Petition of the Inhabitants of York supporting the bill from the York and Newcastle Railway Company
The address is ‘To the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled’ from ‘the undersigned inhabitants of the City of York and its Vicinity’. The subject is a bill before Parliament from the York and Newcastle Railway Company to improve their main line and make new branches in County Durham. The petition sets out various reasons in four paragraphs requesting ‘that the above mention bill may pass into a Law’. There are approximately 750 signatures on the three sheets of paper lined and ruled in five columns. There are many notable signatures including George Hudson, Robert Stephenson, John Middleton, architect for the Stockton and Darlington Railway, William Reid Clanny, inventor of mining safety lamps, and William Etty, a notable York artist. The petition is undated but is probably from between 1845 and 1855.
In the 1830s the York and North Midland Railway and the Great North of England Railway opened. These lines put York on the line from London, Leeds and Hull to the north. These railways were followed by lines to Scarborough, Market Weighton (later to Beverly) and Harrogate in 1845-1848, and two years later the line reached Edinburgh. York was then established as the most important junction on the East Coast route to Scotland south of Newcastle.
These railway lines were supported by George Hudson (1800–1871) MP. Hudson was an influential York citizen and railway promoter whose career attracted much controversy. He was the leader of the Tories on York City Council, which paved for his election as Chairman the York and Newcastle was a short-lived railway (1846-1847) which joined with the Newcastle and Berwick Railway in 1847 to form the York Newcastle and Berwick Railway.
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