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proprietors, however desirable it might be to the public?—I think it would be to R. L. Jones, Esq. the proprietors; because I think that I could prove, from my experience, that where the public have been diverted in the City of London, they have never gone back into the original line.
103. Mr. Jackson.] You would preserve the right of closing the bridge and reimposing the toll, but you would coax the public there by giving them the advantage of the bridge toll free for a year, and then after that you would exact a toll? Yes, a small toll.
104. If you were a proprietor you would think that step advantageous ?—I should.
105. Lord J. Manners.] How would the public reap any benefit from that? -They would have the bridge toll free for a year, and after that a lighter toll than they have at present.
106. Mr. Jackson.] You think that if the public were once coaxed to take that course, by the bridge being thrown open for 12 months, the increase of traffic would be such, that where a penny toll is now exacted, a halfpenny toll would suffice in future, and that the public would not be diverted by the small toll, and in that way both the public and the proprietors would be benefited?I think so, for this reason, that the traffic is often so blocked up in the Borough, that they would be willing to pay a small toll to avoid that.
107. Chairman.] Throwing open Southwark Bridge, you think, would at present meet the difficulty?—I do not say to the fullest extent, but I say it would be an experiment worth trying to obtain those two bridges free of toll; because it must be obvious to every one that the great feeding traffic to the railway stations at London Bridge is from the West End of London.
108. You think that the present approaches would be sufficient as regards Southwark Bridge?—I think they would. There is a great improvement made in Queen-street.
109. Mr. Alderman Challis.] Have you considered the subject of the tunnel upon the Surrey side of London Bridge, which you heard the last witness mention, as one means of giving great facility to the public, viz., a tunnel through one of the arches ?-That was a subject that was before the Corporation some years ago, and I gave them my opinion that, in the first place, without an Act of Parliament it could not be done, because Parliament had granted the power to make the bridge to the Corporation of London, on the condition that they should give five waterways, one of 152 feet, two of 140 feet, and two of 130 feet. Now that latter waterway of 130 feet would be very much interfered with; it would be almost annihilated if this plan were carried into effect, because the steam-boats would have to lie there before the stairs. has been matter of public observation, and the Bridge House Estates Committee, I believe, have had it under consideration, but I believe they never sanctioned it. It would be something like stopping a public passage without any cause, and I think they would have no right to do it.
110. Mr. Jackson.] Assuming that power were given to make it by Parliamentary authority, do you think that a stage for the purpose of receiving steam-boat passengers, and enabling them to pass through the arch under the bridge, would afford that relief to London Bridge which the last witness has stated?—It would afford a portion of it, but not anything like what is required. 111. Mr. Alderman Challis.] The last witness stated that the throwing open of Southwark Bridge would not, in his judgment, divert much of the traffic which now passes over London Bridge, unless the approaches were improved; do you agree in that opinion ?-As respects the road to the railways it would not, because the road on the Southwark side is so bad that you require a new street from the side of Barclay's brewery to come into Duke-street.
112. Chairman.] Is it not very much the case on this side of the river likewise, viz., at the Queen-street approach ?-That has been improved, but of course they do not go that way for the railway, for the reason I stated, viz., the difficulty of approaching it on the other side of the river.
113. Mr. Jackson.] Putting the railway out of the question, and looking at the general traffic which takes place between the two sides of the river, do you think if Southwark Bridge were open to the public it would relieve London Bridge to any considerable extent -I have always thought so.
114. Chairman.] So as to render a new bridge unnecessary?—I would not say that; the traffic would also be further relieved if Waterloo Bridge were thrown
14 March 1854.
R. L. Jones, Esq. open, because the chief part of the carriage traffic to the London Bridge terminus is western traffic.
14 March 1854.
115. Do you think if the four bridges were free for the public there would then be sufficient accommodation for the wants of that portion of the metropolis east of Charing-cross?—I should doubt whether it would be sufficient; it possibly might; but before having a new bridge I would try that experiment.
116. Chairman.] Where would you suggest that a new bridge should be built to accommodate the traffic of the eastern part of the metropolis? There has been one plan laid down through the Old 'Change, but my opinion is rather in favour of a medium between that and the end of Ludgate-hill, by Paul'schain; I think Paul's-chain would give more relief than Old 'Change would give.
117. That would come into Cannon-street?-It would be beyond New Cannon-street; it would not interfere with New Cannon-street at all.
118. Lord J. Manners.] To what point would it be taken on the opposite side of the river?—I think through some glass works.
119. Near what street; would it be near Holland-street?-Farther up than Holland-street.
120. Mr. Jackson.] What portion of the metropolis on the Middlesex side would this new street accommodate ?—It would relieve the City of London, and afford facility for any portion of the traffic in that direction to go over it; whenever there is a new bridge built, if there ever should be a new bridge built, I should hope a different site would be taken than Blackfriars, because there is nothing to induce the public to go over Blackfriars Bridge, there is such a great acclivity; and the relief which was created in London Bridge could not be created in Blackfriars Bridge, because the approach is in a valley; on the City side, whenever there is a new bridge built in that point, between Bridge-street and the eastward of London, it must be carried into effect, as we have in the case of London Bridge, by an arch over Thames-street.
121. Would not the approach be opposite St. Paul's Cathedral?—I believe it would come opposite the centre of St. Paul's Cathedral.
122. Would not that be an inconvenient place for the public to congregate to get across the river?-There must be large places created. It has been a favourite idea to throw open St. Paul's on the south side.
123. Lord J. Manners.] Is not the street very narrow there ?—Yes.
124. And rather a steep ascent from the river?-Yes; my own opinion is, that the reason why that line has not been thought of, is because it interfered with the Prerogative Office and the proctors, and all those parties, and it was thought better to avoid doing that; but from what we see in the public papers, we are led to believe that all that is to be removed; and if that be so, that would be thrown open, and there would be such an avenue on the southern side of St. Paul's as has always been desired.
125. Chairman.] Is that place identical with Mr. Bennoch's plan?-No; his goes more to the east.
126. Sir J. Shelley.] You are well acquainted with the feeling of the inhabitants of the City upon this subject, and you have heard complaints of the insufficiency of London Bridge for the traffic; have those complaints led you to think that the inhabitants of the City would be prepared to have a tax levied upon them for the purpose of building a fresh bridge?-It would all depend upon what sort of a tax it was; if it was the tax which already exists, namely, the coal-tax, I think there would be very little objection to it.
127. But if it were an improvement rate, or a tax levied for the purpose of building a new bridge, do you think the inhabitants of the City would generally approve of such a tax?-I think they would not.
128. You are aware that this Committee is appointed for the purpose of inquiring "whether it would be desirable to provide, out of local funds, the means of throwing open to the public the present toll-paying bridges, and, if so, upon what terms such bridges could be thrown open.' Do you think that, generally speaking, the inhabitants of London would like to have a rate levied upon them for the purpose of opening those bridges?-I think there would be a great objection on their part to it.
129. Mr. Alderman Challis.] What was the expense of building London Bridge? The whole amount that went through my hands was upwards of two millions of money.
130. Mr. Pellatt.] From what sources?-Partly the Corporation and partly R. L. Jones, Esq. the coal tax. 14 March 1854.
131. In making your recommendation that the two bridges, which are now toll bridges, should be thrown open and made free, do you consider that the road which at present exists on the Southwark side would be sufficiently large-No; it would require a considerable outlay to make it what it ought to be, more especially from Stamford-street.
132. The opening of the bridge would be of little use unless they had good roads on the south side?-It would afford no great accommodation as regards the railway, but as regards the advantage to persons going into Surrey a better road is of no importance, because there are good roads from the bridges towards Surrey.
133. Will you look at the plan before the Committee. (A Plan being shown to the Witness.) Is that according to your views?-There is no objection to the lines laid down here; the only point would be the expense.
134. Mr. Blackett.] Did I rightly understand you to say that you think that the public of London would prefer keeping the bridges as they are to paying a rate for the purpose of throwing them open?-Certainly.
135. They would rather put up with the inconvenience ?-Yes, rather than have their pockets affected.
136. Mr. Wilkinson.] But you think they would not object to the continuance of the coal tax for this purpose?-No. With respect to the coal tax, I think there has been a great deal more noise about it than any evil inflicted by it. We obtained the great amount under the Duke of Wellington's administration; then we obtained upwards of 1,000,000 l. by one Act. At that time a great deal of evidence was gone into by the Committee to ascertain what the poor man would pay for the tax, and the result of the best information was that the poor do not upon the average consume more than a ton and half in the year. Therefore it was thought by the Committee that there was very little ground to object to the duty of 1s. a ton, though it was hardly fought by the Marquis of Londonderry and Lord Durham, and we sat thirty days in Committee upon that point. I have always been of the opinion that there has been much more noise made about the coal tax than the evil actually deserves. What did Barclay, the great brewer, say before the House of Commons? He said he would willingly pay 6 d. a ton more if he could have open streets for the convenience of his trade.
137. Mr. Blackett.] Was it not at one time more than 1s. a ton ?—Yes; it was formerly 6s. a ton, but 5s. was taken off by the Government, and which formerly went to the Consolidated Fund. The matter was taken off by Lord Goderich's administration, and then it was brought down to 1s. 1d.
138. Sir J. Shelley.] Are you aware that the coal-tax has charges upon it which will consume the whole of the tax until the year 1862, or thereabouts?— The importation of coals into London has so increased, that I do not think anybody can calculate what the amount will produce. It has quite deceived all the calculations which have been made.
139. Can you suggest to the Committee any way whereby the funds required for the purpose of these improvements can be raised?-I can only refer to the coal duty.
140. But the coal duty is mortgaged for some years to come?—Yes; but we know that the Government, some years ago, were enabled to raise a very large sum of money prospectively upon the coal duty.
141. Chairman.] It might be mortgaged for a period commencing after the expiration of the term for which the coal duty is granted?—Yes.
142. Mr. Jackson.] But Parliamentary power would be necessary for that ?— Of course.
143. Sir J. Shelley.] I understand you to say, that you consider that the inhabitants of the City and of the metropolis generally would not like to have a tax imposed upon them for the purpose of these improvements. Have you any suggestion to make as to any scheme that could be devised, which the public would be likely to approve of, for having these improvements made?-No, I never
entered into the consideration of that.
144. Mr. Jackson.] Do you think that the same parties who now have to pay the tax of a shilling a ton upon coal, would object to pay a penny in the pound for the purpose of having the bridges across the Thames thrown open toll-free, and having good approaches made?-I think they would strongly object.
R. L. Jones, Esq.
14 March 1854.
145. Sir J. Shelley.] Do you think that the inhabitants of a radius of 20 miles round the metropolis would like to have any increase of the tax upon coal?No.
146. Mr. Jackson.] Do you think that a small rate, to be called a bridge rate, of a penny in the pound would be murmured against, if any person residing within 20 miles of London could have thereby an access to the very centre of it; and do not you think the improvement that property would receive from that access would be a compensation for the small payment which they would have to make?—I do not think the improvement of property in the City of London would be to that extent to justify a rate of a penny in the pound; though I have always been of opinion that as regards new bridges and new churches, wherever they are placed, the property will be improved, and the public get a benefit by it.
147. Would not every person who grows produce of any sort within a certain radius round London feel the benefit of having ready access to the consumers here by improved bridges and approaches, and do you think that he would object to pay a small rate for that purpose, on the same principle on which Mr. Barclay said that he should not object to an additional 6d. per ton on the coal for the sake of having improved thoroughfares for his drays ?-But there is this difference; the thoroughfares in the neighbourhood of Mr. Barclay's premises are very confined, and his waggons and drays are continually being stopped; but a person living out of London is quite in a different position; he has everything free to him.
148. Is not it the case that persons coming to London from the country are frequently stopped for a quarter of an hour by the crowding of the great thoroughfares?Some of them.
149. Sir J. Shelly.] Would not an individual residing just within that boundary of 20 miles think it very hard if he were made to pay for these improved bridges, while a man living just beyond the boundary was free?—No doubt
150. Mr. Alderman Cubitt.] Perhaps your opinion is that the area of 20 miles is too large ?-I think it is.
151. What would be the proper area, in your opinion?-Of course everybody within the district would object to it; but I should say that 10 or 12 miles
would be the outside.
152. Sir J. Duke.] Have you considered at all the means of affording relief to the traffic, as suggested by the last witness, by providing footways on the sides of the bridge?—It is a question rather for an architect than for me; but whatever the convenience might be, it would certainly diminish the beauty of the bridge.
153. Mr. Jackson.] You think it is a thing to be avoided if possible?—No doubt of it.
154. But you are of opinion that if more bridges are wanted, the present bridges should be thrown open to the public?—I think if the experiment I suggest should not answer, then you ought to revert to a new bridge. But it is not doubtful in my mind whether the approaches on the Southwark side of London Bridge may not be improved to a very great degree.
155. So as to render the building of a new bridge unnecessary?-Possibly. 156. What do you think of a new bridge from Charing-cross, as marked upon the plan before the Committee; suppose the present Suspension Bridge was made into a bridge for carriages, would not that be a great relief to the Strand and to the City?-Certainly it would be a great relief so far as it went.
157. Would not it give greater facility to the public in going to the West End than a bridge opposite St. Paul's Cathedral ?-The question would be, whether the expense of creating a new bridge at that point would be worth incurring in order to avoid having to go over Waterloo Bridge.
158. But leaving the expense out of the question altogether, and looking at the convenience of the public, would not that be a more convenient place to have a bridge than any other?-More convenient for parties going westward.
159. It would be a great relief to the traffic coming from the Strand across the river? It would, certainly.
160. Mr. Alderman Challis.] But Waterloo Bridge does not need to be relieved?-Only from the toll.
161. Sir J. Shelley.] Of course you are aware that there are shareholders of
Waterloo Bridge?—Yes. I am, unfortunately, executor to one of the share- R. L. Jones, Esq. holders; the share is worth about 5 l.
162. Has it been a profitable concern?-Very unprofitable.
163. Do you think that the inhabitants of the metropolis would like to have a rate levied upon them in order to buy up this unmarketable speculation ?--I do not think they would.
164. Mr. Jackson.] Not at any price?—I do not think at any price, unless it was a very small one.
165. Then you think that at some price they might be willing to have that done?-It must be the very smallest amount. The very principle of a new tax, no matter how small it is, is always multiplied in effect.
166. Mr. Pellatt.] I presume that you would not give them more than 30 years' purchase upon the present tolls? I do not know.
167. Mr. Jackson.] Do you think that the proprietors would complain if they received 30 years' purchase upon the present dividends?—I think they ought not to complain. When we began our first negotiations about London Bridge, there was a great obstacle to the improvement in the shape of the London Bridge Waterworks. The secretary of the board told us that they would cost us something like 200,000 l., but very fortunately the New River took the whole of them off our hands, and they did not cost the Corporation or the improvement one halfpenny.
168. Chairman.] You would suggest that the two toll-paying bridges should, as an experiment, first of all be thrown open free for one year?-Certainly; but I should like to see the whole of the tolls purchased, and to see them made free. 169. Mr. Jackson.] But you would try that as an experiment before you bought those two bridges, or before you built a new one?-Yes, I would.
170. Chairman.] Do you know how the proprietors feel upon that subject? No; there are a great many different interests. There are the original proprietors, and there are the debenture holders. I am executor to an estate in which there is a 500 l. share, for which we have never had five farthings.
171. Mr. Alderman Challis.] Do those bridges require any considerable expense in being kept up?-I apprehend not.
172. Do you happen to know whether Southwark Bridge is in a very dilapidated condition ?-No, I do not know that; I never heard it before; I should doubt it.
173. Mr. Jackson.] I suppose you are aware that it was at one time contemplated to take a railway across that bridge, and that a Bill was brought before this House for that purpose?—Yes; I think that is proof of its stability.
174. Mr. Wilkinson.] Does it appear to you that that road laid down upon the plan before the Committee, forming a straight line of road crossing all the bridge roads, would be necessary, whether any new bridges were made or not? -It would be very desirable, certainly.
175. But you think that the throwing open of those two bridges, toll-free, might render it unnecessary to build a new bridge ?-It would add such a new feature that I think no person could calculate the effect of it.
176. Mr. Alderman Cubitt.] You consider that any new tax of any kind for the purpose of building a bridge, or opening a bridge, would be generally obnoxious?-Strongly objectionable.
177. Do you think that the continuance of the present coal tax for a few years longer would meet with less objection than the levying of a new rate?— Decidedly; especially if the circle within which the tax was levied was somewhat lessened.
178. Knowing what you know as to the continually increasing amount of the coal tax, are you of opinion that it would be possible to carry out what is required, with regard to new bridges and new streets, by continuing that tax for a not very distant period?—Yes, I think it would. I think the opposition to it would be only of such a character, that if there was a sincere desire on the part of Parliament to carry it into effect that opposition would be got rid of. I speak by experience, for there could not be a stronger opposition to it than there was to the Act of Parliament in 1828 and 1829, by which a million was raised on the security of the coal duties.
179. Mr. Pellatt.] How long did it take to collect that one million?— I think it was paid before 1852.
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