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R. L. Jones, Esq.
14 March 1854.
180. Over how many years was it divided ?—I think it extended from 1829 till near 1852, or less than that.
181. Chairman.] Are you acquainted with the condition of Blackfriars Bridge? -Only by notoriety, and from seeing it. It is in as bad a condition as
182. Is it possible to repair it and make it sound?—I can hardly give an opinion upon that, but I should doubt it, after the repairs that have been made upon it some few years ago. Then it was given out that it would stand for ages, but those ages have been very short.
183. Does not that arise in a great measure from the construction of New London Bridge, which has altered the course of the river?-I think it ought not to arise from that, if it is so, because the calculation was made before London Bridge was built, and before Blackfriars Bridge was repaired. That eminent engineer, the late Mr. Rennie (his evidence was as strong and clear as possible), stated that the river would fall a great deal more and rise a great deal more; so that that calculation ought to have been made at the time that the bridge was repaired.
184. Have you any acquaintance with Vauxhall Bridge ?-- No, I have not, except that I am a small proprietor.
185. Does that pay a good dividend?—Not so good as it did. There was a great traffic over it to the South Western Railway, and before that was removed it used to pay a good dividend.
186. The throwing that bridge open would not be of any advantage in relieving the City traffic?-No, I do not think it would be of much, if any.
187. Is the traffic very considerable over that bridge --Not very. It is chiefly local traffic.
188. Sir J. Duke.] I understood you to say that you had no other suggestion to make to the Committee, except taking off the tolls from Southwark Bridge and Waterloo Bridge?—Yes, as an experiment, to be tried first before doing anything else.
E. Tyrrell, Esq.
LORD ALFRED HERVEY, IN THE CHAIR.
Edward Tyrrell, Esq., called in; and Examined.
189. Chairman.] HAVE you a return which was asked for by the Committee? -I have a "Return of the Amounts annually received in respect of the Coal Duties since the 31st December 1831, distinguishing the produce of the several Duties of 8 d., 4d. and 1d., with the respective application thereof," which I beg Vide Appendix, leave to hand in.—(The same was delivered in.)
21 March 1854.
190. Sir B. Hall.] The reference to the Committee is to this effect, to inquire and report whether it would be desirable to provide out of local funds the means of throwing open to the public the present toll-paying bridges, or to build new bridges, and if so, upon what terms such bridges could be thrown open; and the Committee are precluded from inquiring or giving an opinion as to whether it would be advisable to pay those expenses out of the public funds. Now, from your knowledge of the metropolis, do you think that any proposal to purchase and throw open the bridges by means of a forced tax upon the inhabitants for that purpose would be received favourably by the inhabitants? --So
far as I have been able to ascertain the feeling of the inhabitants, I should say E. Tyrrell, Esq. that their feeling would be decidedly adverse to a tax for that purpose.
191. Mr. Wilkinson.] Or any purpose, I suppose?—I think an improvement 21 March 1854. tax would be very much objected to, from all that I have heard.
192. Sir J. Shelley.] Would it not be an objection, in the eyes of the public generally, that a tax should be levied upon the public for the purpose, as they would think, of buying up the shares of those who had entered into a bad speculation ---I should apprehend that if there was any idea of purchasing the shares of the bridges, it would be done upon an estimate of their present value.
193. Mr. Alderman Challis.] As the funds of those bridges are known to be in a depressed state, so as to make little or no return for the money expended in building them, would not the public probably feel more indisposed against paying money for purchasing such bridges than for building a new bridge?--I think they would do so; but it would depend a great deal upon the terms upon which it was proposed to buy those bridges.
194. Sir J. Shelley] If an idea got abroad that a tax was to be imposed without the consent of the public, to buy up a bad speculation, would not that of itself, on the first blush of the thing, make it unpopular ?—I think it would.
195. Chairman.] Do you think that the same objection would exist to a tax for the purpose of building a new bridge?- I think so; I have always found that the idea of a tax for a purpose of that nature very unpopular, and it would be very much more so if it were thrown over a small locality.
196. Mr. Wilkinson.] Are the Committee to understand you to say that supposing it to be ascertained that there is great want of bridge accommodation, and great inconvenience occasioned by the want of that accommodation, the inhabitants of London generally would, in your opinion, be averse to furnishing by taxation funds adequate to that purpose?-From all the conversation I have had upon that point, my impression is, that they would be unfavourable to such a tax.
197. Sir J. Shelley.] They would probably say that the whole population of the country are benefited by the improved circulation, facilities for traffic in London, and that there was in fact only one source out of which it ought to come, namely, the Consolidated Fund-They would no doubt feel, as the truth actually is, that any great improvement in the metropolis is not only a benefit to the inhabitants of the metropolis, but to all the surrounding districts, to a very great
198. Mr. Wilkinson.] Did you hear Mr. Laing give his evidence here?-I did.
199. You do not agree with Mr. Laing in his notions upon this subject ?—I do
Ferdinand Brand, Esq., called in; and Examined.
200. Chairman.] WHAT office do you hold in the City ?-I am comptroller of Ferdinand Brand, the Bridge-house Estates. Esq.
201. What is the general nature of the Bridge-house Estates?-They consist of land, houses, wharves, warehouses, and other buildings, which are held by the mayor, and commonalty, and citizens of the City of London, in trust for the maintenance and support of London Bridge. They were derived originally from gifts and grants from the Crown, and gifts from different individuals, and purchases made out of the surplus income arising from those estates, and other portions have been purchased with the produce of property sold at different periods, under the authority of various Acts of Parliament for effecting public improvements and other purposes. There is a portion of the property situated at Stratford, in Essex, which is also liable to the support of two bridges there, called St. Michael's Bridge and Peg's Hole Bridge, and a portion of the roads adjoining.
202. Is the trust upon which the property is held confined to the repair of London Bridge?—The specific trust is confined to the maintenance and support of London Bridge.
203. Mr. Alderman Challis.] Are the funds devoted to those bridges at Stratford, and the funds devoted to the maintenance and support of London Bridge kept quite distinct?-No; the fund derived from the estate at Stratford is part of the fund held for the support of London Bridge; but the estate at Stratford is liable, in the first place, for the repair of those two bridges, and it is applied to London Bridge, subject to a prior trust for the others. The estate at Stratford is a
Ferdinana Brand, portion of the Bridge-house Estates, and liable primarily to the support of those Esq. two bridges, and the surplus rents and profits go to the Bridge-house Estate generally.
21 March 1854
204. What is the amount of this fund ?-The whole rental of the Bridgehouse Estates is about 32,000 l. a year.
205 Chairman.] What charges are there upon those estates?-By the Acts of Parliament passed in relation to the rebuilding of London Bridge, the residue of the rents and profits of the Bridge-house Estates, after payment of the existing charges on and defraying the expenses of managing and improving the estates, and the current charges and expenses of London Bridge, and the repairs thereof, and lighting and watching the same, and all other expenses relating thereto, are charged with the payment of the sums of money raised for the rebuilding of London Bridge, amounting in the whole to the sum of 431,000l. The money was advanced by the Government, and the repayment is secured by annuities, terminating at different periods, amounting together to 21.550 l. per annum. Those terminable annuities will begin to expire in the year 1867, and the last of them will expire in 1871.
206. Sir J. Shelley.] You spoke of the expenses of" improving the estates;" what is meant by "improving"?-Moneys that are necessary for outlay in the course of the general management of a large estate. There are moneys constantly expended for the making of sewers and roads, and so forth, and the general expenses of managing and improving the estates. There are a great many expenses incurred on a large estate, such as this, in improving it, and making alterations, and things of that nature.
297. Chairman.] To what extent are the Bridge-house Estates liable for the repair of Blackfriars Bridge?-An Act of Parliament was passed in the year 1833, the 3d & 4th of William the Fourth, for raising a sum of money for the repair of Blackfriars Bridge. By this Act of Parliament it is directed, that so much of the expense which is incurred in pursuance of the Act of the 7th of George the Third, for the watching, lighting, cleansing, and repairing Blackfriars Bridge, as the fund created by that Act shall be insufficient to satisfy, shall be made up out of the surplus rents and profits of the Bridgehouse Estates; that is, the surplus after paying the Government annuities; subject to that, the Bridge-house Estates are made liable to the repayment of the sums of money raised for the repair of Blackfriars Bridge and of the interest upon those moneys. The moneys raised for the repair of Blackfriars Bridge under the powers of that Act of Parliament were 77,400l., of which sum 73,1007. still remains unpaid, and is a charge upon the Bridge-house Estates, the interest of which amounts to 2,9671. 10s. per annum. I have taken an average of the accounts for the last ten years from the 31st of December 1843 to the 31st of December 1853. I have taken 10 years because the paving of London Bridge and the paving of Blackfriars Bridge both come, upon the average, about every nine or ten years, and, by taking that period, it includes the charge of paving only once. The annual revenue of the Bridge-house Estates, upon the average of the last 10 years, has amounted to about 33,532l. The payments in respect of rents, taxes, and other charges on and the expenses of managing and improving the estates, and the current charges and expenses of London Bridge and the repair thereof, and lighting and watching the same, and all other expenses relating thereto, upon an average of the last 10 years, amount to about 7,1967. per annum. That leaves a surplus of 26,3361.
208. Mr. Alderman Challis.] That includes all the payments made for the bridges at Stratford?—Yes; what is paid in respect of the bridges at Stratford comes under the 7,1967.; that item gives the whole of the expenses deducted from the produce of the Bridge-house Estates. The amount of the surplus rents and profits applicable to the purposes of London Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge then becomes 26,3367. The annuities payable in respect of the moneys raised for the rebuilding of London Bridge are 21,5507., leaving a surplus applicable to the purposes of the Act of Parliament relating to Blackfriars Bridge of about 4,786. The payments made in aid of the fund for lighting, watching, cleansing, and repairing Blackfriars Bridge, upon an average of the last 10 years, amount annually to about 1,6327. The interest upon the money raised for the repair of Blackfriars Bridge amounts to 2,967. 10s. per annum, making the total of the annual payments in respect of Blackfriars Bridge about
4,5991. 10s. That leaves a surplus applicable to the repayment of the moneys Ferdinand Brand, raised for the repair of Blackfriars Bridge of 186 l. 10s. per annum.
209. Chairman.] Is the charge of the Blackfriars Bridge loan payable in the shape of interest, or is it paid off by annuities?-It is a loan upon which interest 21 March 1854. is payable. It is not in the form of annuities, but money raised upon bonds charged with interest in the mean time, but ultimately to be paid off.
210. Sir J. Shelley] Have you any schedule showing the expenses of management and improvement of the Bridge-house Estates?—I have not with me the particulars of the accounts. I have been through the accounts myself, and have made out these averages for the information of the Committee.
211. Mr. Jackson.] Can you give the Committee those charges in detail for each year?—Yes.
212. Stating every expense under its own head? Yes, certainly. 213. Will you be kind enough to do that?--Yes, I will.
214. Will you give us also a statement of the periods when the annuities will expire? I have stated that the moneys were borrowed at different periods, commencing in 1827. They were annuities for 40 years, and therefore they will begin to fall off in 1867. The last sums were borrowed in 1831, and consequently they will all expire in 1871.
215. Then that debt will be extinguished? Then that debt will be extinguished.
216. Mr. Wilkinson.] In the year 1871 there will be a net income of what amount? A net income of 26,336 ., charged with the sums of money raised in respect to the repair of Blackfriars Bridge; that is, supposing there are no other sums of money required for the repair of Blackfriars Bridge, which is doubtful at the present moment. Looking at the present position of Blackfriars Bridge, it is very doubtful whether a large expenditure will not be requisite for the repair of that bridge.
217. Mr. Alderman Challis.] Have not the Committee of the Bridge-house Estates had an examination made of Blackfriars Bridge?—Yes.
218. Have you any report upon that, showing the present state of Blackfriars Bridge, and the probable expense of making it perfect where it is imperfect?Yes; but I thought that the Committee would like perhaps to take the principal bridge first.
219. Is London Bridge in a perfect state?-Certainly.
220. Then as regards London Bridge, 7,000 l. a year is as much as it is likely to require? There is a plan at present under consideration for widening London Bridge. Some allusion was made to that by the Chairman of the Brighton Railway, at the first meeting of the Committee.
221. But the improvement of London Bridge, and the necessity of keeping the bridge up, are quite distinct questions?-Still, whatever may relate to London Bridge is primarily chargeable upon this fund before Blackfriars Bridge has claim upon it.
222. But it is optional with the Court of Common Council, whether they will enlarge London Bridge or build a new one; but it is no matter of option, if the bridge needs repair to keep it up, whether they will repair it?-Certainly.
223. Mr. Jackson.] Do you consider that the Bridge-house Estates are so encumbered by the heavy debt incurred in rebuilding London Bridge as to prevent their affording any further funds for the repair of Blackfriars Bridge?—At the present moment I think they are. If the money market was in a different position to what it is at present, it is very probable that arrangements might be made for raising a sum of money enough to pay off the existing charges, if the Government were willing to accept it. Supposing the Government were willing to commute the annuities for a payment in present money, and the state of the money market were favourable to such an operation, then it is probable that a sum of money might be raised sufficient to pay off the Government, which would leave a surplus, after paying the Blackfriars debt due. But in the present state of the money market, I do not think that could be done.
224. More than half the time for which the annuities were granted has passed? -Yes; we are now in 1854; they began in 1827.
225. Therefore, if you consider the sum of 400,000l. to represent the amount of the original debt in 1827, it may be taken at less than 200,000 7.; so that you would have a sufficient resource upon which to borrow more?—It would depend upon the rate of interest at which we were able to raise the money.
226. Mr. Alderman Challis.] Have you any recent report of any survey made, showing the present condition of Blackfriars Bridge?-Yes; this is a report of Mr. James Walker upon the subject. The bridge has, within the last four years, 21 March 1854. shown symptoms of sinking. Under this Act of Parliament, to which I before referred, passed in 1833, upwards of 100,000 l. was laid out in the repair of Blackfriars Bridge; there was a considerable substantial repair of that bridge. Those works were completed in 1841. In 1850 some symptoms of sinking manifested themselves in one of the piers of Blackfriars Bridge, the fifth pier from the Middlesex side. Messrs. Walker and Burges were employed by the Bridge-house Estate Committee, to whom the care of the bridges is entrusted, to make a survey and examination of that bridge, and report their opinion as to the best mode of repairing it. Surveys were made, and different works from time to time were executed under the direction of Messrs. Walker and Burges. Rubble was thrown in to a considerable extent round the piers, to cure the defect that had arisen; and they did certain other works, such as repairing the piling which had broken away; and other works were carried on.
227. Can you state any resolution that the Bridge-house Committee have come to upon the subject, in consequence of the information derived from Mr. Walker?-Mr. Walker suggests three different plans; the resolution the Common Council came to was, that it would be desirable to rebuild Blackfriars Bridge altogether; that is upon reports made by Sir William Cubitt and Mr. Brunel, both of which I have here for the information of the Committee.
228. Can you hand in the report of Mr. Walker to the Bridge-house Committee? This is the report from the Bridge-house Committee to the Court of Common Council, presented on the 1st of July 1852. This contains the reports of Messrs. Walker and Burges, and of Sir William Cubitt and Mr. Brunel. This report I will hand in.-(The same was delivered in).
229. Mr. Wilkinson.] That is the most recent report from Mr. Walker to the Bridge-house Committee?—Yes; there are several minor reports; Mr. Walker makes a report whenever there is any small repair to be done, but this is the most recent report with regard to any large alteration required to be made. The result of that report was a report from the Bridge-house Committee to the Court of Common Council, recommending that Blackfriars Bridge should be taken down, and that a new bridge should be built.
230. What was the resolution of the Court of Common Council?—I have not it here; but it was agreeing with the committee in their report, and referring it back to them to carry into execution.
231. Is it within your knowledge that there is a plan under the consideration of the Bridge-house Committee for widening London Bridge-There is.
232. In what state of progress is that?—I have a model of it here, if the Committee desire to see it.—(The Model was produced.)
233. Mr. Wilkinson.] Is that widening of the bridge obtained by projection of the parapet?—It is an iron projection on the parapet, nine feet six inches on each side. 234. Did you hear Mr. Lambert Jones give his evidence upon this subject?
235. Do you agree with him?-I thought the Committee would form a better opinion by an inspection of the model, and therefore the model has been produced. Mr. Bunning, the architect, is here, and will be able to give the Committee full information upon the subject.
236. Mr. Jackson.] Are you in the habit of publishing yearly or half-yearly the accounts of the Bridge-house Estates?-Yearly.
237. Can you place before the Committee for the last 10 years your yearly expenditure and receipts in the shape in which you keep them in your books, and in which you present them to the Court of Common Council?-Yes, for the last 10 years.
238. You have not them here now ?-No; but I have gone through them for the purpose of preparing the statement I have made.
239. Mr. Alderman Challis.] Have you any information to offer to the Committee connected with Southwark Bridge?-There has been a negotiation with the Southwark Bridge Company. The attention of the Corporation was some years ago directed to the question of the necessity or the propriety of throwing open Southwark Bridge; and a communication was made by the Bridge-house Committee to the Directors of the Southwark Bridge Company, with the view of ascertaining whether there was any probability of their being able to accom