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THE SELECT COMMITTEE appointed to inquire into the STATE and CONDITION of the BRIDGES over the THAMES, in the METROPOLIS, to report whether they are adequate to the present vastly increasing Traffic; whether it be desirable to construct one or more Bridges over the River; and, if so, at what Point or Points; 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; and who were instructed to extend their Inquiry to the Bridges over the Thames within the Area subject to the Coal Tax, and who were empowered to report their OBSERVATIONS, together with the MINUTES of EVIDENCE taken before them, to The HOUSE HAVE considered the Matters to them referred, and have agreed to the following REPORT:



Committee have examined witnesses with a view to discharging the duty entrusted to them, and have, in the first place, directed their attention to the state and condition of the several Metropolitan Bridges. With respect to these, they have to report that, with two exceptions, namely, Blackfriars and Westminster, the whole of the Metropolitan Bridges are in a satisfactory and durable condition. Southwark, Waterloo, and Vauxhall Bridges, R. L. Jones, 1-15. and Charing-cross foot Bridge are toll-bridges in the hands of private com- F. Brand, 2-6. panies. As to Blackfriars Bridge, the evidence brought before Your Committee R. L. Jones, 1-10. leaves no doubt as to its being in an unsatisfactory state; and the Court of S. Bateson, 3–11. Common Council has approved of a proposal for removing the present structure, and replacing it by a new bridge. Your Committee do not consider it within their province to report on the condition of Westminster Bridge, as a contract for pulling it down and rebuilding it has actually been entered into.

With regard to the adequacy of the present bridges in the Metropolis to accommodate the existing traffic, Your Committee have examined numerous witnesses, whose opinion they consider valuable as connected with the bridges; and they report that the present accommodation is insufficient; that there is every probability of this deficiency being still further felt, and that it is necessary to adopt measures to mitigate the evil. To meet this end, several schemes have been submitted to Your Committee: 1st. It is proposed to open free of toll those bridges which are at present private property. 2dly. To increase the width, and consequently the convenience of some of the existing bridges. 3dly. To enlarge and improve the approaches to them. 4thly. To make the Thames Tunnel available for traffic. 5thly. To construct a tubular iron superway, so as to connect the most important points in the Metropolis; and, lastly, to build additional bridges.

After a careful consideration of the evidence which has been brought before them, Your Committee consider that the expediency of removing the present tolls, on the different bridges between Staines and London Bridge, is established. They find that, by the present system, the traffic is diverted from the direct route; and, in consequence, the open thoroughfares are choked, and rendered at times almost impassable, by the collection of merchandise and passenger traffic, which would disperse and spread itself if there were more channels of escape provided. This inconvenience is especially felt at London Bridge, S. Lang, 1, 2. 370.

J. R. Maclean, 3. 8.

where not only delay, but even danger is incurred by the concentration of traffic on one spot, owing not only to the ordinary London traffic, but to the additional traffic produced by the neighbouring railway termini. Similar inconvenience is felt at Westminster Bridge; and Your Committee are of opinion, that in both instances it would be materially diminished if the intermediate toll bridges were thrown open to the public. The evidence with respect to the bridges from Vauxhall to Staines establishes the fact that, by the present tolls, not only is the public inconvenienced, local trade impeded, and the accommodation diminished, but that the burden of the tax falls most heavily on those who are least able to bear it.

Your Committee are of opinion that, although it may become necessary, owing to the ever-increasing traffic of the Metropolis, to build additional Bridges, it will be better, in the first instance, to ascertain the effect of throwing the present Toll Bridges open to the Public, provided they can be obtained on reasonable terms.

Upon the question as to whether additional Bridges are required, Your Committee have examined Mr. Bennoch, Mr. Tite, Mr. Page, Mr. M'Lean, and other competent witnesses. These witnesses agree in the necessity for providing further means of communication across the River.

The sites proposed by them are

1st. Tower Hill, below London Bridge.

2dly. St. Paul's.

3dly. Charing Cross.

4thly. Horseferry Road.

Without entering into the comparative merits of these several propositions, Your Committee are of opinion, that the Bridges opposite Charing Cross and St. Paul's will become speedily necessary, especially should the negociation with the proprietors of the toll-paying Bridges prove abortive.

With regard to the best mode of providing for the purchase, and the future maintenance, and increase of the bridge accommodation, Your Committee are decidedly of opinion that a rate to be levied over the whole of the district to be benefited by the proposed alterations is at once the most just and the most simple plan to be adopted.

14 July 1854.

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Mr. Tyrrell, City Remembrancer; Mr. Ferdinand Brand, Mr. James Mulling, and Mr. Francis Bennoch, examined.


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Mr. James Walker, Mr. John Robinson Maclean, Mr. Samuel Bateson, and Mr. Thomas Page, examined.

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Mr. Robert Few, Mr. Alderman Salomons, Mr. Price Richard Baly, Mr. Jeremiah Evans, and Mr. Isambard H. Brunel, examined.

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Mr. John Plews, Mr. George Powell, Mr. George Rennie, Mr. George Walker, Mr. James Leith, and Mr. John Pym, examined.

Jovis, 15° die Junii, 1854.


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Motion made (Sir B. Hall), "That the Chairman be instructed to move The House, 'That it be an instruction to the Committee to extend their inquiry to the bridges over the Thames within the area subject to the coal tax.' Question put, and agreed to.

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Mr. William Tite, Mr. Thomas Page, Mr. John Williams, Mr. Benjamin W. Horne, and Mr. Price R. Baley, examined.

[Adjourned till Thursday next, at One o'clock.

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Mr. John Guy, Mr. Frederick Gould, Mr. George W. Andrews, Mr. Evan Hare, Mr. Edward Phillips, Mr. Thomas Hitchins, and Mr. Henry Selfe, examined.

[Adjourned till Thursday next, at One o'clock.

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Mr. Thomas Ashley, Mr. Frederick Ashley, Mr. Edward Wilson, Mr. Francis Jackson, Mr. Robert Smith, Major Charles R. Boileau, Mr. Evan Hare, Mr. Henry Chase, Mr. Charles Edward Gemmet, Mr. Edward Tyrrell, and Mr. George R. Burnell, examined.

[Adjourned till Thursday next, at One o'clock.

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Mr. Stephen S. Taylor, Mr. Frederick H. Janson, Mr. Robert Bealham, Mr. Henry H. Mason, and Rev. Charles Woodward, examined.

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