Swinford Toll Bridge

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Swinford Toll Bridge
Oxfordeynsham5.JPG
Carries B4044 road
Crosses River Thames
Locale Eynsham, Oxfordshire
Material Stone
Height 14 feet 9 inches (4.50 m)
Opened 1769
Toll 5 pence per car
Coordinates 51°46′29″N 1°21′35″W / 51.7746°N 1.3596°W / 51.7746; -1.3596Coordinates: 51°46′29″N 1°21′35″W / 51.7746°N 1.3596°W / 51.7746; -1.3596

Swinford Toll Bridge is a privately owned toll bridge across the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England. It crosses the river just above Eynsham Lock, between the village of Eynsham on the west bank and the small settlement of Swinford on the east bank (in Berkshire until 1974). It carries the B4044 road from Oxford to Eynsham, which was the A40 road until the Eynsham bypass was completed in 1936.[citation needed]

History[edit]

The bridge, a Georgian structure built of local limestone, was opened in 1769. It replaced a pre-existing ferry and its construction was funded by the Earl of Abingdon.[1] The bridge is governed by its own Act of Parliament.[2] It allows the bridge owner to collect tolls and makes the building of bridges across the river illegal for three miles either way up or down stream from Swinford. By repute, the owners do not pay tax on the revenue from the tolls as a perquisite from King George III. It is one of the two remaining toll bridges that cross the Thames upstream of London, the other being Whitchurch Bridge.

In 1835 tolls for pedestrians over Swinford bridge were abolished.[3] Pedal cycles and motorcycles are also exempt from tolls. Other classes of traffic remain subject to tolls, which are £0.05 in the case of cars. Despite this small toll there is (as of 2006) a campaign to make it toll-free.[4] Oxfordshire County Council estimates that 10,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day.[5] Toll collection causes significant delays and air pollution. An online poll in 2006 on the Witney Gazette website showed that 87.5% of voters want the tolls scrapped.

The bridge was put up for sale in 2009[6][7] and was sold at auction on 3 December for £1.08 million.[8][9] A campaign calling for Oxfordshire County Council to buy the bridge[10][7] was unsuccessful.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fred. S. Thacker The Thames Highway: Volume II Locks and Weirs 1920 - republished 1968 David & Charles
  2. ^ An Act for building a Bridge cross the River Thames, from Swinford, in the County of Berks, to Eynsham, in the County of Oxford, 7 George III, c. 63. dated 1767 (Ref No HL/PO/PU/1/1767/7G3n22).
  3. ^ Crossley, Alan; Elrington, C.R. (eds); Baggs, A.P.; W.J., Blair; Chance, Eleanor Chance; Colvin, Christina; Cooper, Janet; Day, C.J.; Selwyn, Nesta; Townley, S.C. (1990). A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12: Wootton Hundred (South) including Woodstock. Victoria County History of the Counties of England. pp. 98–110. ISBN 0-19-722774-0. 
  4. ^ Witney Gazette, 26 April 2006
  5. ^ Scrap the Toll on Swinford Bridge in Oxfordshire
  6. ^ Daily Mail retrieved 16 November 2009
  7. ^ a b Qureshi, Huma (2009-11-17). "Tax-free Thames toll bridge for sale". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 2011-07-13. "Swinford toll bridge near the village of Eynsham in Oxfordshire is for sale at auction with a guide price of £1m-£1.25m. [...] Toll charges on the bridge were last raised in 1994, but local residents are calling for the charges to be scrapped." 
  8. ^ Turner, Lauren (2009-12-03). "The 5p toll bridge is sold for £1.08m". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  9. ^ Allsop auction catalogue
  10. ^ Vennin, Loic (2009-12-02). "English bridge for sale amid toll rumpus". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-07-13. "Tomlinson wants the local government authority, the Oxfordshire county council, to buy the bridge [...]" 

Further reading[edit]

  • de Villiers, E. (1969). Swinford Toll Bridge 1769-1969. Eynsham: Eynsham History Group. 

External links[edit]

Next crossing upstream River Thames Next crossing downstream
Pinkhill Lock (pedestrian) Swinford Toll Bridge A34 Road Bridge (road)