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"You made the experiment on purpose?— Mr. Telford desired the experiment to be made.
"So that you can state without any risk of error and mistake 3 — Quite certain; because it was on that the last contract was founded of carrying the work into execution.
"Have you any notion of the saving of horse labour in consequence of the improvement of the road? — I have. I have tried the draught of drawing a waggon over it by the instrument I have invented, and which has been approved of, and ordered by the Commissioners to be used on the Holyhead Road for proving the comparative merit of each part of the road; and I found that it took a power of 56 lbs. on the Archway Road; and I have no doubt whatever that if it had been tried in the first instance, before the improvement was made, that what is now 56 lbs. would have been at least 156 lbs., judging from trials made on roads equally bad; or that fifty-six horses will now do as much work as 156 could before the road was improved.
"Before you were employed by the Parliamentary Commissioners, were you employed in making and repairing roads on the system of putting the broken stone on the soil, or on the surface of the old roads ?—Yes, since 1816.
"You have now an opportunity of judging of the comparative wear of materials, whether so made use of, or put on a paved foundation: will you describe to the Committee what, in your opinion, is the general result? — I have attended to it very particularly, and I have no hesitation in saying, that the annual saving from a paved bottom will be one third the expense in any case: either a stone or cement bottom is the same; it is merely the solidity and dryness that is required.
"In your experience and the observations you have made, taking together the first expense of making a road in the ordinary way, by putting the broken stone on the soil, and taking a certain number of years' subsequent expense, say ten years, and, on the other hand, taking the first expense in making a road with a solid foundation, either of stone or cement, with the same sort of broken materials and surface, for the same period of time, which would you say would be the cheapest in the end ? —There can be no doubt at all upon that subject: the saving, I think, will be one third; and if you include the labour of horse power that is gained, it will be very considerably more than that.
"In favour of which ? — In favour of the paved bottom.
"What would be the saving in the course of ten years in favour of the paved bottom ? —The saving in ten years will depend on local circumstances, but in every case a paved bottom will be found the cheapest: in the first place, the breaking of the stone is saved, which, where hard granite is used, is considerable; in the second place, a softer, weaker, and generally a cheaper stone than can be used for the top material may be made use of for the pavement; thirdly, the surface stones are preserved from wear in an extraordinary manner, by resting on a solid firm foundation, instead of mixing with the wet subsoils, and forming a loose elastic road, which takes some years, and wears out many materials, before it becomes hard and solid.
"What do you mean to express by a paved bottom?— Unbroken stone set on edge across the road, six or eight inches deep, and three or four inches thick; set firmly side by side, and the interstices filled up with stone chips packed in with a small hammer. This forms, in point of fact, a regular pavement, but not smooth on the surface, of about seven inches deep, as the road foundation. Five inches at the side, and seven inches in the centre, if the pavement is eighteen feet wide.
"What kind of stone do you use for this purpose ? — Sandstone, limestone, or schistus, or such as can be had in the neighbourhood: any stone, almost, will answer that will bear weight and not decompose by the atmosphere.
"Is it not, in many instances, cheaper than any other material you can use ? — It is the cheapest in the first instance, because you have not to break the stone; and the subsequent repairs cost less."
Some time after the road was improved as above described, the contractor of the work wrote a circular letter to some of the principal coachmasters and coachmen, requesting to have their opinion of the state of the road.
The following are extracts from some of the answers to those letters, as published in the Appendix to the report of the Select Committee on the Holyhead and Liverpool Road, printed 30th May, 1830: —
"Golden Cross, Charing-cross, 10th May 1830.
"In answer to your letter, dated the 1st instant, respecting the present state of the Highgate Archway road, I have to remark, that it is most surprisingly improved since you have adopted the plan of Mr. Telford; in fact, so much so, that four horses can better perform their journey now (both as regards speed and ease,) than sis horses could do previous to such plan being adopted. And although the weather this year has been much against the roads, notwithstanding that, your much improved plan has well contended against such weather; so much so, that I have not had occasion to require six horses at any time during the last winter, although in various other places I could not possibly proceed unless I employed that number f horses; for instance, from Barnet to Colney, near Ridge Hill, I have constantly gone with six horses, and even then with difficulty.
"B. W. Horne."
"In reply to your letter, I have to state to you the wonderful improvement made on the Archway road. The short time since its completion, and the severe winter it had to encounter, proves beyond doubt the complete success of the plan. Since my commencement in driving on the Birmingham road, it was with difficulty I could get up the Archway Hill, on one side or the other, with six horses, but now four middling horses are sufficient for any of our loads.
"Lawrence Lane, 15th May.
"In reply to yours of the 4th instant, requesting my opinion respecting the late improvement of the Highgate Archway road, it is with sincere pleasure I am enabled to state that, during the whole course of my experience, I never saw so much improvement in so short a period: in fact, from its being the very worst piece of road between London and Manchester, it is now become, through your exertions, decidedly the best. I was fearful the severe winter we have experienced, setting in so very soon after its being completed, would have broken it up; but I am most happy to say that, during the whole winter, I have not observed a single place where it was the least affected. Previous to this winter, it was all we could do to walk up both sides of the Archway with six horses, and now we can trot up with our heaviest loads with four.
"When I first commenced driving on the above road, we were obliged to keep twelve horses to work a slow coach to Barnet, and now we can work a fast one the same distance with ten horses.
"I think the facts above stated are at once a convincing proof of the full success of the plan