publications.   Particularly I've not found any explanation of why the canal system wasn't used.

Can anyone expand on this curious event?

Bernard C.  8)
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Offline Anne

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Re: A curious event in the early 1830s
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2010, 04:41:39 PM »
Bernard, what an interesting story. Have you searched the Quarter Sessions archival info at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies? The online catalogue lists 5 batches of archives covering the Old Stratford Bridge (which seems to be the one you are referring to) dating from the mid-1820s, which ties in with your approximate date of collapse. You may find contemporary accounts in those archives which will throw some light on the question you ask.

These links should take you to listings of the archives:
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=008-qs_2-2&cid=1-1-28#1-1-28
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=008-qs_2-2&cid=1-1-29#1-1-29
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=008-qs_2-2&cid=1-1-30#1-1-30
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=008-qs_2-2&cid=1-1-31#1-1-31
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=008-qs_2-2&cid=1-1-32#1-1-32

I also searched the Times Digital Archive and was a little surprised to find no mention of the collapse in it. Perhaps bridges collapsed so often at that time that they weren't thought to be newsworthy? Later accounts of collapses do appear, but they all seem to be post-railway collapses - more people, more loss of life, more newsworthy! There was one mention of the Act of Parliament needed to rebuild the bridge but it was no more than 2 sentences saying the Act would be discussed but that surrounding villages objected to having to pay tolls.




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Offline GlassIsGood

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Re: A curious event in the early 1830s
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2010, 06:24:34 PM »
Bernard C - are you Bernard C on other boards?  I may know you!!

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Offline Bernard C

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Re: A curious event in the early 1830s
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2010, 09:41:02 AM »
Julia — Yes, I'm Bernard C or Bernard Cavalot (or some variation of this) on a fair number of other discussion boards, some with an obvious connection like silver/silver plate and other glass boards, and others not so obvious like community discussion boards which I use when researching an individual or a location.   I'm fortunate in dealing in a field and at a level in which security isn't really a problem, so there's usually no need to hide behind pseudonyms.   So, Julia, how do I know you?

Anne — I didn't know all this was indexed on-line!   Grateful thanks.   I'm not sure how much the Street and Bridge Charity had to do with the Bridge itself.   Stony Stratford is well endowed with charities as it always has been a town of small businessmen with no major property owner.    It's a coaching town — the ancient equivalent of a motorway service station.   So, for example, my daughters had most of their university books, equipment, and field trips funded by a local apprenticing charity.

I've had further thoughts about the canal issue.   For many years ocean going boats were made in Stony Stratford and were taken down to London on the canal by producing the superstructure in kit form and laying it out flat on top of the hull.   The reason that the plate glass making machinery was sent by road rather than by canal can only have been that it wouldn't fit through the tunnels and/or locks when broken down into subassemblies.   This is possible if the grinding table had to be made in one piece for precision and was capable of manufacturing the largest plate glass windows and mirrors.   Therefore it is quite possible that all the ancillary equipment was sent by canal.

Bernard C.  8)
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Offline Bernard C

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Re: A curious event in the early 1830s
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2010, 01:54:45 PM »
Here's a web page on the boat builders.   You can see a boat crossing the Ouse Bridge, another being launched into the canal at Old Stratford, and another passing the end of my street (between the five-bay house with dormers and the stone-fronted house).

Bernard C.  8)
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Offline Anne

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Re: A curious event in the early 1830s
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2010, 04:20:38 PM »
Bernard, glad it was of interest. The main reason I could think of was of physical size too (rather than weight, as boats can carry heavier loads than carts normally.) You could drop a line to one of the Canals/Waterways magazines and ask if anyone has any more information - there are a lot of canal historians around so something may turn up. There's a listing of such mags on this Canalia (i.e. not my Canalia!) website: http://www.canalia.com/waterwaysdirectory/books.htm

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Offline GlassIsGood

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Re: A curious event in the early 1830s
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2010, 05:36:31 PM »
Bernard C - are you into posting from time to time on a busy winter sports forum?

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Offline Bernard C

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Re: A curious event in the early 1830s
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2010, 02:47:06 AM »
No, Julia, that's definitely not me!  :spls:

Bernard C.  8)
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