Catalogue description Records of the trustees of Shoreham bridge and various documents

This record is held by West Sussex Record Office

Details of Add Mss 31148 - 31,244
Reference: Add Mss 31148 - 31,244
Title: Records of the trustees of Shoreham bridge and various documents
Date: 1780-1873
Held by: West Sussex Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited with the Sussex Archaeological Society [Acc. 1039] by Howlett & Clarke, Ship Street, Brighton in February 1961 and transferred to the West Sussex Record Office in January 1984

Custodial history:

Acc. 6188

Administrative / biographical background:

The first meeting to discuss proposals for a new bridge across the River Adur to replace the existing ferry was held in May 1780. Trustees were appointed under an Act of Parliament entitled An Act for Building a Bridge Over the River Adur at or near Old Shoreham, 21 GIII, 1781, and met for the first time in April 1781. The scheme was financed by fifty subscriptions of £100. Dividends were distributed by a system called "tontine". By this scheme subscribers were classified by age into Class 1, 2 or 3 shareholders and the dividends calculated proportionately by class before being shared among the surviving members of each class. The bridge was opened, and the first tolls collected, in March 1782. The tolls were leased by auction from 1803 to 1832, (Add Mss 31193-31221)


In 1821 the weather conditions caused the River Adur to overflow its banks, which damaged the bridge and exposed the foundations. The trustees received several reports from surveyors on the condition of the bridge during 1823 (Add Mss 31149 ff.70v-78). At this time citizens of Worthing proposed moving the bridge, but this was rejected by the Earl of Egremont. Instead, the trustees decided to contract out the maintenance of the bridge on a triennial basis


A scheme for a new bridge proposed in 1829, was supported by the Duke of Norfolk. The trustees agreed to accept an annuity of £1,200 from the Duke for the building of a new bridge (Add Mss 31168-31180 and 31231). The new bridge was opened on 1 May 1833


An application was made for the construction of a railway from Shoreham to Chichester in 1843. Compensation of £10,000, to be divided amongst the surviving nominees in lieu of the annuity, was agreed between the trustees and the Brighton and Chichester Railway Company (Add Mss 31232-31234). The railway opened in 1845 and the accounts of the trustees closed in July 1846

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