Review of primary source material at the National Archives (Kew): SCR Construction - Contract 2


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.


Notes from the Northern Construction Committee Minutes relating to Contract No: 2.

That a scripture reader be appointed to the district occupied by Messrs. Benton and Woodiwiss Contractors and that the Engineer be requested to arrange with Messrs Benton and Woodiwiss to pay half the expense. Mr. James to be requested to arrange with the Committee of the Bradford Town Mission for the services of a scripture reader on the land occupied by Messrs Benton and Woodiwiss at a salary of £100 per annum. It is interesting to note that no free pass was allowed as in the case of James Tiplady on Contract No: 1.

2nd August, 1870.

In Dentdale heavy rain caused the washing away of bridges on the road alongside the River Dee.

4th October, 1870

Smardale Viaduct has not had sufficient masonry carried out. Difficulties were being experienced in laying the foundations for the viaduct because of problems with Scandale Beck.

6th December, 1870

Heavy rain was experienced, six piers had been erected at Smardale Viaduct at a height of nineteen feet. The number of men employed was 1,319.

3rd January, 1871

Smardale Viaduct.
Pier No: 5 is now at a height of sixteen feet. Pier No: 7 has been excavated and work has not continued because of frost.

31st January, 1871.

Cowgill Tunnel is now referred to as Rise Hill.

28th February, 1871.

Further bad weather was experienced.

2nd May, 1871.

Work is progressing on Arten Gill, Ais Gill, and Smardale Viaducts. Further progress was being made with Rise Hill Tunnel. Cow Gill culvert. Difficulties were being experienced with twenty five feet being dug out for the fifth time.

1st August, 1871.

It was reported that there had been a seventy three per cent turnover in the number of staff employed.

3rd October, 1871.

More staff have been employed and there is better progress with Contract No: 2 as a whole. A letter was received from a Wesleyan Minister Rev. William Moister from Sedbergh requesting that the company create a temporary building for public worship for the navvies employed near Garsdale Head. The request was refused.

31st October, 1871.

A letter was received from Benton and Woodiwiss regarding Contract No:1 and Contract No: 2 reminding the Midland Railway Company of the difficulties experienced with the two contracts.

2nd January, 1872.

No progress had been made with the embankment at the Moor Cock, and no work had started on Birkett Tunnel. Nine months were needed to complete the tunnel. On Smardale Viaduct there was an inadequate workforce with only twelve months to complete the viaduct.

1st October, 1872.

The Midland Railway Company agreed to pay a loan of £15,000 to Messrs Benton and Woodiwiss to be repaid at 5% per annum. The security being the plant and machinery owned by Messrs. Benton and Woodiwiss.

3rd December, 1872.

Authorization was given by the Engineer, Mr. Crossley for the construction of a viaduct at the Moor Cock later to be known as Dandry Mire Viaduct.

2nd September, 1873.

Progress was being made at Rise Hill Tunnel.

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