Depicting Lorry Routes on the Map.
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A MOTOR lorry came slowly along a narrow r-mstreet in a Northern industrial town. There was nothing remarkable in its appearance, but it brought delight to one who watched it pass. Horsham! This lorry had come from Horsham. For the moment I did not give a thought to what its business here might be. My mind was too much taken up with memories of the rolling downs of Sussex. Such is the picture a name on a lorry may bring up. A few days later came another from Boscombe (Bournemouth) and instantly memories arose of sunny days, the smooth seas in the light between St. Aldhems Head and the Wight, the smell of the pines after a shower, and of delightful music under a glass roof. Sometimes the thrill is of another kind. Some vehicle is passing everything on the road. It is a colliery ambulance moving swiftly towards the town. Perhaps speed is habit to its driver, or, perhaps, on this journey, he knows that to save moments is to save life.
Incidents like these, strung together, make a passing show for all whose vision is the doorway to the mind. The larger subject of geography, the lesser subject of transport—these you may study by the roadside. And not merely these. Fancy may like to dwell on the question of . what a Horsham lorry is doing in the industrial north, and of the scenes It has passed on its way. The dovvnland where its journey began, the fringe of London, farming country and lavender fields, the headgear of collieries, the factory towns. 'Tis only the bare outline of what is seen by the lorry driver, but if he looks about him he will observe the same outline filled in afresh at each journey.
Historically, the lorry may be out of it with the locomotive (although I think we could make a good show even now), but, considered geographically, the lorry suffers nothing from comparison. It is efficient and it is mobile. A load is picked up, taken for its full inland journey, and discharged. No carting to depot, no transhipment en route, no carting to consignee. That is why the long-distance lorry makes such an impression upon the thinking onlooker. Commerce carried on a steel track, transferred at junctions and, finally, after many days, put on a local dray for delivery, can never appeal to the imagination in the same way as a load which is put on a lorry in some Midland town and delivered, with almost miraculous expedition, to quayside by the same vehicle.
In these days, when the map is used to express such a variety of ideas, it would be interesting to see one illustrating the idea of road transport over long distances. Transport firms throughout the country might be persuaded to send, on a given day, a report of long journeys commenced on that day by their vehicles. ri;The information thus collected could be expressed in lines on the map. It might be necessary to have one map showing northward journeys and another showing southward journeys, but, whatever the method, the result would provide a striking insight into the part played by the motor lorry in the service of mankind and would throw a surprising light upon the complication of the road problem. F.W.P.