Sunday, September 23, 2012

An 1839 Timetable


In 1839 Wolverton scarcely existed. The first workshop was not ready until September of that year and hardly any houses had been built for the workers. What housing there was were no better than temporary wooden shacks.
The station served the towns of Newport Pagnell and Stony Stratford, and Newport was the larger of the two.
This bill, printed in Newport Pagnell, was probably posted in the Swan Hotel, where you could buy tickets for travel on the railway. Note the rather quaint way times are expressed. A train leaves at 1/4 before 7 in the morning and arrives in London at 3/4 past nine. It seems that time expressions such as 6:45 am had yet to be invented.  The journey times vary from Wolverton to London from 2 3/4 hours to 3 1/4 hours - slow by our standards, but an unheard of speed in 1839.
The printer has also not found a way to present timetables in a clear format. The first and second columns list departure times from Wolverton and arrival times in London in no obvious order and uses the third column to list departures to Birmingham in the top part of the column and arrival times at Curzon Street in the lower group.

2 comments:

Greg Collard said...

I didn't realise that the station was originally known as "Wolverton Central". Was this a printing error or do other documents exist using this nomenclature?

Bryan Dunleavy said...

As far as the London and Birmingham Railway was concerned the station was simply Wolverton. I thought this timetable was interesting because obviously the people of Newport Pagnell regarded the station as "central" between Newport and Stony Stratford. All of those first stations on the line were some distance from thetowns they were intended to serve. Even today Tring station is still a long way from the town, for example.