Croydon (1799-1840).                                                          

Thomas had a modest house in Croydon with his first wife and left when she died in 1803. (Poor Rate entry for 1799: 1-2-6d.)
By 1830 he had returned to a larger house (rates now up to 5). He must have seen some astonishing changes in the interim. Croydon was a small rural hamlet when he arrived, a posting station ten miles from the city on the Brighton Road. In 1803 the horse-drawn "Grand Surrey Iron Railway" (a world first) opened, carrying lime and gravel from Croydon to Frying Pan Creek, Wandsworth. It closed 43 years later. A new canal opened to water traffic in 1815. In 1825 five coaches a day left Croydon for the City. By 1830 twenty five were going each way. At an average four miles an hour it would have taken Thomas two hours to get to his office in the city.  It had become a fashionable boom town.
Harriet might have seen the opening in 1838 of the London & Croydon Atmospheric Railway. This was an astonishing and ingenious rival to steam trains. A vacuum tube about 18 inches in diameter was fixed to the sleepers between the tracks. A pipe connected to the train's pistons slid in a groove on top of the tube. Speeds of 70 mph were recorded. The vacuum was maintained by pumping stations every three miles along the track. Fashionable regency lodges were springing up around the town. Oak Lodge is hard to identify. It was probably in the Thornton Heath area.                                                        
                             Poor Rate entry for 1799

New canal completed 1815   
The village is buried in trees  
in the background.         
A stage coach departing from  
the Green Dragon.        
A regency lodge in Croydon