The development of Barnwell (St Andrew The Less)

* I consider the most important push/pull factor that determined the growth in population in the Barnwell area, and in particular of the parish of St. Andrew The Less, the construction of the railway. The reason why the railway was built in this area, is due to the University’s reluctancy to the construction of this new method of transport.

The University considered the noise produced by the trains as a major distraction for the undergraduates studying at the Cambridge University; The University was also afraid that with the arrival of the railway the undergraduates would have been increasingly more attracted into going to London, which was considered as a city of sin, totally malevolent in the respects of the students. Barnwell, being far off the centre of town (also where the University was situated) was considered the perfect area where to ubicate the railway. In this way the noise wouldn’t have reached the centre of town.

Barnwell was also far to reach and therefore less accessible for the undergraduates. When the railway was constructed in 1845, we notice a sudden increase in the population of the parish of St. Andrew The Less ( Barnwell area). The reason for this was that although Barnwell might have not been accessible to undergraduates, it certainly was for the local tradesmen and commerciants. For them it was now possible to transport their goods to London and other cities much more rapidly. Also the range of goods that could have been transported was much larger, because now reaching cities such as London would have only took a couple of hours.

Dairy products such as milk could be trasported, whereas before, by the time they had reached London they would have gone out of date. Finally the railway favoured the income of people from other towns, that wanted to come to live in Cambridge and study at its University. This also increased the growth in population of the area (Everyone wanted to be living near the railway). This is shown by the statistics which state that the population of the parish of St. Andrew The Less in 1901 on its own, was 3 times the population of the whole city of Cambridge in 1801.

I consider the Irish immigration in into Cambridge the least important push factor that determined the growth of the parish of St Andrew The Less, due to the agricultural depression that had happened in Ireland in 1846. Although the number of Irish immigrants was high (1 million people), there were many other places from which people could have came from. Cambridge was a very famous city, mainly due to the prestige of its University. Eventually no more people could have come into Cambridge, because there were no available places to live.

If there would have been any more space for arrivals, the population would have probably kept on growing. If there wouldn’t have been a sudden rise like it occured because of the Irish immigration, I think the population would have eventually reached the same number, although it might have took a longer time. * The factor I considered the most important is also the one that has more links with every other factor. The construction of the railway was the factor that determined the growth in population of the Barnwell area to the largest extent.

The construction of the railway had attracted many tradesmen that decided to abandon the area where they lived to move near the railway. Before the crucial ubication of a tradesmen business would have been near the river, that had always been the main way of transport. This technological revolution (construction of the railway) facilitated the transport of good to other cities. As the population in this area increased, many people thought it would have been very fruitful to open small businesses in the same area.

This attracted more people, which installed their small businesses (e. lemonade factories, flour millings, breweries). Public houses and pubs were opened, to provide entertainement for the inhabitants of the area. Building companies were installed near the railway. Building materials such as bricks and tiles could be easily and cheaply transported with the use of the railway. Many scholars native of other towns, could have easily reached Cambridge now that the railway had been built. The Cambridge University was very prestigious, therefore everyone who had the chance to study there, took it.

The income of scholars from other towns cointributed to the rise in the population. This was another factor strictly related with the construction of the railway. When mines were discovered in Cambridge in 1850 (Cherry Hinton, Coldham’s common, Horningsea), the railway permitted labourers in search of well-paid unskilled work, to reach these mines from other cities all over the country. Again the railway made the work carried out in the mines fruitful, because it made possible the transport of the minerals extracted to other parts of the country. Generally the railway:

* Facilitated trade and the creation of new businesses

* Opened the access o the University to a wider range of people

* Supplied Cambridge with labourers to work in the mines (fossilised minerals)

All of these three factors contributed to the general rise of the population in Cambridge, and more specifically in the Barnwell (parish of St. Andrew The Less area), which was the heart of this small industrial growth.

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