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REPORT On the State and Condition of the Roads on the Estates of Greenwich Hospital, in the Counties of Cumberland, Durham, and Northumberland: by Edward Hawke Locker, F.R.S. Secretary to the Institution. This Report commences with a letter dated Haydon Bridge, 29th July, 1823, addressed to the Directors of the Hospital, by Mr Locker, stating, in general terms, the advantages that would be derived from improving the roads on the estate of the Hospital, and submitting an outline of the improvements necessary. This is followed by another letter from the same to the same, dated Hexham, August 27, 1823, expressing Mr Locker’s satisfaction that the Directors had approved of his propositions, and stating that the subscription of 5000l, by the Hospital, towards the undertaking, had given great confidence to the parties interested in the undertaking. He goes on to state that Mr McAdam had completed his survey of the proposed roads, and found that the improvements would cover an extent of 120 miles, at an expense of about 26,000l. ‘In order to give confidence to the subscribers,’ he adds, ‘I have suggested that transferable Turnpike Debentures should be issued for such sums as may be advanced, and that the first receipts from the tolls should be applied to pay the interest at four and a half per cent., to re-pay the principal, leaving the residue of the income for the maintenance and improvement of the roads. In addition to the subscription of 5000l, which I took upon me to offer on behalf of the hospital, the Hudgill Burn company has already consented to advance 3000l., the Earl of Lonsdale 1000l., and Mr Ord, of Whitfield Hall, 1200l. I proposed to the agent of the London Lead Company, a contribution of 5000l. which he will recommend to his Committee, on their annual visitation a few weeks hence, and I have little doubt of their compliance, provided you consent to their application for a general lease of their mines, which I have already recommended to your favourable consideration. ‘The inhabitants of Aldstone have requested me to obtain for them a piece of ground to be allotted as a market-place, of which they are in much need. On examination I found the Vicar’s Croft, in the centre of town, the only eligible site for the purpose, and the Bishop of Durham, on my application, has already signified his consent that the Vicar should exchange it for another plot of equal value, belonging to the Hospital’s estates adjoining the town. As the two roads to Garrigill and Penrith will intersect at this point, the trustees will have the means of effecting a very great improvement in Aldstone, by the removal of the dangerous pavement, buildings, and other encroachments, and thereby greatly promoting the public accommodation. I have to request that this exchange of land may be recommended to the next general court of Commissioners and Governors.
An undated newspaper report –probably the Newcastle Courant- paraphrasing what appears to be Locker’s printed covering letter to the Greenwich Hospital Commissioners (TNA ADM 79/61) to go alongside John McAdam’s report of 29th July, which follows. The newspaper cutting is taken from the collection of John Thomas Bell’s early 19th century papers now in Newcastle City Library.