It will be observed on reference to the list of the duties of the
surveyor, given in the preceding chapter, that the first on the list is
“To have charge of the repairs of all highways, and to perform all
duties devolving on the council as surveyors of highways.”
The necessity for these duties are obvious when we turn to the Public
Health Act 1875, and read the following sections:–
“Every urban authority shall within their district, exclusively of any
other person, execute the office of and be surveyor of highways, and
have, exercise, and be subject to all the powers, authorities, duties,
and liabilities of surveyors of highways under the law for the time
being in force, save so far as such powers, authorities, or duties are
or may be inconsistent with the provisions of this Act; every urban
authority shall also have, exercise, and be subject to all the powers,
authorities, duties, and liabilities which by the Highway Act 1835, or
any Act amending the same, are vested in and given to the inhabitants in
vestry assembled of any parish within their district.
“All ministerial acts required by any Act of Parliament to be done by or
to the surveyor of highways may be done by or to the surveyor of the
urban authority, or by or to such other person as they may appoint” (38
& 39 Vic. c. 55, s. 144).
“All streets being or which at any time become highways repairable by
the inhabitants at large within any urban district, and the pavements,
stones, and other materials thereof, and all buildings, implements, and
other things provided for the purposes thereof, shall vest in and be
under the control of the urban authority. The urban authority shall from
time to time cause all such streets to be levelled, paved, metalled,
flagged, channelled, altered, and repaired as occasion may require; they
may from time to time cause the soil of any such street to be raised,
lowered, or altered as they may think fit, and may place and may keep in
repair fences and posts for the safety of foot-passengers. Any person
who without the consent of the urban authority wilfully displaces, or
takes up, or who injures the pavement, stones, material, fences, or
posts of, or the trees in, any such street shall be liable to a penalty
not exceeding five pounds, and to a further penalty not exceeding five
shillings for every square foot of pavement, stones, or other materials
so displaced, taken up, or injured; he shall also be liable, in the case
of any injury to trees, to pay to the local authority such amount of
compensation as the court may award” (38 & 39 Vic. c. 55, s. 149).
The duties thus devolving upon the town surveyor by reason of these
sections and the orders of the council are very considerable. The
following table gives a list of the principal subjects which will
require his attention; all of which will be considered in due course in
_List of Duties devolving upon a Town Surveyor as “Surveyor of
(1.) The construction and maintenance of highways or streets,
(_a._) Roads formed of broken stones or “metal,” commonly called
(_b._) Streets paved with granite cubes or setts;
(_c._) Streets paved with wood;
(_d._) Streets paved with asphalte.
(2.) The construction and maintenance of footwalks or footpaths,
including the different materials of which these are formed.
(3.) The breaking of stone for road metal.
(4.) Steam rolling.
(5.) The necessary notices and specifications under the 150th Section of
the Public Health Act 1875, for the purpose of compelling private
streets to be properly sewered, levelled, paved, metalled, flagged,
channelled, lighted, and made good.
(6.) The lighting, cleansing, and watering of streets.
(7.) The naming and numbering of streets.
(8.) The planting of trees along the sides of footwalks.
(9.) Obstructions caused by builders’ rubbish or by hoardings and
scaffold poles; and also by dangerous or defective cellar coverings.
(10.) The damage caused to footpaths by allowing water from private
premises to flow over them, and the nuisance caused by defective
rain-water gutters or shutes.
(11.) The damage caused to roadways by the laying or removal of gas and
water mains and services, and the surveyor’s powers and duties in
(12.) The importance, especially in old towns, of laying down improved
building lines of frontage in the narrower or crooked streets.
(13.) The examination of all plans of proposed new streets or buildings.
(14.) The supervision of all new streets and buildings whilst their
construction is in progress.
(15.) Dealing with all buildings in a condition dangerous to the public.
Each of the foregoing list of duties will be dealt with in separate
chapters in addition to other matters which will be treated, but before
closing this chapter a few words upon the subject of “meetings” may be
It will be observed upon reference to the list which I have given of
the duties of the surveyor, that there is one which says, “To attend all
meetings of the board, and committee meetings, except where his
attendance has been previously dispensed with; to attend upon the
chairman when so required.”
The result of this order is that a very large percentage of the
surveyor’s time has to be devoted to attendances at long meetings of the
Board or town council, and at the numerous committee and sub-committee
meetings which are appointed under it.
This work is doubled where, as in some towns, the corporation and their
committees sit in a dual capacity, viz. as the council proper, and the
council as the urban sanitary authority; this generally involves two
ordinary meetings of the whole body each month, and probably at least
six committee meetings a week, leaving the surveyor but scanty time to
look properly after his works.
With regard to these committee meetings it is necessary that each should
have some distinguishing title descriptive of the class of work over
which it has jurisdiction, and in selecting names for them the following
list may be of some service:–Finance Committee, General Purposes
Committee, Law and Parliamentary Committee, Surveyor’s Committee, Land
and Estates Committee, Rates and Taxes Committee, Streets Committee,
Lighting and Cleansing Committee, Navigation of Port Committee, Public
Grounds Committee, Sanitary Committee, Drainage and Sewerage Committee,
Markets Committee, Properties for Sale Committee, Works Committee, Water
Committee, Gas Committee, Watch Committee, Health Committee, Library
Museum and Arts Committee, Baths Committee, Parks, Gardens, and
Improvement Committee, Streets Improvement Committee, etc. etc.
The surveyor should always endeavour to be punctual in his attendance at
the council meetings and those of the committees, as to be late is
always looked upon with disfavour. His reports should as much as
possible be in writing, so that there should be no misunderstanding as
to what his advice is on any subject. To save trouble and expense it is
well that all drawings of new schemes should be first submitted to a
committee in pencil, as they are frequently much altered; this is very
vexing if they have been neatly and highly finished. It must not be
forgotten that the gentlemen who form municipal bodies give their time
gratuitously, and everything should be done to save it as much as
possible. It is an excellent plan and a great convenience, if a surveyor
will have a series of named and numbered pigeon holes in his office
corresponding to his committees, in which to place all papers, drawings,
correspondence etc., which he intends to bring up to the next meeting of
a committee; thus saving himself flurry at the last moment before the
meeting, in endeavouring to find the papers he wants. With his varied
duties, correspondence, interviews, meetings, inspections,
investigations, reports, drawings, and calculations, the motto of a
surveyor’s office should be “method.”
 For full particulars and explanations of the various Highway Acts
see ‘The Powers and Duties of Surveyors of Highways and of other
Authorities with regard to the Management of the Public Highways,’ by
Alex. Glen, M.A., etc.
Before a surveyor can decide upon the best material with which the
streets of his town shall be paved, it will be well to consider the
question of the class of traffic they will have to bear.
It must be remembered that three distinct interests have to be
considered in dealing with this question, viz. (1.) The rate-payers,
upon whom the cost of construction and maintenance of streets falls.
(2.) The owners and employers of horses and vehicles who principally use
the streets; and (3.) The inhabitants of the adjoining premises, who
would be annoyed if the material selected were unduly noisy or dirty. In
addition to these considerations, much depends upon local circumstances;
the class of trade upon which the welfare of a town is dependent must
not be lost sight of. A pavement suitable for a busy, pushing
manufacturing city may not be suitable for a quiet agricultural or
cathedral town, or for a town which is used as a health resort. Again,
the question of the most adaptable materials must be considered, and the
climate and physical character of a town should enter largely also into
To condense the requirements of a good roadway into as small a compass
as possible, the following may be given as some of its principal
(1.) It must not be extravagantly costly in its first construction.
(2.) It must be durable and require the least possible amount of repairs
at the least cost.
(3.) It must be safe, firm and hard, with an even face and yet giving
sufficient foothold to horses.
(4.) It must be as noiseless as possible.
(5.) It must be so constructed as to be quickly laid down and repaired
when broken up for water, gas, drains, or other purposes.
(6.) It must be of strong foundation, so as to carry the heaviest weight
(7.) It must be of such a shape as will throw off all surface water at
(8.) It must be of such materials as will make a minimum of dust or mud.
(9.) It must be easily cleansed.
(10.) It must be non-absorbent of impurities or moisture of any kind.
(11.) It must give easy traction upon its surface.
(12.) It must not cause jolting to the traffic.
(13.) It must not injure horses’ legs or hoofs.
Of the above requirements No. 1 affects the ratepayers alone; Nos. 3,
11, 12, 13, affect the traffic only, except that the occupiers of shops
are indirectly affected by them; No. 4 affects both traffic and
occupiers, and No. 10 affects the occupiers principally. The remainder
of the requirements affect all three interests.
With reference to the wearing effect of traffic upon the surface of the
roadway, no standard has yet been arrived at by which this can be
determined with accuracy. In France a great number of observations and
experiments have been made from time to time by the engineers of the
Ponts et Chaussées, but their practice has been to count the number of
“collars” passing a given section of a roadway in a given time,
irrespective of the weights, speeds, or number of wheels such collars
may be drawing. Mr. Deacon, the former Borough Engineer of Liverpool,
has, however, reduced traffic to a standard of tons per yard width of
roadway per annum. This he effected by having the traffic in any street
carefully watched for a certain definite time, the number of vehicles,
their character and approximate weight being noted as well as the number
of horses by which they were drawn, and their number of wheels.
The effect of the traffic thus tabulated, arranged, and reduced to ton
yards per annum, can be ascertained upon any roadway, and Mr. Deacon has
given the results of his observations in a valuable paper on the subject
of street carriage pavements which he read before the Institution of
Sir John MacNeill has estimated that 80 per cent. of the total wear of a
road is due to traffic, the remaining 20 per cent. being due to
atmospheric causes. Of this 80 per cent. 60 per cent. he considers is
due to the action of horses’ hoofs where the traffic is fast, and 44·5
per cent. where the traffic is slow. General Morin estimates the wear of
a road due to horses’ feet to be two-thirds of all causes. There can be
no doubt that the action of horses’ feet, shod as they are with heavy
iron shoes with long toe pieces and heels, must have a destructive
effect upon the surface of a carriage-way, and this may be easily
observed when watching the ruts formed by any continuous line of traffic
in a roadway.
The following remarks from a report of the Society of Arts on this
subject may here be of interest. “It may be mentioned that as respects
the horses’ shoes, attention has long been called to its defects by Sir
Francis Head and others, but Sir Joseph Whitworth now points out the
achievement of a decided and important improvement, which will have a
large effect in road conservancy, as well as the reduction of noise. The
improvement consists in the fastening of a rim of hardened steel, of
about half-an-inch square, to the horses’ feet, and letting the frog
grow to its natural size. One effect is to reduce by five-sixths the
weight of the old shoe, or in other words to reduce by five-sixths the
weight of the iron hammers constituted by the common horses’ shoes,
pounding the road surface, and creating road dust and dirt, and
distributing it about. The saving in this respect, as well as the
reduction of noise by the reduction of the weight of rim, and also the
saving of road wear, would warrant the imposition of the stimulus of a
tax, or a toll upon heavy horses’ shoes to hasten this removal.”
Up to the present date, however (1883), no general change has been
effected in the manner of shoeing horses, notwithstanding these
admirable remarks of Sir Joseph Whitworth upon the subject.
With reference to the question of traction upon roads General Morin, in
his ‘Expériences sur le Tirage des Voitures,’ states that the resistance
to the rolling of vehicles upon solid metalled roads and pavements is
proportional to the weight and inversely proportional to the diameter of
the wheels. On solid roads he states that the resistance is nearly
independent of the width of the tires when they exceed 3 or 4 inches,
but on a compressible face it decreases in proportion to the width of
the tire; the resistance further increases with the velocity on hard
roads, but does not do so when they are soft.
The following table is almost universally now adopted as showing the
traction upon level roads formed of different materials, asphalte being
taken as the standard of excellence in this respect.
Asphalted roadway 1·0
Paved roadway, dry and in good order 1·5 to 2·0
„ „ in fair order 2·0 „ 2·5
„ „ but covered with mud 2·0 „ 2·7
Macadamised roadway, dry and in good order 2·5 „ 3·0
„ „ in a wet state 3·3
„ „ in fair order 4·5
„ „ but covered with mud 5·5
„ „ with the stones loose 5·0 „ 8·2
There are four forces constantly at work tending to destroy the momentum
of vehicles passing along a roadway: they are gravity, collision,
friction, and the resistance of the air.
The first of these is lessened by easy gradients in a road, the second
can be overcome to a great extent by evenness of surface, the third by
hardness, and the fourth, as well as all the others, by giving
sufficient foothold to the animal drawing the vehicle.
Another excellent table prepared from experiments made by Mr. Amos on
different descriptions of pavement in the City of London may be useful,
and is here given:–
| Speed | | |Tractive Force
Road Material. |in Miles |Draught|Fraction| in Decimals
|per hour.|in lbs.|of Load.| of the Load.
Gravelly Macadam in| 6·945 |126·6 | 1/45·3 | ·0219
a side street | 3·45 |114·322| 1/50·3 | ·0197
| | | |
| 5·15 | 70·963| 1/81·1 | ·0123
Granite pitching by| 3·196 | 41·932| 1/137·3| ·0072
side of tramway | 2·557 | 47·572| 1/121 | ·0082
| | | |
Granite Macadam | 4·239 |262·886| 1/21·9 | ·0456
“freshly laid” | 2·775 |242·726| 1/23·7 | ·0421
| | | |
| 5·025 | 91·525| 1/64·9 | ·0158
Asphalte Pavement | 3·56 | 69·753| 1/82·5 | ·0121
| 5·687 | 84·268| 1/68·3 | ·0111
| | | |
| 3·932 |118·163| 1/48·7 | ·0205
Wood Pavement | 3·278 |102·412| 1/56·2 | ·0177
| 3·827 |100·066| 1/57·5 | ·0173
| | | |
Macadam road, very | | | |
good on Victoria | 6·65 |109·06 | 1/52·7 | ·0181
Embankment | | | |
The following table from Law’s ‘Rudimentary Treatise on Civil
Engineering’ shows the force required to move a load of a ton weight on
different descriptions of roadway, the limiting angle of resistance, and
the greatest inclination which should be given to the road being also
| Force | | Greatest
| in lbs.| Limiting |inclination
Description of the Road. |required| angle |which should
| to move| of | be given
| a ton. |resistance.|to the road.
| | ° ′ |
Well laid pavement | 33 | 0 50 | 1 in 68
| | |
Broken stone surface on a bottom| 46 | 1 11 | 1 „ 49
of rough pavement or concrete | | |
| | |
Broken stone surface laid on an | 65 | 1 40 | 1 „ 34
old flint road | | |
| | |
Gravel road | 147 | 3 45 | 1 „ 15
As a matter of fact, however, the gradient of a macadamised road should
not, if possible, exceed 1 in 20, experience having shown that a
horse, unless the hill is a very long one, is able to draw his ordinary
load for a level up such an inclination, whereas, if it is steeper he is
sometimes stopped altogether, even though the carter tries the zigzag
route so as to obtain an artificial ease of gradient.
The table given in ‘Molesworth’ upon the same subject is too well known
to be repeated, and another table may be found in Sir Henry Parnell’s
work on roads, which gives a comparison between the draught necessary on
a well-paved road at 2, on a well-made, clean macadamised road at 5,
whereas on a wet and muddy gravel or flint road it rises to 32!
Mr. T. D. Hope, of Liverpool, assuming the power of traction at 100,
gives the following table:–
Level macadamised road 27 cwt.
„ granite pavement 30·5 „
„ wood „ 54·75 „
And Lieut. Crompton has given the resistance of wheels in lbs. per ton
on different surfaces as follows:–
Very good pavement 35 lbs.
Good macadam 60 „
Ordinary ditto 90 „
Newly-laid gravel 200 „
Soft grass land 300 „
Newly-laid metal 440 „
Here “newly-laid metal” comes out very badly, and points to the
necessity of rolling, of which I shall speak in a future chapter.
Whilst on the question of wheel resistance, it may be well to note that
the small front wheels of a waggon cause considerably more harm to a
macadamised road than the larger hind wheels. In the smaller diameter
any loose stone or obstruction is pushed along in front for a
considerable distance, often tearing up the surface of the road, whereas
in the other case the stone is forced into its place or crushed as under
On the question of “safety” to traffic, Mr. Haywood, the eminent
Surveyor of the City of London, has caused several most complete
observations to be made from time to time, the results of such
observations being detailed by him in various reports. Amongst other
useful information compiled by him, he has ascertained that a horse will
travel 446 miles upon a roadway paved with blocks of wood without a
fall, 191 miles upon asphalte, and 132 miles upon granite setts. I
cannot do better than give verbatim his remarks upon this point:–
“Slight rain makes both asphalte and wood more slippery than they are at
other times. On asphalte the slipperiness begins almost immediately the
rain commences, wood requires more rain before its worst condition
ensues. The slipperiness lasts longer upon wood, on account of its
absorbent nature, than it does upon the asphalte; when dry weather comes
after the rain, when asphalte is in its most slippery state, and the
horses fall on it very suddenly, _on wood their efforts to save
themselves are more effectual_; wood also is frequently in that peculiar
condition of surface in which horses slip or glide along it without
falling. A small quantity of dirt upon asphalte makes it very slippery,
wood requires a large quantity. Slipperiness can be temporarily cured on
both pavements; on the asphalte by sprinkling it with sand, on the wood
by sprinkling it with gravel. The result in both cases is dirt. _The
sand thrown on asphalte helps to wear it out, the gravel thrown on wood
tends to preserve it._ When a horse falls on asphalte it has difficulty
in getting up; on wood it rises more readily.”
In streets crowded with traffic, the constant stopping and starting,
especially on any surface that is slippery, is very trying to horses.
Attention has lately been directed to this point with a view to the
storage of some power in a vehicle, either by the compression of a
spring in stopping or by some other mechanical means, in order that in
starting the driver may at will liberate this power so as to assist the
horse in overcoming the inertia of his load. These trials, however, have
not at present met with much success.
Before closing this chapter on traffic, it will be well to point out
that nearly all vehicles travelling rapidly can pass each other safely
if allowed a clear space of eight feet; hence all roadways should, if
possible, be made of a width between the kerbs of some multiple of
eight: a convenient width for the footpaths, so far as foot-passenger
traffic is concerned, is found to be one-fifth of the entire width of
street. It is scarcely necessary to add that vehicles pass each other
on the left side, pedestrians on the right. It is not easy to assign a
cause for the former beyond custom, except that the whip is held in the
right hand, and in consequence free play is given for its use as the
driver sits on that side and can watch his wheels in passing. In France
and other countries the right side is the “rule of the road.” In the
case of pedestrians it is perhaps more convenient for many reasons to
pass on the right side, one being that the umbrella or parasol is always
carried in the right hand, which is also used to remove the hat when
bowing, and another because one’s tendency in passing any obstacle is to
give way with the left shoulder. For regulating the traffic and for the
protection of foot passengers, “sanctuaries,” as they are termed, have
often to be constructed by surveyors in broad streets or awkward centres
of traffic, and it is well to place a lamp-post on these sanctuaries, on
which may be advantageously fixed a notice, “Keep to the Left,” so as to
regulate vehicular traffic. On the lamp-posts at the edge of the
footpaths it is also sometimes customary to fix small enamelled iron
plates bearing the inscription on both sides, “Keep to the Right,” so as
to regulate the pedestrian traffic.
Of the danger to life and limb to pedestrians in London much has
frequently been said, and no wonder, when we consider the number of
persons who are daily injured and sometimes killed according to the
Registrar-General’s returns. Some years ago it was proposed to erect
light iron bridges over the most dangerous crossings approached by
winding stairs, but “time is money” in the mighty metropolis, and the
scheme was abandoned because it was felt that most persons would prefer
the risk of being run over rather than spend the time in ascending and
descending the necessary steps for this purpose.
 _Vide_ ‘Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil
Engineers,’ vol. lviii.
 _Vide_ Report of the Society of Arts on the application of Science
and Art to street paving and street cleansing of the metropolis, 1875.
 Experiments made by the direction of the French Government on the
tramway between Sèvres and Versailles, showed that a horse on a level
tramway draws three-and-a-half times the weight, at the same speed and
with the same expenditure of power, that he can do on an ordinary
road. Up a gradient of 1 to 100, he is capable of drawing 2·25 times
the weight he can do up the same gradient on an ordinary road, and up
a gradient of 1 to 25 he can draw one-and-a-half times the load he can
do under similar circumstances on the ordinary road.
 ‘Report on accidents to Horses on Carriageway Pavements,’ by
William Haywood (1874).