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has been the theme of poets and the residence of sovereigns; and though such scenery must have charmed in whatever place it was met with, still its reputation has been much enhanced by its vicinity to London. In the palace here, Henry the Eighth entertained the great Emperor Charles, of Germany; and here, too, Elizabeth was at one time a prisoner, and at another the foremost sovereign of the world receiving noblemen and princes.
Part the Second opens with Windermere, and the various routes connected with it, some of which, we had almost said, are more interesting than the beautiful lake itself. "The Sands," as they are called, par excellence, have many a thrilling tale attached to them, fully realizing the so oft-repeated maxim,-that "truth is more wonderful than fiction." A touching instance of this kind may be found in the letters of the poet Gray, who visited the lake district in 1767.
"Oct. 11. Wind S.W.; clouds and sun; warm and a fine dappled sky; crossed the river (Lune), and walked over a peninsula three miles to Pooton, which stands on the beach. An old fisherman, mending his nets, (while I inquired about the danger of passing these sands) told me, in his dialect, a moving story; how a brother of the trade, a cockler (as he styled him), driving a little cart with two daughters (women grown) in it, and his wife on horseback following, set out one day to pass the Seven Mile Sands, as they had frequently been used to do; for nobody in the village knew them better than the old man did. When they were about half way over, a thick fog rose; and as they advanced they found the water much deeper than they expected. The old man was puzzled; he stopped, and said he would go a little way to find some mark he was acquainted with. They stayed a little while for him; but in vain. They called aloud; but no reply. At last the young women pressed their mother to think where they were, and go on. She would not leave the place; but wandered about, forlorn and amazed. She would not quit her horse, and get into the cart with them. They determined, after much time wasted, to turn back, and give themselves up to the guidance of their horses. The old woman was soon washed off, and perished. The poor girls clung close to their cart; and the horse, sometimes wading and sometimes swimming, brought them back to land alive, but senseless with terror and distress, and unable for many days to give any account of themselves. The bodies of their parents were found soon after (next ebb), that of the father a very few paces distant from the spot where he left them."
It would seem, however, that the danger, and with it the romance of the scene, is likely soon to pass away. The establishment of steam-boat transit from Fleetwood to Furness, in connection with railways at either end, and the project of a branch railway from Milnthorp to Ulverstone, will no doubt render this route but little frequented in times to come.
At length we are brought to the lake itself, the picture of which is so prettily as well as sensibly given, that it would be a downright wronging of the reader not to extract a portion of it at least for his amusement.
"It happens commonly with whatever is pre-eminently famous for beautywhether a lovely woman, a fair scene, or a noble picture,-that the first view is disappointing. So is it often with the cliffs and islands of Winander.' Especially is Windermere disappointing to one accustomed to lake and mountain scenery. A vague indefinite notion has been formed which, under ordinary circumstances, is seldom realized. The lake is declared to be deficient in grandeur, the mountains are not near enough to the sky. Or worse, it is visited on a cold, dark, and misty day, and scarce anything is seen at all. In either case, or in any case, there is a sovereign remedy-patience, the first and main quali
cation for the mountain traveller. You have only to wait, and a change will come. Wander awhile among the mountains, and gradually they will let you into their secrets. Day by day, and hour by hour, will the feeling of their might and majesty dawn more and more upon you, till, when their full glory is felt, you will wonder that ever you could have thought slightingly of even the meanest of them. And so of the weather. Do not imagine that because it is at this moment unfavourable, it will be so presently. In this region half-an-hour produces the wildest changes. In the morning early you start out,-after discreetly providing the inner man with a goodly Westmoreland breakfast,-hoping for a tolerable day of wandering. The sky is grey, the mist hangs heavily on the fells, but you trust it may clear up, and go on blithely. But the mist remains. Occasionally you climb the crags; once or twice you venture to a mountain summit; still the prospect is as dreary as that which met the anxious gaze of the ancient mariner :
and you feel that, pretty as it is in a picture, graceful as it is in poetry, and much as it adds to the beauty of real scenery, you could be content to part with it for ever, so that it would leave you now. Steadily, steadily however, the mist thickens, till you learn to think better of a London fog. Anon the sky darkens, and first a slight and then a heavy rain sets in; and wet, and weary, and dull, you are glad ere mid-day is well over to take shelter by the snug fire of a village inn. You order, for sorrow is dry though your clothes are damp, a noggin of hot whisky, and, by the help of eggs, and rashers, and oaten cakes, manage to while away the dreary moments, and get rid of a little ill temper.
Feeling refreshed, you resolve to make the shortest cut to your own inn, and sally out pouring maledictions alike on the mists and the mountains-which you vow to quit by the next conveyance; when lo! before you reach the door, you catch sight of a streak of blue sky, and yonder is the peak of the fell with the mists crumbling away from it, and rolling hurriedly down its sides. Another and another mountain summit becomes visible. You hasten to ascend the nearest; and behold! the wide landscape is alive and gladdening in the brightness, and the blue lake rejoices as one newly awakened, and a glorious prospect spreads before you, such as shall live in your memory for ever. These are the moments worth journeying for It is not the most beautiful nor the grandest scene that is always the most memorable; but to be at one of those noble places, and see it in one of those seldom-caught moments, that is worth years of ordinary sight-seeing. And these moments often occur at times the most unpromising."
The second division gives us Sheffield-quite equal in interest to the lakes themselves, though the interest is of a different character. It will seem absurd to many if we even hint at poetry as being connected with the manufacture of steel and iron, for all mankind are more or less the slaves of habit, and the very clang of the workman's hammer is opposed in most minds to the sound of the lyre. They would willingly banish the muse of poetry to rocks and woods, or send her adrift upon the ocean; or, if they allow her to dwell in social life at all, it must be in the camp or in the palace. But this is a very vulgar error-the mere common-place of custom-the cry of those who fancy life has no other road but that which they have always travelled, and which their fathers and grandfathers trod before them.
Sheffield has been called " the metropolis of steel;" and to him who looks upon words as being something more than mere sounds, what a field for reflection does such a name offer! The mighty heart of this city is iron, while fire is the clement that calls it into action-the Promethean
spark that animates the wonderful yet senseless body, and gives life to its pulsations.
The account of the different manufactures given in this article is more picturesque than scientific, and is therefore the better calculated to excite the reader's attention, by awakening his imagination. In so doing, the writer has evidently extended the sphere of his influence. Many will be tempted by these graphic descriptions, who would have turned from merely scientific details, as a thing in which they had no part or portion. The third division of this part is devoted to Birkenhead, the young and enterprising rival of the mighty Liverpool. This admirable town or city-for in its rapid state of transition we hardly know how to name it -may be truly said to be a creation of yesterday, so suddenly has it started up from a humble village into a place of giant docks and merchant palaces, with wide and capacious streets, in which the pulse of life is beating quite as vigorously as in London. In this marvellous rapidity of growth it will remind the reader of the towns in America, which are on paper one day, and solid buildings on terra firma the next. There is, however, one grand distinction between them. The American towns are literally in the plight of the gentleman who much doubted whether he ever had a grandfather-they have no antecedent. Now, this is not altogether the case with Birkenhead: the ground on which it stands is hallowed by the recollections of other times, when monks and friars lorded it in this remote corner of Cheshire, till the hand of despotism drove them forth, to make way for men who had neither their legal nor moral claims to the possession.
The rise of Birkenhead is among the most interesting phenomena of topographical history; but this matter cannot be well understood without some knowledge of the peculiar locality as well as of its previous state, which are so admirably described by our author, that we can hardly do better than borrow from him so much as may give the reader at least a partial notion of the subject:
"A map of Cheshire will shew that the north-western part of that county forms a curiously-shaped peninsula, bounded on the north-east by the Mersey, on the south-west by the Dee, and on the north-west by the sea. So far as the eye can detect, the Dee is quite as well fitted for commerce as the Mersey; its estuary is very much wider, and Chester is not so far from its mouth as to seem beyond the reach of shipping. Consequently we find that Chester was an important commercial city when Liverpool and its neighbours on the Mersey were all but unknown. But unfortunately for the supremacy of the old city, the Dee became by degrees so much choked up with sand, that navigation was brought nearly to an end; and the citizens had to cut an artificial channel, nine miles in length, along the marshes, in order to keep up any connexion at all with the sea. At high water, the mouth of the Dee forms a noble estuary, three miles in width; but at ebb tide it is nearly dry, and resembles an extensive dreary waste covered with sand and ooze, through which the river runs in a narrow and insignificant stream.
Commerce, being thus shoaled out from the Dee, left old-fashioned Chester, and took refuge in the Mersey; where Liverpool has shewn what wonders may be effected by untiring energy even on a shore troubled by many sand-banks and shallow spots. We propose not here to dwell upon these Liverpool marvels: our search is for a certain small stream which flows into the Mersey very near its mouth, from the Cheshire side. This is the Wallasey. All parties, historians and geologists, agree that the two counties of Cheshire and Lancashire, at one period, nearly joined where the Mersey now exists; and that the wide
estuary of the Mersey has been formed (geologically speaking, in a comparatively modern period) by some eruption of the sea. The estuary is believed to have been a sort of bog or morass, through which the narrow river flowed; but it is difficult now to say what connexion the ancient Wallasey Pool had with this morass. It is enough for our purpose to know, that at the present time, (or rather before the commencement of the recent operations) Wallasey Pool, situated a little to the north-west of the village of Birkenhead, was a low swampy spot, forming the estuary of a small river which emptied itself into the Mersey. The land had for ages not only been waste, but the tide had ebbed and flowed over it, without any effort having been made to reclaim the one or enclose the other.
"This swampy spot became the germ of the prosperity of Birkenhead. The name of Laird has for somewhat above twenty years been closely connected with all that concerns Birkenhead; and to the same name must we attach the largest share in the operations that led to the changes at Wallasey Pool. The late Mr. Laird, an iron ship-builder at Liverpool, purchased in 1824, of the lord of the manor of Birkenhead, several acres of land on the shores of the Pool, for the establishment of a ship-building yard; and it is said that he paid about fourpence per square yard for the land so purchased. From the outset he had been convinced that Wallasey Pool was admirably calculated to furnish a noble series of Docks; and very soon after the establishment of the ship-yard he, in conjunction with Sir John Tobin, purchased largely from the lord of the manor, and had the Pool carefully surveyed by Telford, Stevenson and Nimmo. These eminent engineers confirmed the correctness of Mr. Laird's opinion, by reporting most favourably of the capabilities of the Pool. The corporation of Liverpool, seeing the importance of the place, bought up nearly all the land surrounding the Pool, and were willing to give Mr. Laird nine times as much for his land as he had paid for it three years before. Whether the corporation intended to make docks there, or whether they bought up the land to prevent docks from being made there, we will not stop to inquire; but certain it is, that nearly twenty years elapsed before anything was done in furtherance of the original scheme for the docks."
Eventually the Corporation were induced to sell to Mr. Laird, though at an enormous advance of price, enough land for the construction of his intended docks, and from that moment may be dated the prosperity of Birkenhead. Wealth, talent, and energy, were now all called into action; and the enterprising directors, shaking off the trammels of custom, wisely and boldly profited by the errors as well as the genius that had been shewn in similar undertakings. One of the most remarkable features in the new scheme was the care with which they provided for the health and comfort of the numerous workmen employed upon works of so much magnitude :--
"These workmen's dwellings, then what are they? One hardly knows at the first glance what to think of them. They are so totally unlike anything of the kind to which we have been accustomed, that a standard of comparison is not easily suggested. They are not rows of cottages containing two or three rooms each, fronted and backed by gardens. They are not scattered cottages, spcckling a valley and the side of a hill, like so many of our pretty old English villages. On approaching near them, along one of the wide roads which will one day form a chief street of Birkenhead, they appear more like houses for the upper classes of society; and we feel puzzled how to associate them with the requirements and limited wants of a working population. If we look at the front and end elevations, there is, it must be owned, something out of the usual order of things, in respect to workmen's dwellings. Let us, then, look closer, and see wha are the details of arrangement.
"In a part of Birkenhead quite aloof from the general buildings of the town,
and situated at least a couple of miles north-west of Woodside Ferry, is a beautiful Gothic Church, St. James's, now erecting from the designs of Mr. Lang. This church, when the vast scheme of the neighbourhood is completed, will occupy a centre, from which eight broad and handsome streets will radiate in as many different directions; so that the church will, by-andbye, have one of the finest positions, relative to surrounding buildings, that can often fall to the lot of such a structure. One of these incipient streets, Illchester-road, and another westward of it, Stanley-road, enclose between them, at the end nearest the church, a triangular piece of ground; and as this ground is scarcely half a mile distant from the uppermost or inmost of the Dock Company's works, it was selected as the site of the workmen's dwellings. On the other hand, as the streets in the neighbourhood will probably ere long be occupied by good houses, either for shops or private residences, it seemed desirable that the workmen's dwellings should not, by anything mean or povertystricken in their appearance, clash with the general architectural appearance of the whole. This seems to have been one of the principles which guided the architect in the invention of his plans; and the result is a highly curious one. At the extreme corner, fronting the church, will be a school-house, capable of accommodating five hundred children; and at one of the other eight corners fronting the church, between Corporation-road and Vyner-street, will be the parsonage-house for the incumbent of the new church, when finished. Behind the school house are the workmen's dwellings, presenting a frontage, or, perhaps we may rather say, an end elevation, on two sides of a triangle; so arranged that the block of buildings altogether furnish 350 dwellings for workmen.
"In the first place, the block is divided by parallel avenues into five or six ranges of buildings. Each avenue is nicely paved and well drained, and has handsome iron gates at each end to keep out vehicles; thereby making the avenue a capital play-ground for children; while there is abundant room for foot-passage on either side of the gates; and the gates themselves can be opened, if occasion requires. In each of the avenues are the fronts of the houses on one side, and the backs of those on the other; so that no avenue need be over-crowded by the ingress and egress of the respective dwellers. All the avenues are named or numbered; and a general system, carried out by the proprietors, is adopted for the thorough cleansing and good keeping of the avenues, and of the outsides of the dwellings generally.
"Then, as to the houses themselves. It is obvious, at a glance, that they are planned on the French system, of having many complete dwellings in each house; but they have this most vital advantage over the large and lofty houses of Paris, that the most efficient and scrupulous provisions are made for insuring ventilation and drainage-the great source of mischief in ninety-nine hundredths of all our poorer dwellings. There are but three or four street-doors in each avenue; or, rather, there are no street-doors at all; for each house has a stone passage, open to the street, from whence the staircase and the doors to the separate dwellings proceed. Each house contains four floors, or flats, or stories, all above ground (for there are no underground kitchens or cellars); and each story is divided into two distinct dwellings, one on either side of the stone staircase that runs up the middle of the house. The rooms forming each dwelling open to each other; and a door, opening from the outermost of these rooms into the staircase, and properly provided with lock, bolts, keys, &c., forms, in fact, the street-door for the family inhabiting that dwelling. The whole group of houses, from end to end, are fire-proof, being formed of brick, stone, and iron, wood-work being provided only where, for domestic comfort, such an arrangement is desirable. And even where planking and other wood-work is to be seen, it is so backed by brick, or iron, or stone, that an accidental fire would soon be extinguished, for want of material to work upon."
Cambridge forms the last, and not the least interesting division of this part; but the space allotted to Birkenhead will not allow us to devote any attention to Alma Mater.