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The methods adopted by the celebrated road engineer John Louden McAdam (1756-1863) were popular with the authorities because they could use cheap labour including paupers and children. McAdam contended that "women or men past hard labour should be employed breaking stone" and that "a woman sitting will break more limestone for a road that two strong labourers on their feet with long hammers in a given time".
[Ref: Albert, W.  The Turnpike System of Roads in England]

 

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