D. STREETS, BRIDGES, ETC.
Maintenance of Streets. Conveyances. Postal Districts.
The cleaning, watering, and pacing of the streets are more satisfactory than might be expected from the fact that each district depends solely on its own local authority. Several Acts for paving the Strand were passed in the 14gh century, and in the 16th century for the streets outside the City. In 1614 the citizen began to pave the margins of the streets before their doors, but the middle of the streets were laid with large pebbles very unevenly. In 1661 the money obtained from hackney coach licences, 5 pounds for each annually, was applied to keeping them in repair. The use of squared granite blocks, with raised footways, was introduced by Acts of Parliament for Westminster in 1761, and for London geneally in 1766. Within the last twenty years asphalt and wooden pavement have been largely substituted for granite in the principal thoroughfares.
Hackney coaches are first mentioned in 1625, when they were kept at inns, and numbered altogether only 20. In 1652 their number was limited to 200, in 1662 to 400, in 1694 to 700, in 1715 to 800, in 1771 to 1000, and in 1799 to 1200. In 1832 the restriction of their number was abolished. The number of cab drivers in 1871 was 10,043, and of cabs 7818, of which 3295 were hansoms and 4523 four-wheelers; in 1881 the number of drivers was 12,630, and of cabs 9652, of which 5805 were hansoms and only 3847 four-wheelers. Omnibuses were first introduced in 1829. Many of the principal streets are to crowded for tramways, but in South London tramcars are more used than omnibuses, and there are also several routes in the northern and eastern districts. The Metropolitan and Metropolitan District Railway lines, which run partly underground, and form almost a complete belt round the "inner circle" of London, with several branches intersecting it, and others communicating with various suburban lines, have proved invaluable in relieving the throng of vehicles on the streets, and in affording rapid communication between important points; but the railway system in and around London has suffered greatly in directness from the absence of a complete plan embracing proper connecting links between the lines of the several companies. The annual number of passengers on the Metropolitan Railway is now about 60 millions. The Regent, Grand Junction, and several other canals, besides connecting London with the internal navigation of England, supply a means of transport for heavy goods between various districts of the metropolis.
London is divided into eight postal districts, viz., Eastern Central 9E.C.). Western Central (W.C.), Northern (N.), North-Western (N.W.), Western (W.), South-Western (S.W.), South-eastern (S.E.), and Eastern (E). In the E.C. district there are twelve deliveries of letters daily; in the town portions of the other districts, which extend to about 3 miles from the General Post-Office, eleven deliveries, and in the suburban portions sic deliveries.
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London - Table of Contents