Smeaton & Rennie VII.
Home Up James Brindley The Stephensons Boulton and Watt Metcalfe & Telford Invention & Industry Brief Biographies Self Help Miscellanea Main Index Site Search


 

Footnotes.
 

p.2-1

The Company was denominated "The Steelyard Company of Foreign Merchants," partly because they imported nearly all the iron and steel used in England.  They also imported all the spice, fine cloth, silks, and other foreign commodities; the only article which they exported being English wool, for the purpose of being made into cloth in the Low Countries and Germany.  The Cannon Street Station now occupies the site of the Steelyard Company's premises.  The Hanse Towns Corporation continued to hold the property until within the last few years.

p.2-2

Macpherson's 'Annals of Commerce,' ii. 85. [Ed. 1805.]

p.3

One of Sir Francis Drake's ships, the 'Golden Hind,' was used, until recently, as a Thames, barge.  Another interesting little vessel, the 'Investigator,' of about 150 tons, used to lie moored off Somerset House, where it was used as one of the floating stations of the Thames River Police.  The 'Investigator' was the vessel in which Capt. Ross made his fist voyage to the Polar Seas in search for the North-West Passage.

p.6

'Harleian Miscellany,' iii. 378-90.

p.7-1

'An Historical Account of the Herring Fishery on the North-East Coast of England' (small pamphlet).  By Dr. Cortis.  Feb. 1858.

p.7-2

Gongora, the Court poet of Spain, in his sonnet on the tomb of the Great Admiral Alvar Bazan, called 'The Scourge of the English,' wrote these words in 1588:


"Let all Hesperia weep in woe and pain,
 Heaven's wrathful sign in his sad loss displays,
 Whereby our island foes, no more afraid,
 Look up, and launch their pirate craft in vain."


And in his ode on the Armada, Gongora again says:

"Doubt not, those English pirates soon shall stain
          The green and whitening main
          With dark and crimson gore."


Alvar Bazan was to have commanded the Armada, but died before it was ready for sailing.

p.8

'Corporation of the City of London Records,' Journal xxiii. fol. 156.

p.9-1

Roberts's 'Social History of the Southern Counties of England.'

p.9-2

Ibid., p.74.

p.10

In 1634, the Lords of the Admiralty wrote as follows to Capt. Thomas Ketelby:—"Have lately received complaints out of the west country of divers outrages lately committed in those parts by Turks and pirates, insomuch as the poor fishermen dare not put to sea, and the inhabitants are afraid of being taken in the night out of their houses.  Further understand, that Ketelby being on the 17th May sent by Sir John Pennington, with the Garland and two Lion's Whelps, to scour the western coast and to suppress the Turks that lay between the Land's End and Scilly, he has neglected that important service, and spent his time in putting into Plymouth Sound and other Roads.  He is to hasten and scour the western parts, especially between Ushant, the Land's End and Scilly."  ('Collection of State Papers,' 1634-5.  Edited by J. Bruce.)  It was amidst such a state of things that King Charles required the tax of "Ship-money" to be levied.  Parliament would have granted him the money, but having chosen to levy it illegally, it shortly after led to "The Great Rebellion."

p.11

Even in later times the prince of the Hebrides bore without scruple the title of "Arch-pirate."  The Barbary states also afford examples of odious but not wholly savage communities, professing piracy as a trade; and the letters of marque of Europeans prove how easy, even to ourselves at the present day, is the suspension of the fundamental principles of our whole legal system, and the return to lawful private robbery. (Lappenberg, i. 87.)

p.13

The Duke of Monmouth, with followers, entered the port of Lyme in 1685.  "That town," says Macaulay, "is a small knot of steep and narrow alleys, lying on a coast wild, rocky, and beaten by a stormy sea.  The place was then chiefly remarkable for a pier, which in the days of the Plantagenets (?) had been constructed of stones, unhewn and uncemented.  This ancient work, known by the name of the Cob, enclosed the only haven where, in a space of many miles, the fishermen could take refuge from the tempests of the Channel."—'History of England,' i. 573. [First edition.]

p.14

Ed.—believed to date from the 13th century, the Cob — originally made of oak piles driven into the seabed with boulders stacked between them — provided both a breakwater to protect the town from storms and an artificial harbour. The Cobb has been destroyed or severely damaged by storms several times: in 1820 it was reconstructed using Portland stone.

p.18

8 Anne, chap. 12: a Public Act.  It was long before the Old Dock was finished; but we learn from William Enfield's 'Essay towards the History of Liverpool,' that it must have been opened by the year 1728.

p.19

The destruction of the woods was a topic of lamentation with the poets of the time. George Withers, in 1634, tells us with what feelings he beheld


             "The havoc and the spoyle,
Which, ev'n within the compass of my dayes,
Is made through every quarter of this Ile—
In woods and groves, which were this kingdom's praise."


Stowe, also, in his 'Annals,' says: "At this present, through the great consuming of wood as aforesaid, and the neglect of planting of woods, there is so great scarcity of wood throughout the whole kingdom that not only the city of London, all haven towns, and in very many parts within the land, the inhabitants in general are constrained to make them fires of sea-coal or pit coal, even in the chambers of honourable personages; and through necessity, which is the mother of all arts, they have of very late years devised the making of iron, the making of all sorts of glass, and burning of brick, with sea-coal or pit-coal.  Within thirty years last, the nice dames of London would not come into any house or room where sea-coals were burned, nor willingly eat of the meat that was either sod or roasted with sea-coal fire."  (Stowe's 'Annals,' by Horner. London. 1632, p.1025.)

p.22

'A Perambulation of Kent.'  By William Lambarde, of Lincoln's Inn, Gent.  London, 1656, p. 534.

p.26

Smollett's 'Travels through France and Italy.'  Letter I., June 23rd, 1763.

p.30

The inland people about Morte (North Devon) are "merciless to wrecked vessels, which they consider their own by immemorial usage, or rather right divine.  Significant how an agricultural people is generally as cruel to wrecked seamen, as a fishing one is merciful.  I could tell you twenty stories of the baysmen down there by the westward risking themselves like very heroes to save strangers' lives, and beating off the labouring folk who swarmed down for plunder from the inland hills."  (Rev. Charles Kingsley, 'Prose Idylls,' 261.)

p.31

Ed.—built around 285BC, the lighthouse, which stood on the island of Pharos in Alexandria harbour, is estimated to have been 134 m (440 ft) tall. It is unclear what sort of light beacon was employed. The lighthouse was progressively damaged by earthquakes, particularly those in 1303 and 1326 which appear to have left it a ruin.  It disappeared during the 15th century when a fortress was built on the site.

p.32

It is also related that there were illegitimate lights shown by the barbarians of the coasts, who, like the Cornishmen, showed false lights for the purpose of luring passing ships to their destruction.  It is not long since wrecking was a common practice along our south coast, as well as along the coast of Brittany, in France.

    It is related of one of the Breton Counts, St. Lion, that when a jewel was offered to him for purchase, he led the dealer to a window of his castle, and, showing him a rock in the tideway, assured him that the black stone he saw was more valuable than all the jewels in his casket.  More valuable was the harvest of shipwrecks to that ancient Breton, than the much less gainful pursuits of honest industry.

p.34

The passage in Bede ('Hist. Eccles. Gentis Anglorum,'i. cap. xi.) is as follows:—"Habitabant autem [Romani] intra vallum quod Severum trans insulam fecisse commemoravimus, ad plagam Meridianam, quod civitates, farus, pontes, et stratæ, ibidem factæ usque hodie testantur."  The word "faros" has by some been transcribed as "foxes" or "fang;" but the best writers make the proper reading to be "farus."

p.35

Sed et t in litore oceani ad Meridiem quo naves eorum habe- bantur, quia et inde Barbarorum inruptio timebatur, turres per intervalla ad prospectum marls collocant, et valedicunt sociis tanquam ultra non reversuri. (Bede, 'Hist. Eccles. Gent. Angl.,' i. cap. ;ii.)

p.37

Rev. Isaac Taylor, 'Words and Places,' p.393.

p.38

William Lambarde, 'Perambulation of Kent,' p. 183.

p.39

Rot. Patent, 45 Henry III.  In an ordinance made in the reign of Henry III. for settling disputes between the Cinque Ports and the inhabitants of Yarmouth, it was declared that the bailiffs of the Barons of the Ports should receive the two pence from the masters of the ships, for sustaining the fires at the accustomed places, for the safety of vessels arriving by night, so long as they maintained the fires; but, if they failed to do so, the Provost of Yarmouth might receive the pence and maintain the fires.  (Jenkes 'Charters of the Cinque Ports,' 1728, p.14.)

p.40

Holloway's 'History of Romney Marsh,' p.119.—It has been stated that Dungeness Light was first projected by a Mr. Allen, a goldsmith of Rye, in the time of James I.  But it will be observed that the Light existed long before that date.  The present lighthouse was erected in 1792, at the sole expense of the Earl of Leicester, after the model of the lighthouse built by Smeaton at Eddystone.  Previous to that time, the light consisted of a raised platform, on which a pile of coals lay burning.

p.41

Nall, 'Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft,' p. 721.

p.43-1

See 'Life of Smeaton.'

p.43-2

'Travels of Cosmo the Third, Grand Duke of Tuscany; through England' (1668-9).  London, 1821.

p.44

The tower of Hadley Church, near Chipping Barnet in Middlesex, was similarly used in ancient times, but as a land beacon.  The iron cage in which the pitch-pot was placed is still there.  It is said that a lamp used formerly to be hung from the old steeple of All Saints, York, for the purpose of guiding travellers at night over the forest of Galtres, and the hook of the pulley by which the lamp was raised is still in its place.  Lantern lights were also hung from the steeple of Bow Church, London, Stowe says, "whereby travellers to the City might have the better sight thereof, and not miss their way."

p.48-1

There are numerous bridges in England at places called Stratford or Stretford—literally the ford on the street or road, the ford being afterwards superseded by the bridge.

p.48-2

Oxenford was the spot at which the Thames, then called the Isis, was most easily fordable for cattle.—H. Brandreth, Esq., in 'Archæologia,' vol. xxvii. 97.

p.49

Ed.—probably not as old as thought by Smiles, "clapper bridges" are believed to date mostly from medieval and later times.  Formed from large flat slabs of stone supported on stone piers or resting on the banks of streams, they are found on the moors of Devon (Dartmoor and Exmoor) and in other upland areas of the United Kingdom including Snowdonia and Anglesey.  That shown—at Postbridge on Dartmoor—was built to facilitate the transportation of tin by pack horses to the stannary town of Tavistock.  First recorded in 1380, its stone slabs are over four metres (13ft) long, two metres (6 ft 6 in) wide and weigh over eight tons each.  Lying immediately adjacent to the B3212, roughly midway between Princetown and Moretonhampstead, the bridge is a popular tourist attraction.

p.52

Mr. Wright is, however, of opinion that some of the Roman bridges in England had arches; and he says Mr. Roach Smith has pointed out a very fine semicircular arched bridge over the little river Cock, near its entrance into the Wharfe, about half-a-mile below Tadcaster, on the Roman road leading southward from that town (the ancient Calcarix), which he considered to be Roman.  The masonry of this bridge is massive, and remarkably well preserved; the stones are carefully squared and sharply cut, and in some of them the mason's mark, an R, is distinctly visible.  The roadway was very narrow. ('The Celt, the Roman and the Saxon,' 2nd Ed., p. 187.)

p.54

In the 'Life of St. Swithin' (Arundel MSS., B. M., 169), it is stated:—"Unde factum est, ut necessitate exigence de spiritualibus ad forinseca exiens utilitati communi civium sicut semper et aliquando provideret, pontemque ad orientalem portam civitatis arcubus lapideis opere non leviter ruituro construeret."
    The MS. is a 'Life of St. Swithin ;' probably of the eleventh century.
    The Life of St. Swithin in the 'Acta Sanctorum' (eleventh century); the Metrical Life (thirteenth century); and the Life in Caxton's Golden Legend, contain the above passage, or paraphrases of it.

p.55

The famous bridge at Croyland is the greatest curiosity in Britain, if not in Europe.  It is of a triangular form, rising from three segments of a circle, and meeting at a point at top.  It seems to have been built under the direction of the abbots, rather to excite admiration and furnish a pretence for granting indulgences and collecting money, than for any real use; for though it stands in a bog, and must have cost a vast sum, yet it is so steep in its ascent and descent that neither carriages nor horsemen can get over it. ('History and Antiquities of Croyland Abbey.'  Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica, No. II.)

p.57

Ed.—Trinity (or "triangular") bridge has three stairways that converge at the top.  Built between 1360 and 1390 it originally spanned the rivers that flowed through the town of Crowland, Lincolnshire, but these have been re-routed and the bridge now stands in the town centre, a relic to past times.

p.58-1

Probably the last toll was imposed on the bodies of Jews, in progress of removal for interment in a Jewish burying-ground situated to the eastward of the bridge.

p.58-2

'Corporation of the City of London Journals,' 21 fol. 58 b., 20th July, 1580.

p.60

How this tradition could have originated does not appear.  The bridge is very lofty, and of excellent workmanship.  It consists of three semicircular ribbed arches, the centre one being much higher than the others.  The roadway is, however, inconveniently narrow, like all the old bridges.  It is evidently of the Norman period, and the erection of a very clever architect.

p.62

It is said he had great difficulty in securing foundations, owing to the sandy nature of the ground, until he had recourse to "packs of wool."  The same tradition was handed down as to London Bridge.  The meaning is, that the vicar raised the requisite money by means of a tax on wool.

p.63

The foundations seem to have been obtained in the then usual manner, by throwing loose rubble and chalk into the river, and surrounding the several heaps with huge starlings, which occupied a very large part of the waterway, and consequently presented a serious obstruction to the navigation of the Medway.

p.65-1

Sir J. Cullum's 'History of Hawsted.'

p.65-2

De Quincey, in his 'Autobiographic Sketches,' says he has known of a case, even in the nineteenth century, where a post-chaise of the common narrow dimensions was obliged to retrace its route for fourteen miles on coming to a bridge in Cumberland built in some remote age when as yet post-chaises were neither known nor anticipated, and, unfortunately, too narrow by three or four inches to enable the vehicle to pass.

p.68

A tourist in North Wales says:—"While standing on the bridge, admiring the beautiful scenery, two or three men came and asked in broken English, whether 'I would like to have a shake.'  On inquiry I found that the bridge will strongly vibrate by a person striking his back forcibly against the parapet of the centre arch."  (Parry's 'Cambrian Mirror,' p 134.)

p.70

The tradition is, that John Overy rented the ferry of the City, and what with hard work, great gains, and penurious living, he became exceedingly rich.  His daughter Mary, beautiful and of a pious disposition, was sought in marriage by a young gallant, who was rather more ambitious of being the ferryman's heir than his son-in-law.  It is related that the ferryman, in one of his fits of usury, formed a scheme of feigning himself dead for twenty-four hours, in the expectation that his servants would, out of propriety, fast until after his funeral.  He was accordingly laid out as dead, his daughter consenting to the plan, against her better judgment.  The servants, instead of fasting as the ferryman had anticipated, broke open the larder and fell to banqueting, until the dead man could bear it no longer, but rose up in his winding-sheet to rate them.  At this, one of the ferrymen, thinking it was the devil who stood before them, seized the butt-end of a broken oar and brained John Overy on the spot.  Mary Overy's gallant, hearing of the news, rode up to town in all haste from the country; but his horse stumbling, he was thrown, and "brake his neck."  On which, Mary Overy is said to have founded the church which still bears her name, and made over her possessions to the college of priests which was there and then established.

p.72

Stowe was of this opinion.  See his 'Survey.'  See also Dr. Wallis to Pepys, Oct. 24th, 1699, 'Pepys's Diary,' v. 375.  For much antiquarian information on this and all other points relating to the structure, see Thompson's 'Chronicles of Old London Bridge,' a singularly curious book.

p.79

'City of London Records, jor. 45, 423.

p.80

'Debates of the House of Commons, from the Year 1667 to 1694.'  Collected by the Hon. A. Grey.  London, 1769.

p.83

The disadvantage of the semicircular arch was that, though self-contained, it necessarily led to a great rise in the road over the bridge, which was thus steep at both sides.  By means of the flat elliptical arch this disadvantage was obviated, and more water-way was afforded with less rise in the bridge.  But greater science was required to construct bridges of this sort, as the strength mainly depended upon the abutments, which bore the lateral pressure.  When the span was extensive, and the arches of considerable flatness, the greatest care was also required in the selection of the stone, which must necessarily be capable of resisting the severest compression.

p.96

'The Scenery, Antiquities, and Biography of South Wales.'  By Benjamin Heath Malkin, Esq., M.A., F.A.S 1807.  Vol. i. p.144.

p.102

Whitaker's Thoresby, 'Loidis and Elmete,' p. 89.

p.103-1

This is clear from an allusion made by Thoresby to an Act passed in 1714, regulating the manufacture of broad-cloth, by which the length was increased from four or six-and-twenty to sixty and even seventy yards, "to the great oppression," says Thoresby, both of man and beast in carriage."

p.103-2

Smeaton's 'Reports,' vol. iii. p.410.  Mr. Smeaton says that before the invention of rail or waggon roads at Newcastle, "all the Coals that were carried down to the ships must have been conveyed on horses' backs."  What was called "a bowl of coals," was reckoned a horse-load; and in Yorkshire (where the first waggon-way was laid within Smeaton's recollection) the load of coals and the "horse-pack" were readily substituted the one for the other.

p.104-1

Brockett's 'Glossary of North Country Words.'  Newcastle, 1825.

p.104-2

The principal buildings shown in the above view of Leeds, about the time when Smeaton was born, are the Parish Church (described by Thoresby as "black, but comely"), St. John's Church, and Call Lane Chapel.

p.105

An eminent clock and watch-maker in the Strand, afterwards Smeaton's partner in the Deptford Waterworks.  His 'Short Narrative of the Genius, Life, and Works of the late Mr. John Smeaton, C.E., F.R.S.' published in 1793, contains the gist of nearly all the notices of Smeaton's life which have since been published though it is but a meagre account of only a few pages in length.

p.112

Twenty years later, he gave this air-pump to Dr. Priestley, who found it so excellent that he brought it into public notice.  It enabled him to rarify air more than 400 times. (Rutt, 'Life of Priestley,' i. 78 and 223.)

p.116

The private lights first erected—amongst which were those on Dungeness, the Skerries (off the Isle of Anglesey), the Eddystone, Harwich, Wintertonness and Orfordness, Hunstanton Cliff, &c.—have all been purchased by the Trinity Board, some of them at very large prices.  The revenue of the Skerries Light alone, previous to its purchase by the Trinity House, amounted to about £20,000 a year.

p.117-1

'Narrative of the Building and a Description of the Construction, of the Eddystone Lighthouse with Stone.'  By John Smeaton, Civil Engineer, F.R.S.  Second Edition. London, 1813.

p.117-2

They continued to be exhibited for some time after Mr. Winstanley's death.  See 'Tatler' for September, 1709.

p.123

Mr. Smeaton says that the instrument now called the Lewis, though an invention of old date, was for the first time made use of by Rudyerd in fixing his iron branches firmly to the rock.  "Mr. Rudyerd's method," he says, "of keying and securing, must be considered as a material accession to the practical part of engineering, as it furnishes us with a secure method of fixing ring-bolts and eye-bolt stanchions, &c., not only in rocks of any known hardness, but into piers, moles, &c., that have been already constructed, for the safe mooring of ships, or fixing additional works whether of stone or wood."  (Smeaton's 'Narrative,' p.22.)

p.125

An anecdote is told of a circumstance which occurred during its erection, so creditable to Louis XIV., then King of France, that we repeat it here.  There being war at the time between France and England, a French privateer took the opportunity of one day seizing the men employed upon the rock, and carrying them off prisoners to France.  But the capture coming to the ears of the King, he immediately ordered that the prisoners should be released and sent back to their work with presents, declaring, that, though he was at war with England, he was not at war with mankind; and, moreover, that the Eddystone Lighthouse was so situated as to be of equal service to all nations having occasion to navigate the channel that divided France from England.  (Smeaton's 'Narrative,' p.28)

p.126

The employment of a lighthouse keeper was very healthy.  There was always a large number of candidates for any vacant office, probably of the same class to which pike-keepers belong.  They must have been naturally morose, and perhaps slightly misanthropic; for Mr. Smeaton relates that, some visitors having once landed at the rock, one of them observed to the light-keeper how comfortably they might live there in a state of retirement:—"Yes," replied the man, "very comfortably if we could have the use of our tongues; but it is now a full month since my partner and I have spoken a word to each other!"

p.127

It appears that a post-mortem examination of one of the light-keepers (who died from injuries received during the fire) took place some thirteen days after its occurrence, and a flat oval piece of lead, some seven ounces in weight, was taken out of his stomach, having proved the cause of his death.

p.130

Ed.—"Smeaton's Tower" is the third Eddystone Lighthouse; it marked a major advance in lighthouse design, remaining in use until 1877 when it was discovered that the rocks upon which it stood were becoming eroded.  Each time the lighthouse was struck by a large wave it would shake from side to side. The lighthouse—seen here in Lewis Clark's photograph—was "largely" dismantled and rebuilt on Plymouth Hoe, in the city of Plymouth, as a memorial to Smeaton.

    Lewis Clark says that "While in use, Smeaton's lighthouse was 59 feet (18 metres) in height, and had a diameter at the base of 26 feet (8 metres) and at the top of 17 feet (5 metres).  The foundations and stub of the old tower remain on the Eddystone Rocks, situated close to the new (and more solid) foundations of the current lighthouse; they proved too strong to be dismantled so the Victorians left them where they stood (the irony of this lighthouse is that although the previous two were destroyed, this one proved to be stronger than the rock upon which it was built and could not even be intentionally taken apart)."

p.131

Smeaton's 'Narrative,' &c., p. 38.

p.135

His son, William Jessop, the engineer, became a pupil of Smeaton's, and afterwards rose to great eminence in the profession.

p.136

The work-yard eventually fixed upon was in a field adjacent to Mill Bay, situated about midway between Plymouth and Devonport, behind Drake's Island.

p.142

Smeaton had considerable difficulty in finding a room with a floor sufficiently large on which to fit all the moulds together in the order in which they were to be permanently fixed.  The engineer applied to the Mayor of Plymouth for the use of the Guildhall for the purpose, but he was refused on the pretence that the chalk-lines would spoil the floor.  He was also refused the use of the Assembly-rooms for some similar reason.  But at length, by taking down a partition in the coopers' workshops, he was eventually enabled to effect his purpose, without exposing himself to further refusals from the local magnates.

p.143

'Philosophical Transactions,' I. 198.

p.144

The sloping form of the rock, to which the foundation of the building was adapted, required only this small number of stones for the lower course; the diameter of the work increasing until it reached the upper level of the rock.  Thus the second course consisted of thirteen pieces, the third of twenty-five, and so on.

p.153

Since the issue of the first edition of this work, a relative of the late General the Hon. Henry Murray, K.C.B., Lieutenant-Governor of Plymouth, has sent us the following extract from a letter of his written in 1848, relative to the stability of Smeaton's lighthouse:—"I heard a curious thing mentioned the other day, but it was on good authority.  Mr. Walker, the Harbour Master of Plymouth, has to make an annual inspection of the Eddystone Lighthouse.  Not long ago, it struck him as a thing to be ascertained, whether the building was exactly perpendicular.  For this purpose he let fall a plummet, and found that the building was a quarter-of-an-inch off the perpendicular, towards the North-east side.  This he thought an alarming thing, as it might be the symptom of a settlement taking place in the foundation.  I believe he made a report upon the subject.  But happening to look into a 'Life of Smeaton,' who constructed the Lighthouse, he found a record in his diary or journal to this effect: 'This day, the Eddystone Lighthouse has, thank God, been completed.  It is, I believe, perfect; except that it inclines a quarter-of-an-inch from the perpendicular towards the North-East;' thus, in the long lapse of time since it was built, it stands precisely as it stood at the moment of its completion."

p.154

At first the men appointed as light-keepers were much alarmed by the fury of the waves during storms.  The year after the light was exhibited, the sea raged so furiously that for twelve days together it dashed over the lighthouse, so that the men could not open the door of the lantern.  In a letter addressed to Mr. Jessop by the man who visited the rock after such a storm, he says :"The house did shake as if a man had been up in a great tree.  The old men were almost frightened out of their lives, wishing they had never seen the place, and cursing those that first persuaded them to go there.  The fear seized them in the back, but rubbing them with oil of turpentine gave them relief."  Since then, custom has altogether banished fear from the minds of the lighthouse keepers.  The men become so attached to their home, that Smeaton mentions the case of one of them who was even accustomed to give up to his companions his turn for going on shore.

p.155-1

A seaman of great experience who furnished us with the statement of the lights seen in going "up Channel" in 1862 (for several alterations may have occurred since then), makes the following observations:—"I ought to say, with feelings of deep gratitude, that, notwithstanding every precaution of soundings, &c., I have, on two occasions, saved my ship by means of the Eddystone light; and, without its star gleaming through the darkness, all on board must inevitably have perished.  This occurred at a time when I felt thoroughly master of my profession, had first-rate officers by my side, and a splendid crew and ship; yet, had Smeaton failed to erect his lighthouse, our lot must have been a watery grave."

p.155-2

Ed.—The fourth Eddystone lighthouse is operated by Trinity House.  Designed by James Douglass using Robert Stevenson's developments of Smeaton's techniques, the light was lit in 1882 and is still in use, although automated since 1982.  The tower has been altered by the construction of a helipad above the lantern to allow maintenance crews access.  Technical details (as of Aug. 2009) are as follows:


Position: Lat. 50° 10’.80N    Long. 04° 15’.90W
Height of tower: 51 metres.
Height of light above Mean High Water: 41 metres.
Intensity: 570,000 candle power (Lamp: 70 watts): Range: 24 miles.
Light Characteristics: White, Group Flashing twice every
        10 seconds.
Subsidiary Fixed Red Light covers a 17 degree arc
        marking a dangerous reef called the Hands Deep.
Fog Signal: Super Tyfon sounding three times every 60 seconds.
Automatic Light: Serviced via Helicopter Platform.

Eddystone Lighthouse is monitored and controlled from the Trinity House Operations Control Centre at Harwich in Essex.

p.156

Since the first edition of this work appeared, the Wolf Rock Lighthouse has been erected on a dangerous rock, situated seven miles south-west of Land's End, and about 22 miles from the Scilly Islands on one side, and the Lizard Point on the other.  The extreme height of the masonry of the tower is 116 feet 6 inches, the lantern being 19 feet high, and 14 feet diameter.  The lighthouse was erected after the plans of the late James Walker, C.E.

p.160

It may, however, be questioned whether the trade of England did make progress during the twelve years ending 1762; for we find that, although the value of the cargoes exported increased about a million sterling during that period, the quantity exported was less by 60,000 tons.  (See 'Chalmers's Estimate,' p. 131.)

p.161

Ed.—by the beginning of the 18th century, the Aire and Calder Navigation had made the River Calder navigable as far upstream as Wakefield.

    The aim of the Calder and Hebble Canal was to extend navigation west (upstream) from Wakefield to Sowerby Bridge near Halifax.  Construction began in 1759, although progress was hindered through lack of funds, with sections being completed at different times under (variously) the direction of Smeaton, Brindley and Smeaton's former pupil, William Jessop.  The initial phase of development to Sowerby Bridge was completed in 1770, although further development continued into the 19th century. 

    The canal, used by commercial traffic until the 1980s, was never closed and is today a popular waterway for canal cruising in the Penines.  It runs for 21 miles from from Wakefield (junction with the Aire and Calder Navigation) upstream via Mirfield (junction with the Huddersfield Broad Canal) to Sowerby Bridge (junction with the Rochdale Canal).  Other towns on the navigation are Horbury, Ossett, Dewsbury, Brighouse, and Elland.  The Branch to Halifax is no longer navigable, except for a stub now known as the Salterhebble Arm.

p.168-1

'Encyclopedia Metropolitana,' vii. 139.

p.168-2

Ed.—contrary to what Smiles says, Smeaton built two other bridges in England (that I'm aware of) that survive; the Queensbury Bridge (1775) and the Ornamental Bridge (1777), both of which span the River Avon at Amesbury, Wiltshire.

    The Queensbury Bridge is a masonry structure of 105ft, comprising five spans, symmetrically arranged, the centre span measuring 15ft.  The arches are segmental and spring just above water level from low, pointed piers. Solid masonry parapets run parallel across the water, inclining downwards only over the bankside arches. The roadway, originally the main London to Devon carriageway, is 18ft wide and now carries only local traffic.  The Ornamental Bridge—Smeaton's sole classical design—is a masonry footbridge built for the Duke of Queensberry as part of his private park.  Three semi-elliptical arches spring from halfway up masonry piers, standing 18ft 6in apart.  The shape of the arches is set off by a moulded cornice on the voussoirs.  The parapet is ballustraded.  The roadway is gated at one end, between plain, square masonry gate towers.

p.168-3

It may be worthy of remark that John Gwin, the person recommended by Smeaton to conduct the trial borings for the foundations, took with him two experienced men from England to conduct the works, stipulating that they should each receive wages at the rate of 14s. a week.

p.170

The traces of the wall and ditch of Antoninus, are still extremely distinct at many places between Boroughstoness and Glasgow—more particularly at Kirkintillock and Castlecary.

p.171

Ed.—The Forth and Clyde was the first canal to be built in Scotland, linking its two major waterways for trade and transport and providing an additional three-mile (5 km) branch to central Glasgow at Port Dundas.  Created to accommodate sea-going vessels, its 39 locks are over 18m (60 feet) long and nearly 6m (20 feet) wide; its highest point of 48m (156 feet) is between Banknock (Wyndford Lock) and Glasgow (Maryhill). Construction started in 1768 and after delays due to funding problems was completed in 1790.  Between 1789 and 1803 the canal was used for trials of William Symington's steamboats, culminating in the Charlotte Dundas, the "first practical steamboat".

The Union Canal, opened 1822, extended canal navigation a further 31½ miles to Edinburgh.  Originally used for transporting coal, competition from the railways eventually led to closure to commercial use in the 1930s, and the locks connecting the Union and Forth and Clyde canals at Falkirk were filled in and built over.  A similar fate led to the Forth and Clyde Canal being abandoned in 1963.  However, as part of the Millennium celebrations in 2000, National Lottery funds were used to regenerate both canals.  An ingenious boat lift, the "Falkirk Wheel", was built to reconnect the two canals, and to allow boats once more to travel from the Forth to the Clyde.

p.172

Sheet-piling consists of a row of timbers driven firmly side by side into the earth, and is used for the protection of foundation-walls or piers from the effects of water. Cast iron is now employed in many cases for the same purpose, instead of timber.

p.173

The author endeavoured to obtain an inspection of this long-disused apparatus, for the purposes of this work, in the autumn of 1858; but the reply of the manager was, "Na, na, it canna be allooed—we canna be fashed wi' straingers here."  Burns, the poet, also attempted, in vain, to visit Carron Works in 1787; and afterwards wrote the following lines "on a Window of the Inn at Carron:"—


We cam na here to view your warks
    In hopes to be main wise.
But only, lest we gang to h―,
    It may be nae surprise:
But whan we tirled at your door,
    Your porter dought na hear us;
Sae may, should we to h—'s yetts come,
    Your billy Satan sair us!

p.174

'Reports of the late John Smeaton, F.R.S.'  In 3 vols.  London 1812.  Vol. i., pp. 359, 412.

p.178

Not only is the surface of a fluid mass which passes between two piers, and within any narrowing of the bed in general, raised on the up-stream side, as we have just seen, but it is also lowered in the narrow space, and even a little beyond.  In consequence of the total fall, the water a little below the narrow space possesses a velocity sensibly greater than before.  With this greater velocity, a greater inclination and a less depth, it will more easily reach the bottom, and will there exert a more powerful action.  It will, therefore, be below the contracted way that the current will tend more particularly to hollow out the bed, and to undermine the masonry which confines it.  The contraction which occurs at the entrance of each of the arches of a bridge, occasions there not only one, or, more often, two superficial converging currents, but also, it causes inferior currents, thought to be more rapid and injurious.

p.190-1

Ed.—"Chimney Mill" at Spital Tongues in Newcastle upon Tyne, a Grade II listed building, is the only surviving smock mill (so called because of its resemblance to smocks worn by the farmers of the period) in the Norh East of England; in its original condition it was also the first 5-sailed smock mill in Britain. The two-storey brick front has a central bracketed door canopy and irregular windows.  Above the main building is what remains of the original mill, a tapering octagonal structure covered in weatherboard with a wooden gallery and diamond-shaped windows in alternate bays. The mill, used until 1872, is now greatly altered, the sails having been removed in the 1920s and the cap replaced with modern boarding in the 1950s.

p.190-2

Farey's 'Treatise on the Steam-engine,' p. 134.

p.194

The following are the papers read by him before the Royal Society, in addition to those previously mentioned:—'Discourse concerning the Menstrual Parallax, arising from the mutual gravitation of the earth and moon, its influence on the observation of the sun and planets, with a method of observing it;' read before the Royal Society May 12th, 1768.—'Description of a new method of observing the heavenly bodies out of the meridian;' read May 16th, 1768.—'Observation of a Solar Eclipse, made at the Observatory at Austhorpe;' read June 4th, 1769.—'A description of a new hygrometer, by Mr. J. Smeaton, F.R.S.;' read March 21st, 1771.—'An experimental examination of the quantity and proportion of mechanic power necessary to be employed in giving different degrees of velocity to heavy bodies from a state of rest;' read April 25th, 1776.—'New fundamental experiments on the collision of bodies;' read April 18th, 1782—'Observations on the graduation of astronomical instruments;' read November 17th, 1785.—'Account of an observation of the right ascension and declination of Mercury out of the meridian, near his greatest elongation, September, 1786, made by Mr. John Smeaton, with an equatorial micrometer of his own invention and workmanship, accompanied with an investigation of a method of allowing for refraction in such kind of observations;' read June 27th, 1787.—'Description of an improvement in the application of the quadrant of altitude to a celestial globe, for the resolution of problems dependent on azimuth and altitude;' read November loth, 1788.—'Description of a new hygrometer ;' read before the same Society.

p.195

The lathe stands on three legs, which are fastened together in such a way that they, as well as the rest of the framework, are still as firm as if they had been only just made, and yet the machine has been in use ever since Smeaton made it.  The fly-wheel is of dark walnut-wood, and slightly inclines from the perpendicular, by which the driving-cord is allowed to be crossed and to play with a greater amount of friction on the other wheels.  The metal-work is of brass, iron, and steel, all nicely finished ; and the whole is very compact, curious, and thoroughly Smeaton-like.

p.198-1

James Watt writes:—"When I was in London in 1785, I was received very kindly by Mr. Cavendish and Dr. Blagden, and my old friend Smeaton, who has recovered his health, and seems hearty.  I dined at a turtle feast with them, and the Select Club of the Royal Society; and never was turtle eaten with greater sobriety and temperance, or more good fellowship."  ('Rise and Progress of the Royal Society Club.' 1860.)

p.198-2

It is stated in a recent work, edited by the learnèd Recorder of Birmingham, M. D. Hill, Esq., entitled 'Our Exemplars,' that "Smeaton was for several years an active member of Parliament, and many useful bills are the result of his exertions. . . . His speeches were always heard with attention, and carried conviction to the minds of his auditors."  This must, however, be a mistake, as Smeaton was never in Parliament, except for the purpose of giving engineering evidence before committees; and, instead of being eloquent, Mr. Playfair says he was very embarrassed even in ordinary conversation.

p.199

Mr. Holmes's 'Short Narrative,' p.15.

p.201-1

Letter written by Mrs. Dixon, daughter of the engineer, to the Committee of Civil Engineers, dated 30th October, 1797 relative to the life and character of her deceased father.  (Smeaton's 'Reports,' i. 28.)

p.201-2

A year before his death, Mr. Smeaton formally took leave of the profession in the following circular:—"Mr. Smeaton begs leave to inform his friends and the public in general, that having applied himself for a great number of years to the business of a Civil Engineer, his wishes are now to dedicate the chief part of his remaining Time to the Description of the several Works performed under his Direction.  The Account he lately published of the Building of Eddystone Lighthouse of Stone has been so favourably received, that he is persuaded he cannot be of more service to the Public, or show a greater Sense of his Gratitude, than to continue to employ himself in the way now specified.  He therefore flatters himself, that in not yielding to the many applications made to him lately for further Undertakings, but confining himself in future to the Objects above mentioned, and to such occasional Consultations as will not take up much Time, he shall not incur the Disapprobation of his Friends.
    "Gray's Inn, 6th October, 1791,"

p.203

In the Preface to his Eddystone Narrative he says:—"As I speak and write a provincial language, and was not bred to letters, I am greatly obliged to my friends in the country for perusing and abundantly correcting my manuscript."

p.206

The engineer's daughter, who has related these beautiful features in his character, became the wife of Jeremiah Dixon, Esq., at one time mayor of Leeds, afterwards of Fell Foot, Windermere, and an active county magistrate.  She possessed much of the force of character and benevolence of disposition which distinguished her father; and was regarded as a woman of great practical ability.  She survived her husband many years, and during her lifetime built and endowed a free-school for girls at Staveley, about a mile from her residence, which is now, and has been ever since its establishment, of very great benefit to the population of the neighbourhood.  Mrs. Dixon was also an artist of some merit, and painted in oils; the altar-piece and decorated Ten Commandments now in Staveley church being of her execution.

p.207

One of Smeaton's rules was, never to trust to deductions drawn from theory in any case where there was an opportunity for actual experiment.  "In my own practice," he said, "almost every successive case would have required an independent theory of its own.  In my intercourse with mankind I have always found those who would thrust theory into practical matters to be, at bottom, men of no judgment, and pure quacks."

p.208

Since the first edition of this work appeared, a correspondent has sent us a copy of a letter written by Mr. Smeaton, on the 4th of August, 1792, alluding to the extraordinary disease under which he laboured at that time.  Mr. Smeaton says:—"I am obliged by your inquiries after my health, but unless the dreadful disorder in my stomach can be effectually removed, which consists in an over quick digestion, and is medically called the Fames Carina, I believe my mental faculties will be of little further use.  The length of time I was kept in tow by the Ramsgate Bill last spring, so thoroughly confirmed the disorder, that all the relief I have ever since found, by riding on horseback in my native air, seems to make but very slow progress towards a cure. . . . P.S.—You will scarcely be able to conceive what a task it has been to get this letter written."



[Footnotes con't.]

 



[Home] [Up] [James Brindley] [The Stephensons] [Boulton and Watt] [Metcalfe & Telford] [Invention & Industry] [Brief Biographies] [Self Help] [Miscellanea] [Main Index] [Site Search]

Correspondence should be addressed to.... Webmaster@Gerald-Massey.org.uk