Thomas Hardy’s Early Career

Thomas Hardy, OM (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, influenced both in his novels and in his poetry

Today marks ninety years since the death of Thomas Hardy, famed English novelist of the Victorian era.

His famous works include Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895).

However, when Dorset-born Hardy first came to London, he was not making money as a writer.

St Pancras Railway Station London Victorian Era the year it opened 1868

In 1868

One of his jobs was to clear graves to make way for the massive new St Pancras railway station, which opened in 1868.

The Hardy Tree in the churchyard of St Pancras Old Church, growing up between gravestones moved there while Thomas Hardy was working here. London Victorian Era.

Headstones were moved for the build, and stacked together. Today, there is a famous spot called the “Hardy Tree“, where – for the past 1.5 centuries – a tree has grown around them.

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On this day: the founding of Nelson’s Column

1844williamhenryfoxtalbotOn the 30th of September, 1840, the first stone of Nelson_s Column, the 52-metre structure in the centre of London_s Trafalgar Square was laid.

Photograph taken by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1843.

On the 30th of September, 1840, the first stone of Nelson’s Column, the 52-metre structure in the centre of London’s Trafalgar Square, was laid.

The column was commissioned to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

The first stone was laid by Charles Davison Scott, and the completed structure was opened three years later, in 1843.

 

On this day: the Bray Head railway accident

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On the 9th of August, 1867 sudden subsidence at Brandy Hole Viaduct caused a train to derail.

The location of the disaster was Bray Head, County Wicklow, Ireland. Four people died and twenty-five were injured.

The report into the disaster was published a few weeks later, and can be found in full HERE.

“The train to which this accident happened was the up train leaving Enniscorthy for Dublin, at 6.30 a.m. It consisted of an engine and tender, six carriages, of which the first was fitted with a break, and a guard’s break van. A porter acting as guard rode in this van at the rear of the train. It left Delgany about its proper time, 9.5 a.m., and was travelling slowly round Bray Head in obedience to orders which had been given to all drivers, and had nearly reached this wooden viaduct (called Brabazon corner in the details supplied by the engineer (the late Mr. Brunel), previous to the opening of the line in October 1855), when the acting guard says he got a knock in his van, looked out of the window, and saw the carriages hopping on the rails, and then he put on his break.”

On this day: the opening of the Queen Victoria Building

Designed as a marketplace, the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, Australia opened on the 21st of July, 1898.

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The building was designed in Victorian Romanesque style by Scottish-born architect George McRae, and constructed between 1893 and 1898.

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Invitation to the opening. X

More than a thousand guests attended a ball on the night of the building’s opening, where Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Matthew Harris, gave a speech.

The Sydney icon survived twentieth-century discussions of remodelling and even demolition, and today is a popular tourist attraction and shopping destination.

On this day: Victorian Engineering in Wales

Barry Docks, a port in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan in Wales, opened in 1889. A massive project undertaken by Victorian engineers John Wolfe Barry, Thomas Forster Brown and Henry Marc Brunel, son of the iconic Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the docks went on to employ thousands of men and women.

By 1913 it was the biggest coal port in the world.

The image below is of the area ready for the official opening on the 18th of July, 1889.

Barry_Docks4 Dock No.1 of Barry Docks ready for opening on 18th July 1889, Walkertown in centre distance named, after engineer Thomas Andrew Walker (1828-1889) and subsequently named Bar