Handbill opposing the Eastern Counties Railway


In 1836 the Northern & Eastern Railway (N&ER) and the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) competed to build a train line from London to East Anglia. The ECR proposed a new line from London to Ipswich via Colchester, and the N&ER proposed a track from London to York via Cambridge, Lincoln and Peterborough. Both vied to extend their lines to the fishing port of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. Head to head, the two companies issued public notices to drum up support for their individual projects and also to draw attention to the weaknesses of their competitor’s. In an attempt to disrupt the ECR’s bid, the N&ER issued this handbill, ‘cautioning’ the people of Great Yarmouth that the ECR line would threaten the stability of their fisheries and cut them off from markets in the ‘great manufacturing towns’ in the north and west. Further, the N&ER warned that a railway linking Essex and Suffolk fisheries would undermine Great Yarmouth’s trade with London. Within days of the handbill going up, the ECR issued their response urging the inhabitants not to be ‘deluded by the specious statements’ of their rivals (see N.Tab.2012/6(3)).

Full title:
Northern & Eastern Railway. A petition to Parliament, signed by 1121 of the inhabitants of Great Yarmouth, in favour of the above undertaking has been forwarded to London. Caution. The fish-curers and inhabitants of this town are particularly guarded against signing any petition in favour of the Eastern Counties Railway, which, if established, would create a rival competition with their fisheries, along the line of coast to which it so nearly approximates, as such direction of railway would cause other places to have the advance of this town in the supply of fish to the London market; exclude her at once from a railway communication with the great manufacturing towns of the western and northern districts; and, ultimately, tend almost to the annihilation of her fishing interests. It is positively the intention of the Northern and Eastern Company to apply for a bill to complete the eastern line, from Cambridge to Yarmouth, at the ensuing session of Parliament. A plan and section of the line from Cambridge to Yarmouth, may be seen at Mr. Yettss office. Yarmouth, 21st March, 1836
[1836], Great Yarmouth
F Skill
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
N.Tab.2012/6(3) (138)

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