Holyhead and Shrewsbury Roads
Details of MT 27
Holyhead and Shrewsbury Roads
This series consists of reports of the committees and select committees appointed to enquire into the roads from London to Holyhead; reports by Thomas Telford and others on these roads; and reports, financial accounts, journals of work carried out, legal documents, correspondence and papers of the Holyhead Road Commissioners appointed in 1815 to maintain Holyhead Harbour, improve and repair the roads between London and Holyhead by Chester, and between London and Bangor by Shrewsbury, and to maintain the Menai and Conway bridges.
These records include technical drawings.
See also other records relating to the Holyhead and Shrewsbury Roads and the Menai and Conway bridges in:
Records of the Ministry of Transport's Welsh Roads Division are in BD 30
Records of the Welsh Divisional Road Engineer are in BD 31
Files on the Welsh Office's Road Division (RD series) are in BD 43
Office of Woods, Forests, Land Revenues, Works and Buildings, Works Department, 1832-1851
Office of Works, 1851-1940
318 flat sheets and volumes
Immediate source of acquisition:
In 1982 Department of Transport
Administrative / biographical background:
In the early years of the 19th century, Parliament was concerned with the poor state of road communication between England and Ireland. In order that traffic and mail might be speeded up Thomas Telford was asked to survey the possible lines of route in North Wales with a view to effecting improvement. His report was given to the Lords of Treasury in April 1811.
Under the Holyhead Roads Act of 1815 (and later Acts), loans were provided for the improvement of the London to Holyhead road and commissioners were appointed under the same Act to execute the work, a start being made in 1815. The Holyhead Roads Commissioners were also responsible for the maintenance of Holyhead Harbour and the building and upkeep of the Menai and Conway bridges.
Many additional tolls were instituted along the route from London to Holyhead, supplementing those existing, the revenue from tolls being used to repay the loans authorised by Parliament. Later, turnpike trusts were formed to control the revenue from the many tollgates.
In February 1818 Thomas Telford was asked to survey the whole route from London, to report on the effectiveness of the work being carried out, and to suggest possible variations of the existing route and to generally supervise the continuing construction. Thomas Telford's design for a suspension bridge over the Menai Straits in place of the existing ferry was accepted in preference to previously submitted plans of more orthodox design, and work on the bridge was commenced in 1820, the bridge was completed in 1826.
From September 1840, the care and maintenance of the road was vested in the Office of Woods and Forests. From November 1844, the road was transferred to the charge of county authorities and in 1919, to the Ministry of Transport.
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