I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

zaterdag 21 januari 2012

Public transport in Victorian London


During Queen Victoria's reign, London's population grew at an astonishing rate and the central area became increasingly congested. The development of cheaper, horse-drawn public transport enabled more people to travel than ever before and this influenced the growth of the suburbs.
In the first quarter of the nineteenth century, public transport in London was expensive and offered passengers little choice. Short stage coaches ran regular services to the City from outlying villages like Camberwell, Paddington and Blackheath. Hackney carriages had a monopoly in the City, where they alone were permitted to set down or pick up passengers on demand. Travelling by short stage or hackney coach was expensive and could only be afforded by the better off, the most wealthy of whom owned their own carriages. Another key route was the river, where traffic continued as it had for centuries. Wherry boats or river taxis could be hailed from various parts of the riverbank. The vast majority of working people could not afford to use public transport at all and so were obliged to live within walking distance of their work.


An artist impression of Shillibeer's Omnibus, 1829.


Horsebuses

In 1828 George Shillibeer, a London coachbuilder, visited Paris where he was impressed by the efficiency of its new horse-drawn bus service. The following year he imported the idea to London and began operating a single horse-drawn omnibus, connecting the suburbs of Paddington and Regent's Park to the City. This service was quite revolutionary: Shillibeer's omnibus ran to a strict timetable, regardless of whether it was full; it picked up and set down passengers anywhere along the route; and fares could be paid on board, unlike the short-stage coaches, which had to be booked in advance. The omnibus was pulled by three horses and carried 22 passengers, who sat inside protected from the weather. The fares of sixpence and one shilling were less than those charged by hackney cab and short-stage coach. Even so, travelling on Shillibeer's omnibuses was not cheap, and they were used mainly by the middle classes.
Nevertheless, the service proved very popular and other operators set up in fierce competition. Soon there were 90 omnibuses on the same route, sometimes racing each other to pick up the most passengers. After many complaints the operators set up an Omnibus Association, with Shillibeer as Chairman, to regulate the busy route. The operators realized that the number of passengers was limited so the Association agreed to reduce competition by restricting the number of omnibuses to 57, running at 3 minute intervals, with inspectors to enforce the new rules. The Association was London's first coordinated attempt to provide a regular bus service.

In 1832 the monopoly of the hackney carriages was removed, allowing horse buses to operate in the City. Within two years there were 620 licensed horse buses in London and by 1851, the year of the Great Exhibition, when business was booming due to an influx of visitors to London, this total had more than doubled and the number of routes had increased to 150. Service intervals varied from 5 to 20 minutes in Inner London to an hour or longer in the outlying suburbs.

Whilst many different omnibus companies existed, in 1856 several operators were taken over by the new London General Omnibus Company (LGOC), originally a French operator. After a year spent buying out rivals the LGOC had a fleet of 600 omnibuses and was the largest bus company in the world. Other larger operators included Thomas Tilling and the London Road Car Company. Major companies began to cooperate, forming associations to regulate buses, restricting their numbers, setting timetables and sharing revenue between owners.
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  2. In the first one fourth of the nineteenth century century, trains and buses in Manchester was expensive and offered travelers little choice.

    couriers UK

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Parsonage

Parsonage

Charlotte Bronte

Presently the door opened, and in came a superannuated mastiff, followed by an old gentleman very like Miss Bronte, who shook hands with us, and then went to call his daughter. A long interval, during which we coaxed the old dog, and looked at a picture of Miss Bronte, by Richmond, the solitary ornament of the room, looking strangely out of place on the bare walls, and at the books on the little shelves, most of them evidently the gift of the authors since Miss Bronte's celebrity. Presently she came in, and welcomed us very kindly, and took me upstairs to take off my bonnet, and herself brought me water and towels. The uncarpeted stone stairs and floors, the old drawers propped on wood, were all scrupulously clean and neat. When we went into the parlour again, we began talking very comfortably, when the door opened and Mr. Bronte looked in; seeing his daughter there, I suppose he thought it was all right, and he retreated to his study on the opposite side of the passage; presently emerging again to bring W---- a country newspaper. This was his last appearance till we went. Miss Bronte spoke with the greatest warmth of Miss Martineau, and of the good she had gained from her. Well! we talked about various things; the character of the people, - about her solitude, etc., till she left the room to help about dinner, I suppose, for she did not return for an age. The old dog had vanished; a fat curly-haired dog honoured us with his company for some time, but finally manifested a wish to get out, so we were left alone. At last she returned, followed by the maid and dinner, which made us all more comfortable; and we had some very pleasant conversation, in the midst of which time passed quicker than we supposed, for at last W---- found that it was half-past three, and we had fourteen or fifteen miles before us. So we hurried off, having obtained from her a promise to pay us a visit in the spring... ------------------- "She cannot see well, and does little beside knitting. The way she weakened her eyesight was this: When she was sixteen or seventeen, she wanted much to draw; and she copied nimini-pimini copper-plate engravings out of annuals, ('stippling,' don't the artists call it?) every little point put in, till at the end of six months she had produced an exquisitely faithful copy of the engraving. She wanted to learn to express her ideas by drawing. After she had tried to draw stories, and not succeeded, she took the better mode of writing; but in so small a hand, that it is almost impossible to decipher what she wrote at this time.

I asked her whether she had ever taken opium, as the description given of its effects in Villette was so exactly like what I had experienced, - vivid and exaggerated presence of objects, of which the outlines were indistinct, or lost in golden mist, etc. She replied, that she had never, to her knowledge, taken a grain of it in any shape, but that she had followed the process she always adopted when she had to describe anything which had not fallen within her own experience; she had thought intently on it for many and many a night before falling to sleep, - wondering what it was like, or how it would be, - till at length, sometimes after the progress of her story had been arrested at this one point for weeks, she wakened up in the morning with all clear before her, as if she had in reality gone through the experience, and then could describe it, word for word, as it had happened. I cannot account for this psychologically; I only am sure that it was so, because she said it. ----------------------She thought much of her duty, and had loftier and clearer notions of it than most people, and held fast to them with more success. It was done, it seems to me, with much more difficulty than people have of stronger nerves, and better fortunes. All her life was but labour and pain; and she never threw down the burden for the sake of present pleasure. I don't know what use you can make of all I have said. I have written it with the strong desire to obtain appreciation for her. Yet, what does it matter? She herself appealed to the world's judgement for her use of some of the faculties she had, - not the best, - but still the only ones she could turn to strangers' benefit. They heartily, greedily enjoyed the fruits of her labours, and then found out she was much to be blamed for possessing such faculties. Why ask for a judgement on her from such a world?" elizabeth gaskell/charlotte bronte



Poem: No coward soul is mine

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the worlds storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heavens glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.


O God within my breast.
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life -- that in me has rest,
As I -- Undying Life -- have power in Thee!


Vain are the thousand creeds
That move mens hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,


To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast Rock of immortality.


With wide-embracing love
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.


Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.


There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou -- Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.


--
Emily Bronte

Family tree

The Bronte Family

Grandparents - paternal
Hugh Brunty was born 1755 and died circa 1808. He married Eleanor McClory, known as Alice in 1776.

Grandparents - maternal
Thomas Branwell (born 1746 died 5th April 1808) was married in 1768 to Anne Carne (baptised 27th April 1744 and died 19th December 1809).

Parents
Father was Patrick Bronte, the eldest of 10 children born to Hugh Brunty and Eleanor (Alice) McClory. He was born 17th March 1777 and died on 7th June 1861. Mother was Maria Branwell, who was born on 15th April 1783 and died on 15th September 1821.

Maria had a sister, Elizabeth who was known as Aunt Branwell. She was born in 1776 and died on 29th October 1842.

Patrick Bronte married Maria Branwell on 29th December 1812.

The Bronte Children
Patrick and Maria Bronte had six children.
The first child was Maria, who was born in 1814 and died on 6th June 1825.
The second daughter, Elizabeth was born on 8th February 1815 and died shortly after Maria on 15th June 1825. Charlotte was the third daughter, born on 21st April 1816.

Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls (born 1818) on 29th June 1854. Charlotte died on 31st March 1855. Arthur lived until 2nd December 1906.

The first and only son born to Patrick and Maria was Patrick Branwell, who was born on 26th June 1817 and died on 24th September 1848.

Emily Jane, the fourth daughter was born on 30th July 1818 and died on 19th December 1848.

The sixth and last child was Anne, born on 17th January 1820 who died on 28th May 1849.

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