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A Brief Miscellany


tion of the Town Hall. Troughout the town there is evidence of similar activity. Rev. Bernard Wilson had a whole street built in 1772. Tis boom time for developers was to con- tinue apace with the grand schemes of the Georgians giving way to the expansion due to the embryonic Industrial Age. Even the much-decried hovels of the yards needed labour and bricks and the services of the ancillary trades. A few remains of privies survive, but gone are the ‘thunder boxes’ with pit or bucket. New uses, mostly storage, have been found for these appurtenances.


Te 1770s was a turbulent but expansive period nation- wide, Newark included. Eighteenth century roads were being improved as a result of Turnpike Acts. Newark was greatly affected in that the Great North Road from Newark Castle to Muskham Bridge crossed the particularly low-lying flood plain, rendering it muddy and often impassable in winter and in times of flood. John Smeaton, an engineer who also de- signed the second Eddystone lighthouse, was commissioned to build a viaduct following this route to elevate the road across the flood plain. Tis he did by constructing several se- ries of arches each set across a channel of the braided river comprising 105 arches in all, 86 of which still exist, many of them still performing their designated purpose.


Tis viaduct was built in 1772; quite an engineering tri- 76


umph. Te actual design of each individual arch reveals a tenuous confirmation of the use of agricultural labourers. Te distance between the centres of the piers is 16ft 6ins and the arches are 33ft wide, dimensions which would have been familiar to agricultural workers because a common measuring tool in farming at the time was the rod which is of course 16ft 6ins long.


In view of the speed of erection the number of people in-


volved must have been high; not only labourers, but brick- makers, brick-layers, carters, lime-burners, carpenters, saw- yers to name but a few. Tere was an accelerated exodus of agricultural labourers from the countryside to the towns seeking employment, a consequence of enclosure of the open fields of the villages with the subsequent conversion to pas- ture requiring less labour. Finding employment for these peo- ple was, apart from the accrued benefit of a much-improved road, an excellent strategy. A considerable sudden demand for poor relief would be averted.


A group of businessmen formed the Trent Navigation Company, which commissioned William Jessop to devise a scheme to ensure a minimum depth of 2 feet of water in the Trent at all times. Jessop, who had been apprenticed to John Smeaton with a colleague, surveyed the Trent from Cavendish Bridge (now Shardlow) to Gainsborough, marking all the


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