Turn­pike maps

Your Family History - - Occupations -

There was of­ten more than one turn­pike toll booth in any par­tic­u­lar area. If you are un­sure where your own an­ces­tor lived, you’ll find that maps of toll roads in var­i­ous coun­ties are avail­able. These in­clude the on­line ver­sion of Wal­lis’s new pocket edi­tion of the English coun­ties (1810) at http://tinyurl.com/yc6l8wpn. Those who lived near the gates could claim ex­tra re­mu­ner­a­tion if wo­ken up in the night to open the gate

ap­proval of the Read­ing to Bas­ingstoke Turn­pike (1821), which re­quired toll col­lec­tors to dis­play their names at the gate, and to give their names to road users when­ever they were asked. The Act also for­bade them from un­nec­es­sar­ily de­lay­ing road users or from us­ing ‘scur­rilous, abu­sive or blas­phe­mous lan­guage to any pas­sen­ger’, giv­ing us an in­sight into the quar­rels that fre­quently arose when a dis­puted toll was be­ing col­lected.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, turn­pike keep­ers had shares in the stalls or makeshift busi­nesses that used to set up near the turn­pike gates. Jour­nal­ist and so­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tor Henry May­hew recorded in 1861 that: ‘A con­sid­er­able num­ber of book-stall keep­ers, as well as coster­mon­gers, swag-bar­row­men, gin­ger beer and le­mon­ade sell­ers, or­ange-women, sweet stuff ven­dors, root-sell­ers, and oth­ers, have es­tab­lished their pitches – some of them hav­ing stalls with a cover, like a roof – from Whitechapel work­house to the Mile End turn­pike-gate. Near the gate they are con­gre­gated most thickly.’

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