Review of primary source material at the National Archives (Kew): SCR Construction - Contract 1


The notes below were produced by Peter G. Davies during a series of visits to The National Archives (Kew, Richmond, Surrey) and were derived from a variety of original sources, including indentures and Minutes of the Northern Construction Committee.

The notes are reproduced here with the kind permission of Peter G. Davies and with full acknowledgement to The National Archives, Kew. The notes formatted in italics are direct quotes from the original source material.

Contract No. 1.

Indenture dated 1869. (Contract signed 13th August, 1869.)

John Ashwell, The Retreat, Kentish Town, County of Middlesex.
The distance of the contract is from one and half miles south of Settle Station near Cleatop Barn to the Marble Works on the road from Hawes to Dent.
Payment of Bond by the Contractor £34,832
Sureties for the Bond – John Kitchin of Sheffield and John Vickes of Buxton.


Midland Railway allowed to make alterations to the works as legally agreed under the Railways Clauses Consolidation Act 1845.
Work to commence fourteen days after compulsory purchase of the land by the Midland Railway.
The Contractor is required to pay for repairing roads. Midland Railway allowed to deduct any expenses or payment of compensation to landowners and this to be deducted from work which has already been completed.
The Contractor has to supply details of the number of artificers and other workmen and labourers, horses, engines, wagons and other plant as required by the Midland Railway Company – the contractor to pay £20 of any details which are not provided.
Wages are to be paid every fourteen days in offices provided by the Contractor.
The Contractor has the power to discharge any sub-contractors without being liable to any claim for loss.
Accommodation for the workforce has to be provided at the contractors expense. The Midland Railway Company may provide accommodation at the contractors expense and the rent retained by the Midland Railway Company if the contactor refuses to provide the cottages.
The contractor may not provide any articles of consumption to the workforce and for every breach of this ruling £100 will be deducted from any payment to the contractor by the Midland Railway Company.
The contractor is required to provide and pay for such number of Policemen as may be required. A fine of £100 is payable if this requirement is forfeited.
Every accident or death to be notified to the Engineer and in default the sum of £50 will be payable to the Midland Railway Company. The contractor is required to indemnify the company against personal injury.


Materials considered by the Engineer to be inferior to be removed immediately. Materials provided must correspond to the specification. Inferior materials must be removed within two days and expenses for the removal to be deducted from payment to the Contractor.


If the company or engineer considers work to be inferior it shall be taken down. In default the company may contract the same at the contractors’ expense. The contractor to make good any deficiency on demand. The company is required to complete the work by contract or otherwise in the event of insolvency. Materials, horses, wagons and plant and machinery to become the property of the company. The contractor is required to pay the deficiency on demand. Materials are not to be removed by the contractor and the company not to be held liable for any loss or damage due to the weather.


Permanent way materials, rails and sleepers are to be delivered to Settle Station and the contractor is to be held liable for any loss or damage, charges and expenses in the event of any delay.


The Midland Railway Company is required to pay the contractor on completion of the work the sum of £348,318. 10s. 2d. subject to any deductions as specified in the contract.
Principal Engineer – John Sydney Crossley.


The contractor has to provide labour and materials except station buildings and permanent way materials. The distance in mileage of the contract is 17 miles 10 chains. The railway is to be staked out. The specification has to be adhered to and alterations are not to affect prices quoted. Completion of the work rests with the contractor.


The plans and sections are believed to be correct. Cuttings to be dealt with at chain lengths and excavations. Agreement as to the length of the cuttings to be between the engineer and the contractor.


Monthly payments to be made to the contractor on the certificate of the engineer subject to a deduction of ten per cent being retained by the company.


Measurements to be agreed on the spot, foundations are to be opened out. The engineer is required to measure it before it is covered up or hidden.


The contractor is required to include all contingencies in his estimate. The engineer may provide another person to carry out the work providing it does not interfere with the work of the contractor.


The contractor is to provide working drawings at his own expense.


Trees and buildings to be removed by the contractor at his own expense. The trees and buildings being the property of the company by compulsory purchase order.


Payments only to be made subject to the satisfaction of the engineer. No interest is to be payable.



The bricks are to be made from good brickearth, uniform sizes, sound hard square – well burnt approved by the engineer. No bricks to be used warm from the kiln until they have been soaked in water and of uniform colour. No differences of workmanship or materials will be allowed between inside and outside work.


No spandrlls or parapets are to be built until the centres are eased quite clear of the arches.


Arches where directed to be built of brickwork shall be bonded in such manner as the engineer may direct. No arch will be allowed to be built in half brick rings.


No brickwork or stonework to be set during frosty weather. All work may be impaired by frost and will need to be rebuilt.


All arches whether or brickwork or stonework shall be coated with boiled tar and mineral pitch or artificial asphalt two inches thick to be laid in three coats so as effectively to exclude water from the work.


Soil to be removed for a depth of six inches and the entire surface to be covered. Spoil to be kept within the companies boundary. Any land damaged beyond the companies boundary will be required to be paid for by the contractor with all costs and charges incident thereto. Three shafts to be sunk with the brickwork nine or fourteen inches thick, Staffordshire blue bricks may be used to line the shafts. Headings are to be six feet by five feet properly and securely timbered to be kept during the progress of the work, open and in safe condition at the level one foot above the foundation level.


The work is to be kept free of water and may consist of walled block. Horses may be used in the extraction of spoil.


To be composed of freshly unburnt hydraulic lime of quality approved by the engineer properly and carefully slaked and covered for eight hours at least, mixed with clear sharp sand or good grit stone, properly ground, well beaten together in the proportion of two of sand or ground grit stone to one of unslaked lime by measure. The least possible quantity of water is to be used in mixing the mortar which is to be tempered in a mill of a construction to be approved by the engineer. No mortar which has become set will be used. For such provisions as may be directed by the engineer mortar shall be used composed of the lime of the country to be approved by the engineer. Unslaked lime one measure, calcined clay one measure, sand one measure with the necessary quantity of water to be completely incorporated by grinding in a mill of approved construction and used fresh from the mill.


Twelve miles of the railway to be laid by the 30th June, 1871 and from there to the end of the contract by 1st May, 1873. Extensions may be granted. The contractor has to maintain the works for one year after the railway is opened to passenger traffic.



All bills for day work to be sent to the engineer’s office in the week succeeding within which the work has been done or the claim will be disallowed. The prices following are to include expenses of all agents, foremen, and timekeepers.
2,000 Navigators and labourers at 3/6 per day - £350
1,500 Bricklayers at 5/- per day £375
1,500 Masons at 5/- per day £375
500 Carpenters at 5/- per day £125
250 Smithers at 4/- per day £50
250 Strikers at 3/- per day £37 10/-
1,000 Miners at 4/- per day £200
300 Platelayers at 3/6 per day £52.10
600 Boys at 2/- per day £60
200 One horse cart and driver at 8/- per day £80
100 Two horses cart and driver 14/- per day £70


Folio    Fences and Gates 9,350. 8s. 0d. 3
6 Earthworks)
8 Excavations) £140,522. 13s. 4d.
9 Excavating Foundations £1,943. 10s. 10d.
10 Brickwork    £6,732 15s. 0d.
12 Stonework    £56,215 0s 0d.
14 Culverts £7,146. 8s. 0d.
15 Concrete £1,625 0s. 0d.
16 Ironwork £6,319. 0s. 0d.
17 Shafts and Heading £21,582 0s. 0d.
18 Tunnel £67,670 0s. 0d.
20 Woodwork £2,166. 17s. 6d.
22 Ballasting and laying permanent way £23,153 15s. 0d.
25 Surface Crossings £328 12s. 6d.
26 Approaches to surface crossings and bridges £417 10s. 0d.
28 Day Work £1,775 0s. 0d.
29 Measurement of works £2070 0s. 0d.
TOTAL £348,318 10s. 2d.

Signed James Ashwell.
James S. Wheeler , Solicitor 10 Park Street, Westminster
This contract cancelled by agreement. Material releases are to be executed if required by either party at the expense of the company. Dated 26th October, 1871.
Signed James S. Wheeler for the Midland Railway Company.

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