The Twickenham Museum
Exhibitions : Road Rail and River

Introduction to Road Rail and River
The river and roads allowed the early movement of people and good. The railway came in the 19th century, followed by trams trolleybuses and omnibuses in the 20th.

A tram in flooded Hampton Court Road, Hampton, c. 1904 near the Swiss Chalet, later known as Huck’s Boatyard. This was then a newly opened (1903) tram line and shows the flood has washed away part of the bank. This bank had been formed when a strip of lan

Transport has always depended on the river as well as highways. The lock system of the upper Thames was only developed from 1770. A pound lock was built at Teddington in 1811 and another at Molesey, just above Hampton Court Bridge, was built in 1815.

Ferries provided transportation across the river.
Horses carried travellers, pulled coaches for the gentry and carts for the rest. Over the years wheeled traffic damaged roads, which could become impassable in winter. Matters only really started to improve with the introduction of Turnpike Trusts with powers to collect road tolls for maintenance. In 1767 the Isleworth, Twickenham and Teddington Turnpike road was opened. In 1773 a similar Turnpike was set up between Hampton and Staines. Stage coaches calling at Twickenham increased from 7 in 1811 to 26 in 1837. In about 1850 The Richmond Conveyance Company introduced a series of horse-drawn bus services.

In 1848 the London and South Western Railway Company arrived in Twickenham. In the following year the branch line to Hampton Court opened. Other local routes were developed in the 1860s and 1870s although the new Whitton station was not opened until 1930.

Tram lines reached Twickenham and Fulwell in 1902, and Teddington and Hampton Court in the following year. Motorised buses were introduced during the time the trams were running. The trams went out of use, locally, between 1931 and 1935, being replaced by trolleybuses on those routes. In turn the days of the trolleybus ended in 1962 and diesel buses took over.

Bicycles came into use in the 1880s and in the years following the First World War cycling became the means by which vast numbers of ‘ordinary’ people moved about. In the late 1890s cars began to appear, mainly chauffeur driven for the privileged few. After World War 1 mass production of the internal combustion engine transformed the nature and scale of road traffic for leisure and commerce.

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