[Yesterday had a look at the bit of the by-pass road which is being built between Uxbridge and Denham. Amazed at the enormous scale of the undertaking. West of Uxbridge is the valley of the Colne, and over this the road runs on a viaduct of brick and concrete pillars, the viaduct being I suppose ¼ mile long. After that it runs on a raised embankment. Each of these pillars is 20 feet high or thereabouts, about 15 by 10 feet thick, and there are two of them every fifteen yards or so. I should say each pillar would use 40,000 bricks, exclusive of foundations, and exclusive of the concrete running above, which must use up tons of steel and concrete for every yard of road. Stupendous quantities of steel (for reinforcing) lying about, also huge slabs of granite. Building this viaduct alone must be a job comparable, in the amount of labour it uses up, to building a good-sized warship. And the by-pass is very unlikely to be of any use till after the war, even if finished by that time. Meanwhile there is a labour shortage everywhere. Apparently the people who sell bricks are all-powerful. (Cf. the useless surface-shelters, which even when they were being put up were being put up were pronounced to be useless by everyone who knew anything about building, and the unnecessary repairs to uninhabited private houses which are going on all over London). Evidently when a scandal passes a certain magnitude it becomes invisible.]

Saw in Denham someone driving a dog-cart, in quite good trim.  

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3 Responses to 6.4.42

  1. Pingback: Orwell on the Law of Numbers

  2. andrew says:

    a nice contrast, between the new superhighway and a fine dogcart (i had to look that up to learn that a dogcart is a light horse-drawn carriage).

  3. T. Marshal-Nichols says:

    And the Orwell Diaries no longer provide an easy link to a pre-configured google map. Though I suppose the google map would not include a dog-cart – how sad.

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