Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Canal Cuttings (35)

This is just one of a series of around fifty old newspaper articles that I have been reading. I have been researching from old newspapers and magazines. Covering the last 200 years or so of life on the inland waterways. With particular interest in the major issues of the day that were effecting the canals. The most active periods for evaluation and change, has always been just prior, during and shortly after the two world wars. It should be remembered that between the wars the ownership of some of the canals changed hands as the railway companies bought up the waterways to get reduce competition. What is not clear is the effect this early form of asset stripping had on the viability of the inland waterways. Its good to take a look back at what people were saying and doing in the past. Most surprising of all are some of the problems that beset the canals back then - are still prevalent today. Reading old newspapers can throw up some rather interesting stories. Here is what we would call today a public interest story.

Caveat: Some of the articles are difficult to read and even using modern electronic  scanning and text conversion methods. The odd punctuation, word or character may have been transcribed in error. 
Examiner Launceston, Tasmania
7th March 1927

Claims of Hull
Advocating increased distribution of Australian products through Hull, and other ports on the East Coast of England. Controlled by the London and North Eastern Railway Company, Major H. Shenton Cole is at present in Launceston. Major Cole represents the L.N.E.R. In Australia, and in conversation with an "Examiner" representative at the Brisbane Hotel last night gave interesting particulars of his mission. "Everything, happily, is tending towards a closer relationship between the people of the world claiming the citizenship of the British Empire, and that between Australia and England in particular is becoming more intimate year by year," said Major Cole. "Aided by the activities of the Empire Marketing Board, the interchange of commerce is on a far greater scale than was the case a few years ago and this, of course, reacts upon Individual travel as reflected in the number of visitors from Australia to England in the course of a twelve-month. 

"With these considerations in mind, the London and North-Eastern Railway Company, one of the four new rail groups formed since the war, and serving the whole of the east of Great Britain between London and the north of Scotland, in addition to extensive central and western areas, have sent me out to Australia as their representative to aid in this movement of traffic and tourists, to the best of my power. The company owns and operates 16,000 miles of track, and its traffic comprises annually nearly 400,000,000 passengers (exclusive of periodical ticket holders). 130,000,000 tons of freight traffic, and 9,500,000 head of live stock. The capital of this huge concern exceeds £350,000,000, and it employs number over 200,000 persons. In addition the L.N.E.R. is the largest dock owning railway in the world. owning 30 docks with a total water area of 800 acres, and 35 miles of quays. The company's chief ports are Hull, Immingham, Middlesbrough, the Hartlepool, and Newcastle-on-Tyne. Over 50 per cent of the home-grown and imported foodstuffs consumed in Great Britain pass through the docks or over the rails of the L.N.E.R railway, and the company without doubt forms a principal factor in the handling and distribution of foodstuffs for the people of England and Scotland. A large proportion of the imports at the company's docks come from foreign countries, but my company realises the importance of encouraging the development of Imperial resources with the object of ensuring a self-supporting Empire as regards food supplies, and raw materials for essential industries, and it is hoped that in the future Empire products will be more in evidence in the markets of Great Britain. The area served by the L.N.E.R. contains a very large and growing population, which can only be reached economically through the ports of Hull, Newcastle, and others, and we look to increased business with Australia resulting through these ports in the future. 

"Tile question of economical market. Ing is of the greatest importance to the Australian producer, who has to compete in the English market with countries which are much nearer to England, and with countries which employ cheap coloured labour, and It is therefore a matter of importance to 'him to adopt the most efficient and economical means for the distribution of ihis produce 'in England. Therefore, it should be the aim of Australian producers to continue to develop a judicious use of the out ports of Great Britain which will enable economies to be effected in the distribution and transportation of Australian I produce, and so place it in a better position to compete with other countries producing similar commodities. Over centralisation in marketing causes higher prices for the consumer, and lower prices for the producer. If the Hull or Newcastle merchant has to go to London to buy butter he cannot give such a good price for it as he could in Hull or Newcastle because of the cost of transshipment from London. The port of Hull is an ideal centre for an increasing distribution of Australian produce. It stands at the threshold of the greatest coalfields in England, and serves economically the important manufacturing districts of the North of England, Yorkshire, and the Midlands, with a population of over 12,000,000. Hull is the third largest and the cheapest port in Great Britain, and its trade exceeds £100,000,000 per annum in value. Already the imports of wool through the port of Hull exceed that of any other port in the United Kingdom, and in addition to being in, close proximity to a large population of consumers in 'the North of England, Hull, owing to its geographical position, is the natural port of entry for the distribution by transshipment of overseas produce to the northern Continental ports. Steamers leave nearly every day, of the week for Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, and Scan dinar2-n and other ports, and having regard to the growing demand both for Australian and New Zealand produce In these countries, the position Hull occupies merits the attention of Australian shippers. Dock and rail charges at Hull are on a lower basis, and an illustration of the advantages Hull holds out to the Australian exporter may be found in the following comparative rates: Butter, to Sheffield, rail and dock charges per ton: From Hull, 67/5 from London, 94/5 Australian beef, mutton and lamb, to Leeds rail and dock charges per ton, from Hull, 29/11 from London 66/5 Wool to Bradford, rail and dock charges per ton, from Hull 27/0 from London 35/8 These examples can be multiplied many times. 

"I am also concerned in stimulating the interest of Australian tourists to England in the beauty spots and centres of historic and artistic attraction served by the railway I represent. As already indicated, matters of commerce obviously govern the movements of individuals, but apart from purely business considerations, the prospect of a visit to the Mother country is in itself fascinating. The London and North-Eastern Railway Company in this connection can carry the tourists, after London itself has been explored, to many scenes of beauty, historic interest and holiday character. Along the whole length of Eastern Britain, the coast is dotted with an infinite variety of seaside resorts popular and quiet. Scarborough has justly earned the title of the queen of watering places. Staithes and the nearby more popular resort of Whitby are of especial interest on account of their association with Captain Cook. East Anglia is fortunate in possessing a series of extensive lakes linked together by about 200 miles of navigable waterways known the world over as the Norfolk Broads, a favourite resort of enthusiastic yachtsmen. Then there are the Inland resorts and spas, chief among which is Harrogate, far in front of most Continental spas in the number and varieties of its baths and social attractions. As for the great cathedrals, castles, abbeys and other historic places, nowhere in all the world can be found such a glorious array as within the territory of the London and North-Eastern Railway. Scotland's coast, lochs, mountains and moors are worth going a long way to see, and readily reached from London by the "Flying Scotsman," one of the world's most famous trains, while Edinburgh carries one back to the earliest days of the history of this romantic country. 

Mention must also be made of the important passenger and continental services maintained by the L.N.E.R. The services between Harwich and the Hook of Holland or Antwerp, while in the summer months a thrice-weekly service operates between Harwich and Zeebrugge. From Grimsby and lull, too, my company runs regular passenger services to Hamburg, Rotterdam and to Belgian ports. These L.N.E.R. steamship services form connecting links between England and all parts of Continental Europe.' Major Cole went on to explain the excellent market Hull and contiguous districts offered for Australian fruit, and chilled meat. The strike last year was a staggering blow to England, and had a very serious effect on the fruit shipments. Tills year, the understood, the export of apples from Tasmania would be reduced because of the probability of an increased market existing in Australia. Therefore, the prospects of marketing fruit oversees were much brighter. Hull was the second largest fruit importing centre in the United Kingdom. Continental buyers operated to a great extent there. He understood that there was a tendency to ship larger quantities of fruit to Hamburg this season, but he considered that exporters would be safer if they shipped to English markets. Major Cole will meet Mr. Nell Campbell. M.H.A., while In Launceston, and discuss with him various aspects of the apple-export Industry. 

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