CELEBRATING THE EXPIRATION OF THE THORNSETT TURNPIKE TRUST. GREAT PUBLIC REJOICING.
A red letter day in the history of the toll bars in this neighbourhood was the day appointed by the Demonstration Managing Committee of Newtown, to celebrate the removal of the toll bars from their midst, in connection with the Thornsett Turnpike Trust, which expired on Monday, November the 1st 1886.
There were six toll bars within a radius of two miles, and they were so placed to intercept the traffic from the Midland, Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire, and the London and North-Western Railway Stations. The weather during the day was very inclement; in the morning rain fell heavily until about eleven o’clock, when bright genial sunshine burst forth, and continued about an hour. Towards two o’clock, the time arranged for the processionists to meet, clouds began to gather, and shortly afterwards rain descended, which continued more or less until about five o’clock. The houses of many of the inhabitants were dressed with flags and bannerettes, and if Jupiter Pluvius had favoured the neighbourhood with fine weather, the event would have resulted in a greater success. Too much credit cannot be bestowed upon the committee who arranged and conducted the proceedings, under the indefatigable exertions of Mr John Hawthorn, Mr. Francis Rowbottom, Mr. Turner, Mr. J. Dalton, and other leading residents.
At the final meeting of the committee a programme to the following effect was drawn up and agreed to:- the procession to be headed by a brass band; the residents of Newtown to join the procession, the Peak Forest Canal Company’s teams, the London and North Western Company’s teams, the Midland Railways Company’s teams. Second band, followed by the children and general carrier’s teams. The horse’s carts and lurries to meet in the centre of Newtown, or in or about the London and North Western Company’s Yard, and in the Peak Forest Canal Company’s Yard. Seats provided on lurries for children of Newtown: parents requested to send their children so that the committee might see them all seated. The procession to start at 2.30, and proceed down Newtown, along Church Brow and along Marsh Lane, through Jouls Hole to Furness Vale, and returning by Buxton Road to Albert Terrace to Newtown. At 5.30, the children to be served with buns and milk in the Newtown Board School, and at the same time the bandsman to be provided with tea in the London and North Western Hotel. At six o’clock teamsters to be provided with a dinner in the Oddfellows Hall at the Queens Arms.
A few minutes after the time arranged for the procession to start the whistle from Messrs. Hawthorn’s works sounded as the signal for the cavalcade to move. All along the line of the route a large number of persons had assembled. The procession moved through Newtown in the following order:- Mr F. Rowbottom and Mr J. Dalton, two of the leading inhabitants, on horses, followed by a boy, Master Thomas Pickup, on a pony in the centre; the inhabitants of Newtown; the Brunswick Mill Fire Brigade, drawn by two horses, with pipes and hose complete; Joseph Wild on a ‘‘Jerusalem’’ pony, decorated with ribbons and various colours, and created considerable amusement along the route; a M. S. and L. Company’s lurry, containing a number of children, with a neat representation of a toll bar on a sample cloth. Another lurry containing children, being drawn by two horses, followed by about eight others belonging to the London and North Western Railway Company. A lurry belonging to Messrs. Hawthorn followed by a two horse lurry owned by Mr J. W. A. Turner. A number of other carts and lurries followed, including four lurries belonging to the Midland Railway Company. The New Mills Coal Company had a grand display. A huge piece of coal weighing 28cwts, from the colliery of Messrs. James Oakes and Co, of Riddings, near Offerton, was exhibited on a Midland Company’s lurry. Two goats, which looked remarkably neat, also joined the procession, which was nearly over half a mile in length. The rear of the procession was brought up by a bull and two donkeys, and a carrier named Levi Bone, with another donkey and cart. Mr Edward Godward and Mr J. Swindells took an active part in the procession, and Mr John Barber, overseer for Phoside Hamlet, Hayfield, represented the inhabitants of Oven Hill Bar. An effigy of the toll-bar keeper was placed at the Newtown Bar, and created a considerable amount of amusement to the spectators. The procession completed the route by about half past four, at which time the rain began to clear off. The Hayfield and New Mills Brass Bands took part in the procession. About three o’clock it was computed that there were between four and five thousand persons in the neighbourhood. The residents of Newtown who took part in the procession were each presented with a ticket for a photograph of the old toll house. Shortly after half past five tea was served to the bandsman in the London and North Western Railway Hotel. At six o’clock the carriers and teamsters were served with a dinner, when a large number of persons were present. Both tea and dinner were well catered. Prior to this, however, the children of the district were supplied with coffee and buns in the Newtown Board School. In the evening a huge bonfire of two tons of coal and about fifty resin tubs, was kindled at Eller Bank, and was plainly visible for miles around. On Monday evening, cannons were fired from the canal wharf in celebration of the removal of the bars.
There is a second article relating to the Expiration of the Turnpike Trust in the papers of the time. This article however reveals just how hated the turnpikes had become.
At midnight on Monday the first of November the Thornsett Turnpike Trust expired. It was the occasion for a singular outburst of feeling throughout the district. The Trust had six toll bars near New Mills. As early as eight o’clock on Monday night cannons were fired in various parts of the district. One of the toll-bars was situated close to an iron foundry on Albion road, and the gate keeper, fearing, what would happen, left the house early in the day. When the hour of twelve struck on Monday night, a crowd of several hundred gathered at the toll-house, and with bars of iron from the adjoining foundry, smashed the windows of the toll-keepers house. They also broke open the door, ripped up the posts, pulled down a wooden shed largely used as a coal house, and set fire to the material. Having completely ransacked the premises and demolished everything, the mob proceeded to Hyde Bank Bar, where a wooden office for the toll-keeper stood. This was a valuable building. They at once smashed in the windows and door, lighted a fire inside, and burnt the structure to the ground. These proceedings continued all night, and on Tuesday the toll-houses which were completely destroyed, were visited by many anxious to see the ruins.