Inspiration of Train Travel 180 Years Later!

The travelling activities of the Primitive Methodist pioneer Hugh Bourne who lived all of his life (1772-1852) based in North Staffordshire, have determined the theme 'Running like Clockwork' for this year's Heritage Open Day at Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum on Saturday 10 September.

Hugh Bourne's 'boot' and 'walking stick' are well known exhibits at Englesea Brook.  These artefacts belonged to the man of legend who could walk up to forty miles in a day - with only dry bread, boiled eggs and water as sustenance.   In fact Bourne could also occasionally beg a ride on a horse and cart, or even on a canal boat if these were travelling in the right direction.  On very rare occasions he even rode on the top of a stage coach.   However the really interesting thing about Bourne is that despite his frugality and rustic simplicity, and although he was then over 65 years of age - he took to the railways like a 'duck to water' when steam trains arrived from the late 1830's onwards. 

As a man constantly on the move Bourne discovered that the train, in his day, was the best way to get there fast!   For much of his life he had travelled at a maximum of four miles an hour whether on foot, cart or barge.   Now with  the advent of the train he could travel at up to 50 miles an hour.  Wow! 

'Running like clockwork' makes a similar point today.   Why waste so much travelling time suck in jams? Why pollute the environment and raise CO2 levels everywhere you go?  Why dice with death daily every time you get behind a wheel?    The answer is to get there quickly, safely and in a way that is environmentally friendly by train.   The clockwork layout shows how this could happen in North Staffordshire and South Cheshire. 

Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum is an ideal place to both reflect on the journeys of Mr Bourne, and to engage with 'travel strategy' today.   Mr Bourne stayed overnight with relatives at Manor Farm in Englesea Brook, and then hopped across the fields to Chorlton Halt to board the train for either Manchester or Birmingham.  Today the anticipated arrival of HS2 at Crewe and the much needed development of local railways in North Staffordshire and South Cheshire offers plenty of 'food for thought'. 

This will be a 'hands on experience' at Englesea Brook, CW2 5QW for visitors who are invited to run trains on Saturday 10 September 10.00 am - 4.30 pm and on Sunday 11 September 2.00 - 4.30 pm.  For more information please contact 01270 820836.


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