Whitney Bridge is a major part of social history in the UK. It was built in the late 1770s, during the reign of George III whilst William Pitt the Younger was Prime Minister.
To help with the increasing costs incurred for repairing and maintaining roads and bridges, parliament introduced the Turnpike Acts, authorising a trust to levy tolls on those using the roads and bridges, and to use that toll income to repair and improve the roads and infrastructure, hence supporting economic growth.
Whilst there were 1000s of toll roads and bridges in the 1700s, Whitney Bridge today is one of only eight privately owned toll bridges still operating in much the same way as it has for almost 250 years.
The bridge is still governed by its original 1774 Act of Parliament and fees are still governed by the Secretary of State for Transport and can only be changed with amendments to that Act of Parliament.
The toll income today is still used to maintain the bridge and ensure the structural integrity of this ancient monument. As the bridge gets older, the need to increase funds to secure its future is intensified. Therefor in the past few years Whitney Bridge has diversified with the times and now offers glamping facilities, canoe hire and camping. A fabulous café restaurant will be up and running by 2021, all ensuring the continued stability and future for Whitney Bridge.
To view the original Act of Parliament 1780 click on this link.