Open Story

Bridges over the Footpaths

By Kenneth Campbell - Added 16/04/2014

Audio: Kenneth Campbell tells a familiar story of parents petitioning for a safe environment for their children’s journey to and from school. Dur: 1.05


Boats were still the most common form of transport over longer distances at the end of the 19th Century, which is why houses were built by the sea, usually with a small boat berthed close by. There wasn’t much point in bringing provisions in by sea and then having to haul it overland for some distance. However, now that there was a school and children were obliged to attend, they had in some cases to walk three or four miles there and back each day. The newly opened footpaths helped to make the journey across the moor less arduous but it was still at times inhospitable terrain for young children. In the winter swollen rivers were a hazard as there were no bridges and the only way over was by a plank of wood or two connecting the river banks. Parents protested and threatened to keep their children at home over the winter. The authorities relented and bridges were built, some of which are still in use. However, the children’s reaction to the news is unrecorded.