Report – John McAdam to Edward Locker – 25 Oct 1823

Document Type: Report
Date: 25 Oct 1823
Correspondent: John McAdam
Recipient: Edward Locker
Archive Source: TNA ADM 79 61
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To E. H. Locker, Esq. Secretary to Greenwich Hospital.

      Office of Roads, Bristol, 25th October, 1823

	Estimate of the expense of making and repairing the lines of road from Haydon Bridge to Penrith, from Haydon Bridge to Bellingham, from Aldstone Moor to Clargill, and from Burtryford to Brampton. – Sixty-six miles new road, at 203l., 13200l.; fifty-six miles old road, repaired at 80l., 4480l.; Bridges, 5,000l.; Surveys, 350l.; Fencing and indemnities for damage, 2,200l.; expenses of Act of Parliament, 1,000l. Total 26,230l.

	This estimate is made upon the supposition that the several parishes will continue to assist in the repair of the roads on the same scale as they have formerly done, that the several parts of these roads which are now repaired by proprietors, by reason of their tenures, will either continue to be so repaired, or that a reasonable composition will be paid for their services, and that the whole produce of the tolls and pontages (after payment of the debt), will be applied for the next three years.



      I beg leave to report to you, for the information of the Directors of Greenwich Hospital, the conclusion of my labours in laying off and procuring plans of the various roads in the counties of Cumberland, Northumberland, Durham, and York, connected with the manors and estates of the Hospital. These roads are comprised in a circle, of which the diameter is fifty miles, extending from Bellingham in Northumberland, on the North, to Rokeby Abbey Bridge, in the county of York, on the South; and from Penrith to Cumberland, on the West, to West-boat in Northumberland, on the East; including several branches. – The estimate of expense has been formed upon the supposition of receiving a considerable addition from the Road Revenue, of tolls and statute labour. In making the estimates, I have also taken into account a reasonable time for accomplishing the whole plan, beginning with removing the most prominent evils which at present obstruct the communication, and proceeding with the other improvements in the order of their importance, at the same time getting the old roads put into good condition. I have likewise calculated entirely upon the Trustees committing the execution of the whole to the hands of skilful and economical officers, and placing the affairs of the roads under vigilant and respectable controul, by which in future the roads may be kept in good order, and their revenues protected from waste, fraud, and mismanagement.

	The estates and manors of Greenwich Hospital in the counties of Northumberland and Cumberland, are placed in a mountainous part of the country, difficult of access, and having at present no other roads than those formed on the old pack-horse tracks, and carried upon lines so inconvenient and steep, as not only to be a great obstruction to the local carriage, but to present a barrier to all communication with commercial districts on every side. The heavy commodities produced within the circle described above, are transported at an expense, one third, and in many cases one half, beyond what they might be carried on good lines of well-constructed roads. This loss falls particularly heavy on the Hospital and its Tenants: and generally, the value of the whole property is depressed by this impediment to traffic of every kind.

	The great impediments that surround, and, as it were, cut off the mining district from the rest of the world, are on the West, Hartside Fell; on the South, Kilhope Cross, and Yad Moss; on the North, Coal Fell; on the East, Whitfield Fell, and Cupola Bank. The late Survey has shewn that these impediments may be got over, without any increase of distance, by very easy ascents. The steepest rises will not exceed one foot in twenty, and these are not of any extent. A Branch Road has been laid off, into the most extensive mining district in Nent-Water, by which the distance is mutually lessened, and a new Road, nearly level, made to communicate with the present Turnpike Road. This, with the projected improvements of Cupola Bank and Whitfield Fell, will open a safe and easy Road to Langley Smelting Mills, from whence to Hexham the proposed alterations will give easy access. Beyond this line it is hoped that the local Trustees will be induced to make the necessary and very evident improvements on the Road from Hexham to Newcastle, which is the port of shipping with which the Estates of the Hospital communicate.

	The new method of constructing good and durable Roads, at comparatively small cost, cannot fail of producing extensive benefits in the Northern Counties, where the large sums expended in making, and the ignorance of those employed in repairing roads, have prevented the proprietors fully availing themselves of their natural advantages. This part of the kingdom abounds with the most excellent materials, procurable at moderate prices; the people are industrious, healthy, and ingenious, and the funds for maintenance of the roads are ample. Were these powerful means placed under the control of a respectable executive department, properly supported by the Commissioners, there can be no doubt of the favourable result. - I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,

This appears to be a covering letter documenting costs accompanying the second letter, presumably of the same date, intended for transmission to the Hospital’s commissioners

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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