Latest news from Berwick History Society
Berwick History Society meets every third Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm at the parish centre on the Parade.
In March there was a good turnout for a most engaging talk from Berwick Advertiser columnist John Wilde on ‘The Coming of the Railway to Berwick’, to which he added with special emphasis ‘…and its consequences’.
Mr Wylde is probably Britain’s leading authority on the concept of integrated transport policies, and the rapid technological advances which necessitate them. Therefore one might be taking one’s life into one’s hands in trying to summarise his talk – but helpfully, he made clear that it was tailored for a history rather than a railway society audience.
In fact, the need to co-ordinate transport is neatly illustrated by the example of early 19th century Berwick, where huge manpower and resources went into the construction of the pier, only for it to be rendered a mere decorative feature 30 years later by the arrival of the railway. It was the year 1850 that Robert Stephenson’s Royal Border Bridge was completed, connecting Berwick with London and Edinburgh. John Wylde informed us that in the first half of the 20th century there were plans to close Berwick station for the sake of shaving half a minute off the journey time between the two capitals,but, thankfully, local politicians objected.
Quite apart from the untold damage it might have done to the local economy, it certainly would have given Berwick residents cause to lament the demolition of so much of Edward I’s castle, sacrificed in the 1840s for the sake of Stephenson Senior et al’s invention.