This beautiful map of the Teign Estuary incorporates three different ways to show off the new bridge across the river linking the village of Shaldon with the important Devonshire port and seaside resort at Teignmouth.
The bridge, completed the year before the map was published, was just over 1,670 feet long, making it the longest wooden bridge in the country at the time. A swing-bridge at the Teignmouth end allowed ships through to the estuary.
The map is a work of self-promotion, designed to show the route of a new road which had been proposed by Roger Hopkins, Civil Engineer and Mineral Surveyor, who designed and built the bridge and made the map. To show off Hopkins skills as an engineer and surveyor the bridge features prominently, not only on the map but both in a portrait
and then in profile; the former to show the beauty of the design within the context of the setting, the latter to show off the surveying and engineering skills of Hopkins.
In the title Hopkins reminds the viewer that it is he that ‘projected, designed and executed…’ the bridge and then goes on, as his ‘most humble servant’, to dedicate the map to the Duke of Clarence, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom. As can be imagined the Lord High Admiral was the head of the Royal Navy and the holder was usually drawn from the Royal Family (the current High Admiral is Prince Philip). Three years after the publication of the map the Duke of Clarence became William the IV.
By showing evidence of his surveying and engineering skills with the views of his bridge Hopkins sets out why he is qualified to propose his new road, despite there already being a road from Newton (now Newton Abbot) to Shaldon. Hopkins road would be far more direct, transporting the produce from the mills in the town to the port at Teignmouth. Despite the beauty and surveying and engraving skills on show Hopkins was ultimately unsuccessful, the road only existed on paper and twenty years later the railway came to South Devon, and Newton Abbot was linked to Teignmouth along the northern side of the Teign.
Map of the towns of Teignmouth and Newton, and the country lying between them, showing the advantage of a proposed… road… from actual survey made by R. Hopkins, 1828 (E) C17:25 (41)