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PENFOLD, Charles

A practical treatise on the best mode of repairing roads, with some observations upon the present system.
London, Robert Baldwin. Printed under the superintendence of the society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, and forming part of the Farmer’s series., 1847. A new edition, enlarged.

While the major highways gradually improved under the improved administration of the turnpike trusts, there were thousands of miles of miscellaneous streets which fell under a myriad of parish surveyors of highways, many of whom were unpaid and hopelessly incompetent, reflected in the catastrophic state of such roads. However, in some extensive or urban parishes a paid surveyor might be appointed, to the great benefit of the local streets.

Charles Penfold of Croydon was such an officer and was considered by Sidney and Beatrice Webb in their book, "The story of the King’s Highway", to be one of the ablest of them. His ability certainly comes through in his excellent treatise which reflects his extensive experience both in administration but also in the repair of old roads, rather than in the making of new ones, for which he lays down a series of guidelines.

The pamphlet was first issued in 1835 but this new edition appeared under the auspices of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It is a reprint of the first edition save for a new and substantial section on the use of concrete for road building. Penfold proposes using a thick layer of concrete as a base foundation layer, as against Telford’s use which employed the material just below the paved surface.

Penfold was surveyor to the Brixton Turnpike Trust and had already used his concrete system on the Brixton road. He then carried out a series of experiments on the Walworth road and as a result was commissioned by the trustees of the Surrey and Sussex road to apply his concrete foundation to roads between Kennington and Brixton and to parts of the Clapham and Camberwell roads.


8vo. 37 + (3)pp. Orig. printed wrappers, grubby.



Catalogue No: 3376