WAS KINGSTON UPON THAMES ANTI-RAILWAY IN THE EARLY 19TH CENTURY? A NOTE ON THE POSSIBLE ORIGIN OF THE TRADITION.
The tradition of Kingston Council’s opposition to the London and Southampton Railway, that led to it being routed through Surbiton in the early 1830s, was started by William Downing Biden in 1852. Shaan Butters attributed the opposition to Lord Cottenham who wished to safeguard his estates in Wimbledon, through which the original route was planned. Evidence recently was found that in 1843-1844, about eight years after the railway came to Surbiton, Kingston Council actively did oppose a plan by the embryo Middlesex and Surrey Grand Junction Railway Company for a line that would pass through the town. This posed the question whether the tradition arose because Biden used unreliable hearsay as his source and confused events of the early 1830s with those of the early 1840s?
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