Blackborough: A Complete History of a Non-Existent Place (Part 4)

Taking Coals to Blackborough (1680 – 1880 AD)


The breaker boys of Merdin, late 19th century.

In 1682, a fire destroys the Angevin Palace and the grammar school up north. Thanks to the fire wells in the area, only the palace and school were destroyed, with some minor damages to the surrounding buildings, which are repaired. Rather than rebuild, King Charles II grants the land to the city, which turns the area into Angevin Square. The center of this plaza is adorned with a clock tower. The area, including the old grammar school site, is filled with houses and shops, save for the Blackborough Theater, which becomes a quite popular spot to visit during the summer, and the new fire fighting house. In Westburgh, reconstruction goes well. A few more houses are built, the road network expands, and the grammar school merges with the old trade school and establishes the Westburgh Academy. On the shores of both Westburgh and Blackborough proper, coastline houses are built in a similar fashion to Dutch houses in Amsterdam. The houses, at first limited, become popular, and talks of building more “shorerow” houses, as they are called, are widespread. In 1687, King Charles II talks of possibly creating a debtors penal colony in the new world, which if gone through with, would make the Debtors prison North of Blackborough obsolete.

After the prison break out attempt it is decided that a new prison shall be built on the Eastern end of Rothray island by the cliffs. To prevent escaping, the old caves leading to the outside are sealed off and a wall with guard towers stands in front of the main entrance to the prison. Named the Rothray Citadel (also the Octagon), the prison is a replacement for the Summer Palace Prison, with a new type of cell – solitary confinement. Prisoners in solitary confinement are kept in some of the old caves where the last Norseman hid centuries prior. Often times, prisoners would doodle markings on the old cave walls, which would later become sites of pilgrimage for all non Anglican Christians. The old Summer Palace is converted into the town hall, around which a square forms. New houses are built around the square, including a new house for the mayor. A glass maker also moves to Rothray in 1683. By 1689, his glass making skills attract people to the island to buy his stained glass for homes.

In 1681, the Frogmore-Eastmoreland canal is complete, creating enticement for economic growth. The enticement leads to a new forge for weapons and lead bullets to be built in 1684, attracting some people to the area and possibly more in the future.

Between 1691 and 1693 half a dozen young women disappear in the vicinity of Northwood Common. Concern about these disappearances turns into hysteria when an excitable witness reports seeing one of the women carried off into the woods by a creature “with the shape of a man yet as tall as a lychgate, covered in thick dark fur and terrifying in brutish animal aspect”.

Some claim the creature is the spirit of the murderous pie-maker Mr Dott who was hung for his crimes over 150 years ago; now returned from hell to take his revenge. Others say it is an african ape escaped from a menagerie.

Theories abound but almost everyone agrees that the “Beast of Blackborough” is responsible for the recent disappearances and whilst the hysteria eventually burns itself out the Beast passes into legend, with occasional sightings continuing to be reported for many years to come.

Meanwhile, the young new Earl of Blackborough (who has remained rather quiet on the subject of the Beast) has one of the cellars at Northwood House permanently sealed up. Who knows how many centuries it will be before the cellar is opened, and the world learns the true fate of those poor unfortunate girls…

With fears of a Jacobite invasion growing a second shipyard is built at Northbridge in 1691. Breakwaters are built from rubble on both sides of the river mouth to create a safe harbour.

In 1693, the pasture land opposite Angevin Square is turned into a cemetery and St.Peter’s Chapel. A purpose-built almshouse, also called St. Peters, is built adjoining the chapel.

In 1694 the artist Francis Place relocates from York to Blackborough, setting up a studio and printing press in Westburgh next door to the already existing artist’s studio.

Between 1695 and 1698 a commodities exchange and several grand merchant homes are built in Westburgh.

The rebuilt Westburgh is fast developing a reputation as a centre of art and money; wealthy businessmen can hammer out a deal in the morning, take a spot of lunch, and then be immortalised with a flattering portrait in the afternoon.

As they are now serve little function but to slow down traffic, in 1695 the armed guards are withdrawn from all but three of the gate-houses in the old Roman inner wall. Several of the gates are removed entirely and an inn (unimaginatively named “The Old Gatehouse”) opens in one of the gatehouses.

Following the introduction of the Window Tax many of Blackborough’s grander homes block up their excess windows.

A small part of the north-eastern corner of the old Roman wall is cannibalised as the Jewry Street proto-slum grows. Jewry Street remains a largely Jewish area but is increasingly becoming a place where poor and wretched Christians are forced to live.

Also in 1695 Sharpe’s Goldsmith Bank is expanded after the purchase of an adjoining property.

Several new watermills are built along the river between 1691 and 1696.

More “shorerow” houses are built and several waterfront cafes and chop houses open.

In 1697 a coffee-shop opens in the theatre district, in time it will become infamous as a centre of radical thought.

Cottage industry in Northbridge expands.

More of the remaining farmland within the city is turned over for new houses.

Nicholas Hayston (descendant of William Hayston and current occupant of Hayston House) purchases much of the land to the north of town and expands the pastures.

A large farm is established to the north of town by a wealthy landowner named George Beckerton.

Due to the smell produced by their creameries, some of Blackborough’s cheesemakers are forced to relocate to Rothray

The Redhall docklands expand and between 1695 and 1698 several warehouses are constructed.

New houses and roads spring up around the expanded docklands.

In 1699 a large carpenter’s workshop and a trade school open in south Redhall.

Between 1690 and 1698 several new mines are opened in Merdin and the canals are expanded both overground and underground.

One of the old exhausted mines is filled in, rather poorly. Anyone building on the area in the future may risk the ground under their home collapsing.

An area of woodland is cleared to make way for homes and farms along the river. Due to concern from local woodsmen who rely on the woods part of the remaining area is protected by being granted to the people as “Merdinwood Common”.

In 1696 Merdin is granted a charter for a new market.

In 1698, Sally Henderson, a “cunning woman” who lives in the south-eastern forest becomes one of the last people in England to be executed for witch-craft. A local resident accused Sally of selling them a cure that made their illness worse and several witnesses who never liked the old woman are found to testify they saw her consorting with a black cat. Some even suggest it was Sally who summoned forth the Beast of Blackborough. She is removed to Rothray Citadel before returning to Merdin to stand trial, and is subsequently hung from a gallows in the new market. Henderson’s house in the woods sits empty, a reminder of the darkness that persists even in these increasingly enlightened times.

The cheesemakers forced out of Blackborough set up production on Rothray, the cheese they produce is called “Citadel Cheddar” after the prison.

Rothray chefs introduce “Citadel Cheddar” and “Frog Pasties” to London.

Due to an influx of prisoners from inland and villagers leaving for jobs in Blackborough the prisoner and non-prisoner populations are now roughly equal in size.

George Moran, the owner of the armaments workshop in Frogmore builds a gunpowder mill and grand house in the area.

More land is enclosed for pasture.

New homes spring up due to the increase in industry.

Eastmoreland is starting to be absorbed into Frogmore

The area between the northern wall and the castle is transformed into a small baroque garden. It is separated by a wall from the western area between castle and wall, in which bears are hold – mostly for amusement purposes.
1703 the year the bears arrived is also known as “the year a goddamn bear got out”. Two dead people and a crazy night later he was killed near the Westburgh guildhall. Some claim that the bear like the mysterious beast of the decade earlier were possessed by Satan himself.

To support a the shipbuilding industry and the harbour with ropes several ropemakers open north of the city in Northbridge.

Westburgh has now nearly no place to expand left and even the main part of the city is getting more and more crowded.

The area of the market of Blackborough is expanded to the south of St. Dubnus Church. Some houses were torn down for that – thanks god mostly poor people lived in them.

In 1701 the townhall begins a process of renovation. A field is converted into a public square – also called Upper Square to distinguish it from the market a bit down the river.

In 1708 Merdin has to pay the prize for its sophisticated mining system. The ground over one of Merdin’s oldest mines collapses, water is entering the shafts and one mine that fell into disuse the decade earlier is affected by the collapse. Earth and water from the river bank slide into the mines, buildings are destroyed and 32 workers die in this catastrophe.

Rumours go around that Sally Henderson cursed the mines of Merdin before her death. The swamp like area that once has been the mines becomes now known as Henderson’s Ground and the forest to the east of it as Henderson’s Woods. People avoid that area.

New houses are build in Merdin, even with the death of 32 people Merdin expands slightly in numbers of inhabitants.

The Earl isn’t getting any younger. He is going to hold on for dear life though and takes a variety of remedies to try extending his life.

Indians are in vogue. Mostly for taking their possessions and filling in their cabinets of curiosity that the nobility and bourgeois enjoyed having. Included in some are artifacts gained over the previous centuries by English and Scottish pirates and privateers, who would occasionally bring hoe their small bits of the treasure they earned. Most of the stuff had been sawed up to split amongst sailors or had already been melted down into coins and ingots by the Spanish. A few small pieces of indigenous artwork survived and managed to end up in private collections.

The MacIntryes and other from around the Dubnus area have made their way to the colonies, several of which go to New Jersey. Charles II remembered his friends from old Jersey and a bit of land had once been set aside McIntrye of the Wig Room. The Proprietorship became less useful when Anne was around and consolidated the Scottish East Jersey and English West Jersey. A few also make it to Carolina where their only real contribution to Blackborough is the slaughtering and enslavement of some natives. Some artifacts are exported back.

Due to Corn Laws, prices for products using wheat rises drastically. No longer can wheat be bought from Poland and Baltic states at comparatively cheap prices. Plans are made up for the Earl’s son to seize land through various legal means by old feudalistic laws. Grain will make them rich and fat, while having a potentially higher profit margin than tobacco.

Fountain showing representations of the Indies, Africa, Europe, and the Orient show up here and there around Blackborough

Apparently some drainage pumps are being built in Southern England but they are not known of up here. Might not matter, as many saw the flooded mines as a lost cause.

Merdin’s mad house needs some serious changes. Mostly because it is in a nice building that is too close to the town’s fashionable church. A new, plain, area is set up for the mad south of the mines, where they will not bother anyone during sermons with their pleas for help or shrieks. It is adviced that you never go into the woods. Who knows who might have gotten out…

An enormous chunk of land is turned to the plow. The soil isn’t the best, but bread prices are rising and there is a hope to make a good profit selling to the brewery, which many farmers end up doing with their surpluses.

A bridge is built to once more connect the island in the south to the north bank. People don’t using boats around there due to the currents and how many people got sucked down into mines when walls deep down collapsed.

More mines are created on the western river bank.

A factory for paint opens near the wall by the southern church in Merdin. Hopefully the products will help liven up the place and clean the outside of dirty houses.

The Ostmoors get some fishing ships of their own up. They don’t really compete with the ferrying service Rothray had set up, but they do start sending out stripping the seas and shores of whatever they can find. Oysters will fill many a diet. Something will need to be done about the mounds of shells, though.

Frogmore’s bakery takes a hit from the skyrocketing of grain prices. They still can smuggle in some grain as was common (smuggling in general for Frogmore), but they need to try gaining a near monopoly on all the grain in Frogmere to keep in business, and that would mean somehow forcing the farmers to sell for less than they could usually get. Until they manage to rob them of their daily bread they move into making hardtack, for which sawdust is a helpful supplement to fiber.

More of the old mines collapse, but most of this is underground and due to safety precautions, only 4 die.

The mines run into a problem: the “easy” pickings start to run out, and they have to gradually dig deeper and deeper for materials. This poses a problem: what happens if it all runs out, and it gets too deep for safety reasons?

More houses are built, but the town starts to worry about future expansion, however far away that is. With the huge swaths of farm, the river and the mines boxing them in, it seems right to do something. But which way to expand?
blackboroughdIn order to deal with over-crowding major expansion takes place on the south bank of the St Dubnus and on the land just north of the outer wall. By 1735 most of the residents have been cleared from the bridge

In 1732 a cricket ground is established on the eastern edge of Northwood common where local men can play (and gamble away their earnings betting on the matches)

Road repairs continue and large parts of the east side of the city are paved for the first time.

In 1733 City Alderman Richard Stevenson proposes a permanent monument to those who lost their lives in the fire at the site of the collapsed Hollowstone bridge, and funding is soon secured from the merchants of Westburgh and the Earl of Blackborough.

Between 1734 and 1736 the current owner of the Blackborough brewery, Patrick Gorman, expands production. In addition to buying up land for an apple orchard to the north, Gorman begins producing a brown ale and in a clever piece of early marketing sells his new brown ale in brown glass bottles which not only help to avoid light-strike but also give the new ale a distinctive look. By the end of the decade drinkers from Edinburgh to London can be heard ordering “Blackborough Brown”.

In 1735 a large warehouse is built at Northbridge.

In 1736 one of the remaining manned gates in the old city wall becomes a customs house

In 1737 the Monument to the Fire of Blackborough is completed: a huge fluted Corinthian column, exactly as tall as the bridge had been long, showing scenes of the fire in stone relief around its base. With the permanent monument completed the Earl can finally have the debris from the collapsed bridge cleared away.

Around the same time the southern gatehouse and one of the towers of Hollowstone fall out of use, with other parts of the castle given over for storage space and living quarters as the castle moves away from its original defensive function.

The Earl, now hardly ever present at Hollowstone Castle, spends a considerable amount of money on Northwood House, even employing an eccentric old man as an ornamental hermit to live in a newly built grotto on his grounds.

In 1738 an astronomical observatory is commissioned and built on land granted by the Earl from his estate.

The warehouses in Redhall expand between 1734 and 1738.

In 1735 the Southern Theatre in Redhall is gutted by fire after an unfortunate accident with a stage lamp. The theatres generally are struggling following increased censorship.

Over the course of the decade stone-paving is expanded throughout Redhall and a new coach-house is built.

New homes are increasingly having to built outside the walls due to lack of space.

From 1736 onwards an Irish highwayman carries off a series of bold stagecoach robberies on the road south of Redhall, even robbing the bishop himself as he crossed Crescent Hill Common. The daring robber, popularly known as “Redjack”, remains at large as of the end of the decade, much to the frustration of the authorities.

Some residents of the town begin calling for the roads to be lit by oil lamps to reduce the risk of ambush by highwaymen.

Farms outside of Redhall expand as food shortages lead to many common folk going hungry.

In order to relocate some of the people who have made their homes on the bridge the forest next to Merdinwood Common is cleared to make way for housing terraces, which are completed in 1739.

A public house and shop open to serve the Merdinwood terraces.

Attempts are made to clear the flooded ground around the mines using steam pumps, with some success.

Merdin Royal Hospital and the asylum are expanded.

In 1736 a storm batters the island of Rothray, causing damage to homes and the loss of some livestock.

Enclosed land is expanded.

Over-crowding in Redhall causes an influx of people to Frogmore-Eastmoreland, giving a boost to the town.

In 1732 the Moran & Company gunpowder mill and arms workshop is expanded.

Frogmore’s main road is improved and several more roads paved.

More land is turned into farms.

In 1735 the first annual “Frog Swim” is held, in which rival gangs of foolhardy young men from Frogmore and Eastmoreland compete to see who can swim from one end of the canal to the other fastest.

George the second leads his troops into battle, the last British king to do so.

Bonnie prince Charlie leads the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, and marches to derby, but is defeated at the battle of Culloden, the last pitched battle on British soil.

In Blackborough a hall is built for the freemasons, below the roman walls near the market. The Masons also knock down several houses, and several masons build new houses in the vacated area. The area is called masons road for the amount of Masons who live there.

A section of the castle walls, are damaged when a small keg of gunpowder is detonated by a group of people with Jacobite sympathies. The town is largely untouched by the revolt, as the rebels marched down the west coast.

North of the masons lodge, a section of the town is knocked down and redeveloped.

The gatehouse on the bridge between Blackborough and Redhall is knocked down. Several businesses spring up in the area left behind, including a brothel and a group of fisherman build a wharf off the bridge, to provide more wharf space.

A new foot bridge is built in the north of the town, to provide easier access to the cricket ground via a new path

The Bishops palace is connected to the rest of the church, and a new one is built. At the same time, several wooden houses surrounding the Catheral are pulled down. As most of the houses are owned by the church, this causes few problems.

A new House for the Bishop is built on the outskirts of town, along with a chorister for the choir boys. Several of the more religious townsfolk sent their children there.

A small building is built on the Breakwater to help guide ships in and out of the habour after a boat crashes into the breakwater. Some of the locals call it a lighthouse

A new mine is opened and a few new houses are built. Apart from that, Merdin is rather quiet.

After the Jacobite rebellion, the Armaments factory is expanded, and a short spur off the canal added to help move things in and out. Several people move to live nearer the factory, and some new workers are recruited.

Thomas Pelham-Holes, 1st Duke of Blackborough (not to be confused with the Earl of Blackborough) becomes prime minister.

Pastures to the north of Blackborough are expanded by Sir James Hayston; descendant of Nicholas and William, current occupant of Hayston House and owner of much of the land in Northbridge.

A number of cottage industry producers are put out of business when Hayston opens a large textile factory in Northbridge. Part of Northwood forest is cleared to make way for the factory and new roads and homes are built in the area.

New houses are built for workers south of the ropewalk and the docklands north of Blackborough are expanded.

Parts of West Blackborough are torn down and rebuilt to make way for ceramic and textile factories. Paving is expanded throughout the area.

The eastern docks of Blackborough are expanded and new warehouses built.

One of the eastern city gates and a small part of the wall is demolished as part of the dockland expansion.

The local mint is turned into a records office.

A wealthy industrialist, James Arkwright, constructs a large waterfront mansion in the old town.

In 1753 The Blackborough Market expands.

A cask factory is constructed on the former farmlands in the south of the city.

Some grand houses and gardens are built just to the east of the castle.

One of the city watch towers ceases to be manned and is currently being squatted in by a number of impoverished residents.

New houses and an inn are built close to Blackborough Library and King Charles Park.

The Beast of Blackborough is allegedly spotted again on Northwood Common, sparking a minor hysteria.

Public oil lamps are introduced to Blackborough in an attempt to make the streets safer.

A large new theatre and drinking house is built on the site of the ruined old theatre.

Stone paving is expanded throughout Redhall’s theatre district.

Public oil lamps are introduced to Redhall, making the streets safer.

Several gin dens are opened just outside the southern wall of Redhall as the Bishop turns a blind eye. Spaces between houses are turned into small shops and drinking spots.

The notorious highwayman known as Redjack is caught in 1754, after nearly twenty years evading the law. Redjack, real name Montgomery Connor, is currently awaiting trial in Rothray Prison.

Merdin market expands and a corn exchange is built.

New mines are dug and a horse-drawn railway is built to transport coal from the mines. The canals are also expanded.

In 1751 a storm destroys several bridges and floods a quarry in Frogmore.

The Moran Company build new terraces of houses for workers at the armaments factory.

Pastures in Eastmoreland are expanded and a new slaughter house built
A small canal is dug to service the pastures and slaughterhouse.

The highwayman Redjack is transported to Rothray Prison.


War! The Seven Year’s War, also known as the French and Indian War, the War of the Conquest, the Pomeranian War, the Third Carnatic War, and the Third Silesian War, rages throughout Europe, regional powers, the European colonies, and all around the world. The Kingdom of Great Britain, the Kingdom of Prussia, the Electorate of Hanover, the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, the Iroquois Confederacy, the Kingdom of Portugal, the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel, and the Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe as well as their colonies faces the equivalent powers of the Kingdom of France, the Archduchy of Austria, the Russian Empire, the Spanish Empire, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Electorate of Saxony, and the Mughal Empire as well as their colonies. Colonial, imperial, territorial and expansionist ideals and plans clash in this truly world war…

Blackborough and surrounding areas are not that much affected by the war (in terms of scripting, population, military presence and battles).

The current shipyards are struggling to keep up with demand as the British Navy asks for a navy capable of defending every port in every colony. Expansions are needed, and plans for a larger neighboring shipyard are made, which would require the demolition of several houses.

The cricket grounds become a smashing success as money exchanges hands aplenty. The local men, at their time off, would almost daily go there and waste their money there if not at the pub.

The Seven Year’s War ends and King George II is succeded by George III. The French were defeated in North America and India and teh British colonial empire expands.

A new shipyard is build close to Rothray. The beach between the northern and southern shipyards is to sandy and soft to construct larger buildings on it – but the townsfolk like to bath there.
Plans of expanding the shipyards are still considered, but with the end of the war and the growing popultion it seems like a bad idea to demolish to many buildings.

Between the cricket grounds and the city a new octagonal square is constructed. It is named after the House of Hanover. In the middle of Hanover Square a large statue of Britannia is erected; four smaller statues suround it: America, Africa, Asia and Europa.

Near the River were the Roman walls once stood several buildings are demolished – they were old and only some poor people lived there anyway – and St. James at the Walls is enlarged. A small part of the city wall is torn down as well, giving the people of Blackborough a great view over the river towards the grand cathedral of Redhall.

Redhalls palisade is torn down – the town had outgrown it a long time ago. Between the inner town and the eastern neighbourhoods Woodstreet comes into existence, it is one of the widest and most busy streets of Redhall – leading from the piers towars the southern quarters of Redhall.

The forest between frog canal and Redhall (including everyone’s favorite stone circle) is made into a landscape park – with real fake ruins and small statues and benches.

To the south east of the park a new street – Quebec Street – determines the border between Frogmore and Redhall.

In Merdin the Square dispute is solved by naming it after General James Wolfe of the Seven-Years-War. Confusing future visitors if the statue is about Wolfe or not – it isn’t.

Rumours go that Redjack is living in the old witch house in the woods.
Frogmore is growing in the north near to Redhall. The settlement is increasingly becoming an outskirt of Redhall, especially the part north of Frog Pond.

The old docks are left alone. For now the bishop and the earl want to develop their own ports more, but Eastmoreland seems like an interessting possebility for later expansion.

A few more people are moving to the hamlet of Abbeywood. The mines are working fine and many believe that Abbeywood will have a bright industrial future.

The new road between the hamlet and Merdin is constructed.


To celebrate the end of the Seven Years War a large triumphal arch is constructed on Castle Street. Completed in 1769, the triple arch stands at 14 metres high and 16 metres wide, it’s four decorative pillars are topped by statues of soldiers from across the empire and the main central arch is topped by a statue of Victory riding in a chariot drawn by four lions.

Officially called “The Blackborough Victory Arch” the monument soon comes to be known as “Lions’ Gate”.

Between 1765 and 1769 the docklands of Blackborough are expanded and sections of Blackborough’s outer wall are torn down to make way for new docks and warehouse on the waterfront.

Competition between the docklands under the control of the City of Blackborough and the docklands under the control of the Bishop of Redhall is fierce. The mayor of Blackborough would dearly like to see the whole of Redhall and its docklands placed under the authority of the City of Blackborough, but he does not yet have sufficient political support to challenge the ancient rights of the Bishop.

Most of Blackborough’s remaining manned gates and watchtowers are torn down or handed over to the city’s civilian authorities.

Most of Hollowstone Castle’s remaining administrative functions are handed over to Blackborough town hall. The castle is now largely empty most of the time apart from the soldiers quartered there.

Food shortages lead to growing unrest throughout Blackborough and in 1766 a literal spark ignites riots. In 1766 a fire breaks out at the ropewalk in Northbridge, killing nine workers and destroying several nearby homes. The damaged part of the ropewalk is simply rebuilt with the managers ignoring the obvious safety problems, and to add insult to injury the workers whose homes were destroyed are not compensated.

The workers at the ropewalk are outraged and block access to the site. When the ropewalks’ overseer attempts to force his way in he is strung up by his feet with the rope made in his own factory. A riot ensues and spreads from the ropewalk workers to the shipbuilders and the poor of Jewry Street who were displaced when St James at the Walls was enlarged.

In the riot the gates of the debtors prison are forced open and the prison subsequently burnt to the ground, shops in Northbridge and North Blackborough are looted (with several still remaining empty in 1769) and the windows of the town hall are smashed.

The riot is eventually put down in brutal fashion. A dozen ringleaders and most of those who escaped from the debtor’s prison are caught and either hanged or sent to Rothray prison. Whilst the workers at the ropewalk and the shipyards eventually return to work the riot of ’66 remains a bitter memory.

Following the riot some measly provision is made for the poor who were displaced when the Jewry Street slum was demolished: a number of cramped proto-tenements are built, ironically on the site of the destroyed debtors’ prison.

A new textile works is established north of town.

A Blackborough man by the name of Philip Astley, recently returned from the Seven Years’ War, has the idea to make money by putting on shows of horsemanship in a field near Westrbridge. Astley’s feats of trick-riding prove popular however he soon finds that he needs some way to keep the crowds entertained between rides. Astley decides to hire several travelling jugglers and clowns to become a permanent part of his show, and in doing so invents the modern circus. A permanent structure for the show, “Astley’s Amphitheatre”, opens next to King Charles Park in 1768.

The Blackborough Brewery expands and buys up land to the west close to the river for growing hops. The Brewery also funds paving of roads in the area.

The Earl of Blackborough wants to expand and renovate Northwood House however one of his flunkeys delicately explains that given the recent riots over bread shortages this might not be the best time for a conspicuous display of wealth. The Earl is adamant, and begins drawing up plans, but mercifully agrees to wait a couple of years to begin construction.

Expansion occurs around Hanover Square and the north bank of the moat canal.

Redjack has not been seen in several years and by now would be middle-aged. Rumours circulate, some say that he lives in the haunted Henderson House, others say that he has left England for the New World. It would seem that Redjack has passed into legend, perhaps one day the truth will be known.

Not to be outdone by Blackborough the Redhall docklands are expanded.

In excellent news for Redhall the Bishop obtains parliamentary approval for the building of a large wet dock on the site of the enclosed pasture. If successful the dock will be able receive imports of timber from the Baltics and whale blubber from Greenland, with dedicated blubber boiling houses and timber yards planned to be constructed surrounding the dock.

Construction of the dock is due to start in 1770 but is vociferously opposed by some of the merchants of Frogmore-Eastmoreland.

The Bishop makes a token effort to have some of Redhall’s dens of inequity shut down, but his efforts are deliberately ineffective and he turns a blind eye to the conversion of a windmill in south Redhall into an elaborate brothel known locally as “Red Mill”.

A seminary school is built on the north bank of Frogs Pond Canal, enclosed by a high wall to “protect” the students from the temptations of south Redhall.

In Merdin increasing demand for coal requires more men to transport the coal in shallow-draught boats out to the big collier ships which sit in the harbour.

Land is set aside on the south bank of the St Dubnus between the two bridges to house the increasing numbers of so-called keelmen and whilst the housing conditions are poor the people of “Keeltown” form a close-knit community.

Paved roads are expanded in Merdin and several small new bridges built.

Public oil lamps introduced.

The Moran Company expands their interests building a dye-works on the south bank of the St Dubnus, opposite Blackborough Brewery.

An exhausted mine is filled in (poorly) and a large new mine begun.

In Frogmore the bakery is expanded.

An area of forest to the south is cleared to establish Eastmoreland Cemtery.

Roads are expanded to better connect the region to the main road and paving is expanded.

New homes are built.

On Rothray the prison population swells following the riots in Blackborough. Increasing numbers of prisoners are kept in the dungeon-like catacombs of the old hermitage beneath the ground. Some bleeding hearts have suggested expanding the prison but for now the guards just keep piling more men in.


By 1774 Blackborough has over 10,000 inhabitants. It is getting pretty crowded in some areas. The growing textile and coal industry and the trade are getting people to move into the city.

Most of the new houses are build along the river and north of the city. A new block of houses is errected near the old graveyard at the river – the sheperds that owned the land made a nice profit of selling it. The proximity of the graveyard and the former use of the ground the houses are build upon earns the area the nickname Sheepsgrave.

Following the example of Redhall Blackborough is aswell setting up a larger park for the general public. Especially the wealthy inhabitants of the growing area around Hanover Square enjoy the park right net to their homes, but even the poorer folk of the city come sometimes for a walk.

To the west of the park surrounded by forest a new large graveyard is build and a chapel aswell. It is seperated into three parts:
-the smallest part west of the church, here (will) lay the richest of them all
-the northern part, mostly reserved for the upper middleclass
-the southern part, for everyone else – has the option to continue growing southwards

The merchant James McAlroy invests into the brewery at the river. An admirer of good beer his passion, dedication and know-how will make “McAlroy’s” one of the leading beer manufacturers of England.

He sets up a new mill at the creek, which is flowing through a few meters deep valley. On both sides of it are rock formations – creating a little canyon. Especially kids love this place – they climb the rocks, try to catch fish or butterflies.

McAlroy’s mill is so that it blocks the water, creating a small lake behind it and using all the avaible water energy.

After years of planning and building the docks are finshed in the summer of 1774. Not without protests from Frogmore-Eastmoreland, which fears to be marginalized by Redhall.

The residence of the bishop is reused and slighty expanded to house the dockmaster and his staff. Blubber boiling houses are build on the other side of the dock, their disgusting smell leads to wealthier folk avoidning the area near the eastern beach.

The Bishop in the meantime moves into his new mansion near Crescent Hill. A chapel is built aswell near the mansion. Whereas the bishops old chapel near the docks is now mostly visited by sailors and travelers.

Most of the shore between the centre of Merdin and bridge towards Blackborough is occupied by building by now.

Between the building at the Roman road and Merdin itself lay the fields on Merdin. A new street is build trough them to ensure that the different parts of the town will grow together.

A new graveyard opens near the Roman road.


With Britain fighting in the colonies, the French and the Spanish there is a high demand for ships, arms and men, many of which come from Blackborough.

Between 1777 and 1779 both shipyards are expanded and more shipworkers move in to homes close by. An ale house and a brothel open to cater to the workers at the northern shipyard.

With soldiers needed in the colonies the armed guards at many of the remaining gates and watchtowers are removed.

Whilst loss of trade hits Blackborough hard the demand for uniforms is a boom to Blackborough’s fast growing industry. The glassworks just south of the Church of St Dubnus is expanded, and new textile factories established close to the Northbridge slaughterhouse.

New merchants move into the formally derelict premises on Angevin square, however at the same time some of the small cottage industries in the city are being put out of business by larger competitors opening up.

The Earl of Blackborough’s plans to expand and renovate Northwood House are again postponed as the government, seeking revenue to finance the war effort, hits the Earl with a hefty tax bill.

In 1780 street paving is expanded in northern Blackborough and around Hanover Square. The growing upper-middle class population are increasingly settling west of Hanover Square, on the pleasant and fashionable “Parkside” and away from the slums east of the square.

The remaining administrative functions of Hollowstone Castle are handed over to the town hall in 1782. Whilst the Earl of Blackborough still occasionally stays at the castle its only real purpose is quartering soldiers.

Between 1779 and 1783 James McAlroy expands Blacborough Brewery’s interests further by building a new cask factory. New homes are built for the brewery’s workers.

Blackborough’s oldest pub, currently called “The Bishop’s Rest”, expands its premises buying up a neighbouring courtyard.

The medical college in the old town is expanded and a collection of medical “curiosities” is established. Supposedly for the education of students, in reality any morbid gentleman looking for entertainment can hand over his coin to see pickled limbs and tumours.

In more wholesome educational news, Robert Raikes’ Sunday School movement uses funds gained through subscriptions to pay for the construction of a large school for the poor just west of Northbridge slum. In addition to the instruction of the young the school hosts free public lectures.

New town houses are built in the vicinity of St James-at-the-walls and several new homes are built in the Sheepsgrave area.

In 1784 an old widow leaves a hearth fire burning. The fire catches and burns down several homes and shops just north of the St Dubnus Bridge before being brought under control.

South of the river, the road leading between south Blackborough is straightened and new homes built around a paved square. To commemorate the construction of the new dock in Redhall it is decided to name the area “Neptune Square” and a statue of the sea god is commissioned. A market is established selling goods to those approaching Blackborough from the south.

In 1775 the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Blackborough officially petition the government for Redhall to be incorporated into Blackborough proper but due to the Bishop’s influence in high circles the petition is declined. The Mayor is gaining support locally however, as many influential people in Redhall have grown tired of the Bishop’s self-serving and autocratic rule.

Case in point: the new dock is named “Bishop’s Dock”, an unfortunate reminder of the man’s vanity to those who wish to see accountable local government in Redhall. The new dock does however prove useful as although imports have slowed ships use the docks for refitting. New warehouses and carpenter’s yards open around the dock and cheap homes are erected for the dockworkers.

The farms south of Quebec street are bought up for new homes and factories. Work begins on a canal running parallel to Quebec Street, connecting Bishop’s Dock to Frog’s Pond, however due to the recession funding is interrupted and the work put on hold.

New homes are built south of Frog’s Pond Canal.

Sheridan’s play “The Rivals” is performed at the Stagecoach Theatre in Redhall.

A dispensary is opened where the poor can obtain free medicines.

In Merdin Demand for coal is steadily increasing and new mines are begun to the south.

Keeltown expands and a public house (“The Colliers Arms”) is opened.

On the west bank in Merdin Brook, farms are bought up to make way for a pottery works and for new houses. The wealthy are tending to move to the west bank whilst poorer residents live on the east bank.

The war is something of a gift for Frogmore, and particularly for the Moran Company, as the armaments factory and powder mill expand to meet the surge in demand.

The Bishop is increasingly seeking to exert influence in Frogmore as the two conurbations begin merging into one.

Paths are laid in Eastmoreland Cemetery.

A glue factory is built close to Eastmoreland slaughterhouse.

With the outbreak of war HMS Kraken, an old ship of the line, is permanently moored at Rothray. The outdated ship serves as a floating military base, recruitment/impressment centre and training facility.

Rothray prison is formally brought under central government control as HMP Rothray and the prison is expanded with new buildings to accommodate extra prisoners.

In support of the Priestly Riots against Dissenters there are riots in Blackborough. Presbyterians are harassed, as well as the few descents of Huguenots in the area. They probably were French agents anyways, who were happy for the suppression of the Catholics in France. Houses are smashed, businesses ransacked, and the Unitarians, Deists, Republicans, and others of their like are driven off as their homes and places of business and worship inside and outside of Westburgh are wrecked. The library is partially wrecked as portions of the works are burned or trashed. Apparently there had been quite a bit of controversy around the country about what kind of books the public libraries bought. Fortunately, the librarian got them to attack the university instead, as they had the newer stuff.

The very few who were actively in support of abolition are locked up or driven away. Just as well, as the ports had taken to building specialized slave vessels when not taking care of warships and merchant ships for the Baltic trade. There are also some privateers, but bringing goods from the Americas using British manufactures and African slaves is far steadier work. Some artefacts of ivory, gold, and beads made their way into private collections around Blackborough.

Laudanum is popular, and found in so many flavours! A store that has it as a specialty opens up near the southern entrance to Blackborough, near the other luxury good stores.

A legal challenge is upheld in a case of property owners series land developers in the southwest of Blackborough, on further review, compensation and permission was not given for land use, and the line of new homes was found to be a greater fire starter than the previous spacious triangle which had saved the fire from expanding to the more densely packed shore homes, this is proved partially through arson, though home owners from former Westburgh (those who had made the owners of most of the homes in Blackborough’s southwest. It seems that Baronet Stone’s rent farming was not appreciated, especially in light of how he had become a slumlord for the island of Westburgh, where houses were built upon uneven ground and where only kept from toppling over because they had each other to lean on. The arson is seen as a bit harsh, though, and the greater difficulty in burning the homes points to how the construction of the buildings put up to house some of the homeless might have been even a tad shoddy. There is a likelihood that people will be arrested as Jacobins, if they can find them. Might be hard to give them a trial by jury when they were simply trying to protect the country from mob rule and atheism.

After the fire it is decided that things are getting ridiculous and the opinion of the people of the northeast of Blackborough is that those in the far south and west are, frankly, pyromaniacs. The fountain representing Africa or the Americas had earlier been removed from its place when new homes where being built up along the side of the city’s main road, and is brought to place in the slightly burnt area, to add yet more water.

A de-facto firebreak is set up along a near unbroken stretch of street from the docks of the Dubnus up to the southeast corner of the Castle’s outer walls, and separating the butcher area from those of the glass makers, who had once more harvested the ashes of the burned down buildings. (The firebreak involves knocking down signs and fining people building diagonally above the street. some move to look for a better neighbourhood) Perhaps a bit counter-productive to keep the ones relying upon constant fires on the side of the firebreak with the majority of the town, but the confederation of bottle blowers, sheet glass makers, and others generally keeps things under control, with sand and water sometimes stored in the ceilings or the roofs. Further changes to the buildings leaves any wood in it outside of kindling and furniture.

After the acquiring of an inn to expand the premises of the glassmakers, who had apparently been bad for business with the heat coming from their premises and the loud noises going on at all hours having apparently being bad for business. The owners of nearby buildings are not entirely thrilled to not only lose one of their preferred roadside inns, but at the chance that a fire occurs or their own property values lower. Until it can be decided by the glassmakers how to best expand, they use they the building for showing off their wares, and consider it being the headquarters for the glassmakers guild, though a better location might be better suited to show off some of the stain glass they are making. Light is key, after all. The top of the building and the basements are used for, respectively, temporary housing and storage.

Extra precautions are still taken, of course. The thin building previously abandoned is reused, though as a communal dining area. Water that is boiled from the furnaces is let to cool in the area and is used in tea and food in the area, helping the need of locals who do not have ovens or their own. In addition, water during storms is collected upon the roughs. Incase of major fires they can release a deluge upon the workshops. The coal is also stored in some of the larger houses and in available space on the docks.

St. James-on-the-River has been holding onto those bodies from the graveyard they built over a tad bit too long. Most of the corpses are still beneath expanded building, but now they have nowhere to put more. Time for more graveyards! It is a sound investment in land, so they grab some to the north, near the forest. The church by Bywater does the same, for the sailors and their poor flock.

The Blackborough Corresponding Committing gets off to a rocky start with one of the more known members being tossed into pigfat at the meat packing house and set alight.

Many ships are taken by French privateers, and their crews rot away.

Ditto for those getting too close to the Barbary Coast. Someday those corsairs will get what is coming to them.

The second son of the tobacconist Barron and the eldest of the chocolatier Japp spend a quite night together in a room at the oldest inn in town during the riots. They had grown close aster the Japps stayed with longtime family friends and though it would not be discovered for years, it did bring a starting point as what would become the continent’s oldest gay bar.

In Redhall there is the realization that they should try getting a borough of their own. That, or they just go along with organized elections to get their own Member of Parliament who usually focused far to the south to pay more attention to themselves. A candidate is decided upon who is unlike the previous one, in that he has actually spent more than one consecutive month in the North of England. They got in because property owners (those not controlled by the Bishop, who has taken on a view of expanding his influence and might consider greater closeness with the Lord of Hollowstone. Shame the Lord and Mayor are often at odds) managed to fix up their homes well enough to become part of the franchise. Enough of Frogmore has enough money or chunks of land to also to get to vote.

The Better Sort in Frogmore are now getting carriage rides up to Redhall on Sundays for church services. Same in Blackborough, though not as to great an extent. They have more than one church after all, and they usually manage to keep the scum to the back row, with half the seats either.

While people abandon French claret for Portuguese port, the Bishop’s men and vitners try to get their own wine used for fine dining and in communion. They would need a lot of it in the years to come, when the British people wish to partake in Communion themselves, instead of just the priest doing it. Which means giant silver chalices will be needed…

Fortunately they bought some such goods that were ransacked from French and Flemish churches.

More graveyards! Which really made sense, given how even a century back they had to put slabs of stone over most graves by the Cathedral to keep the bodies from popping out.

Wig duties are coming into effect. An old business making powder and collecting hair for wigs dating back to the times of Charles II takes a hit, as does changing fashions.

It is discovered once more that there are bodies in the woods. A hell of a lot more than expected, though. People trying to cut down trees and yank out the roots would often find small skeletons and the land is deemed…. Unsuitable for farming. Cutting down trees is banned. A small plot that will someday be famous for its baby carrots, tomatoes, corn, and other tasteless foods is begun on the edge.

The Penny Post is created. It would be wonderful if only they had built that mail office during the reign of the Charles. As of now, their mail service is not the best, but Frogmore decides they should get around to it. They had plenty of business with transportation for business purposes, but there is hope that this will really… They aren’t sure, they are just interested in it. Many collect stamps that come into the region from all over as work is begun on a central depot to forward male through the North of England. They just need to decide where to put it… Someplace south of the fork-in-the-road should do, once they make an impressive design for it.

Glue production is started in private homes. If it works, they should be able to provide most of the glue for the area’s stamp needs. Though to get that far, they will need to make a place of their own.

The old Gypsie tent sees constant business. The current matron of it (Most of her family and friends staying in houses, traveling, or keeping out of the tent so it looks mystical) is owner of the houses between her side of paved road, as well as the clearer land to the sides, forming a large triangle. One of the homes is knocked down, so as to not hide her from traveling customers. The increase in business wasn’t as great as hoped, and more homes are built, many with are multiple stories and could have several families within. She sets her sights upon buying up all the adjacent land, building it up, and moving to buy virgin land to the south.

New Quarries open to the south. Time will tell if they find more good building materials or any other sorts of minerals.

On Rothray prisoners in some cells are basically let to starve. Others just have to make do with double the people and a lot more crampedness. Those showing support of the Revolutionaries and some of the victims of the riot have several ships being prepared just for them, some being re-outfitted slaving vessels. The plan is to transport nearly the entire population of the prison to Botany Bay, where they will almost certainly die without having children. Thieves, rapists, debtors, Quakers all get the boot. Just in time too, another few years and they would just brick everyone up. The cholera and dysentary meant no one wanted to even open cell doors.

The damaged parts of Blackborough library and Westburgh are rebuilt as the area heals, however the city has barely recovered from the Priestly upset when fresh riots break out, this time over the price of bread.

The riots begin in 1795 as a bad harvest and the disruption of war lead to the price of wheat sky-rocketing across England. A group of around two hundred people, comprised mainly of women, gather at the docks just south of Redhall bridge following a rumour that a shipment of flour is being taken out of Blackborough to London.

The “Blackborough Wives” force their way aboard several ships, ransacking them, and raid nearby warehouses, before the Riot Act is read and troops force the crowd to disperse, with the ringleaders arrested. Damage is relatively light with only a couple of homes and a warehouse damaged however sporadic outbreaks of unrest continue throughout the year. These are fractious times for Blackborough and the surrounding area.

The docklands are expanded, the squatters are evicted from the old guard tower and the building is used for storage.

At the beginning of 1797 Blackborough is invaded for the last time in its history.

The French General Lazare Hoche had planned a three-pronged attack, with the main force landing in Ireland to support the Republicans whilst two diversionary forces would land in Wales and in Blackborough.

The main force is unable to land in Ireland due to poor weather conditions however the two diversionary attacks go ahead. On February 23rd 1797 a force of two French Frigates and around 1200 men lands just south of Eastmoreland whilst a third ship is wrecked in the stormy weather.

The French force contains a number of irregulars and convicts pressed into service, some of whom desert as soon as they make landfall, but those who remain make their way north to the outskirts of town. A small French contingent successfully seizes Edmondsley, to the astonishment and bemusement of the sleepy hamlet’s residents, whilst the main body of men advances on Frogmore/Eastmoreland. The French secure the miner’s houses south of Frogmore however by this point the alarm has been raised and a ragtag defence force of reservists, armaments workers, and miners meets the French at the crossroads just east of Eastmoreland cemetery.

After several hours of fighting the English reservists are forced to withdraw into Frogmore proper however by this point the troops from the barracks in Blackborough have arrived and in the face of an organised defence the French force breaks, with most of the men either surrendering, fleeing into the country-side, or retreating to Edmondsley.

By the morning of the 24th the French soldiers in Edmondsley are surrounded and cut off. Sporadic exchanges of fire take place throughout that day however it becomes increasingly clear that the farcical invasion has been a failure and on the evening of the 24th of February the French Commander surrenders.

Damage from the “Battle of Frogmore” is relatively light; a few houses looted and burned and around twenty people killed. Most of the French soldiers who fled into the countryside are rounded up but a few manage to disappear and start new lives in the area.

More luxury stores open in south Blackborough.

Barron and Japp go into business together to open their own public house in the old watch tower in a corner of Blackborough just north of the St Dubnus Bridge. “The White Tower” caters to like-minded chaps and is the closest thing that exists to a “safe” place for gay men at this time.

A number of grand new homes are built away from the hustle and bustle of Blackborough, on what is named “Northwood Road”.

A brothel is established near the barracks.

An small art school opens in Westburgh.

The dip in trade and losses to privateers hits Redhall fairly hard, however the docks are kept busy fitting out ships and Redhall gets a shot in the arm from the opening of an ironworks to the south-east.

New terraces of homes are built south or the ironworks, with strict rules for the tenant/workers.

A break-out of smallpox spreads through Redhall.

With Redhall now under control of the city of Blackborough, real efforts are actually made to close the gin shops and brothels in Redhall for the first time.

In Merdin, Keeltown and the cheap homes on the south bank of the river continue to expand.

St John’s Church and Poor School opens next to the river.

The Benedictine Monks expelled from Douai following the French Revolution are granted asylum and permitted to settle in Merdin at a former farmhouse where they provide education to the children of the remaining catholics in town.

A milliners opens on Merdin Creek.

Cornish engineer and inventor Richard Trevithick is invited to Merdin in 1804 to demonstrate his steam engine. Trevithick oversees the building of a new locomotive, “The Smoking Imp” which successfully operates hauling coal on the wagonway at the Merdin mines.

The residents of Frogmore and Eastmoreland take pride in being able to say that they defeated a French invasion. The damage to the south of town is repaired and the defenders hailed as heroes.

The shipwrecked French Frigate becomes something of a tourist attraction.

A post depot is established in south Eastmoreland.

The glue factory next to the slaughterhouse expands.

Despite the transportation the number of prisoners at Rothray remains high due to people arrested in successive riots and the French prisoners of war.

To deal with the overcrowding a separate building is constructed for POWS.
Most of the civilian population of Rothray now make a living providing goods/services to the sailors and jailers rather than farming.

In Abbeywood a large area of woodland around the old abbey ruins is granted to the people of the region as common land for grazing.

The damage to Edmondsley from the “invasion” is light and the village largely returns to its sleepy way of life.

A small monument is erected to mark the spot of the French surrender.

A new pub opens in the centre of the village called “The Antigallican”.

The barracks are greatly expanded. A new parade ground is build near the amphitheater. The square between the two is named in honour of Horatio Nelson. The street beginning at the library, crossing Nelson Square and extendeing as far north as the graveyard is named Trafalgar Street.

Both Sheepsgrave and the housing area near the brewery grow. The richer houses half-way between Sheepsgrave and Westburgh get their own pier.

A part of the city wall is torn down, to better connect the old town to Hanover Square and the surrounding neighbourhoods. The old park between the castle wall and the town wall becomes public and a small bridge is build. The material of the walls is used to improve the streets along the canal.

The renovation of the park is payed by the industrial Benjamin Nortorp and his philandropic society.

Nortorp owns the large factory to the south-east of the cricket field. He payed even for the small park next to his factory.

The graveyards are expanded.

The large parks, the mansions and the proximity to Northwood make north-west Blackborough to one of the finest locations for the homes of upperclass

Not many new houses are build in Redhall, mostly because most of the growth happens in Frogmore-Eastmoreland.

The most important development in Redhall is the establishment of “Three Mills Co.”. Originally founded in 1793 by the three millers between Redhall and Eastmoreland the company was named “W. Ablewine, R. Hoof and J. Thomson: United Mills Company”. The company was effectivly taken over by Hoof’s son-in-law John Balthazar 12 years later and changed name to “Three Mills Co.”.

In 1805 the construction of new modern mill begun. One of the original mills was torn down in the process. The mill is connected to the sea by a new canal and a small basin.

As the woods shrink and prices rise, people who use the forests try to grab what they still can. The Earl is laying his claim to almost all the forested land, though people keep chopping it at night without permission. Two diamonds of land are rented in perpetuity to the descendants of old pig herders. One is mainly used for herding and feeding the pigs, the other for keeping the truffles, roots, mushrooms, berries, and nuts alive that they have been making a steady profit on over the years. As part of the lease-rent-sale, they herders get new weapons and permission to aim shoot to kill for poachers and trespassers anywhere with trees.

It seems that King George is insane. Or something like that. He will spend much of the rest of his days being mocked and tortured by his doctors. Same with those of the Royal Merdin Hospital, whose doctors tend to be the sort of people who torture animals. It isn’t helped by they getting syphilus in Redhall and trying to cure it with mercury.

Speaking of mercury, a few ships managed to get some loads of cinnabar from the former Grand Duchy of Tuscany/Estruscan Republic/Kingdom of Etruria, which is now set of French provinces during a lull in the constant wars. Well, that and smuggling, which was why the French annexed it. You may remember this area as being what the French gave the the Spanish Bourobons by tossing the Grand Duke to Salzburg then Wurzburg… But that is not important. What is important is that this land that was once two separate republics and had glory under the Medici was compensation for the Spanish and their family giving the regicidal French six massive ships, Parma, Louisiana, and Elba. And then they took it back. As the French unite the Italians against them, ships from Blackborough who are going for out of their usual travel routes purchase cinnabar to be made into mercury to sell to the (soon to be) independence-driven Spanish Americans, which began breaking free after the past French invasion. It turns out that they have plenty of mercury of their own back there, and it is mostly used as ballast on the way home, as well as with other minerals found in the Spanish Main.

Some of the minerals brought back to Blackborough are taken for study, while most are just sold to the ever growing chemical industry in Merdin. Samples of each were stored in the tower at Hollowstone for which the castle was named. The caretaker liked minerals.

There are raids of Molly houses in other places, but not in Blackborough. Japp and Barron were asphyxiated under unknown circumstances, and The White Tower passed onto another member of their close families Mr. Sanders, a nephew of the current Confectioner. He now has the tower open on certain days for women, and one Tuesday’s for men and women. This is under the understanding that they are chaperoned, engaged, or wed. Fortunately there are not many letters between the two deceased lovers as they lived so close to each other, but the members of the extended family who had been marrying the other shop keeps and artisans who had their suspicions manage to hush it up, with one of the two being moved to a separate bed before the constables arrived. The tower now serves coffees of different such as mocha and java. Some Persian and Muscati art of Muhammed is purchased from sailors and coffee merchants to decorate the area.

A son who was not expected to inherit the tobacconist shop had become a bit of an artisan in his spare time. He makes some of the finest snuffboxes in northern Britain and takes on apprentices amongst his cousins for some of the simpler stuff. Inlay, mother-of-pearl, gilt, cameos, he had a variety of options. His home and workshop in Ashtown were notable for having the highest gun-to-occupant ration outside of the armory, gunsmiths, and barracks.

Another unnamed relative starts branching out from the usually smoking tobacco and produces fine snuff, using watermint, peppermint, spearmint, and a variety of ingredients to try adding flavour and uniqueness during those times period times when tobacco of the smoothest quality wasn’t available from those United States due to blockages, embargoes, and whatnot. Make do with what you have on hand. He has had many failures, but has high hopes for his trade. Another shop might even someday be opened in Ashtown for it, or even in the more upperclass Blackborough proper. Alas, rents are higher up there.

Gearing up for another riot as men as Francis Burdett is arrested in 1810 for libel for talking about reforming the electorate as a Member of Parliament. The problems do not arise in Westburgh or Ashtown, though. The problems are mostly in Northbridge. With the Enclosure Acts and the Highland Clearances, there are a lot more people needing work and homes. While the constables, military, thugs, and the goons of factory owners and slumlords keep them in place so they don’t get to out of hand (with only a couple dozen deaths), things take a more serious turn during the rising of Luddites. Looms and machines of any sort are smashed in Northbridge and, upon the destruction of the bridge by the Docklands, Royal naval vessels are brought in to bombard the area.

Further problems arise when several cancelled orders for ships means the sails, ropes, provisions, and other industries lay off workers or just give them less pay for more work in the case of the few industries to do well.

After some problems with fountains from which the common people and the servants of the fish and bourgeois fetched their water from, the pipes were replaced with lead ones.
The Highland Clearances continue, as crofters are deported either directly from Great Britain to Canada and Australia, or simply to the tops of cliffs to farm rocks. There is a swarm of Scots who make their way to Dubnus, more than doubling the population of some areas. Good thing too. You needed a lot of fresh bodies to make up for dieing workers.

Business is rotten. For exports and legal trade, at least. There are constant wars as the British have been funding almost every country on mainland Europe, who then usually would strike a deal to annex church lands or some neutral territories. Currently there is the on-and-off wars with Russia and Sweden which are fairly bloodless expect for Russians confiscating property and imprisoning merchants, though they come around. Most all of them turn things around by the War of the Sixth Coalition, with both the Swedes and Russians ending their kinda-sorta war with the British after Napoleon invaded Russia. The exception to the turning of coats(even if the French started it) are the Danes. Their choice after the British destroyed their fleet and defenses had been to go with Napoleon or be steamrolled. This will have some unpleasant effects on the trade Blackborough has in the Straights and from an old Hanseatic outpost in Norway. Fortunately some ships had been able to be lent out to the help in the Danish and Swedish Indies.

Blackborough raise taxes on the poor.

Bishop is growing even richer. He now owns the majority of the docks on his side of the river, and is moving on to buy up land in Blackborough and unclaimed areas.

It is wondered if there is room to make soap using animal fat form one of the butcher areas.

Statues of lead are made for King George and the Prince Regent, as well as various patriotic figures like generals and admirals, to be sold throughout Great Britain. Lots of gold and silver leaf. Don’t want to end up with a misshapen work of stone like the statue of St. Dubnus, after all. Much better the misshapen piece of art that was King Tudor.

Paint factory expands production, plans on getting more spacious quarters to the south of where the mad house gets its drinking water from.

A dentist specializing in making dentures and cleaning teeth looks for a good place to set up shop.

Smuggling continues in Eastmoreland as it is felt that Blackborough is keeping too much of the profits of any goods.

There are considerations to make a rail heading to the south, so they could ignore Blackborough entirely. The abuses their sailors and people would get over the in Blackborough years due to the stereotype of them being gypsy infested boondocks. With increased work from the quarries and various factories, there is no longer seen as being much of a reason to go work in Blackborough. Or to pay taxes too them. No, they are quite independent and with the influx of Scotsmen they have more than enough people to expand labor intensive work.

Over two thousand new residents to the area. Lots of new housing needed. For now they are all cramped together

Gypsie woman from the southern triangle buys up much of the land between the coast and south south of the quarries, as well as the land around the lakes. Her increased social status can be seen in the bangles of ducats and guineas (the very last, which were struck for the Pyrenees campaign), as well as her enormous pieces of amber from the Baltic trade and her opals.

The old Abbey buys up the free land in their own triangle, plan to expand business to supply horses and lodgings to travelers like they usually did. Some of the Roths who had delivered food to the area for over a century wonder about setting up some food shops there.

Some guys see the Bell Ray lighthouse. One makes some sketches as sailors are oft to do, though there isn’t even a thought that they would need one themselves. The island they are on is far higher than the sandbanks nearby, there are bounty of lines on the docks and platforms going out to sea, and they could probably just put one on the prison if they ever needed it, that, or light up the cathedral upon the clifftops

Rothray continues to have its cooking lessons in the old prison/summer palace. Over the years some of the better off prisoners have taken part in them and the better ones have been integrated into the population, much like those who had centuries before, at a time when there was no bridge (double check). This was useful during those times when they got regimental cooks from the Jacobites, Yankee merchants during the Revolution, and the occasional American privateers more recently during the War of 1812. Oddly enough, there are still actual Yankees in Blackborough from New England. They weren’t much in favor of the Embargo Act or invading Canada, so they have been seen in a much better light these days. When some men from New Hampshire are placed into less confining quarters using refurbished cells in the old prison, friends are made. In the years to come they will find that trade between the area and New Hampshire are much improved (possibly leading to a future sister city thing). Maple syrup and Appalachian ginseng would become popular imports.

There is the air of treasons from the Roths, though… Some had been working under Napoleon Bonaparte and Talleyrand. Well, not directly under them. They were apprentices and assistants to the famous up-and-coming celebrity chef and creator of grande cuisine, who would later work for the Prince-Regent for an exorbitant salary. Through the years this would introduce them to the growing restaurant trade in France. Whether they follow with him to someday work for Mayer Rothschild remains to be seen, or if they will strike out on their own.

Charcoal is a popular fuel for cooking over

The populace of the island are considering pooling their funds to make a high class restaurant. They just wonder if there are enough possible customers with money here to make it pay off.

A couple Roths work for Sake Dean Mahomed, acquiring ingredients for him for the first Indian restaurant in Britain. It is noted by some how well the Rothray diaspora in London is with creating proper food portions and thinking on their feed for substituting spices and herbs for adequate or better alternatives when they run low on one or another.


An Act of Parliament in 1830 establishes “The City of Blackborough Police”, giving the city a truly professional police force for the first time. The “Blackborough Bobbies” (as they are commonly known) are headquartered in a new building just west of Lions’ Gate.

In 1832 the Earl of Blackborough visits Dorset where he is very taken by the Cerne Abbas Giant. Returning to Northwood House the Earl has another round of renovations carried out, amongst them a recreation of the giant, phallus and all, created by bringing in many tons of chalk. After all, what is the point of having money if not to fritter it away on absurd follies? The locals despair; if only the Earl had visited the Uffington White Horse instead.

If the Earl is eccentric, he is at least all generous. As his family has not used Hollowstone Castle in several generations the Earl gifts the castle to the newly founded University of Durham to establish a school of medicine and surgery. The castle’s great halls are turned into lecture halls, it’s chambers into anatomical libraries, and it’s turrets and gatehouses become accommodation for professors and students. In time Hollowstone School of Medicine may develop to be an entirely separate university.

A wide, winding, tree-lined road is built connecting South Blackborough to Frogmore. Named “George Street” in honour of the recently departed King it is an oasis of affluence in what is otherwise a largely deprived area.

Following completion of the road land north of George Street is bought up for future development and the fields currently lie empty, whilst land to the south of George Street is turned into George IV Park.

In 1832 an epidemic of cholera sweeps through Northbridge and Innschep, killing almost a thousand people.

A new block of terraces is built in the very north of Blackborough, opposite the cricket ground. The new homes, called St. Gabriel’s terraces, are not huge but they are respectable and preferable to the cholera ridden slums of Northbridge.

The military guardhouse north of the city is closed, although part of the building is preserved as an inn called “The Roadhouse”.

Paving is expanded throughout Blackborough.

In 1833 an elderly parson claims to have seen the Beast of Blackborough roaming Northwood Common, setting off a minor hysteria.

In 1834 a factory manufacturing agricultural tools opens near the ropewalk.

A new dock is built in south Blackborough.

The circus at Astley’s Ampitheatre closes down. The name is retained but the building becomes an auditorium and proto music hall.

Farmland in the Sheepsgrave area is turned into housing.

Whilst football has been played for centuries in Blackborough, in various different forms and in any space available, in 1833 a group of former public school boys form an organised club and buy a piece of land close to the brewery orchard to turn into a permanent football pitch. The codification of football and formation of the FA is still several decades off but when it comes Blackborough will be ready.

A grand natural history museum opens north of Hollowstone Castle.

An accountancy firm, a scriveners’ and a solicitors all open in Westburgh, as does the “Brotherhood of Strange”, a kind of gentleman’s club that quickly becomes notorious for the eccentricity and vast wagers of its members.

New homes are constructed west of the city.

In 1834 a group of burgeoning rail tycoons submit a plan for a metropolitan rail-line serving the people of Blackborough. Built atop a brick aqueduct, the elevated railway, only the second to ever be built, would run straight through the middle of the city, parallel to the main road, with the aqueducts arches rented out to shops and businesses. A decision on the proposal is expected next year.

The Redhall docks continue to expand and more warehouses are built. An organised criminal gang, mainly made up of Irish immigrants and calling themselves “The Cork Rats”, begin operating out of the docks.

New homes and a large covered fish market are built just south of Frog’s Pond canal.

Street paving is expanded.

After generations plying their trade, the gypsy family give up their cabin in the woods, moving to a larger operation and smarter housing at Vulcain Beach.

The railway between Merdin and Redhall is completed.

A tailor’s school opens just east of the Bishop’s residence.

Some old terraced housing near the cathederal is demolished to make way for upmarket residences and the offices of a new newspaper, the Redhall Herald.

The Blackborough Temperance Society is founded, establishing its headquarters just east of Redhall Bridge.

The Merdin-Redhall railway is expanded to join the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

In 1834 the men of Keeltown, fearing their trade threatened by the railways, begin rioting. The Keelmen burn a number of homes and dump rubble on the railway tracks. The army are sent in and things get ugly with dozens killed in the ensuing battle.

A large new mine opens to the west of Merdin and work begins on an expansion to the colliery railways and new miners’ homes to serve it.

Existing mines are expanded and some old mines filled in.

Pasture and farm land surrounding the square in Merdin is developed. New homes are built, as well as an engineering schools and an alms house.

A parish school is established east of south Blackborough road.

The Moran Company constructs a large chemical works in Eastmoreland and a self-contained planned community is built to house the workers. Nicknamed “Moranville” it has it’ own school, medical clinic and church, the idea being that by ensuring workers never have to leave they can be shielded from influences that might lead them to drunkenness, idleness or other forms of moral corruption.

The beginnings of a modest tourist trade build up around Vulcain Beach, with several homes, shops and entertainment venues in the area, including the relocated fortune-teller.

A large masonic hall is founded at the east end of George street.

A new mine and houses are planned just south of Vulcain Beach.

The naval base is expanded and Rothray Naval College is established to train officers.

With the concentration of sensitive sites on the island the civilian population has fallen somewhat, although those who remain make a good living from the sailors, cadets and prison wardens.

The population of Abbeywood expands and a number of fishing families move in.

A group of Blackborough businessmen establish a joint enterprise to build a pleasure pier at Abbeywood, extending almost five hundred metres out to sea. It is hoped that this engineering wonder will draw visitors from miles around and host a range of seaside attractions and leisure venues. By the end of 1834 construction is well under way.

People in Yldefield are increasingly drawn away from farming and towards making a living from travelers entering Blackborough from the west; whether that means serving them drinks, tending their horses, shagging them or robbing them.

In the 1830s The decision is made. The city of Blackborough will have an overhead line. Now, about who is paying for it………. As the news of the contract is revealed, the local authorities launch a competition to construct a grand , central, station.

This station will be the main entry point of the overhead line, and will contain capacity for the inevitable extension of the railways into the centre of the city.

In 1839, the Blackborough Bobbies are given a baptism by fire. As Merdin erupts into riot and massacre, Blackborough is far from quiet. On the same day that Merdin burns, the shipyards and roperies, the docks and manufactories of Blackborough proper fall silent. The narrow warrens and streets of the old walled town throng with protestors, demanding the same as Chartists everywhere.

The Army is unable to deploy their cavalry in these narrow streets.

The new police force form a solid barrier between the old townhall and the thronging masses. The burghers of the city and the mayor are entrapped in the old city headquarters.

As news of the crackdown in Merdin filter through (not least, the sound of the distant cannons and guns), the crowd panics. In the narrow streets, the crowds have limited space to go. In the panic, the police charge the lines, making the matters worse. 300 die that day and the City of Blackborough Police become hated across the city.

The growth of the city forces the city authorities, partly out of necessity, partly out of vanity for their perceived importance as one of the Great Cities of the North, to investigate the construction of a new complex of courts to house the annual Assize courts, and a new town hall.

Their entrapment during the recent `troubles`, makes the need even more pressing.

The city council takes a vast plot of undeveloped land to the west of the new Natural History museum, setting it aside for this major public works. They also enforce the purchase of farmland which stands in their way. This is the Victorian age, farmers cant stand in the way of progress;if they cant adapt, there always the workhouse.

The grand paved road is expanded towards the gates of Northwood House in anticipation of the development. The extended road is renamed Melbourne St in honour of the new Prime Minster

The council calls for architects of note to construct a new City Chambers, to house the city government and the city courts, `of suitable grandure`. Taking their inspiration from the newly commissioned St Georges Hall in Liverpool, the marble magnificence of Ancient Rome is taken as inspiration. Prospective applicants are left in no doubt what designs will be acceptable. Nothing gothic. Clean, neo classical lines or nothing. By years end, submissions are narrowed down to 4 applicants. All of whom plan an `Oratory` for public readings, a vast public chambers and a separate court house.

Returned from his visit to the Pacific, Mr Charles Darwin, Esq, visits the Hollowstone Medical School to view its useful and respectable collection of animal skeletons. He is known to be putting the finishing touches to quite an interesting theory……

George Street is the must have address amongst the new and rising middle classes. At the north end fo the street, near the river, one Marcus Armstrong, a recently arrived merchant from the American city of Kingswood, establishes an emporium that will gradually expand into the Blackborough institution, Armstrongs Department Store.

The St Gabriels estate sees rapid expansion as the workforce fo the surrounding heavy industry explodes.

A cricket club, going by the name of St Gabriels County Cricket Club, begins to meet regularly on the cricket field. It attracts support from across the surrounding towns, and indeed from across the County of Blackburghshire. Little do people realize that the precursor to Blackburghshire County Cricket club has just been born amidst the slums of the industrial city.

With the launch of Brunels Great Western, the shipbuilders of Blackborough see great opportunity. The shipyards are rapidly joined by the ancillary businesses of any heavy industry such as shipbuilding. Iron mongers, Riveters yards, and expanded rope works. In 1840, a name which will come to dominate the shipbuilding industry is born with the creation of one of the great Blackborough Shipyards. James Woolfe Shipbuilding, soon known as Woolfes

Following the death of the eccentric Lord Hollowstone, the rest of the Hollowstone family, following on in the greatest philanthropic tradition, bequeath the antiquarian collection built up by past Lords Hollowstone, and even the small building on their estate in which it has been kept, to the Blackborough Natural History Museum. None of the Hollowstone family have been interested in these dusty artifacts for many many years. The upkeep of these artifacts is not worth the money to these uncultured louts.

The curators of the museum soon find these artifacts to be more than dusty curiosities. They date back centuries to the colonial Americas. Obtained by the tobacco merchants in the Hollowstone family history, or sent by colonists in colonial America to their distant relatives in the old country, the collection represents one of the most extensive collections of Native American artifacts known outside the Americas. Totem poles? We have 4. Strange feathered head dresses and woodcarving? Plenty. Wigwams and tepees? Ten a penny.

Scholars of pre Columbian American societies flock to the museum. Expansion beakons

Westburgh, with its continually changing combination of notaries, barristers, scriveners and all manner of matters legal, rapidly finds itself consolidated as the legal quarter of the city

The traders of Redhall are concerned. Space is at a premium and the docks are filling. Many begin to debate the construction of another breakwater with which to expand the docks down the coast to the south.

The Cork Rats are menacing the district. As the destitute of Ireland begin to flood the ports of Britain, many are drawn to the perceived security and familiarity of the `Gangs of Blackborough`, as they become known.

Before long, a second gang arises, the Belfast Hounds.In comparison to the Cork Rats, the Belfast Hounds are firmly protestant. In general, the Belfast Hounds congregate around the shipyards on the northern bank of the Dubnus, in Blackborough proper

This rivalry is often expressed in bar room brawls and the usual gangland fights for territory. Increasingly however, the unregulated football fields are the greatest expression of this rivalry. Two nascent clubs are emerging. One based in whatever open space can be found near the docks, favoured by the Cork Rats, who go by the names of the Northern Irish. One, drawing its support from the Belfast Hounds and the Irish (and local) protestant population finds itself playing in the shipyards, go by the name of the Northbridge Rangers

Alas, the curse of Irish sectarianism has arrived

The first new threatre in Redhall for many decades is built on the site of some derelict riverfront homes. The Victoria Palace is built in the neo classical style and its interior is decorated in sumptuous baroque style

The opening of new mines sees the population boom. Hundreds arrive monthly at some points. The mine owners pay lip service to building new homes, but the only homes worth owning, go to the overseers. The number of slums in the area expands exponentially.

In 1837, an outbreak of cholera sweeps through, killing some 300.

One of the seminal events of the 1830s erupts in Keeltown. As news of the Newport Rising filter through, and copies of the Charter demanding widespread political reform, reach the town, the workers of Keeltown, already resentful at the pace of change and the army response to the protests of yesteryear, erupt in protest.

The area is ripe for protest, with the growth in slums matching the growth in the mines.

Although the causes are not identical, as with many of the Chartist risings, the basic demands of the city were for political reform, and basic living conditions. Another demand was soon echoed across the region and indeed across the north. The right to representation. Even as the north boomed and the mines of the north fed the growth of the British empire, many northern towns still possessed no rights to elect a Member of Parliament, leaving millions unrepresented.

On December 1st 1839, 3 weeks after the Newport risings, a crowd of some 12 000, nearly a 5th of the total population of the district, march en masse from Keeltown to General Wolfe Square.

Initially, the protests remain calm, with many a worthy speech given at the foot of the monuments to the great hero of the Plains of Abraham.

And then the cavalry arrive. Fearful of a repeat of Newport, the Lord Lieutenant of the County had called the army to respond. In the space of an hour, 300 are killed in the suppression of the last known rising against government authority on the British mainland. The Wolfe Square Massacre.

As with many of the other risings, the ring leaders are rounded up. Many find themselves convicted and hung for treason, and many are transported to the colonies for life.

Expansion of the mining sector, sees predictable expansion of the density of housing in the area.

Work begins on an expansion to the Moran Chemical works. Seeing the events in Merdin, devout Presbyterian and all round good natured God botherer Mr Moran plans an expansion of Moranville as well, laying roads and plans for more houses and shops to the south. A band stand is even built on the shore of the small plot of water immodestly called Moran Water.

The notion of the planned community soon begins to attract interest across the land. Industrialists in Merseyside and the Midlands take particular note.

The beginnings of a modest tourist trade build up around Vulcain Beach, with several homes, shops and entertainment venues in the area, including the relocated fortune-teller.

Much less genteel than the new Royal Albert Pier, Vulcain beech rapidly finds itself popular with the less salubriuous holiday maker. As far eastern wares begin to flood the market following the fall of Hong Kong, and a small number of `Chinamen` disembark in the Port of Blackborough, select establishments serving Chinese `wares` (opium), emerge. The small Chinese community begin to centre around the beach area.

Events on the mainland spooks the Admiralty. In 1840, Parliament designates the military establishments on the island HMS Rothray. The island is now incontrovertibly under Naval control. Some civilians however, see an opportunity. With the Top Brass, comes the brass in their pockets.

All is jolity, as the pier is finished. Named after the new Prince Consort, it is known as the Royal Albert Pier, and is rapidly christened as the social focus of the area. Upon the pier are to be found dance halls and all the fun of the fair.

The population of Abbeywood expands as a combination of fishermen, and enterprising men of business who see the rising tourist potential of the pier. Soon, the roads begin to be paved and sumtuous hotels and tea rooms laid out in finest sea side fashion. The area around the Pier finds wide cobbled esplanades looking on the beach. The tracks connecting the village to the city are also expanded to allow the burgeoning Victorian merchant class ease of access to the rapidly emerging gentility of the seaside resort

The influx of property developers immediately causes friction with fishermen, with whom the 19th century tourist does not wish to mingle, and who own property in exactly the plot the hotel developers wish to own.

The village of Edmondsley continues to expand as miners settle in the area.

A number of coaching taverns and inns are established for travel to and from the Western Road


In 1840 The York, Blackborough & Berwick Rail Line begins running, and connects up with the Manchester & Leeds Line, allowing easy travel between the great northern cities.

At the same time construction begins on the Blackborough Overhead Railway: only the second elevated railway ever to be built. Starting at Henderson Wood the railway rises as it heads north, carried above the houses, shops and flowing waters of Blackborough by a brick viaduct, before returning to ground level to terminate close to Royal Albert Pier.

The competition to design Blackborough’s main station (“Henderson Wood”) is won by Joseph Paxton, a gardener and architect previously known for designing greenhouses. Paxton’s proposal is an ambitious and startlingly modern one: a great cathedral of of cast iron and plate glass. The glass panels fill the station with light and a glass walkway connects the York, Blackborough & Berwick Line to the Blackborough Overhead Railway (B.O.R) allowing passengers to transfer easily between the two. By 1844 Henderson Wood Station is almost complete, with four other B.O.R stations under construction: Ashtown, Castle Street, Ropewalk, and Royal Albert.

In the wake of the riots several new police stations are built as the Blackborough Bobbies are expanded.

Charles Robert Cockerell is selected as chief architect of the new city courts and oratory. Melbourne Street is transformed into a fittingly grand home for the heart of government in the region. By 1844 the complex of courts is completed, the huge neo-classical town hall is almost finished, and the great oratory well under way. Large ornamental fountains are constructed, dozens of magnolia trees are planted and a number of large pedestals are built for statues, with nominations solicited as to who should be immortalised atop these pedestals.

With the huge expansion of their pre-columbian collection the Blackborough Museum of Natural History is in need of more space. In 1842 subscriptions are sold to fund the construction of a dedicated anthropology wing and in 1844 work finally begins. A statue of the late Earl of Blackborough is erected in front of the new wing to commemorate the museum’s great benefactor.

In 1842 Charles Dickens visits the region as research for his new work: a novel intended as a scathing attack on the poor conditions of industrial workers. Dickens is appalled by the poverty he sees in areas such as Keeltown and Northbridge and, along with the new Earl of Blackborough, George Moran, and Marcus Armstrong, becomes a founding member of the Blackborough Philanthropic Society. The philanthropic society sets up a free clinic in Northbridge and plans are discussed for the establishment of a home for “fallen women”.

The medical teaching establishment in the Old Town merges with Hollowstone Medical School, relocating its collection of medical curiosities to the castle. The premises in the Old Town are converted into houses and surgeries for several eminent doctors.

With some of the greatest engineers in the British Empire concentrated in Blackborough and the ever-increasing pace of industrial development the city is a natural home for an engineering school. Several railway tycoons and the Merdin Mining Company agree to fund the establishment of an engineering school and they reach an accommodation with the University of Durham for Hollowstone Castle to host the school.

George Moran is granted the contract for the building of a vast new Arsenal between Melbourne Street and Sheepsgrave, next to the barracks. The secure site will house munitions factories and workshops able to produce the most modern weaponry, a testing ground, munitions depot, and laboratories for research and development. Hundreds of new homes are planned in the area to house workers for the Sheepsgrave Arsenal.

The merchants and lawyers of Westburgh, in keeping with their long tradition of arts patronage, fund the establishment of an art gallery just to the west of Westburgh, close to the Blackborough Public Library. Meanwhile Sir Arthur Hayston, last of his ancient line, makes provision in his will for Hayston House to become an art school after his death.

A new coal mine is opened to the north-west, close to the football pitch, and housing expanded for the workers.

An outbreak of cholera in Ashtown kills almost four hundred people and the Mayor and Alderman respond by establishing the Blackborough Waterworks Company. Two pumping stations and waterworks are built, one on Northwood River near the new mine, another south of Merdin.

The housing terraces around the ropewalk are expanded.

Several fashionable shops open up on Castle Street.

The manned gate on the St Dubnus Bridge is abandoned, and the gatehouse taken over by a volunteer rescue service for those who fall into the river, a precursor to modern lifeguard services.

A Catholic Church is established in the St Gabriels area.

Construction begins on the new breakwater at Redhall and the docks are expanded, with new shipyards and warehouse erected.

A cramped rookery is built close to the new “Baltic Dock” in the space between the tracks.

Two Irish Protestant players for the Northbridge Rangers are found floating in Bishop’s Dock; their corpses sealed in barrels of horse piss. Sectarian and gang violence is escalating, and whilst a new police station opens in Redhall they are woefully undermanned for the scale of the problem.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the social spectrum, the Victoria Palace Theatre has come to be the new centre of the society scene in Redhall for ladies and gentlemen of fashion, and is said to even compete with the London theatres in prestige.

The Red Mill brothel expands.

A fashionable Jewish tailors, Bermange & Sons, opens close to Bishop’s House.

More mines are built in the area, which means more cheap, rotten, over-crowded housing.

In 1842 the tensions resulting from suppression of the Chartists and poor living conditions boil over: the miners and Keelmen of Merdin join in the Plug Plot Riots. The strikers seek to march upon Waterloo Square but are halted by police outside of the square. In the ensuing clash dozens are killed, with a number of miners pushed off bridges in the crush to drown.

A decade of civil strife, the rapid expansion of the mines and the ever-growing slums have turned Merdin into a grim, blackened scar on England’s conscience. And now there are rumours that Mr Dickens plans to write a novel based on the area that could cause a national scandal. It cannot stand. With the local authorities in Merdin failing to keep their house in order the Prime minister himself intervenes to have Merdin placed under the authority of the City of Blackborough. It is made clear to the city authorities that if they do not turn things around in Merdin the prime minister will not be pleased.

A waterworks is built at the confluence of waters to the south.

A large flour mill and bakery is built to the west. The new bakery produces Frog Pasties on an industrial scale for the miners, much to the annoyance of bakers in Frogmore.

The expansion of the Moran Chemical works and Moranville is completed, with a large area se aside for a fine public park (unsurprisingly called “Moran Park”). There is of course a large statue of George Moran himself in the centre, the man has many virtues but modesty isn’t one of them.

More homes, pubs and shops spring up around Vulcain Beach. A small promenade is built.

The new Chinatown expands.

The Blackborough Gazette moves its offices to George Street.

The Royal Naval College begins teaching advanced officer training, chemistry and mathematics.

The population explodes, with the wealthy moving in east of the road and the poor to the west.

Rows of amusements, food stalls and souvenir shops are established along the Royal Albert Pier.

Fishermen in the more fashionable areas of Abbeywood are gradually being bought out.

Construction begins on a grand hotel and park close to the new station (both called “The Royal Waterside”).

A new mine is dug and new housing terraces built for the miners.

Labourers move into the area to work on Henderson Wood station.

A number of new homes and businesses spring up on the Western road.

In 1844 a meteorite measuring almost a metre across lands in a field in Yldefield. The fall of the meteorite is observed by several farmers and a crowd of onlookers soon gathers around the small crater. The Yldefield meteorite is subsequently transported to Blackborough Natural History Museum for study, and a small monument with a plaque erected to mark the place where it fell.

In the 1850s Hendersons Wood Terminus is completed. At the time of completion, it is the largest glass structure in England, and stands as the tallest in Blackborough for many years. It is said the shimmer of the glass panels can be seen from 10 miles away

Construction is started and finished on the other 4 stations of the overhead line. In contrast to Hendersons Wood, the other stations are built in the Red Brick style so popular in Victorian Britain.

As the Belfast Hounds find themselves pushed out of Redhall, they find something most unwelcome has creeped up in their backyard. A Catholic Church!! The Church of St Gabriels is fire bombed in an event which kicks of a week of violent sectarian violence between the gangs specifically, and the Catholics and protestants of the area in general.

Wolfes shipyard expands dramatically following the invention of the Screw Propeller by Mr Brunel.

In the plaza surrounding the Melbourne Street developments, plinths gradually begin to fill. Unsurprisingly, kings and politicians are well represented, with Prince Albert, Lord Melbourne and George III granted rather fine statues. The rest remain to be filled.

Cockerells masterpiece, The Oratory, is nearing completion. A large domed amphitheatre of lustrous Portland stone, its exterior structure is completed in 1845. However it remains to fitted out inside. When complete, it will be capable of holding some 4000 people.

Opening day is scheduled for the 1st June 1851, with a very special guest performing a special reading of a very popular book…..

In a typical example of Victorian bravado, the dome is topped with shiny polished copper. Which promptly turns a lovely shade of Green

With the planned expansion of the city water supply, and outbreaks of Typhus and Cholera, a renewal of the city fountain system is carried out. Many new ornate fountains are constructed awaiting the flow of the new waters, and many older neglected fountains are restored.

As ever, there is an opportunity to profit from planned social reforms. Four public bathrooms are set up by private investors, one in Merdin, one near Baltic Dock in Redhall and two near the Blackborough Shipyards.

For a penny, the poor of the city can get 4 minutes of hot water in the form of a shower and a 15 minute swim in the cold water pool.

Hardly luxury, but in a world of shocking public hygiene, and little indoor plumbing, it is a luxury bound to catch on

The Blackborough Philanthropic Society opens the first of its homes for `Fallen Women`. Known by the location of its first home, these `Northbridge homes` soon open across the region. Whilst seeming paternalistic and patronizing, they serve a valuable purpose of housing the vulnerable. Before long they branch out beyond prostitutes, to the orphaned children of the mines.

The Blackborough Medical School received yet another visit from Mr Darwin. His long prepared for theorem is about to be published.

With the Sheepsgrave arsenal under construction, the resultant wealth of the Moran family goes through the roof. The Moran Chemical works is busier than ever. As the Arsenal slowly comes together, the army with its pressing need for gunpowder, pressures Moran to open the completed sections whilst the rest of the building is yet a building site.

Eventually, under such pressured conditions, the inevitable happens. A great explosion demolishes the western wing of the armory, and takes a swath of workers houses with it.

Construction is severely set back.

In this decade, Blackborough enters the literary mind in a very real way. The works of Dickens, and a mention in Friedrich Engels ` Condition of the Working Class in England`, coupled with the growth in the various educational establishments, places large demands on the small public library. More books and more space are needed.

Castle Street continues to develop as a bustling shopping thoroughfare. Following the 1844 Banking Act, a number of high street banks begin to emerge. British law at the time allows all banks to issue their own bank notes. The Royal Bank of Blackborough is founded in this year following the merger of a number of smaller banks. The notes of RBB become the most commonly used forms of cash in the area The Royal, as it is known, establishes its headquarters at the end of Castle Street.


As with Merdin and Blackborough, the expanded remit of the Blackborough police sees more police stations opening. Which is just as well, as the fights between the rival gangs of Blackborough are reaching epidemic levels of violence.

As the gang warfare continues, the Belfast Hounds find themselves pushed out of Redhall completely. Now, the Dubnus is the dividing lines between the territory of these gangs.

With the Irish famine ongoing, and the control of the Cork Rats, Redhall becomes the primary destination for the many thousands of Irish Catholics spilling into the city. As such, a number of large Catholic churches are established in the area around the dockside tenements.

Amongst the many services offered by Churches in a poor area, one is recreation. Try as they might, the Churches cannot keep the gangs from influencing the congregation, and soon the congregations of the churches are using the community centres that they afford to develop their football club, the Northern Irish.

They still play on any bare scrap of land, but this surely cannot last?

Competition grows as more tailors move into the plaza surrounding the cathedral. The area is becoming the upmarket, go too place for fabrics and tailoring

Charles Dickens makes many more visits to the area, this time to Merdin.

In 1846, parliament passes the City of Blackborough Act, officially merging the districts of Merdin into the city of Blackborough.

There are those who object, vociferously. Protesters block the St Dubnus and Merdin bridge. However such things are to be expected in this increasingly unruly part of the town. The protests peter out, but then another provocation.

As per the terms of the act, the City of Blackborough Police have their area of operation expanded to cover all of the surrounding districts. Hardly beloved in Blackborough,they are viewed as little more than an occupying army in Merdin. Nevertheless, numerous police stations begin to open across the district

However simply changing a line on a map will not cut it, whatever the movers and shakers in London think. It certainly won’t cut it for Mr Dickens. The slums keep growing, the disease keeps spreading and the mines keep poisoning its workers. Beginning publication in serialized form in 1847, Hard Times is a savage indictment of the brutality of life in the Industrial north. Set in Blackborough, the book scandalizes the nation.

Dickens vividly describes Merdin in a passage of his eye opening work.

“It was a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it; but as matters stood, it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage.”

Whilst the nation is horrified, the men and women of Merdin are delighted, and Dickens a hero. It is said that one could tell when the latest edition of his masterpiece are in town, as the taverns are full of the illiterate listening hushed to the story being read aloud.

With the passing of the 1848 Public Health Act, and the growing power of the Hollowstone Medical School, public health becomes a pressing priority. As the problems of slums and tenements is most pressing in Merdin, and Dickens works have put Merdin in the public eye, it is in Merdin that the attention is focused.

The newly established Blackborough Public Health board makes a series of recommendations.

1. Demolition of the substandard housing stock.
2. Renewal of the Royal Merdin Infirmary, and
3. An increased supply of fresh water.

The last two especially are readily seized upon my local businesses and philanthropists. Messrs Armstrong and Moran immediately lead the campaign to expand and renew the hospital, with sizable donations of rtheir own. This is enthusiastically supported by the Hollowstone Medical School, seeing in it the opportunity for training and the advancement of the school.

On the issue of water, this is a proposal which attracts attention from across the area. As the population has ballooned, it has become clear that the established network of fountains and wells, some built over 300 years ago, and few with a reliable supply, is totally inadequate. Hundreds a year die from drinking of the sewage and industrial waste filled streams of the area.

Fortunately, the Victorians are nothing if not enterprising. 10 miles west of the city, lies a large lake with a good supply of water.

None other than the most famed engineer and bridge builder of the age, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is employed by the Blackborough Waterworks Company to design a vast aqueduct, built in grand Victorian style. Construction of the network of water treatment plants is scheduled to commence in 1851, with a network of smaller connecting aqueducts connecting with the main aqueduct as it passes through Yldefield, before depositing its clean water in a series of new or expanded waterworks across the region

With the expansion of Moranville and the nearby docks, the success of George St as a place to have a conveniently placed townhouse, encourages many a shipping magnate, running operations on the north sea trade from the nearby docks, and many a shipyard owner, to look for homes in an area which is both comparatively leafy, yet conveniently placed near their place of work

A consortium of property developers acquire land and lay the roads. Before long a wide paved street christened India Road, is constructed through the clean airs and passing the genteel charm of Moranville. The road is interspersed with many bucolic squares, all built around small central gardens. The `India Gardens`, become quite a feature of the local area.

6 Squares are laid out. Punjab Place, Delhi Place, Calcutta Place, Lahore Place, Assam Place and Bengal Place.

Local magnates begin snapping up plots before even a brick is laid.

All is order and calm in the mainly military district. The military influx is good news for the local businesses, and civilian population increases gradually. The predominantly catholic civilian population look at the riots in Blackborough and thank their lucky starts that the navy is unlikely to allow such disorder to go unanswered in their own back yard.

The Royal Waterside Hotel, and the Royal Waterside Park, are opened to much celebration amongst the burgeoning middle class population of the district.

Rows upon rows of charming houses, large and small with gardens and easy access to all parts following the opening of the nearby overhead station, are built.

As Hendersons Wood terminus comes into full operation with the completion of the OHL and the expansion of nationwide rail links, the near area is filled with housing estates to house the workers who are increasingly needed in the nearby engineering works surrounding the station, aimed at keeping the trains and tracks running. This is alongside the growth in nearby mines

Immediately outside the new station, a large number of shops and guest houses and hotels spring up to accommodate the travelers passing through the station

Welcome back Macintryes… MicIntreys… Wrights? Well, members of the family had changed names to different spellings back after they lost the case to keep their homes, though it is now a gone deal anyways. Quite a few had went to the Southern States, where the Scottish and Scotch-Irish were able to hobnob with the English there and pretend to be aristocrats, Knights, and gentlemen. A few who made it well put up legal challenges anyways, which helps to drain the library funds a bit. More importantly, it reveals some correspondence with the person who had not only taken their hunting lodge and land, but who let hundreds die. The airing of dirty laundry of the past nobility is good for the gossip rags.

Bananas and pineapples had been popular as status symbols for generations in Britain, partially due to their looks. Just as well, as the Pineapples brought fruit flies when brought over already rotting, while the bananas were filled with seeds. Tinted glass for greenhouses therefore gave the sheet glass makers some good business, as people grew them to make them fresh, year-round. Also lots of glass decorations made to look like fruit and tropical trees.

The public baths turn out to be much like the Roman ones. Namely, filthy. Besides all those who get pneumonia from the cold of the water of coming out of it and leaving the building somewhat damp, those with open wounds of scratches get a lot of gangrenous limb.

Blackborough begins with demolishing substandard housing stock. As it turns out though, people still need somewhere to live and the landlords are simply cramping people into the same buildings at increased profit. No discounts.

You know how bones were not being used in that one mausoleum to make bookshelves? Turns out they were only being used to support boards holding the books. While this book collection had long been kept from the library (not that they would want them, given how some of the books that had been left open retained imprints from the moisture formed airing femurs and fingers). Some of the stuff isn’t exactly the stuff of the academics anyways, as much of it had been purchased by the Curate long ago after the Westburgh Fire of 1626 and some might have been a bit too common or trashy, even if he was willing to give it up. Makes one wonder how a 1733 second edition of Mrs. Mary Eales’s Receipts came to be in it. That did not matter as much as some of the recipes held in both that and the large collect of cookbooks, such as recipes for ice cream. Some of the cellars needed for freezing the fruit to be added in Eale’s recipe were not quite cold enough though. While perfectionists tried to freeze things in ark rooms below ground in the north of England where no sunlight ever touched, some people who got a copy of some of the recipes (reprinted by a local press in a bit of piracy and changing of words) decided to just try something else. Frozen custard is therefore “in” and the sale of eggs will rise, though preferences seem to be to use mottled/speckled eggs.

These are of course just luxury good at this point, for those with the money and time for it. Or who can afford to get others to do it for them. And heeeeere comes the finger pointing. Where was there ice? Why had ice houses not been made? Had you seen the prices they are charging for this stuff? And so on and so forth. Upriver a bit of flatlands is scoped out and the ground leveled a bit with trees removed. An icehouse may be needed. Would be good for most of the food industries in the area, even though it was seldom especially hot in the area. Still, best to keep food at a steady temperature rather than having it thawing and refreezing all the time. The forests and searched to find exactly what kind of trees they have and many felled, then let to dry as is standard. They will see which can make the best iceboxes

Giant guy made a circumcised eunuch.

The Blackborough Oratory is finished in June 1850. Fitted out in a sumptuous baroque fashion, its towering stalls and acoustically perfect dome make it a public arena par excellence. To celebrate its opening, none other than Charles Dickens, a hero of the poor and dispossed of the area gives a reading of Hard Times to a capacity crowd of some 5000, plus another 5 waiting outside to greet the triumphant hero.

Not long after, a public petition id launched to change the name to the Dickens Oratory, and erect a statue to him on one of the empty plinths.

Over the course of the next 4 years, as he travels the north giving readings, Dickens makes many more return visits to the city.

Many local shipping and shipbuilding magnates purchase lands on either side of India road and proceed to build spacious mansions complete with luxurious gardens

Construction of the `Brunel Viaduct`, as the main spur of the aquaduct is known, begins to near the town. Soon, the water supply of the city will be connected to the clean flowing waters of the distant reservoir.

With the Bull Universalis Ecclesiae, His Holiness recreates Catholic hierarchy of England and Wales. This does not help matters scuffles in Redhall. Many heads are bashed in by players and supporters of the sports teams.

People have been avoiding the home of the murderous cook long enough that it is practically autonomous form any streetplans. It is made official, and the building and adjacent ones have the potential of being at the center of a future roundabout.

The window tax has been abolished. Yay. It was getting rather stuffy in most homes, as they could not afford to have windows, which tended to put a damper on business for the glassmakers of Blackborough. Well, th elate glass makers at least, though they managed to expand into mirrors with the use of mercury stockpiled in Merdin. Due to space constraints and the trouble with transporting mercury, they eventually move the mirror making back to Merdin where it had once started.

Someone is strangling people on their thresholds. Door-to-door salesmen are not going to really kick off for a while. Peepholes though? Now there is some potential…

The New Model Union, the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, Machinists, Smiths, Millwrights and Patternmakers, set up shop in the area.

Some plump contracts for helping with the Crystal Palace come through. Good day for making girders and frames

Geodes and some chemicals are shown off in the Great exhibition. Due to the danger of the chemicals, they had a wall put up between Merdin, Blackborough, and Redhall’s contributions versus those of Frogmore. Some blue raspberries that had been produced by an old women in the old home used to entertain monks in made a good impression. Some Rothray natives had stayed in the kitchens of Buckingham after the downsizing due to them being thriftier than the others and they will make lovely tarts with them. Oh, and Albert and Victory send some letters referring to them as the City/Borough of Frogmore. Now begins the jealousy and bickering, as Frogmore-Eastmoreland connects further with communities to the south, while making sure their tax money stays in their community.

In Abbeywood sulphuric acid is dripped onto chalk from the northern mines in order to produce carbonated water. The process is probably a bit more complicated than that, but the people in charge don’t bother to explain. While it is being kept to buildings around the chalkmines for now, they wish to get some nice brickwork buildings up so they can sell it as tonic water to tourists.

The Local Government Act of 1858 clarifies the responsibilities of local government, establishing local boards of the City of Blackborough. Boards are established in Blackborough proper, Redhall, Merdin, Abbeywood and Edmondsley for areas such as fire prevention, removal of ruinous or dangerous buildings, street lighting, provision of public bathing houses and the provision of public clocks. Rothray is exempt as it is under naval authority and Frogmore-Eastmoreland resists incorporation by creating its own independent local board responsible for these areas.

With the demolishing of sub-standard housing stock the top priority for the City of Blackborough is providing sufficient housing for its fast-growing population. For the common man this means:

New terraces, such as those built between the cricket ground and the waterfront, which provide homes for dockworkers in Northbridge as well as those employed in hospitality trades in Abbeywood.

New tenements, such as those of “Brewery Court”; crowded dwellings built on former farmland close to Blackborough Brewery.

More salubrious new houses, such as the mix of houses built directly north of Northwood Common. Forest is cleared away and a new road (“Nightingale Street”) is built which provides a second route between Blackborough and Abbeywood. Some of the hundreds of new homes built/planned in the area are modest enough for the poor to afford to rent whilst grander homes are provided overlooking the common for the growing middle-classes.

Of course for the very wealthy there are the staggeringly expensive new mansions of Earl’s Row, located between Northwood House and the recently completed civic buildings on Melbourne Road. As well as the still pricey but slightly more reasonable townhouses that provide homes for civil servants, lawyers and businessmen around Melbourne Street.

The Earl of Blackborough has numerous renovations carried out to Northwood House and the surrounding grounds, including the construction of a large domed icehouse, a botanical gardens, and twin reflective pools. As part of these renovations a long-forgotten cellar of Northwood House is unsealed leading to a grisly discovery: the bones of a dozen young women.

The remains of the murdered girls have lain hidden under Northwood House for over a century and a half. It would seem the superstitious townfolk were wrong to blame the legendary “Beast of Blackborough” for those disappearances on Northwood Common back in the late 17th century.

In days gone by the Earl might have reasonably expected this macabre discovery to be suppressed in order to protect the reputation of his family, but with the explosion of mass media following the lifting of stamp duty on newspapers scandal is now a profitable and competitive business, and newsmen aren’t quite as deferential as they once were. The Blackborough Gazette runs the story of the discovery accompanied with plenty of insinuations about the current Earl’s great-great-grandfather. The Earl is furious, how dare these grubby newspaper men call his ancestor murderer! The long-running feud between the Earls of Blackborough and the city’s oldest newspaper has begun.

Work is completed on the Sheepsgrave Arsenal, creating thousands of jobs.

The first postal pillar boxes are introduced to Blackborough.

By popular demand the Oratory is renamed the Dickens Oratory and a statue of the man himself is erected.

A new clock tower is erected just north of the civic buildings on Melbourne Street.

The Northbridge slaughterhouse is converted into warehouses.

Sir Arthur Hayston dies in 1859 at the age of 84. In accordance with his will Hayston House, home to his family for over four hundred years, becomes the Hayston Academy for Fine Arts, with the land in Northbridge owned by Hayston sold off to developers to create an endowment for the new art school.

The Brunel Aqueduct is completed, connecting the city to a steady supply of clean water.

The York, Blackborough & Berwick railway is expanded with new lines running north and west.

In 1857 George Moran endows a new college at Hollowstone: St Dubnus College of Physical Sciences. Five years later the colleges based at Hollowstone Castle receive a Royal Charter incorporating Hollowstone School of Medicine, St Dubnus College of Physical Sciences, and Blackborough Engineering College as the University of Blackborough. The University of Blackborough is now an institution independent from the University of Durham, and only the second or third new university to be founded in England in five hundred years.

Students are drawn from all over the country to study medicine, chemistry, physics, or engineering at the University of Blackborough, with the wealthier students staying in Hollowstone Castle itself whilst poorer students rent rooms nearby. In 1864 the Blackborough Student Union Society is formed at the university, serving as both student union and debating society. Unlike the venerable debating societies of Oxford or Cambridge the BSUS is uninterested in dry questions of theology with debates instead focusing on cutting-edge scientific questions such as those recently raised by Mr Darwin and his theory of evolution.

At the other end of the educational spectrum a number of new Sunday schools and parish schools are established throughout Blackborough.

With the loss of so many ships in the storm of 1859, the tensions of the American Civil War, and the continuing drive for colonialization, Blackborough’s shipyards have never been so busy. Wolfe Shipyard in particular reaches a staggering rate of production.

However Wolfe’s find themselves at the centre of controversy when the Blackborough Gazette uncovers that a warship currently under construction at Wolfe’s shipyard is destined for the Confederate Navy. The working class in Blackborough are strongly opposed to the C.S.A and when the revelation of the ship’s intended buyer hits the headlines hundreds of shipworkers down tools in protest. Wary of harming relations with the USA and faced with the prospect of mass industrial action the Prime minister intervenes to have the contract for the ship terminated. The shipworkers celebrate a rare victory over their employers and Abraham Lincoln pens an open letter thanking the shipworkers of Blackborough for their “sentiments” (whilst carefully stopping short of actually endorsing the industrial action).

More homes, tavens and stables appear along the south road into Blackborough.

Several new post offices are built throughout Blackborough.

In 1861 an industrialist named Henry Saul starts up a sugar refinery near the football pitch and orchard.

A number of local steel companies amalgamate to form Northumbian Steel, based in Blackborough.

The City of Blackborough takes over the provision of natural gas in the area, beginning construction of a gas-works and gas-holder to the north of town.

Two teams from Blackborough join the Football Association at its founding: Northbridge Rangers F.C and Blackborough United F.C.

The Football ground near the orchard becomes the permanent home of Blackborough United and the stands are expanded.

A memorial commemorating the end of the Crimean War is erected on the parade ground at the barracks.

A pencil factory is constructed in Northbridge.

The Blackborough Omnibus Company is formed.

A fire breaks out at the warehouses on Bishop’s dock, killing twelve people.

A new music hall opens in the theatre district. One of the first acts to perform at Westside Music Hall is “The Great Robbie”, a popular stage magician.

The docklands expand with new warehouses, shops, stores and workshops.

A new Catholic church and a parish school are established, both called St Patrick’s.

With the lack of room for expansion, the population density of Redhall is rocketing and many move south into Frogmore-Eastmoreland.

The Northern Irish join the Football Association as “Redhall Athletic F.C”.

A new permanent football ground is established just south of the docks.

An engineer named Jacob Cartwright from Redhall has submitted a proposal for a new sewer system to the Blackborough City Authorities. Under Cartwright’s plans the main sewer line would run at street level, covered over with tons of earth to create a leafy 15 foot tall embankment accessible via stone steps on either side. A path would run along the top which could be made open to the public to essentially create a very thin, very long public park winding its way through the city. A decision on the proposal is expected next year.

The scaffold outside the old guardhouse is pulled down. Sensibilities are changing and many people no longer feel it is appropriate to have a gallows in front of the cathedral. Besides, no one has been publicly executed there in some years now.

In Merdin the colliery railway is connected with the wider network and begins running a passenger service.

Construction begins on a modern stone arched bridge to replace the historic King Henry Bridge, running parallel with the aqueduct. The new bridge is designed with higher and fewer arches to allow ships to pass beneath it more easily.

The smaller bridges of Merdin are gradually replaced with moveable bridges to allower larger coal barges to pass along the many canals of Merdin.

More Keelmen are put out of work by the colliery railways and by the new bridges which allow larger barges to pass along the canals.

With more men out of work Keeltown is beginning to degrade from a once proud community of people linked by a common profession to a general slum.

A firedamp explosion at Merdin’s largest mine kills 160 people.

In Westbrook, decrepit old homes are demolished to make wasy for new houses. A new school and church are established, and close to the dyeworks a large workshop for needles and small metal components is built.

A paper factory is constructed on the western outskirts of Merdin.

The doorstep strangler proves to be something of a boon for lockmakers and a new manufacturing workshop for chains and locks is established.

A new park is opened next to Waterloo Square.

One of the mills goes out of business.

The expansion to the Merdin Infirmary is completed, with the expanded hospital including a new Nursing College linked to the University of Blackborough. Working with the Blackborough Philanthropic Society nurses from the hospital begin going out into the city to nurse to the poor of Merdin in their own homes, an innovative practice known as “district nursing”.

Merdin continues to expand west, with new pits dug and old ones filled in.

The area of woodland around the old Henderson House is bought up by the railway company and enclosed with a wall. Finding the ground unsuitable for building they use it as a dumping ground for old stock. Now, in addition to the supposedly haunted old shack and unmarked children’s graves, Henderson Wood is home to several abandoned train carriages.

Eastmoreland Rail Station opens on the Eastern branch line, allowing passengers to get off between Henderson Wood and Baltic Dock in Redhall.

Fashionable new homes are built along India road with more to be erected.

A Historical Museum and Grand Library opens just north of George Street.

The population of Eastmoreland increases dramatically due to overcrowding in Redhall and Frogmore.

David “Davy” Ridley performs the song “Frog Swim” for the first time at Astley’s Ampitheatre in Blackborough. The music hall-style song about travelling to see the annual swimming contest in Frogmore will come to be something of an unofficial anthem for the region and is often heard at football matches:

“Aw went to Frogmore Swim, ‘twas on the ninth of Joon,
Eiteen hundred an sixty-two, on a summer’s efternoon;
Aw tyuk the ‘bus frae Blackborough, an’ she held least a score,
Away we went ‘long Castle Street, on the way to Frogmore.”


“Ah me lads, ye shud only seen us gannin’,
We pass’d the foaks upon the road just as they wor stannin’;
Thor wes lots o’ lads an’ lasses there, both rich and poor,
Gawn along George Street on the way to Frogmore.”

Some historians believe the popularity of Davy Ridley in the region is the reason for the emergence of “Davies” as a nickname for inhabitants of the north-east of England, although others suggest the nickname is older and originates from the use of “Davy Lamps” in the nearby mines. Whatever the case, “Davie” begins to gain ground as a nickname for people from the Blackborough and the surrounding area.

The old bakery in Frogmore goes out of business

The Vulcain beach area and Chinatown expands.

The Moran Company builds a complex of chemical laboratories to conduct research and development.

The prison population continues to swell as the city of Blackborough grows ever larger. It has become clear that HMP Rothray is no longer sufficient for the job of housing all these criminals, particularly as it is constantly butting up against HMS Rothray.

It is decided that a new larger prison will be built on the mainland, far away from the centre of Blackborough at a site north of Yldefield. HMP Rothray will continue to run as normal until the new prison is completed at which point the prisoners will be transferred. Many of the current prison buildings on the island will however be retained to serve as a small military prison and as armament stores for the Navy.

A new breakwater is built to allow for expansion of the docks at the naval base.

The York, Blackborough & Berwick railway is expanded with a new line running north and connecting to the Blackborough Overhead Railway at Royal Albert Station.

A steam-powered carousel opens on the Royal Albert Pier, instantly becoming a massive hit with the tourists.

Amusements of various kinds, shops and tearooms open on the seafront.

Abbeywood tonic water goes on sale and a manufacturing plant in built to cope with demand for it.

Forest is cleared to the north of Yldefield for the new prison although the actual construction has yet to begin.

More houses and taverns spring up on the western road into town.

In 1869 the news of the mass Cholera outbreak in London reaches Blackborough, and the revelation that contamination of drinking water may induce Cholera, many people fear that due to massive overcrowding in the surrounding districts, such as Northbridge, Keeltown and Merdin, would bring Cholera to them too.

Meanwhile, the Blackborough City Authorities rejects Jacob Cartwright’s sewer plans due to the realisation that exposed sewers could opens the whole city to contaminated ground waste and potential diseases, such as the aforementioned Cholera and Tuberculosis.

The City of Blackborough also starts to crack down on illegal factory practices, which includes underage children working the textile mills. This has been reported to the City of Blackborough Police, which was required to inspect the mills via the Factories Act Extension Act of 1867.

After the Football Association was formed, the football rivalry between the 3 official football clubs, today now-called the “Blackborough Derby”, intensifies, with the matches between Northbridge Rangers F.C and a new team named “Merdin Town F.C” and also between Redhall Athletic F.C v Blackborough United F.C., the most watched football matches in Blackborough.

More housing is built in the north of the city, near the cricket pitch and Abbeywood, and near the overhead railway line.

The Blackborough Gazette and the Earl of Blackborough keep fighting it out over the issue of the dozen young women killed by the current Earl’s great-great grandfather in the 1690’s. The Earl announced that the family did nothing wrong and tries to slam the newspaper for libel, while the ancestors of the murdered women said that they would ask the Blackborough Police to investigate the Earl’s family for the political motives over the libel claims. Meanwhile, the Blackborough Gazette is ready for a potential forcible shut-down, organising its lawyers and documents for the court case.

Meanwhile, 35 boxes of Snider-Enfield & Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifles, specially produced by the Arsenal along with their ammo and supplies, goes missing from the storeroom at Sheepsgrave Arsenal. At the same time, a cellar in a house in Northbridge is sealed away from the outside world. It would take decades for the rifles to be found, but it would be a gun enthusiasts dream by then……..

Two screw frigates from the shipyards at Blackborough Shipyards Company are built for the Royal Navy. As a recognition for the shipyards service, the RN names the frigates HMS Blackborough and HMS Redhall, and are temporarily stationed at the City docks while Sheepsgrave Arsenal gets the necessary cannons for the ships and HMS Rothray the sailors to man the ships.

In the south west district of Redhall, a batch of forest is cleared for a park, making it a open space in the expanding city, since many people said it was very cramp and needed some space.

More middle class housing is built in the city, since most of the middle class is moving into the more classier sections of town, leaving most of the houses that they used to inhabit being bought by factory workers and their families, working at the expanding textile and armament factories.

The Bishop still holds mass and continues the religious traditions of the Church of England, but is quite sad at the loss of Redhall to the City of Blackborough.

As the overpopulation continues to spiral out of control, more slums and tenements are built to the west of town. Disease is breaking out more often, with a small outbreak of severe flu killing 198 people in the slums. The Slums are often dirty, cramp and are literal firetraps.

This is causing a nightmare for Blackborough Public Health inspectors, since the Royal Merdin Infirmary is overflowed with cases of all sorts of diseases, from Cholera, to Tuberculosis, to gangrene to lost limbs and fingers from mine accidents. Eventually, the Health Board stamps down the law.

They will give workers compensation for the severity of the accident, which is the start of the unofficial work compensation program.

Meanwhile, numerous prostitutes in Keeltown and Rathsbury, mostly between the ages of 15 and 19, start to go missing from 1866 onwards. No-one is sure what is going on, since the police don’t know anything, but by the time 1869 comes around, the CBP believes that a violent serial killer is on the loose, hunting young girls and teens. They nickname him the “Keeltown & Rathsbury Hunter”, or “KRH”.

More people move from rural towns to Frogmore to work in the factories. Most work at the textile mills that are nearby, but the educated work in Sheepsgrave Arsenal, making weapons destined for the British Army.

Vulcain Beach is also attracting a few visitors from the much more populous Blackborough and Redhall, who wanted to get away from the bustling town for a short break, either by buying a few things or renting holiday homes near the beach.

The base begins to wind down operations for HMP Rothray, while more members of the Royal Navy are stationed there. HMS Rothray becomes a stop-over base for RN ships going up and down the British coast, including several screw frigates and a screw ship of the line.

Nothing much happens, but sailors sometimes get into trouble in the pub on Rothray, and usually get flogged, since the reforms haven’t reached the navy yet.

The beach near Royal Albert Pier, is named by locals as just “Abbeywood Beach”, is a good spot for lieing in the sun and chatting with locals in the shops nearby. In the future, this would become one of a number of beaches in the Blackborough Area that is best for tourism.

To better connect the different railway lines and make it possibel to travel from the south through Blackborough northswards (or the other way around), some changes are made to the infrastructure of the city.

Ropewalk Station and the Ropewalks are demolished. A new larger station is build and opened in 1874. It is named “Northbridge Station”

Some of the housings are destroyed in the process but the Cricket Ground escapes unharmed – its a wonder. The so-called “Cricket Curve” becomes a symbol for the influence of few rich Cricket-loving people.

The two northern-most unconnected stations are pulled down to build a new one: Abbeywood Station.

The Court has to deal with the issue of the Blackborough Gazette, the Earl and the dead women. The case takes several years and will be probably closed in 1875.

The rest of Northwood Common is transformed into a park. It has been 100 years since the original park has been created. Now a century later the extension to the north is acompanied by a small festival.

Blackborough Prison is opened in February of 1874 but Rothray has to stay open for atleast two more years to secure a smooth transmission from one prison to the other.

Henderson Wood Station gets an overhaul. Now trains can now travel without problem from south to north.

A new quarter is planned near the station with large squares and wide streets. A new church is build as well.

Some industries settle near the tracks but a lot of smaller stores were removed to make space for more railway tracks.

The workers compensation program is helping some but not all of the lower class but the quality of living becomes a bit better, even if Merdin is still a hotbed for disease.

The “Keeltown & Rathsbury Hunter” is killed in 1873 by a prostitute he attempted to murder. It turns out that his name was Henry Ferning – an ordinary worker from Keeltown.

The KRH and the 17-century massmurdering Earl inspire the book “Lord of the River”. The book later becomes a bestseller before being banned soon thereafter.

Some of the old farmhouses and wooden huts in the centre of Frogmore are removed to make space for a large square. A new church is erected as well close to the old one.

The old bakery, which has been empty for over ten years by now, burned down in September of 1873. It is rumoured that the McHillan boys played around with some gunpoweder they stole from in one of the factories. They escaped with their lives and only a few burn marks but the old bakery was soon becoming a flamming inferno. The scrap (wood, textiles, glass, metals) that the locals had just dumped next to the bakery made it possible for the fire to spread to neighbouring houses. The westward blowing wind was another factor that contributed to one of the biggest catastrophes in the history of Frogmore.

After the fire had destroyed large parts of the enter of frogmore the firebrigade was accused of mostly helping the rich, whereas the poor had to watch the little they had burning down. The following uprising led to angry protestors marching towards India Street. Their march was stopped before reaching the fire brigade at India Street. They were met police and military forces near the railway tracks. 11 protestors were shot down.

To the police’s defence has to be said that quite a many of the protestors were armed. This event became known as the September Massacre.

The gaps between India street and the other quarters are closed by building more houses.

Vulcain Beach is becoming popular with the lower and middle class of Merdin, Frogmore and Redhall. Whereas the upper class and the tourists prefer Abbeywood Beach.

A second hotel opens in Abbeywood. The “The Grand Imperial Hotel” is build near the mainroad. The private garden makes it a popular destination for wealthy people which value their privacy. The hotel is designed to look like a French chateau and has a tower that is visible from the pier.

With the increased gentrification of the area around Melbourne St, increasingly referred to as the Melbourne Quarter, demand for increased cultural offerings is growing. Plans are announced for a dedicated musical space to house the newly established Royal Blackborough Philharmonic Opera

The now vacant townhall, deep in the old quarter, is falling to rack and ruin now that the city council has relocated. A group of local art enthusiasts from the nearby Hayston Academy, acquire the premises for the use of the Academy with the backing of local philanthropists, following rumours (later found to be totally without foundation), that the council planned to demolish the building rather than pay the upkeep.

It is converted to an exhibition space and with private painting studios.

In a stunning case, the Courts find in favour of the Blackborough Gazette. The resulting media furore is the scandal of the age. The Hollowstone family react with fury as their reputation is dragged through the mud for a crime over a century old.

Some rumours circulate that following the lost court case, the Hollowstones are planning to sell up completely and relocate to their properties down in the south.

As traffic on the roads increases along side the population, roads are increasingly resurfaced either with paving flags, or the road surfacing `Macadam`, which consists of single-sized aggregate layers of small stones, with a coating of binder as a cementing agent

With the increased supply of clean water, the rudimentary network of public baths in Blackborough and beyond is renewed and extended. The provision of hot water presents a massive public hygiene boost

The University of Blackborough commences a major expansion in the Melbourne St area.

It constructs a series of examination theatres and lecture halls in the popular Victorian Redbrick style, with a beautiful clock tower, and acquires the funds to commence the construction of a new Blackborough Central Library, for the use of both its students and the general public. This is constructed on the site of former housing behind the court complex and is done in a classical style complementing the style of the surrounding government buildings.

With the final closure of Rothray Prison, Blackborough Prison comes into full operation. An interesting side effect is the growth of population in the surrounding vacinity, mainly housing for prison staff, and shops and services for their families

Blackborough Utd officially move into the football ground bordering Yldefield. In the patriotic Spirit of the age, they rename it Roarkes Parade. They extend the pre existing terraces to increase capacity.

With an increasing waste disposal problem, the board of health increasingly pressures the council to review its decision to reject the idea of a sewer. with general improvements in other areas of public health, including water provision, the lack of sewage treatment is increasingly indefensible

Northwood Common Park is graced with one of the obsessions of the age, which are cropping up across the land- a `Glasshouse`, which is exactly what it sounds. A graceful building of glass and steel in which to grow exotic plants for the public amusement.

Armstrongs emporium, passing from father to son, undergoes a massive expansion. Still providing the upper classes with curios from the far flung corners of the world, its new owner places increasing importance on providing the basic necessities of life to the newly powerful middle and lower middle class consumers of the area. The shop expands and rebuilds, purchasing several adjacent properties and building up the floors until it houses 18 separate departments on 6 floors.

Armstrongs Department store is truly born at this time

As the increased urbanization of Redhall threatens the historic heart of the city, the Bishop of Redhall acts. A little known fact, that the Bishops of Redhall hold the deed and title to large quantities of the land and property of historic Redhall. And with the installation of a Redhall local (unusual in the Church of England hierarchy), Adam Rumbles, with a suitable sense of local pride, they mean to enforce it.

A series of court cases and law suits against property developers result in the effective creation of a protected zone in the precincts of the Cathedral and is the surrounding streets.

The old and venerable St Dubnus bridge is creaking with age. Gone are the days when a busy day on the bridge was considered a few hundred people and a couple of horses passing back and forth. With the explosion in population, thousands cross every hour, with their horses and carts, and the increasing weight of machinery

And there is the issue of Merdin and its coal. Not for nothing is the phrase `Taking coals to Blackborough` used in every day conversation. Blackborough is synonymous with the fruits of its mines, and its coals feed the British empire.

However, getting them from Merdin, is proving difficult. One route is overland from the mines to the docks, but with the growth of the cities, this is not as easy as once it might have been. And beside, the roads are small and the sheer quantity of coal produced daily would fill the roads and block it to all other traffic.

The only solution is the river. Massive coal barges, able to transport vast tonnages of coal are to be found at the docks of Merdin. But they could be bigger, and they would carry more, if not for the ageing bridge blocking the mouth of the river. Low above the water, the height of the barges is severely restricted. The coal magnates and shipping princes of the area would dearly love to pull the bridge down and replace it with a steam driven draw bridge.

Alas, the population of Blackborough s nothing if not proud of its historic relics. In an age where progress trumps all, and the past is often viewed as an impediment, the public outcry at the threat to their bridge is both loud and surprising. Even more so, is the support it received from the local press.

However, a solution both ingenious and unusual presents itself, and it comes in the form of a plan from the University of Blackboroughs School of Engineering, in a project that will cement its reputation as one of the preeminent centres of engineering in the land.

The plan is to build a bridge of stone and iron with three vast graceful arches, more than high enough for the Coal barges and any other ships that might pass through, and to reinforce the old bridge, disconnect it from its moorings and supports and lift it in its entirety atop the new series of arches.

Put simply, the plan is to move St Dubnus Bridge out of the way of the boats.

The audacious plan is authorized, and construction of the arches and the vast panoply of engineering equipment required to move the bridge, much of it newly invented begins on either side of the river….

The re-engineering of the St Dubnus Bridge is driven primarily by the mine owners of Merdin, who see vast profits in such a venture. Even before work begins, business in Merdin booms as confidence in the future export potential soars.

Under the auspices of the College of Engineering and the private backers of the project, a foundry is opened in the area, close to the work site, to construct the quantity of equipment, much of it new and untested, required for the project.

Taking its name from its riverside location, the Bankside Testing Yard becomes a vital part of both the industrial capacity of the city, and the infrastructure of the University for years to come, presenting a place to practice the practical applications of Engineering first hand.

Key amongst the equipment produced for the Bridge project are the two massive cranes, built in the foundry before being erected on both sides of the river in Blackborough and Redhall. They are key to the whole operation, intended as they are to perform the crucial act of lifting the old bridge from its foundations and placing them atop the new sequence of raised arches.

The board of public health becomes considerably more proactive in calling for slum clearences. Many slum landlords are prosecuted and their properties seized by the increasingly confident organization. The people of Merdin soon find themselves with a new champion in the form of Andrew Matthers, a newly appointed member of the board of health. In the space of 4 years, Matthers takes 56 land lords to court on charges on violations of public health.

Consequently, there is a marked improvement (compared to what went before at least), in the basic quality of slum housing. Many of the more substandard hovels are demolished either voluntarily or forcibly

The new square, named in honor of Crimean War as Balaclava Place, is laid down. Little more than a paved square and a series of roads, it is bound to attract interest soon enough

Plans for the rebuilding of Frogmore are given high priority due to their proximity to the docks. The authorities mandate that all houses must be fire resistant, and close to a ready supply of water to avoid a repeat of the fire. Many of the street layouts of the model communities to the south are used, albeit lacking the facilities and luxuries of those communities.

In Vulcain Beach, the nearby Chinese population cause quite the scene when they host a traditional new year celebration, dragon dancing and all. In this year, the first known Chinese restaurant in Britain opens, but it is almost universally frequented by the Chinese population only.

Plans are announced and land surveyed for a station. Primarily intended as a depot for mail deliveries, limited passenger facilities are also planned. Tracks are laid to form a spur to the main Berwick line

During a particularly fierce November storm blowing in from the North Sea on the night of November 17th 1878, a part of the pier collapses. Empty at that time of night, there are no casualties. Investigations later find the structure to be broadly sound, but human error is found to be responsible for the weakness in construction on the collapsed section.

The pier is left in a rather strange position, with the majority of the structure intact, but with a small gap of some 20 feet between the main bulk of the structure, and the end point, which remains stable and strong.

Plans are initially to rebuild the damaged section, meanwhile connecting the parts by 3 rope bridges. Unexpectedly, the rope bridges become an attraction in their own right, with crossing them a right of passage for the daring. Soon, interest in the repair dwindles as visitor numbers actually increase with people travelling to visit `Pier End Island`.

Amongst the middle classes of Abbeywoods, snorts of outrage are, well, snorted, when the plot of underused agricultural land is sold to a property developer who in turn gets into quite some financial difficulties which he solved by selling his plot to the director of one of the nascent football clubs, Northbridge Rangers.

Before long, a rudimentary set of football terraces and a pitch are laid out. In the spirit of utter unoriginality, the football ground is named Largefield…

The snooty residents of the area are most unimpressed. Alas, space is at a premium, and the land was too good and offer to turn down

With the opening of the prison, business in Yldefield receives a boost as the prison uses Yldefield to place its orders for food and supplies.

About this time, there is a noticeable shift in pronunciation of the areas name. Some trace it to outsiders who assumed a spelling mistake. The name `Wildfield` starts to creep into common speech

With the unification of Germany presenting a newly empowered rival across the North Sea, the Admiralty and the War department is determined to increase investment in North Sea defenses and to that end commences construction of a fortification on the island of Rothray, and stations an artillery brigade of Royal Marines to man the under construction Artillery Battery, and 4 frigates of the Home Fleet to patrol the Mouth of the Dubnus.



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