Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 25, 2017.
Webpage updated: March 25, 2017

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Stonehouse Lane was the only way of reaching the peninsula by road and at the time of the foundation of the Stonehouse Turnpike Trust in 1784, it was described as being 'miserable, narrow, and founderous'.  It was improved that year and thus formed a valuable link to the Stonehouse Bridge, which had been erected in 1764.

The Trust succeeded in obtaining two further Acts of Parliament, in 1805, under which what became Union Street was constructed across the former marshland, and 1821.  Another Act, which received the Royal Assent on May 15th 1822, authorized new trustees to be elected and new toll rates to replace the old ones.  The Act was also used to regulate the stands and fares of Hackney coaches and carts using their highway.  The Trust was responsible for four highways but only the first, through modern King Street, Clarence Place, High Street, Stonehouse Bridge and Devonport Hill 'to the theatre in the town of Plymouth Dock, in Stoke Damerel parish', came directly into Devonport.  Their fourth road, later named Union Street and Edgcumbe Street, officially ended at the eastern side of the Stonehouse Bridge.

Even though the tollhouses and toll-gates were auctioned in August 1843 (they raised 392), the Plymouth and Stonehouse Roads and Transport Act of that year brought the dissolution of the Stonehouse Turnpike Trust, which held its final meeting on Friday September 29th 1843, with Mr Thomas Gardner in the Chair.  The Clerk of the Trust, Mr Henry Woollcombe, read their final report.  After Mr Oldrey had proposed a vote of thanks to the Clerk 'for his zeal and ability in the discharge of the duties of his office', seconded by Mr Hancock, the Chairman announced the dissolution of the Stonehouse Turnpike Trust and the meeting separated.