DIVERSION OF THE OLD TURNPIKE ROAD AT GOLDINGS

DIVERSION OF THE OLD TURNPIKE ROAD

AT GOLDINGS -1868

As work is presently being done on re-decking the Horseshoe Falls bridge on the A602 I thought it would, be
of interest to relate the history of diverting the old Turnpike Road away from Goldings in 1868.

The route of the original Turnpike Road went along part of Goldings Lane and then followed the track at the
bottom of the R.C.U. car park (sorry Eastern Division) passing the old Goldings Mansion now no longer there,
and across the meadow adjacent to the Goldings Canal, until it joined up with North Road just north of the
present junction with Bramfield Road. This meant that there were no bridges on the old Turnpike Road through
Goldings.
Early in 1867, Robert Smith, owner of Goldings Mansion, had plans drawn
up by H C Driver of Whitehall, London, to divert the old Turnpike Road,
at his own expense, further eastwards away from Goldings Mansion. this
diversion involved the construction of a new road 4.797 feet long
(0.909 miles) with a width of 33 feet, together with 3 bridge structures
and 3 culverts. A cutting had also to be made through Molewood to
accommodate the road. The Horseshoe Falls Bridge was a two span bridge
crossing both the River Beane and the Mill Race stream.
Concurrently with the construction of the new road, the present Goldings
Estate access road was built with a further 3 bridges and 1 flood relief
culvert.
The Stevenage and Watton. Turnpike Trustees held meetings in August
and October 1867 at the Salisbury Arms, Hertford to discuss the proposed
new road being financed by Robert Smith and on 6 November 1867 at 12
noon at the Saracens Head, Ware the Sheriff of Hertford chaired a meeting
to award compensation to the affected landowners near Goldings. A jury
of twelve 'indifferent' men were appointed to give verdict on the awards.
The successful contractor for the project was James Clarke of Thornton
Heath, Surrey, whose tender price of 6,759 for nearly one mile of road
plus 6 structures was accepted on 12 May l868.

value of the Goldings Estate road and structures is not known. I imagine that the present day price for the
same length of road plus structures would be well over 1,000,000!
The contract period for the diversion was from the summer of 1868 to September 1869? just over one year!!
Times haven't changed much because two incidents occurred that could easily be associated with present day
contracts. The owner of Molewood Mill, a Mr Walters, had previously agreed to lower the Mill Race to assist
the bridgeworks for the sum of 4 per day, provided adequate notice was given by the contractor. Unfortunately,
the contractor' drove some piling into the Mill Race to hold up a bank slip and in doing so partially obstructed
the water flow, causing great consternation to Mr Walters. Shortly after this, Mr Walters opened the sluice and
flooded the works in November l868 whilst vital bridge foundation work was being undertaken.
This caused great concern to the site engineer! The contractor must have made his peace with Mr Walters as
no more intentional flooding is recorded.

The second incident concerned the contractor, Clarke: apparently in January 1869 he seemed to be having
financial problems (my life story) so the solicitor acting for Robert Smith paved the way to impound plant,
materials, etc. The main plant being 24 work horses. Anyway, the contractor must have overcome this minor
detail and completed the contract

All images and text copyright to Goldings Old Boys reunion members

Page Compiled Aug 2008