Contemporary accounts relating to the construction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway
There are a number of contemporary (or near contemporary) sources relating to the contruction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway between 1869 and 1876 and some of these can be accessed via the internet. This webpage summarises and provide links to the online material identified / uploaded so far.
Copyright expired books
A number of 'out of copyright' books have been digitised and made available for download via the internet. These include:
Williams, Frederick Smeeton
"The Midland railway: its rise and progress. A narrative of modern enterprise"
Published by Strahan & Co London in 1876
726 pages (including covers)
The pdf version is 42Mb, so the download may take a while, even if using a fast broadband connection.
Stretton, Clement Edwin
"The history of the Midland railway"
Published by Methuen & co, London in 1901
This has a chapter on the Settle-Carlisle Line which starts on page 209.
Thomson, J. Radford
"Guide to the district of Craven and the Settle and Carlisle Railway, with illustrations"
Published in London by Simpkin, Marshall, & Co.; and F. Warne & Co.;
and in Settle by H. Gore (1879)
The chapter on the Settle-Carlisle line is Ch 10 which starts on page 79.
Primary source research made available online via the FoSCL website
In 1989, the well-known author W.R. Mitchell published a book entitled “How they built the Settle-Carlisle railway” (published by Castleberg in 1989, reprinted in 2001). The text of this book consists almost entirely of contemporary accounts relating to the construction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway between 1869 and 1878. These accounts provide a fascinating insight into the construction process and the lives (and deaths) of the construction workers (i.e. the navvies) and their families. On 20th March 2014, Dr Mitchell kindly granted Mark Harvey (on behalf of the SCRCA Project Team and the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line - a.k.a. FoSCL) permission to reproduce these extracts subject to the inclusion of a suitable acknowledgement. In order to make this invaluable material as widely accessible as possible, the extracts are gradually being uploaded as a series of 'History Posts' on the FoSCL website. The extracts uploaded so far can be found on the following pages:
- How they built the Settle-Carlisle railway: A - Foreword and Introduction
- How they built the Settle-Carlisle railway: B - Preamble
- How they built the Settle-Carlisle railway: C - Contract 1
- The rest will be uploaded as and when time permits.
Long-standing FoSCL member Peter Davis has a personal interest in Contract 2 (Dent Head to Kirkby Stephen) as he is the great nephew of Sir Abraham Woodiwiss ( the contractor responsible for constructing this section of the Settle-Carlisle railway. While researching this family connection, Peter made a series of visits to the National Archives at Kew and produced a set of notes that summarise his findings. These notes are available as an attachment to the following History Post: "Extracts from indentures and Minutes of the Northern Construction Committee held at Kew".
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- Guided Walks
The SCRCA Project: Featured Structures
A random selection of structures from the Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area (SCRCA) Project database are shown below. To view a larger version of an image and the relevant 'Structure Summary', click on the image or its caption.