The picture at the top of this page shows the bridge at Newbridge-on-Wye, which, replacing a timber structure of great antiquity, was built of terra-concrete and masonry, the work being started in August 1910 and the bridge formally opened by Mrs. Venables Llewelyn and her son George on March 29th, 1911. I gather that no motor cars attended this ceremony. Indeed, it has taken fifty years for road transport to dispose of the railway in this district, for the picturesque single-line Builth Wells-Rhayader line wasn’t closed until last year; the sleepers are still being removed. What has this bridge to do with motoring sport? Simply that the engineers for ferro-concrete were L. G. Mouchel & Partners of Westminster, the contractors the Yorkshire Hennebique Contracting Co. of Leeds, the same team which was responsible for spanning the rivey Wey with the banking of the Brooklands Motor Course in 1906-7.
Farther along this pleasant river valley, well known to fishermen, towards Llyswen, there are other bridges which are rather fun. You can cross the Wye on a suspension bridge that is wooden-floored and very definitely only wide enough for one car at a time, the limits imposed being a combined axle-weight of 5 tons and the impossibly low speed-limit of 4 m.p.h. After which you cross a derelict railway by an iron bridge of like weight restrictions. Its notice is that of the Cambrian Railway Co. but at the level crossing a few miles along the line this has changed to the G.W.R.
I see that the approaches to Slough Safety Town are heralded by big signs—what a diversity the modern driver has to contend with!—requesting you to drive through this well-lit town on dipped headlamp beams. Personally I am against this, because I think the exact location of a vehicle on sidelamps only is easier to judge and because I like to look in my rear-view mirror through towns. As most of the cars encountered in properly-lit built-up areas seem to use sidelamps only, do we want another motoring requirement which will render us law-breakers if we forget to observe it? It is courtesy to switch off headlamps when you stop at traffic junctions. If they become compulsory in towns they are likely to remain on, at traffic lights and then inadvertently when the car is parked. There should be a big demand for new batteries in the Slough area in the winter days that lie ahead!
Across England, roughly in a direct line from Fawley to London Airport and the Midlands, there are barren scars, beneath which lies the Pipeline. New fences guard it and new boundary stones, bearing not the initials of a county council or military establishment but the name ESSO, have appeared beside them.
I had expected much champagne for the Press to flow with the paraffin when the other Press (contractor) people had departed and the fuel oil began to come through this costly and ambitious delivery system. If it has, none came my way, and feel free to express my regret that this innovation has left some ugly gashes in the countryside, so that one feels faintly annoyed with Esso and only too glad to applaud Shell who, in text and picture, have done much to publicise the beauty of Britain. Earth-moving machinery may constitute a fascinating subject for Lesney and Corgi miniatures but it does untold harm to the appearance of this compact little Island.