The Iron Railway

Isabel Johnson's Ramsden Bellhouse and Heath Collection

Working on Isobel’s Archive today I found this map. It made me stop and think. I thought that the first railway was the Stockton and Darlington built in about 1825, but this map pre-dated that by a couple of decades. So I looked up “The Iron Railway”. In Surrey in 1803 the first iron railway came into existence. It was a double track railway where wagons were pulled by horses. Hauliers used their own horses and wagons, to travel the railway from Wandsworth to Croydon, and paid a toll to use it. It brought lime,chalk, fuller’s earth and agricultural products to London and returned with coal and manure to enrich the fields. The line was not successful financially and closed in 1846
In 1811 plans were drawn up for an iron railway in Essex. It was to start at Wallasea Island, passing through Wickford, Great Burstead, and Ramsden Bellhouse. A branch line would pass through Bulpham, Horndon on the Hill to Mucking.
Can anyone shed any light on this scheme?

Map showing route of the Iron Railway through Ramsden Bellhouse
Isabel Johnson

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