Vanishing England eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 374 pages of information about Vanishing England.
of their youth, and they all wished to go back there again, if only they could find work and had not lost the power of doing it.  But the rural exodus continues.  Towns increase rapidly, and cottages have to be found for these teeming multitudes.  Many a rural glade and stretch of woodland have to be sacrificed, and soon streets are formed and rows of unsightly cottages spring up like magic, with walls terribly thin, that can scarcely stop the keenness of the wintry blasts, so thin that each neighbour can hear your conversation, and if a man has a few words with his wife all the inhabitants of the row can hear him.

Garden cities have arisen as a remedy for this evil, carefully planned dwelling-places wherein some thought is given to beauty and picturesque surroundings, to plots for gardens, and to the comfort of the fortunate citizens.  But some garden cities are garden only in name.  Cheap villas surrounded by unsightly fields that have been spoilt and robbed of all beauty, with here and there unsightly heaps of rubbish and refuse, only delude themselves and other people by calling themselves garden cities.  Too often there is no attempt at beauty.  Cheapness and speedy construction are all that their makers strive for.

These growing cities, ever increasing, ever enclosing fresh victims in their hideous maw, work other ills.  They require much food, and they need water.  Water must be found and conveyed to them.  This has been no easy task for many corporations.  For many years the city of Liverpool drew its supply from Rivington, a range of hills near Bolton-le-Moors, where there were lakes and where they could construct others.  Little harm was done there; but the city grew and the supply was insufficient.  Other sources had to be found and tapped.  They found one in Wales.  Their eyes fell on the Lake Vyrnwy, and believed that they found what they sought.  But that, too, could not supply the millions of gallons that Liverpool needed.  They found that the whole vale of Llanwddyn must be embraced.  A gigantic dam must be made at the lower end of the valley, and the whole vale converted into one great lake.  But there were villages in the vale, rural homes and habitations, churches and chapels, and over five hundred people who lived therein and must be turned out.  And now the whole valley is a lake.  Homes and churches lie beneath the waves, and the graves of the “women that sleep,” of the rude forefathers of the hamlet, of bairns and dear ones are overwhelmed by the pitiless waters.  It is all very deplorable.

And now it seems that the same thing must take place again:  but this time it is an English valley that is concerned, and the people are the country folk of North Hampshire.  There is a beautiful valley not far from Kingsclere and Newbury, surrounded by lovely hills covered with woodland.  In this valley in a quiet little village appropriately called Woodlands, formed about half a century ago out of the

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Vanishing England from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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