Report of the Gauge Commissioners, London: T.R. Harrison, 1846, folio, official government report by J. M. Frederic Smith, G. B. Airy, and Peter Barlow (27pp.), interleaved, with SIX PAGES OF ANNOTATION IN I. K. BRUNEL'S HAND, contemporary marbled wrappers (severely affected by damp).
The report favoured the narrow gauge, of which there was a much greater mileage than the GWR's broad 7 foot gauge (see "Appendix to the Report," p. 22), and was opposed to the inconvenience of a railway system where there would be breaks in gauge. Its findings were not, in Brunel's opinion, impartial, but influenced by the more powerful vested interests of the London & Birmingham Railway. Clauses which he has numbered on pages 4-6 of the Report are subject to a rebutal ("precious humbug" is one comment), and it seems probable that he originally intended to write further comments on later pages.
""The contest was one of simple competition for a particular district -- all other points being evidently in favour of the GWR project the L. & B. & their allies" made "the question one of gauge -- the Board of Trade took their side -- and the war of the gauges commenced ... The L. & B. R. opposed every stage and being ultimately defeated -- moved for this commmission." Further comments are made in this vein on "the contest which has long been carried on apparently on the question of gauge but really on the question of competing interest ... The mode of enquiry adopted was one that could not bring under the view of the commission a correct statement of facts or anything but a most exaggerated view of the state of opinion ... the evidence has been irregularly given & instead of cross examination" there "has been an unchecked repetition of all the assertions founded & unfounded -- contradicted or not contradicted -- which have been showered upon the gt West Rw & Mr Brunel from the first period of the contest ... as the number of professional men engaged and the number of parties interested in the narrow gauge, greatly exceed those of particular connection with the wide gauge -- this unchecked effusion of feelings and opinion ... has given the tone to the opinion of the report."
With an unbound copy of the Report, and an autograph letter signed from G. B. Airy to Brunel about the Commission, 3 pages, 8vo, Royal Observatory, Greenwich, March 20 1858. (3)