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  Themes Homepage > From Market Town to Railway Town > Sonning Cut during Construction of Great Western Railway, around 1839
   
Sonning Cut during Construction of Great Western Railway, around 1839
 
   
Sonning Cut during Construction of Great Western Railway, around 1839
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Brief Description: Watercolour of a view of the excavation of Sonning Cut, during the construction of the Great Western Railway. Artist unknown
Subject Date: 1839
Creator: unknown
 
Full Description: A fascinating glimpse of the railway line advancing towards Reading. The town's days as a quiet market town were soon to be over. The line from Paddington began to be built in February 1836 and reached Twyford in 1839. Between there and Reading the great cutting at Sonning had already been underway for three years in conditions often made dangerous by rain and mud. Men, boys and horses were involved in a series of accidents which were regularly fatal but at last the cutting was completed. By 14 March 1840 Brunel, who had surveyed and supervised the building works, was able to make the first journey from London to Reading with the GWR directors. The anonymous artist of this watercolour has given the scene a bucolic tone when, in reality, working conditions were harsh and grim. On the other hand, such a mood seems appropriate for the last days of rural quietness in the area. The hill at Sonning must once have provided a fine view of distant Reading, surrounded by fields and watermeadows. The fields shown here, dotted with sheep, in fact soon became the site of the Suttons seed trial ground and then, in the 1970s, the site of an industrial and business zone.
 
Collection: Reading Museum Service
Place: Sonning Cut, Sonning, Berkshire
Dimensions: Width: 52.5cm, Height: 33.8cm
Subject: event, transport <railway>
Content Type: painting
Location: Reading Museum Service
Local Ref: REDMG : 1981.63.1
Unique ID: rm-rm-1981_63_1~0406_106-i-00-000.tif
IPR: Reading Borough Council (Reading Museum Service)
 
 
  Themes Homepage > From Market Town to Railway Town > Sonning Cut during Construction of Great Western Railway, around 1839
 
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