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Page last updated at 13:25 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009
History of Whitchurch Toll Bridge
By Emma Midgley
BBC Berkshire

The Whitchurch Toll Bridge (c) Whitchurch Bridge Company.
The existing toll bridge was built in 1902, and is a Grade II structure

An historic bridge which connects Berkshire and Oxfordshire has doubled its toll for drivers.

The toll bridge that currently links Whitchurch-on-Thames and Pangbourne is a Grade II listed structure.

The existing bridge was built in 1902. However, the river crossing at this point is much older.

The Thames at Pangbourne was one of the earliest crossing places into Oxfordshire, first by ferry and later by bridge.

The ferry operated from the road running past the George Inn down to the river (now known as Ferry Lane) and ran across to the mill at Whitchurch.

Right to charge

The first bridge was granted permission by parliament in 1792.

The Act was passed to allow the Company of Proprietors of Whitchurch Bridge to take over the ferry rights and to build at their own costs "a good and substantial bridge" which was described as being "of great utility and advantage to the public".

The first wooden bridge (c) Photos courtesy of the Whitchurch Bridge Company.
An engraving of the first wooden bridge was created in 1805

In return for their investment the proprietors were given the right to charge tolls.

The first bridge was built by Mr Treacher, a surveyor to the Commissioners, and was rather steep, supported on about 20 piers, and just wide enough to take a carriage.

It was a entirely constructed of wood.

A second wooden bridge was completed in 1853 and was similar to the earlier one but was less steep and had only half the number of piers.

Toll House

However, it deteriorated, and was replaced by an iron bridge in 1902, which stands to this day.

The bridge standing today - the third - was designed by Joseph Morris and built by the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company Ltd.

Construction was started in late 1901 and finished in early 1902. It is gently arched and consists of four spans with riveted lattice girders along the two outer edges.

The Toll House dates back to 1792 and is built close to the road so that tolls could be collected from the porch door, which at that time faced the road.

As recently as 1977 a "front door" was added to the north facing wall.

Both the Toll House and the bridge itself are designated as Grade II listed structures.




SEE ALSO
Toll bridge charge to be doubled
13 Oct 09 |  England
Toll bridge protest held
11 Dec 08 |  England


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