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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): CLA/018
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Full title: BRIDGES
Date(s): 1664-1990
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 4 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Corporation of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

When the London Coal and Wine Duties Continuance Bill was before the House of Commons in 1868, it met strong opposition. The suggestion was made that some compensation should be given by setting free the bridges across the Thames and Lea. This suggestion was embodied in the Act of 1868 by which the duties for the year 1888-1889 were to be applied in the first instance to freeing from toll the following bridges: Kew, Kingston, Hampton Court, Walton and Staines on the Thames, and then Chingford and Tottenham Mills Bridges (including Hellyer's Ferry Bridge) upon the River Lea. These objects were provided for by the Kew and other Bridges Act of 1869 and an amendment Act of 1874 by which a Joint Committee of the Corporation of London and the Metropolitan Board of Works was appointed. The Coal and Wine Duties of 1888-1889 were allocated as security for raising the necessary funds. The total cost of the purchase of the bridges was 155,485.2.0.

Kingston Bridge was vested in the Bailiffs and Freemen of the town, but mortgaged in 1826 to the Commissioners for the issue of Exchequer Bills for Public Works. It was thus a simple matter for the Committee in 1870 to redeem the outstanding debt of 15,600. On 12th March 1870 the bridge was opened free of toll.

Walton Bridge was owned by Thomas Newland Allen of the Vache, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks. He claimed compensation of 29,510 from the Committee, but a jury summoned by the Sheriff of Middlesex assessed the value at 7,000. This was paid to Allen and the bridge was opened on 1st August 1870.

Staines Bridge was of Roman origin and was for many centuries the first bridge across the Thames above London. The newest bridge was built in 1828-1834. The title deeds of this bridge include many relating to the approaches of the old bridge, the site of the Bush Inn and Gardens. At the time of the freeing of the bridge, it was owned as a public trust. After negotiation the Solicitor to the Committee obtained agreement among the bondholders to accept a quarter of the capital sum, and a verdict for this amount was given on 2nd August 1870. The bridge was opened free of toll on 25th February 1871.

Kew Bridge was owned by Henry Hewett Mason by 1865 who claimed 73,832 as compensation, and although this claim was later moderated, 60,000 was the least he would accept voluntarily. The matter went to arbitration and he was awarded 57,300. The bridge was opened on 8th February 1873.

Hampton Court Bridge was owned by Thomas Newland Allen who claimed 61,600. The matter went to arbitration and an award of 48,048 was made on 19th April 1876. The bridge was freed on 8th July.

Tottenham Mills Bridge was owned by the New River Company which claimed 7,245 as compensation. A jury awarded 1,750. Chingford Bridge and Hellyer's Ferry Bridge at Tottenham were both owned by the East London Waterworks Company. The sums of 3,382 and 1,568 respectively were settled for the bridges. All three bridges were freed on 23rd February 1878.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records relating to the management of bridges in London, 1664-1990, including petitions; reports; financial papers; legal papers; publications; press releases; papers relating to building and maintenance; title deeds relating to Staines Bridge and papers relating to proposals to build 'St Paul's Bridge', abandoned at the outbreak of World War One.

Also papers, 1868-1890, relating to the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Metropolitan Bridges which worked to free all bridges over the Thames and Lea from tolls, including papers on the Staines Bridge, Walton Bridge, Hampton Court Bridge, Kingston-on-Thames Bridge, Kew Bridge, Chingford Mills Bridge, Hellyer's Ferry Bridge and Tottenham Mills Bridge.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Corporation of London Records Office.

Allied Materials

Related material:

For Corporation of London records relating to Bridges see: CLA/007: Bridge House Estates, CLA/018: Bridges, CLA/019: Southwark Bridge, CLA/020: Tower Bridge, CLA/021: Blackfriars Bridge, CLA/022: London Bridge, COL/CC/BBB: Court of Common Council Blackfriars Bridge (Building) Committee, COL/CC/BBR: Court of Common Council Blackfriars Bridge (Repairing) Committee, COL/CC/BHC: Court of Common Council Bridge House Committee, COL/CC/BHT: Court of Common Council Bridge House Trust Committee, COL/CC/CLBH: Court of Common Council City Lands and Bridge House Estate Committee, COL/CC/JTB: Court of Common Council Joint Bridge House Estates and Improvement Committee, COL/CC/JTS: Joint Bridge House and Special Committee, COL/CC/CLA: Court of Common Council City of London (Arizona) Corporation, COL/CC/LBA: Court of Common Council London Bridge Approaches Committee, COL/CC/LBC: Court of Common Council London Bridge Committee, COL/CC/LBI: London Bridge Improvements Committee, COL/CC/SBC: Court of Common Council Special Bridge or Subway Committee, COL/CCS/PL: Comptroller and City Solicitor: Plans, COL/PL: Plans, COL/PLD/PL: Planning Department Plans, COL/SVD/PL: Surveyor's Department Plans, COL/TSD/PL: Technical Services Department Plans, COL/CHD/CM: Chamberlain's Department: Chamber Accounts.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
February 2009

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