Paths into Public Transport

By year 1800 our small hamlet called Hucknall-under-Huthwaite had emerged having slowly gained an estimated 500 residents. Horse traffic example Detailed commercial directories begin listing known farmers, simply indicating vast majority of folk represented poorer dependent labourers, who'd grown fully reliant upon any available farm work. Tied employment could at least feed a family with sheltered keep.

Confined by long hours and walking distance of work, they were given parish employment by a few wealthier land owners and resident gentry. Foreseeing little need, hope or funds for gaining regular public transport beyond Shanks's pony. Horse owners required grazing plus stabling, leaving well trodden roads open for personal transportation largely by those of land owning status, whose needs for adding either basic cart or a carriage would suitably befit a traders role or rural community standing.

General travel needs and methods of conveyance had changed very little over the centuries since midland farmers began working these fields. Cheaply employing manual labourers, they still relied upon choice of oxen, pony or horse for heavier haulage before carting communal produce between larger town markets.

Following Industrious Roads

New mechanical innovations fed Britains industrial revolution and its booming population. Changes that outgrew existing rural life also bringing demands for introducing alternative supporting employment. Cotton manufacturing achieved regional spread for introducing knitting frames into a major cottage industry. Wind and water mills powered momentum for speeding through that industrious 19th century into large factories turned by steam. Fuelled from ever deeper coal reserves invited more miners into the largest Hucknall Huthwaite colliery, built around which this growing social community would later require transportation.

Company hired carrier carts drafted in factory workers. Most families simply arrived on foot from both near and far looking for full regular employment offered by New Hucknall Colliery. Before reaching 20th century modernisation this Huthwaite township had become an established mining community. Local shop front traders and public services added diversity in employment, bringing some broader trade along busier business roads. Connections forged along those paths would progressively see passengers following.

Our remote midlands situation primarily demanded links between those towns that had served greatest historic influence. In descending size and importance they each gained their own public transport that stretched busy national communications. Centering trade and commerce through the London capital was where its highest ruling powers afforded necessary connections between all the county courts and administrative offices. Nottingham built up that importance, defensively sited upon the large Trent river that provided our nearest sea link. The market town of Mansfield founded along the river Maun had seated the main overruling manor and local court broadly spanning smallest parish divisions. Huthwaite itself formed a secondary villa, closely tied and lay within ancient Sutton-in-Ashfield parish boundaries.

Broader business connections did also cross from neighbouring Derbyshire, sharing mutual interests between those Nottinghamshire destinations. Links became vastly improved when finding methods for transporting far heavier cargos. Constructing inland waterways proved highly efficient until those canal paths became superceded by cheaper tram roads and then faster railways. Closing distances and speeding through congested towns set tracks for rising passenger numbers, although discovering influence first laying out our modern public transport routes could begin a few thousand years before.


Written 26 Oct 02 Revised 19 Feb 08 © by Gary Elliott