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Towns Through Time

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Main Investigation How useful are the following sources in arriving at an accurate understanding of Dartford high street in the mid nineteenth century? There has been much development and change in Dartford after the eighteenth century. One of the many reasons for this is the growth of industry and the manufacture of the railway, this town has gone from being solely from being a market-town and coaching post to developing more towards industry. The High Street has changed a lot since the nineteenth century in terms of functions, shops, conditions, etc. There are many ways of finding out what it used to be like, including sources, the census, and the existing buildings. There are six main buildings in Dartford high street which I am studying. These buildings are generally quite simple to put a rough date to them. The rough date that we can confidently give these buildings is that they are from the Georgian era, with a couple also being from the Victorian era. Some of these buildings, such as the Bull's Head yard building have certain features about it which can help give details about the actual street and its functions, not just the building. ...read more.


Moreover, he was also a historian, which also means that he uses factual information, and has researched what he was writing. The reliability of the source could be questionable, as it doesn't actually tell us a lot of information about the function or look of the buildings themselves. The report to the general board of health was an official document which means that the likeliness of the report being bias is very low. This source contradicts Dunkin's view of the appearance and prosperity of the high street saying how it may be incorrect. It gives information on what life may have been like for the ordinary working people in Dartford. However, it is a limited discussion regarding the appearance of the high street itself. It refers more to the alleys and side streets than the high streets. Peter Boreham was a historian who relatively recently wrote an overview of Dartford for the book 'Dartford Through Time'. The strengths of Boreham's account are that the fact that Boreham was a historian gives this source reliability due to the fact that his aim would have been to report the truth, as that was his job. ...read more.


Although it gives great detail on the appearance of the buildings and the high street, it doesn't give a lot of detail towards the actual functions of the high street in the mid nineteenth century. However, it does show some basic information which can help us gain an understanding of what Dartford high street was like, such as in the engraving, we can clearly see carts and carriages in the street. This shows, as mentioned in previous sections, that carts and coaches were popular in the high street, which is backed up by the image of the Bull and Victoria Hotel. Also, some other functions are visible, these include: trade, shopping, and transport. From this engraving, we can also see evidence of prosperity in Dartford. This is made apparent by the obvious wide open 'airy' streets', the fashion, street lighting, and it is obviously clean. We don't, however, know who drew this engraving, which means that it could actually be very unreliable, or it could be reliable. Overall, although it doesn't give detailed evidence of the high street, it does give sufficient evidence of the functions, appearance and prosperity of the high street to give us a rough understanding of what Dartford high street was like in the mid nineteenth century. ?? ?? ?? ?? Robert Foard 11E 20/9/08 ...read more.

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