Notice relating to driving on turnpike roads, 1847.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Letterpres broadsheet outlining penalties for various infractions on the Turnpike Roads around Ashford, Kent. The Turnpike Act of allowed groups of people to apply to Parliament for permision to build a new road or take over the maintenance of an existing one, in return for which they could levy tolls on road users. By 1830, more than 1000 Turnpike companies were in operation, with responsibility for some 32,000 kilometres of road. The growth of the railway network led to a decline in stagecoach travel, however, which in turn led to a decline in the income accruing to the Turnpike companies through tolls. By 1895 the last Turnpike company had gone out of busines and responsibility for maintaining Britain's roads had pased to local councils.