The Isleworth to Teddington Turnpike
A toll road through Twickenham
1767 - 1824
A turnpike road is a road where a gate or barrier prevents access to the road until a toll (or charge) has been paid. Turnpike roads were common from the mid-16th to the 19th centuries and the money raised was used to improve the road for all users.
The early barriers were swinging bars or 'pikes', hence the name "turnpike". These swinging bars were later substituted by gates. Toll houses for the gatekeepers were sometimes built by the roadside but there were none in Twickenham.
The Isleworth to Teddington TurnpikeIn 1767 an Act was passed enabling the highway between Isleworth and Teddington through Twickenham to be designated a Turnpike Road. The road connected with Turnpikes to Kensington and later to Kingston and as far as Sunbury.
Managing the TurnpikeManagement of the new Turnpike was by a committee of mainly local landowners anxious to protect their own interests.
Their first task was to survey the existing road to agree the improvements needed. On 9 May 1767 they recorded:
"...From thence (Twickenham) to Cross Deep the road tho' narrow is good and can nowhere be widened on account of buildings and gardens inclosing it on each side...At Cross Deep the road lies extremely low and is frequently liable in the Winter to be dangerously overflow'd from the Thames which can no way be remedied but by raising the road to a considerable heighth..."
This crossing at the stream had for long been a difficulty for traffic, especially in winter - in 1697 Richard Bowery, father of Alexander Pope's boatman had drowned here. The stream was put into a culvert and the land raised.
The improved roads allowed a significant increase of traffic including passenger coaches, delivery vehicles and a national postal service.