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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

And to sink additional iron pits at Cinderford


During

this year (1854) no less than 4,982 acres 1 rood 20 poles of plantation were thrown open, comprising the enclosures of Haywood, Edge Hills, Ruerdean Hill, and Aston Bridge. The following licences were likewise granted:--To the Messrs. Kingsford for constructing a length of tramway connecting the Woodside Colliery with a terminus to be formed at Church-way; to Messrs. Allaway for making a tramroad from the Plumphill to their iron-mine at Wigpool; to Messrs. Davis, Cooper, and Roberts to open a brickyard, and to sink additional iron-pits at Cinderford, Clearwell, and Lamb's Quay.

In 1855 information was sought to be procured as to the expediency of removing the dead wood from growing oak-trees. The practice hitherto had been not to do so, a course of which a large number of timber merchants, whose known experience justified their being consulted, expressed their unanimous approval, declaring it far better to leave its removal to nature. Another interesting investigation was now also instituted, relative to the suitableness of the Deodara pine as a Forest tree. Upwards of 120,000 plants had been raised from seed, supplied by the East India Company, in four private nurseries, half of which were distributed in Dean Forest and the New and Delamere Forests; but it is yet too early to afford any definite results. The young plants, however, appear to be particularly susceptible to frost.

On the 31st of March in this

year the Hon. James Kenneth Howard was appointed one of the Chief Commissioners to administer the affairs of the Royal Forests, the Hon. Charles Gore having for some time, after Mr. Kennedy's retirement, been the sole Commissioner.

Three additional coal-mines, called Richard White's Colliery, Hollow Meadow ditto, and Ruardean ditto, besides an iron-mine, called Maxwell and Brooklyn Mine, were now granted, besides six stone-quarries and another brickyard. Licence was also granted to Messrs. Crawshay to connect their extensive colliery at Light Moore with the main line of railway near Cinderford, on the broad gauge principle, besides four other licences to connect various other works with the chief lines of traffic by short lengths of tramway.

It may be here remarked, that two years previously an inspector was appointed to view the timber intended to be felled for the navy before its being cut, and the following table exhibits the proportion of timber received at the Dockyard before and since the adoption of such a plan, showing its great utility:--

DEAN FOREST. HIGH MEADOW. 1851 48 per cent. 1851 22 per cent. 1852 44 ,, 1852 31 ,, 1853 30 ,, 1853 no fall. 1854 no fall 1854 ,, 1855 65 per cent. 1855 92 per cent.

On Tuesday, the 22nd of January, 1856, an important meeting took place at the Speech-house, Sir J. Campbell taking the chair, assisted by the Rev. H. W. Bellairs, Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools, with the object of attempting to raise the standard of teaching in the schools of the district, eighteen in number, the Crown contributing to the support of each of them. The meeting was largely attended, especially by the neighbouring clergy, and resulted in a period of five years being allowed to the managers of such schools to secure the services of certificated or registered teachers, and to adopt a scale of payments by the children, graduated according to the rental or rateable value of the tenements occupied by their parents. The formation of a central school, adapted for educating youths for filling responsible situations in the iron and coal works of the Forest, was likewise recommended, and is obviously desirable. Changes were also now made, with a view to economy, in the staff of woodmen and labourers on the Forest, whereby an annual saving, both immediate and prospective, would be obtained.


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