Turnpikes were an important part of our ancestors lives. Parliament passed various acts to allow Trusts to erect turnpike gates. This ensured that the costs of improvement and maintenance of a road was financed by the travellers. In the18th century a network of turnpike roads were created across Britain. They linked the major centres by highways that operated for the benefit of long distance commercial traffic.
By the 1870's nearly all such Trusts were abolished. Many of our ancestors would have at some stage in their lives either used, helped build or worked at the various Toll Gates.
At List of Turnpike Trust can be found information on individual turnpike trusts in England, including Kent. Such information as length of road, number of toll houses, debts and income, when the Trust was formed and when abolished. As an example:
Dartford and Sevenoaks formed by Parliamentary Act 6 Geo3 c98 in 1766 length 14 miles number of Main Gates 5 number of Side Gates 5.
Milestones including those of Kent.
Another feature our ancestors were familiar with and if they done any travelling would have relied on.
At Milestone Society can be found a clickable map that will enable you to download an Excel file giving the location of surviving Milestones other downloads are available for Crosses, Fingerposts etc. On the same site at Gallery are photographs of some surviving Milestones.
Bell's Weekly Messenger, Sunday, February 28, 1830: parliamentary table showing the contract prices of provisions, wages of labour, &c. at the Greenwich Hospital from the year 1729 to the year 1818.
A fascinating transcription of the cost of wages and food paid at Greenwich Hospital. It is a good guide to what our ancestors earned and what they had to pay for food. How this increased from 1729. Price of Food and Labour
Rates for Watermen in 1722.
Many of us have a Waterman in our family tree. This site gives a good idea of what some of them would have earned in 1722. At Rates for Watermen is a transcription of a Table of Rates for Watermen, as they are set forth by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London. 1722.