Excerpt from Papers on Railway and Electric Communications, Arctic and Antarctic Explorations, and the Sanitary Movement
Porter states, that he well remembers leaving the town of Gosport (in 179 8) at one o'clock of the morning in the Telegraph, then considered a fast coach, ... and arriving at the Golden Cross, charing-cross, at eight in the evening; thus occupying nineteen hours in travelling eighty miles, being at the rate of rather more than four miles an hour.' The time, however, had come for a change and Telford and Macadam, by their improvements in road-making, prepared the way for more rapid locomotion. The insurrections in Scotland in '15 and '45 led to the forma tion of numerous roads which penetrated the wildest districts of the High lands, extending altogether to nearly 1000 miles in length. In these, real principles of construction were acted on, and the system of maintenance developed which gave to us the best roads in the world. In 1815 Telford commenced that grand memorial of his ability - the Holyhead Road; a work that may safely be contrasted with the most famous highways of antiquity, regard being had to smoothness of motion; and though no longer required for the service of the mail, its preservation will, we hope, he diligently cared for by those to whose charge it is intrusted. The establishment of this road effected an important change in our communi cation with Ireland. 'previous to 1815, the sailing-packets which plied between Dublin and Holyhead were often tossed for several days in a stormy sea; and when the passengers had completed their miserable voyage, they were landed upon rugged, unprotected rocks, from whence they proceeded by miserable tracts of road, composed of a succession of circuitous and craggy inequalities, for twenty-five miles, across the Island of Anglesey to the Menai Strait - a troublesome and dangerous tidal ferry, over which the mail and other coaches could not be passed in boisterous weather.' Telford carried his road across this strait by means of the famous suspension-bridge which was Opened in January.1826, the first stone having been laid in August 1819. It is 1710 feet long, contains lbs. Of iron, or 2186 tons, and cost, with the approaches.
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