Oxford, from the turnpike on the Abingdon Road
Artist: Grimm, Samuel Hieronymus
Medium: Ink on paper
Turnpikes were introduced by parliament in the mid-17th century to raise revenue for the improvement of the country's roads. By the middle of the 18th century most cities and towns had a network of turnpikes operating on all their major approaches. Local trusts were set up to administer and maintain the turnpikes and because of this tariffs for each turnpike were set individually. Thanks to bad financial management, arbitrary charging and poor maintenance, public and political support for the system waned and their use gradually diminished. The advent of the railways helped also to bring about their demise.