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ITS HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES. 7
At the drinking fountain, opposite the " Ordnance " buildings, we enter upon the Avenue. Until a few years ago this was composed of magnificent elms on both sides of the road the size of the few left at the entrance, and reaching to the Cowherds, just above the Cemetery road. Shortly after the gas was laid through the Avenue, these noble trees, whether from want of water or other causes, were so ravaged by insects that large limbs constantly fell, and the public safety demanded the cutting down of most of them. A number of limes have, however, been planted in their stead. They are now approaching a moderate size, and for some two miles the road running through what is known as the Southampton Common more resembles a drive through a gentleman's park than an ordinary turnpike road. This is the coach road to Winchester. The Common, open to the inhabitants, embraces some 500 acres of beautiful woodland scenery, the race course running down the centre, and a fine carriage drive over the turf belting the whole. Lovely views of the surrounding country are obtainable from its prominent points, including the Hampshire hills between Portsdown and Winchester, and the New Forest, while the outlines of the Isle of Wight hills, in clear weather, seam the horizon to the left, behind the principal of the few primitive forests left in England. As we shall not return, to this part of the town, it may be convenient to give here a few particulars concerning the Ordnance office, which has achieved not simply a national but a European renown.
It is the chief office and head quarters of that department of the Civil Service which is charged with the conduct of the surveys of the United Kingdom. This Department was formerly attached to the War Office, under the Secretary of State for War, but was transferred a few years ago to H.M. Office of Works, of which Lord Henry Lennox is First Commissioner. The surveys are under the direction and control of Lieut.-Genl. Sir H. James, b,.e., assisted by three Lieut.-Colonels, one Major, eight Captains, five Lieutenants, one Quartermaster, and four Companies of the Corps of lloyal Engineers, with about fifteen hundred civil assistants and labourers, mainly distributed over those counties and districts of which the survey is being made. The importance of the work carried on by this Department, and the value of the maps when issued, both as regards accuracy and beauty of style, are fully appreciated by the public, the only complaint being that the survey is not being proceeded with at a more rapid rate—the landed proprietors and others in the counties and districts not yet mapped, all asking that the survey of that portion of the kingdom in which they are interested may be proceeded with. The preparation of the manuscript planS
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