18th Century Congestion Charging

Paying to use London’s roads is not a new idea. I have just come across a map showing turnpike gates (tolls) which were like the 18th Century equivalent of congestion charging. Instead of a single zone there appear to have been 16, each demanding a fee. It is unclear whether cyclists and taxis were exempt from paying, or whether the tolls had any effect on reducing congestion! An interactive version can be found here. I have also included a map of the current zone for comparison.

Courtesy David Rumsey Maps
Courtesy TFL


5 Comments

  1. Sean

    Not exactly congestion charging, these were roads that were mainly privately built and the toll paid for supposed upkeep and a profit to the owners, and I can see my high street too!

  2. Duncan Smith

    Good find James! It shows the privatised hap-hazard way London developed. I can’t make much sense of the colours- some kind of Sunday market-day discount?

    BTW I can remember Peter Hall describing a system of payment for horse drawn vehicles entering ancient Rome, so these are definitely not new.

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