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1870: Desperate farmers mend the roads

Repairing a road in Ontario with broken stone 1906

As late as the 1870's an observer reported 'roads being mended with the plough, the mire being turned up on the side to dry whilst a new bottom is meanwhile obtained'.

Mending roads was often a matter of some desperate farmer tipping a cart load of flints in the worst spots; often even this rough method was limited to piling whole bushes or tree branches in the roadway.

The mud meant a constant battle for housewives and sometimes whole birch brooms were staked in the doorways of Wealden houses to act as boot scrapers.


Daniel Defoe, A tour through the whole Island of Great Britain, 1724-6, p378, 441

Quote found in Scarpfoot Parish: Plumpton 1830-1880 by Prof. Brian Short, University of Sussex, 1981 published by the University.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.


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