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occupation. The members of the Robertson Commission were told by a number of young men whom they interviewed that they had spent several years in search of work after leaving school.

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From Queen's College the road turns towards the Sea Wall, a broad parapet rising only a few feet from the road but dropping considerably further, on the other side, to the mud flats which stretch at low tide as far as the eye can see. The necessity for this defence is summed up in two sentences by James Rodway in his History of British Guiana: 'Every acre at present under cultivation', he wrote in 1891, 'has been the scene of a struggle with the sea in front and the flood behind. As the result of this arduous labour through two centuries a narrow strip of land along the coast has been rescued from the mangrove swamp, by an elaborate system of dams and dykes.' This struggle is today as arduous as it has ever been; a country which lies four feet below sea-level must conceive its agriculture in a totally different manner from countries lying at a more normal level, and there is a great deal to achieve in order to reach the point at which the agriculture of such countries begins. Much money is spent each year to maintain the sea defences and the polders which hold back the waters from the 'backlands' during the rainy season. The Sea Wall at Georgetown has a strong social as well as economic function; during the day mothers take their children walking there, and after dark it is taken over by passionate couples.

Parallel with the Sea Wall runs the single track of the railway line down which an ancient locomotive,1 with a small string of passenger carriages and goods wagons, makes its way for sixty miles down the coast to Rosignol, on the Berbice river, diagonally opposite the second—and only other—town of the Colony, New Amsterdam. The history of the British Guiana Railway is, like the history of most activities in the Colony, one of heroic battle against adversity-with the battle never entirely won. It was begun by a private company, the Demerara Railway Company, in 1848 (capital £250,000) and is the oldest

1 The railway now has some excellent diesel locomotives, but they are proving so heavy that the track is beginning to show signs of subsidence.

railway on the whole continent of South America. It is also claimed that it is the costliest railway ever built-its first five and a half miles cost £127,000, at which point the contract of the engineer in charge of the project was terminated 'for reasons of economy'. This engineer was no ordinary man; his name was Frederick Catherwood. I first read of Catherwood while travelling in Mexico where, in 1840-1, he had made two journeys, with the great explorer and writer John Lloyd Stephens, into the Interior of Southern Mexico and Central America in search of monuments and ruins of the ancient Maya, a culture then almost entirely unknown. His illustrations and plans to Stephens' two books are fine examples of typographical art as well as feats of architectural labour, and the large book of coloured lithographs which he later published caused an archæological sensation, ranking as masterpieces of their genre; he is the Piranesi of Maya remains. Catherwood lived largely on the money made by his 'panoramas' of scenes in Palestine and Arabia with which he travelled in England and the United States; but by 1845 his panoramas had failed and in order to keep a growing family he turned his hand to railway engineering, working for some years on the SheffieldManchester railway. As soon as he arrived in British Guiana he was met by troubles; Negroes would not work for a dollar a day, although it was more than they would have been paid elsewhere; termites were destroying the sleepers. Catherwood, from whose querulousness Stephens had suffered in Mexico, disagreed with the Company on many matters. He solved the labour problems unconventionally, first by erecting a series of brothels at various points on the route, which kept the workers happy, and secondly by importing labour from the Islands. Other matters were not so easily soluble and the Company drifted into greater debt-a fact which did not prevent them celebrating the laying of the first five and a half miles with a ceremony requiring the use of a silver shovel and a silver wheelbarrow, specially made by the finest London silversmiths. Catherwood named the first three locomotives 'Mosquito', 'Sandfly' and 'Gadfly', but as the troubles progressively worsened he re-named them 'Scorpion', 'Centipede' and 'Marabunta'.' Catherwood left the Colony after less than two years 1 A species of wasp.

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(Above) Looking along Water Street to the Stabroek Market. Water Street is the commercial centre of the town. The Market, an architectural curiosity showing Dutch influence, was built in the 1880's.

(Below) The offices in Main Street of The Daily Chronicle, one of the three newspapers of Georgetown. (Next page) Main Street.

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