Page images
PDF
EPUB

1744. Can you give the Committee a short abstract of these facts?-Yes, I Mr. F. H. Janson. can do so.

1745. What is the toll?-Upon that I must refer you to the managing proprietor or the check clerk.

1746. Sir J. Shelley.] Do you make no report to the shareholders? - No. There are two meetings in the year, at which each proprietor of a whole share is summoned. Under the deed of constitution only the proprietors of whole shares are competent to attend and vote, and generally speaking three or four proprietors attend, by whom the business is transacted.

1747. Is there any debtor and creditor account laid before the meeting for them to vote upon ?-I believe the treasurer brings the statement which is submitted to the meeting; but I am not present at the meetings.

1748. Does no one appear at the meetings as solicitor?-Certainly, if there happens to be any law business; but it is taken after the rest is disposed of.

1749. Are the accounts audited by any paid auditor?-I do not know their course of proceeding at all. I have only a general knowledge of the proceedings. But the managing proprietor could inform you entirely upon these points.

1750. As between the public, that is, the toll-payers and the toll-receivers, there is no one apparently who keeps any account whatever?-No; it is a private partnership concern, with a very limited number of partners.

1751. Is there any one present who can furnish the Committee with any abstract of the accounts?—I think that Mr. Tayler will be able to give you all the leading points of the accounts. I was called to speak merely to the legal position of the bridge. Perhaps I might be allowed to say, as regards the price mentioned in the last sale of shares, that the tolls have been progressing annually, so that we should not consider that at all a measure of their present value.

1752. Are you free to ask any amount of toll that may be thought prudent?— No; there was a fixed scale of toll.

1753. The amount of the shares will depend upon the amount received from the tolls; can you tell the Committee whether there is, by Act of Parliament, any schedule of charges beyond which this company cannot go ?—The rate of toll is confined by the Act to a certain scale, which cannot be exceeded. The increase that I speak of has arisen from the increased traffic over the bridge, not from any increase in the rate of tolls.

1754. Chairman.] Do you reside in the neighbourhood of the bridge ?-No. 1755. Do you know whether any opinion has been expressed by the inhabitants as to the desirableness of throwing it open ?-I never heard of any.

1756. Are the powers of the Act still in force?—Yes; I believe so.

1757. Are there any conditions in the Act about re-entrance or purchase on the part of the Crown?-There is nothing of the sort, as far as I remember. It is merely an Act to enable Lord Spencer to do certain things.

1758. There is no clause with reference to purchase for the benefit of the public-Nothing of the sort, I feel certain.

1759. Mr. Jackson.] Are the shares by the Act of Parliament transferable by deed? They are not transferable by the Act at all.

1760. Is there any method by which the shares can be passed from one person to another ?—It requires a conveyance as of real estate.

1761. Is there any register kept of the conveyances so executed?—Yes. 1762. By you?-Yes, and I send the particulars to the treasurer; the marginal note of the first clause of the Act is, "Earl Spencer empowered to build a bridge over the Thames from Battersea to Chelsea, and to turn and make any highway or way leading to the same, making satisfaction," and that is the sum and substance of the Act.

1763. Sir J. Shelley.] Does the present Lord Spencer represent the grantee of those powers ?-No; as far back as 1771 Lord Spencer conveyed the property to the 15 proprietors. He retained one share, which was sold many years since, but two have come to his family by devise from another proprietor, the late Mr. Poyntz. I see that the 13th clause of the Act contains a schedule of the tolls, with an express power by the 15th section, to lower them. 1764. Can you furnish the Committee with a copy of the Act under which this bridge was built?-I can (producing the same).

1765. Will you hand it in?-(The same was delivered in.)

6 July 1854.

Mr. R. Baalham.

6 July 1854.

Mr. Robert Baalham, called in; and Examined.

1766. Chairman.] WHAT is your appointment in connexion with Battersea Bridge-I am resident Superintendent and Cheque Clerk.

1767. Will you be good enough to acquaint the Committee with all the information that you have with reference to its financial condition?-I have made an abstract of the returns of the tolls for the last three years; taking the average of three years the present income is 6,105l. Os. 3d.

1768. Mr. Alderman Challis.] Will you state the income of each year, distinguishing how much has been taken in toll from the bridge, and how much from interest of money, or any other source ?-The sum I have stated is altogether derived from tolls; I have no information respecting the private property of the bridge.

1769. Will you deduct the expenses of each year?-The amount of the receipts for 1851, is 6,099l. 9s. 4d.; 1852, 6,1447. Os. 10d.; 1853, 6,071 l. 10s. 7 d.; making an average of 6,1057. 0s. 3d. The annual expenses, including the management, toll-keepers, keeping the bridge in repair, lighting, &c., are about 750l., as near as I can estimate them. The reduction on the amount in 1853 was caused by the closing of Battersea Fields as a place of public amusement.

1770. You do not know what is the value of the property belonging to the bridge?—It does not come within my province; I do not even collect the ground rents. There is property on both sides of the bridge; the house where I reside is a freehold belonging to the bridge, and there is a piece of ground which we use for the purpose of the repairs.

1771. Can you give the Committee any information which will enable them to judge how much of the price of the share that was sold belonged to the landed and other property of the bridge proprietors ?—At the period when that share was sold, the returns of the bridge were considerably under 5,000l.; I am speaking now of the actual return of the tolls in the year in which that share was sold, because there was a considerable difference between that time and the present. Tolls have increased upwards of 1,500l. a year since that period; 4,527 l. was the return at that time; that was 1,578 l. less than the income of last year.

1772. When was that?-It was on the 28th of November 1843.

1773. Mr. Jackson.] Can you give the Committee any description of the property at that date?-I cannot; perhaps our managing proprietor would be able to do so.

1774. Can you inform us of the amount of income derivable from other sources at that period and at this period?-When the notice was served upon me, I was not informed of the object of this inquiry, and I am not therefore prepared with full information.

1775. Will you furnish the Committee, before their next meeting, with a statement of the income of the bridge in the year when this share was sold, separating the income derived from the bridge from that derived from the other property; and also a statement of the income of the last year?-For the private income I must refer the Committee to the managing proprietor; the rest shall be produced. There were one or two questions which were put to other gentlemen which I can answer better than they; for example, about the present stability of the bridge, and its capabilities of traffic.

1776. What is your opinion as to the stability of the bridge?—I believe that it is in a better condition than it has ever been; and as to its present construction, I have no hesitation in saying that it will last longer than any other bridge over the Thames, because we annually put in somewhere about 15 or 20 loads of timber. I am employed by the bridge proprietors to do this; and whatever is necessary to be taken out, is taken out and replaced; consequently it is almost new. It is not one of those bridges likely to suffer from the unfortunate disposition of the bed of the river, and therefore its foundation is perfectly secure. As to its capabilities for traffic, I should say that we could take twice the amount of traffic if required without inconvenience.

1777. Chairman.] Has any opinion been expressed by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, as to their desire that the bridge should be thrown open?— I should say there has. I have been told that petitions have been got up on both

sides

sides of the river, in order to throw it open; and from that I should judge Mr. R. Baalham. that there is a desire among the people that it should be thrown open.

1778. The proprietors of the property on each side of the bridge think it is to their advantage that the bridge should be thrown open? -No doubt of it.

1779. Is that your opinion?-That is my opinion. I believe I have furnished you with all the particulars I can. I merely take the daily returns, and make them up weekly to Mr. Tayler. I am prepared to give a weekly return, and likewise a yearly return of the income of tolls.

Mr. Henry Hewett Mason, called in; and Examined.

6 July 1854.

1780. Chairman.] I BELIEVE that you are very well acquainted with the con- Mr. H. H. Mason. dition and financial affairs of Kew Bridge?—I am.

1781. Will you be so good as to give the Committee the best information that you can? The bridge is a stone bridge, and in perfect repair; in fact, the repairs have been very small. Three years ago we had occasion to repair the bridge, and since that we have had something to do to find an excuse for repairing the bridge at all. I have a statement of the gross receipts for several years past. I do not know how far the Committee would like to go back. the gross receipts were 2,121 ., omitting fractions.

In 1843

1782. Mr. Alderman Challis.] Is that exclusive of the expenses ?—That is the gross receipts. The outgoings for several years averaged about 210 l. a year, including the cost of collection.

1783. Mr. Jackson.] Can you give us the income for last year ?-For 1853 the income was 2,750 l. 10 s.

1784. The outgoings were increased?-They were about 230.

1785. Chairman.] The bridge, I think, belongs to one single proprietor ?— It does.

1786. Do you know what he paid for it?-The purchase-money was about 17,800/., but in consequence of some litigation it cost 20,700 l.; but I was told that there was at the time it was sold a panic among the proprietors. They tried to get out of the purchase afterwards, but they found that that would involve a lawsuit.

1787. Mr. Jackson.] Was the company constituted by Act of Parliament ?— It was.

1788. The gentleman you have named is the sole proprietor?-He is the sole proprietor. It was an ancient ferry, and the bridge was substituted.

1789. Were the ferry rights abrogated?-The bridge stands in the place of the ferry.

1790. Is there any clause in the Act of Parliament which would enable the Government to buy the bridge?—None.

1791. Chairman.] Do you think the persons in the locality would desire to have the bridge made free?-There is no doubt.

1792. Would it improve the value of the property in the neighbourhood ?— I have no doubt that it would.

1793. Mr. Alderman Challis.] What is the rate of toll you charge ?—I have a paper here containing a list of the tolls.

1794. Will you put in that paper?-I will furnish the Committee with a complete account of the scale of tolls.

1795. Mr. Jackson.] Are those the tolls prescribed by the Act?-They do not go to the limit that is allowed by the Act. I had a copy of the Act, which has been mislaid; but I know that we do not go to the limit allowed by the Act.

1796. Chairman.] Do you think that the people of Kew would object to a rate if the bridge were thrown open?-If it were a county rate perhaps they would not, but if it were a rate upon the neighbourhood only, I think they would.

1797. Mr. Jackson.] If a rate were laid upon the area of 20 miles round St. Paul's, for the purpose of throwing open all the bridges over the Thames within that area, would the people of Kew and the neighbourhood be willing to pay their share ?—Yes.

1798. Chairman.] They have not presented a petition to this House upon the subject-I have not heard of any.

1799. Have they had any meeting?—I have not heard of it.

1800. Mr. Jackson.] Have you any statement that you can put in ?—I have

Mr. H. H. Mason. gone into some analysis of the traffic, and so forth, by which it something like half a million of people cross it in the year.

6 July 1854.

Rev. C.Woodward.

appears that

1801. Do you know how many shares there were, and what was the value of each share raised under the Act of Parliament?-There was one proprietor who raised the shares of 16,000l. by tontine in three classes; two of which are expired, and it is now subject to a tontine annuity of 330l. a year; that is divided into 13 shares, four of which are vested in the proprietor.

1802. Out of this 2,250 l. he has to pay 330 l. ?—Yes.

1803. What are the respective ages of the persons upon whose lives this annuity depends?-They are very old persons; a Mr. Robinson purchased in the year 1825, and the youngest life was then 41; that is 29 years ago; so that

he is now 70.

1804. Mr. Alderman Challis.] Can you put in an account of the receipts and expenses for the last seven years?-With the single exception of the Exhibition year, which rather exceeded the general amount, there has been a progressive increase for several years past, from the time when Hammersmith Bridge was opened, at which time it fell.

1805. What has it been since that time?-In the year after the opening of Hammersmith Bridge they were only 1,7037.; that has increased nearly 1,000l. since that time.

The Rev. Charles Woodward, called in; and Examined.

1806. Chairman.] WHERE do you reside?—At East Moulsey.

1807. You were kind enough to attend at the last meeting of the Committee to give evidence with respect to Hampton Court Bridge; I think you can give us some information as to the operation of the tolls upon the inhabitants of Moulsey?—I have put down a few notes upon the subject, and if the Committee will allow me to read them, it will save some time. "Hampton Court and parish of East Moulsey. The bridge divides the palace and the parish, in which is the railway terminus. Many workmen, labourers, laundresses, servants, and attendants are employed at the palace who live in the parish, and pay toll daily, going and returning, which is a heavy tax upon their wages, for the support of large families, not increased on that account. Many old, infirm, and poor, seek to pick up a scanty help for their subsistence by selling trifles; they have often told me that at times they have not taken enough to clear the tolls, and instances have occurred of their being compelled to pledge an article at the toll-gate for it. Kingston being the adjacent town, subjects the poor and neighbourhood to an additional toll. The dilapidated state of the very small parish church compels the chief of my parishioners to cross the bridge on Sunday, for which they pay double toll each way. I find that this operates very injuriously to the parochial interests in the support of schools and other objects, as they complain of being driven from their parish, whilst the burden of rates and taxes is borne by them. The nearest post-office is on the other side of the bridge. It costs 12s. per week for tolls to supply the palace with coals from the railway depôt, and 4s. for delivering parcels, &c., by the railway. Mr. Evans, a grocer on the Hampton Court side, pays 117. a year contract for traffic over the bridge, which, and in many other like cases, operates as an indirect tax upon commodities to consumers on the Moulsey side. In cases of sudden and dangerous illness the bridge must be crossed for medical aid. At Easter, Whitsuntide, and the races, 10,000 a day have come down for recreation, and the palace being an object of attraction, it is visited by vast numbers throughout the year, each paying toll. The bridge is narrow, trembles under heavy carriages, obstructs navigation, and recently three lives were nearly lost by the boat" (one of those was the son of my churchwarden) "through the strong current, being upset in contact with the projecting timber. It is said that the Railway Act gives power to extend to Hampton Court; if so, they may build a bridge, and supersede the present." I have been told that the Hampton Court Railway Company have powers to carry the terminus to Hampton Court, in which case, I suppose that they have power in the Act to build a bridge. I have an abstract of the Act, which I will hand in. (The same was delivered in.)

APPENDIX.

« PreviousContinue »