Great Western Railway

The Great Western Railway was created by Act of Parliament in 1835 to provide a double tracked line from Bristol to London. However work had started in 1832 to secure finance for the line, research possible routes and design stations, bridges and all other buildings required. In 1833 the twenty-seven year old Isambard Kingdom Brunel was to appointed to oversee this construction. It emerged as one of the greatest of pre-grouping lines, with a mileage of 2700 and running powers over a further 600 miles. It also operated a steamship service between Fishguard and Rosslare, and between Weymouth and the Channel Islands. In the 1923 grouping it became one of `the big four' and absorbed several smaller railways. The development and spread of the railway had a major influence on the development of the art colonies in the west of Cornwall. Penzance was only a days travel from the London or the Midlands, rather than the days - or even weeks by sea or road - depending on weather conditions. The railways as a whole were also a source of income for many of the artists, who produced travel posters of the various seaside towns and villages that people could visit. After WWII the GWR was Nationalised along with the other companies to form British Railways BR.