Achievements: In 1754 John realised that there was a new method, which was a stone wagon. This was the start of the road building. He realised that the state of the roads were bad, so he contracted to build three miles of road, which would run from Minskip to Fearnsby. So he sold his wagon and began thirty years of road building. There were many problems like boggy land. He surveyed the land him self. Many special tools were used to help him to build his road like the viameter, which was used to measure the distances he was able to read this by touch. He constructed a total of about 180 miles and the estimated the cost to at least £65000. His roads which was built ran through:
- Harrogate and Harewood bridge
- Knaresborough and Wetherby
- Wakefield, Huddersfield and Saddleworth (the Manchester road).
- Bury and Blackburn with a branch to Accrington
- Skipton, Colne and Burnly.
And many more extending into Lancashire, Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire, and also including Yorkshire.
He continued his work until he was in his 70’s. But returned to Yorkshire in 1792
Date of death: 26th April 1810 aged 93.
During the latter part of the 18th century the roads in Britain were in a terrible state. It was very difficult to make journeys in some places, and it was particularly bad in the winter. This had not been such an issue before the onset of the Industrial Revolution, but now that businessmen needed to travel and goods needed to be transported it was much more of a problem. The government was not really sorting the problem out, so local businessmen and landowners were inclined to get together and sort things out for themselves.
A turnpike was a section of roads with gates. All road users had to pay a toll to pass through the gates, and the money was spent on improving the road. Local people would form a turnpike trust and arrange a private Act of Parliament in order to enforce their turnpike and make it legal. The trust enabled them to raise money, put up gates, build toll-houses, pay a surveyor, a clerk, a treasurer and labourers. A trust was not a business; it was not supposed to make a profit. However, the idea was that the businessmen and landowners knew that they would make more money because they had better roads. Therefore it was worth the bother.
A turnpike society can be seen as those that are immediately involved with the establishment and maintenance of the turnpike, as mentioned above. However, it also refers to the wider community that use the turnpike as well. These people would become increasingly dependent on the turnpike system, in that they became used to better roads and what that enabled them to do. Therefore the turnpike system had an impact on society.