A PowerPoint Presentation
This was a very interesting and informative illustrated talk on the road systems in our area which had developed over many hundreds of years and which, in the 18th century as business began to expand, needed also to improve to cater for the increased movement of people and goods.
Before Turnpikes many roads had just developed from tracks and pathways between villages and towns and these were not surfaced.
As trade and business increased in the 17th and 18th centuries it became necessary to have reliable and useable roads between Towns and centres of business and groups of businessmen invested in companies which were set up to improve the roads, particularly for the use of stage coaches and carriages. These companies of course had to make money from their investment and therefore they made charges for use of these roads which became known as “Tolls”. The roads had barriers at either end or “Toll Houses” which were manned to collect a “Toll” from anyone using the road. The remains of these toll Roads can still be found around Britain today and in our area there are a number of the old Toll Houses which are, of course, private dwellings today. An original Toll House used to stand on the corner of the Birmingham Road and Dagnell End Road at Bordesley (Redditch) but this was destroyed when Redditch New Town was developed! It was known to locals as Granny Locks Cottage.
There are now very few “Toll Roads” in the UK but of course in recent years the “M6 Toll Road” was opened to relieve congestion on the M6 motorway around the north of Birmingham but even this is currently under consideration and may eventually become a “Free to Use” road.