London Labour and the London Poor, volume 2
There are now modes of pavement in the streets of the metropolis.
. (commonly composed of Aberdeen granite).
. , or rather
The stone pavement has generally, in the several towns of England, been composed of whatever material the quarries or rocks of the neighbourhood supplied, limestone being often thus used. In some places, where there were no quarries available, the stones of a river or rivuletside were used, but these were rounded and slippery, and often formed but a rugged pathway. For London pavement, the neighbourhood not being rich in stone quarries, granite has usually been brought by water from Scotland, and a small quantity from Guernsey for the pavement of the streets. The stone pavement is made by the placing of the granite stones, hewn and shaped ready for the purpose, side by side, with a foundation of concrete. The concrete now used for the London street-pavement is Thames ballast, composed of shingles, or small stones, and mixed with lime, &c.
Macadamization was not introduced into the of London until about years ago. Before that, it had been carried to what was accounted a great degree of perfection on many of the principal mail and coach roads. Some miles on the Great , or that between London and Carlisle, were often pointed out as an admirable specimen of road-making on Mac Adam's principles. This road was well known in the old coaching days as Leming-lane, running from Boroughbridge to Greta Bridge, in Yorkshire.
The thoroughfare in London which was macadamized, a word adapted from the name of Sir W. Mac Adam, the originator or great improver of the system, was St. James's-square; after that, some of the smaller streets in the aristocratic parishes of St. James and St. George were thus paved, and then, but not without great opposition, . The opposition to the macadamizing of the latter thoroughfare assumed many forms. Independently of the conflicting statements as to extravagance and economy, it was urged by the opponents, that the dust and dirt of the new style of paving would cause the street to be deserted by the aristocracy—that the noiselessness of the traffic would cause the deaths of the deaf and infirm— that the aristocracy promoted this new-fangled street-making, that they might the better "sleep o' nights," regardless of all else. writer especially regretted that the Duke of Queensberry, popularly known as "Old Q.," who resided at the western end of , had not lived to enjoy, undisturbed by vulgar noises, his bed of down, until it was his hour to rise and take his bath of perfumed milk! In short, there was all the fuss and absurdity which so often characterise local contests.
The macadamized street is made by a layer of stones, broken small and regular in size, and spread evenly over the road, so that the pressure and friction of the traffic will knead, grind, crush, and knit them into compact surface. Until road-making became better understood, or until the early part of the present century, the roads even in the suburbs immediately connected with London, such as , Kingsland, Stoke , and Hackney, were "repaired when they wanted it." If there were a "rut," or a hole, it was filled up or covered over with stones, and as the drivers usually avoided such parts, for the sake of their horses' feet, another rut was speedily formed alongside of the original . Under the old system, roadmend- ing was patch-work; defects were sought to be remedied, but there was little or no knowledge of constructing or of reconstructing the surface as a whole.
The wood pavement came last, and was not established, even partially, until or years ago. of the earliest places so paved was the , in order that the noise of the streettraffic might be deadened in the Criminal Courts. The same plan was adopted alongside some of the churches, and other public buildings, where external quietude, or, at any rate, diminished noise, was desired. At the , there were great complaints made, and frequent expostulations addressed to the editors of the newspapers, as to the slipperiness of the wooden ways. The wood pavement is formed of blocks of wood, generally deal, fitted to another by grooves, by joints, or by shape, for close adjustment. They are placed on the road over a body of concrete, in the same way as granite.
Concerning wood pavements the same gentleman says, "Of late years wood has been introduced as a material for paving streets, and has been rather extensively employed both in Russia and America. It has been tried in various parts of London, and generally with small success, the cause of its failure being identical with the cause of the enormous sums being spent annually in the repairs of the streets generally, namely, the want of a proper foundation; a want which was sooner felt with wood than with granite, in consequence of the less weight and inertia of the wood. The comfort resulting from the use of wooden pavement, both to those who travelled, and those who lived in the streets, from the diminished jolting and noise, was so great, that it is just matter of surprise that so little care was taken in forming that which a very little consideration would have shown to be indispensable to its success, namely, a good foundation. Slipperiness of its surface, in particular states of the weather, was also found to be a disad vantage belonging to wooden pavement; but means might be devised which would render its surface at all times safe, and afford a secure footing for horses. As regards durability, it has scarcely been used for a sufficient period to allow a comparison being made with other materials, but from the result of some observations communicated by Mr. Hope to the Scottish Society of Arts, it appears that wooden blocks when placed with the end of the grain exposed, wear At sight, this result might appear questionable, but it is a well-ascertained fact that, where wood and iron move in contact in machinery, the iron generally wears more rapidly than the wood, the reason appearing to be, that the surface of the wood soon becomes covered with particles of dust and grit, which become partially embedded in it, and, while they serve to protect the wood, convert its surface into a species of file, which rapidly wears away whatever it rubs against."
Such then are the different modes of constructing the London roads or streets. I shall now endeavour to show the relative length, and relative cost of the streets thus severally prepared for the commercial, professional, and pleasurable transit of the metropolis.
The comparative extent of the macadamized, of the stone, and of the wood pavement of the streets of the metropolis has not as yet been ascertained, for no general account has appeared condensing the reports, returns, accounts, &c., of the several specific bodies of management into grand total.
It is, however, possible to arrive at an approximation as to the comparative extent I have spoken of; and in this attempt at approximation, in the absence of all means of a definite statistical computation, I have had the assistance of an experienced and practical surveyor, familiar with the subject.
Macadamization prevails beyond the following boundaries:—
North of the New-road and of its extension, as the City-road, and westward of the New-road's junction with Lisson-grove.
Westward of and of the West-end parks.
Eastward of (Spitalfields) and of the .
Southward (on the Surrey side) from the Newcut and , , and both in the eastern and western direction of , , and the other southern parishes.
Stone pavement, on the other hand, prevails in the district which may be said to be within this boundary, bearing down upon the Thames in all directions.
It is, doubtlessly, the fact that in both the districts thus indicated exceptions to the general rule may prevail—that in , for instance, there may be some miles of macadamized way, and in the other some miles of granite pavements; but such exceptions, I am told by a Commissioner of Paving, may fairly be dismissed as balancing each other.
The wooden pavement, I am informed on the same authority, does not now comprise miles of the London thoroughfares; little notice, therefore, need be taken of it.
The miles of streets in the City in which stone only affords the street medium of locomotion are . The stone pavement in the localities outside of this area are times, or approaching to times, the extent of that in the City. I have no actual admeasurement to demonstrate this point, for none exists, and no private individual can offer to measure hundreds of miles of streets in order to ascertain the composition of their surface. But the calculation has been made for me by a gentleman thoroughly conversant with the subject, and well acquainted with the general relative proportion of the defined districts, parishes, and boroughs of the metropolis.
We have thus the following result, as regards the inner police district, or Metropolis Proper:—
This may appear a disproportionate estimate, but when it is remembered that the inner police district of the metropolis extends as far as Hampstead, Tooting, Brentford, and Greenwich, it will be readily perceived that the relative proportions of the macadamized and paved roads are much about the same as is here stated.
As to the cost of these several roads, I will, before entering upon that part of the subject, state the prices of the different materials used in their manufacture.
Aberdeen granite is now per ton, delivered, and prepared for paving, or, as it is often called, "pitching." A ton of " inch" granite, that is, granite sunk inches in the ground, will cover from and -quarters to square yards, superficial measure, or
|feet per yard. The cost, labour included, is, therefore, from to the square yard. This appears very costly; but in some of the more quiet streets, such as those in the immediate neighbourhood of Golden and Fitzroy-squares, a good granite pavement will endure for years, requiring little repair. In other streets, such as , for instance, it lasts from to years, without repavement being necessary, supposing the best construction has been originally adopted.|
For macadamized streets, where there is a traffic like that of Tottenham Court-road, layers of small broken granite a year are necessary; the cost of this repavement being about a yard superficial measure. The repairs and relayings on macadamized roads of regular traffic range from to yearly, the square yard.
The wood pavement, which endures, with a trifling outlay for repairs, for about years, costs, on an average, the square yard.
The concrete used as a foundation in this street-construction costs a cube yard, or feet, by which admeasurement it is always calculated. A cube yard of Thames ballast weighs about ton.
The average cost of street-building, new, taking an average breadth, or about yards, from footpath to footpath, is then—
Or, as a total,
This, then (about ), is the of the roads of the metropolis.
The cost of repairs, &c., annually, is shown by the amount of the paving rate, which may be taken as an average.
According to a "General Survey of the Metropolitan Highways," by Mr. Thomas Hughes, the principal roads leading out of London are:—
. , from through Kingsland.
. , from Whitechapel, through Bow and .
. , along the past .
. , from the Elephant and Castle, across Blackheath.
. through Croydon, () through Sutton.
. , along the through Battersea and Wandsworth.
. , from through Brentford.
. , along the , and through Harrow-on-the- Hill.
. , along the Edgeware Road through Elstree.
. , from Bayswater through Ealing.
As to the amount of resistance to traction offered by different kinds of pavement, or the same pavement under different circumstances, the following are the general results of the experiments made by M. Morin, at the expense of the French Government:—
. The traction is directly proportional to the load, and inversely proportional to the diameter of the wheel.
. Upon a paved, or hard macadamized road, the resistance is independent of the width of the tire, when it exceeds from to inches.
. At a walking pace the traction is the same, under the same circumstances, for carriages with springs and without them.
. Upon hard macadamized, and upon paved roads, the traction increases with the velocity: the increments of traction being directly proportional to the increments of velocity above the velocity . feet per , or about miles per hour. The equal increment of traction thus due to each equal increment of velocity is less as the road is more smooth, and the carriage less rigid or better hung.
. Upon soft roads of earth, or sand, or turf, or roads fresh and thickly gravelled, the traction is independent of the velocity.
. Upon a well-made and compact pavement of hewn stones, the traction at a walking pace is not more than -fourths of that upon the best macadamized roads under similar circumstances; at a trotting pace it is equal to it.
. The destruction of the road is in all cases greater, as the diameters of the wheels are less, and it is greater in carriages without than with springs.
In Sir H. Parnell's book on roads, p. , we are told that Sir John Macneill, by means of an instrument invented by himself for measuring the tractive force required on different kinds of road, obtained the following general results as to the power requisite to move a ton weight under ordinary circumstances, at a very low velocity.
In the same work the relative degrees of resistance to traction on the several kinds of roads are thus expressed:—