Letter – Edward Blackett to John Erasmus Blackett – 20 Sep 1789

Document Type: Letter
Date: 20 Sep 1789
Correspondent: Edward Blackett
Recipient: John Erasmus Blackett
Archive Source: NRO ZBL 231
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Thorp Lee 20 Sep 1789

Dear Brother

      I told you in my last that I intended to trouble you to make some enquiries concerning the Gateside Quary.

	The Nature & Quality of the Stone, wth regard to

	Its Hardness & Durability

	If it can be recommended for building Bridges by bearing the incumbent weight

	If it suffers much by the Frost

	The expence per Fothr, Its carriage from the Quary to the River

	Its expence per Fothr, its carriage from the River to London

	If a small specimen of the stone could be sent as a sample

      These are the questions I was desired to ask; the reason is: we had a meeting about a fortnight ago to consider of the State of the bridge at Staines; wch is a wooden Bridge; It wants a good deal of repair at present; & indeed tho the annual expence of keeping it in repair is very great; in ten or a dozen years it will become bad; so the Trustees at the last meeting came to a resolution (with the consent of the Ld Chancellor, to whom we are to apply on all occasions, & w[ith]out who's consent we can do nothing of consequence) to apply to Parlt for a Bill to increase the Toll of the Bridge wch is very low at present; & for power to raise about £12,000 by a <Petition>, the Interest of wch can be paid by the Toll.  There is a very good stone bridge at Chertsey built about four years ago at the expence of the Two Counties, wch cost about £15,000; & where one Carriage goes over that Bridge, fifty go over Staines Bridge but that Bridge, as most County Bridges are was a job patronised by Ld Grantley, & undertaken by Payne, who was supposed to put two or three thousand pounds into his pocket. I hear somehow or other he is broke up, & gon abroad; our County can shew many handsome Inconvenient houses of his construction; I believe Sr Thos Claverings is the best.

      Pray what stone was employ'd in the building of Newcastle Bridge?

      Altho. I have troubled you wth so many questions, I dont think it can answer having the stone for our bridge from the Quary at Gateside Fell; if there was any quary very near the River perhaps it might; However I was desired by Mr Gandby who has already drawn two or three designs for a bridge to get the above questions answer'd.

      I am very sorry to find that my niece does not get <grownd> faster; I hope this <lattest> bathing will have a quicker effect; the Faculty now recommends late bathing in the Season preferable to the early bathing; when they come into the South I hope we shall have the pleasure of seeing her here; This place is nearly in the way to Harrington; so when she comes to Town we can send the chaise to meet her.

      I am very glad that any of the products of Matfen could prove agreable & acceptable to you & your friends; If they wont offer themselves to us they make us amends by affording their fruits <...> our friends in our absence.

      We are happy to hear that Sr Thos Clavering continues so well; when you see him be so good as to make all our Best comp[liment]s to him & L[ad]y Clavering & tell him we mean to play a few Rubbers wth him next Summer.

      I can not think that Sr John Trevelyan pitch'd on the most eligiable time to make an expedition to France; however the recollection of a <Storm> may be more agreable than the remembrance of fine weather. But altho the storm may be somewhat abated on the Continent I am apt to think that it will soon rage wth greater violence; The King, the nobility, the Clergy & the Parliament will never set down quietly & not take the oportunity to recover their loss, an army will be called in from some quarter or other; wch will open a more serious scene than has been exhibited yet.

      Mrs P Stanley is got to Buxton, she bathed in some Salt Springs in her way there, to prepair her for the Buxton Baths, she means to finish wth Matlock.

      The King is arrived at Windsor they say perfectly well; when People grow tired of seeing Him I will go & take a look. My Daughter & her children are well.

      My Wife writes wth me her love & best wishes to you & yours & I am Dear Brother yrs most affectionately

      E Blackett
the architect of Chertsey bridge referred to in this letter was James Paine, responsible for the design of many Northumberland houses, including Bywell, as well as Axwell Park, the home of the Claverings, as also mentioned in this letter. He died in France in 1789

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The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project aimed to celebrate and discover the heritage of the Dukesfield Arches & lead carriers' routes between Blaydon and the lead mines of Allendale and Weardale. A two year community project, it was led by the Friends of the North Pennines in partnership with Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the active support of Allendale Estates. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the generous support of other sponsors. Friends of the North Pennines: Charity No:1137467