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Toll Board

circa 1850

A toll board from the Alma toll bridge that stood on the boundary between Ashton and Dukinfield at the bottom of King Street.

Prior to the Alma toll bridge being built in 1855, the only way to cross the river was by a series of stepping stones reached by steps cut into the side of the river bank. When the river was high, travellers had to walk to Bell Bridge at the bottom of Crescent Road and walk into Ashton through the Parish churchyard.

The idea of a new bridge caused opposition, the most prominent opponent being Lord Stamford of Ashton. However, business men in the two towns realised the need for a bridge and formed a company to build one. They eventually won the argument and in 1855 the Alma toll bridge was opened.

This board lists the tolls levied on carts, carriages and animals wishing to cross the river. A horse-drawn stage coach would incur a cost of threepence, a hand-pulled cart would cost one penny while a score of cattle would be charged eightpence. Charges were also levied on pigs and sheep. The bottom of the board reads ‘By order of the directors Dukinfield, J. Alfred Garforth’