Franchising 19th-century style

With the repeated fiascos of the East Coast Mainline rail franchise, here’s how a very local franchise was put up for franchise for over 100 years. Bradford Road, formerly known as the Bradford and Wakefield Turnpike Road, had gates at various intervals including Snow Hill and Carr Gate. Here are the earliest and latest notices for franchise setting meetings found in the online newspaper archive. They date from 1766 and 1871.

Leeds Intelligencer
Tuesday 1 July 1766

TURNPIKES

THE Trustees for repairing the Roads from BRADFORD to WAKEFIELD, intend to meet at the house of Mr Whiteleg in Adwalton, on Wednesday the 9th Day of July inst. at Two in the Afternoon, in order let the Tolls to arise at the Barrs at Carr-Gate, Tingley-Gate, and Wisket-Hill, either together or separate, entered to immediately. Also to appoint a Surveyor; when any Person properly qualified for, and desirous to serve that Office, may attend; and on other special Business relating to the said Road.ss

SAMUEL LISTER,
Clerk to the said Trustees.

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer
Saturday 9 December 1871

BRADFORD AND WAKEFIELD TURNPIKE ROAD

Notice is hereby given, that a MEETING of the Trustees appointed under and by virtue of an Act passed in the fifty-ninth year of the reign of His late Majesty King George the Third, intituled “An Act for more effectually repairing and improving the road from Bradford to Wakefield, in the West Riding of the county of York”, will be held at the BULL HOTEL, in Westgate, in WAKEFIELD aforesaid, on Friday the Fifteenth day of December Next, at the hour of Twelve o’clock at noon, for the purpose of transacting any business relating to the trust that may then and there appear necessary. At the same time and place the Tolls to be taken from and after the 31st day of December next at the several tollhouses, toll-gates, and chain bars, now standing and being upon and across the said road, called or known by the names of the Tong Street, the Gildersome Street, the Carr Gate, and the Snow Hill Toll Bars, and the Gildersome Street, the Scotchman Lane End, the Bruntcliffe Thorn, and the Woodhouse Lane Chain Bars will be LET BY AUCTION, in the manner directed by the Statutes for regulating turnpike roads by the said trustees, subject to conditions to be produced at the said meeting, which said tolls produced at the last letting, and now produce the yearly sum of £2,780 above the expenses of collecting, and will be put up at the same sum. Whoever happens to be the highest bidder must at the same time pay one month in advance (if required) of the rent at which such tolls may be let, and give security, with sufficient sureties, to the satisfaction of the trustees of the said turnpike road for payment of the rest of the money monthly, or in such other proportions as shall be directed by the said trustees. – Dated this 9th day of October, 1871. – By Order.

JOHN DARLINGTON,
Clerk to the said Trustees.

Carr Gate toll bar keeper taken to court

Barnsley Chronicle
Saturday 15 December 1860

ALLEGED ILLEGAL TAKING OF TOLL

Samuel Marshall, the keeper the Carr Gate toll-gate, was charged with illegally taking toll from James Pawson. Mr Gill defended. The complainant said that the 26th of November he engaged a thrashing machine; and in coming to do the work, the machine had to pass through the Carr Gate toll-bar. There was a little straw upon the machine; and when the gate was reached, the defendant claimed the toll. He was asked: “What, for the machine[?]”, and the answer was “no, for the straw.” As they could not thrash without having the straw placed under the sheet, the toll was paid, though the demand was illegal. No exemption was claimed.

Mr Gill, in reply, said: On the part of my client I say that he had a perfect right demand the toll. Prima facie every person passing through a toll-gate is called upon to pay toll, though there are certain exceptions provided by 3rd and 4th Geo. IV., cap. 126. These exceptions are manures for improving land conveyed in carts, and agricultural implements, when running on their own wheels. My objection to the summons, therefore, is, that as this machine did not run upon its own wheels, the cart which conveyed it was liable to the toll. In fact, I contend that the cart is only exempt when taking manures, and it is not intended that a cart shall be loaded with ploughs, barrows, and such things.

Mr Holdsworth (who, during the temporary absence of Mr Barff, presided) said: I am not clear on the point. I do not think agree with you.

Mr Gill: I think it is as I have said. I further object, however, that though hay and straw or other produce, when not sold or going to be carried for sale, and when only being removed from one part of a farmer’s premises to the other, is exempt, yet not otherwise, and further, I object that, as no exemption was claimed at the time, the case cannot now be hard.

Mr Holdsworth decided against the defendant; but, the same time, as he did not believe that he had acted wrongly wilfully, be only inflicted fine of 1s, with 18s expenses.

Local photographs in old newspapers

The newspaper archives has only come up with half a dozen photographs relating to the Wrenthorpe area – and three of these are of Silcoates. The first is of the last toll bar in the district.

Leeds Mercury
Saturday 13 July 1929

SILCOATES OLD TOLL-BAR

In close proximity to the famous Silcoates School, this reminder of old coaching days is still in use, and is one of the few surviving toll-bars in the West Riding.

The image is of an unnamed man with a white beard and hat standing in front of the gate.

19290713SilcoatesTollBar

Pictures in other newspapers:

Yorkshire Evening Post
Wednesday 1 May 1935

BLOSSOM TIME IN THE ORCHARD

Caption: A scene at Wrenthorpe, near Wakefield.

Unfortunately the orchard image is too indistinct to show here.

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer
Wednesday 17 July 1940

PLAYING FIELDS NO LONGER

Caption: Boys at Silcoates School, Wakefield, digging their playing fields in preparation for food growing.

Leeds Mercury
Tuesday 6 June 1926

A DIVINELY INSPIRED MANSION

Caption: Prophet’s Mansion, at Wrenthorpe, near Wakefield, built by Prophet John Wroe, who died many years ago. He knew nothing of architecture, and it is said that his plans were divinely inspired. The house is now inhabited by the Prophet’s great-grandson, who confidently awaits his return in the flesh. The second picture shows the novel sundial crowning the house.

19260608MelbourneHouse1

19260608MelbourneHouse2

Sheffield Daily Telegraph
Friday 2 October 1908

SILCOATES SCHOOL

On the other side will be found a picture of the ceremony in connection with the opening of the new Silcoates School, the celebrated Congregational college. The new building replaces the edifice that was burnt down some time back. The school was opened by Mr Runciman, and the picture shows Mr G H Baines, JP, one of the trustees, handing the Minister of Education the key. Mrs Runciman will be seen holding a bouquet. At the table is seated Mr Theodore Taylor, MP, while next him is Mr John McLaren, one of the trustees. Immediately beneath this picture is one showing the new school buildings.

19081002Silcoates1

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