Monday, July 18, 2016

Milton Ferry Bridge

click photo to enlarge
The Ordnance Survey maps of Britain are full of references to ferries. Near where I live there is Ferry Farm marking the location of a long-gone ferry across the canal-like South Forty Foot Drain. Not too distant, by the River Slea, is another Ferry Farm with, close by, Ferry Wood and Ferry Bridge - the latter presumably the structure that put paid to the actual ferry. A similar situation can be found at Langrick Bridge, a place where there is yet another Ferry Farm.

On a recent cycle ride near Peterborough we chanced upon Milton Ferry Bridge, a crossing built in 1716 to replace the earlier ferry. Interestingly it retains the record of the previous means of crossing the River Nene in its name, though chooses not to make use of its full title of Gunwade Ferry.

This bridge was, until I believe, some time in the 1960s, a toll bridge. You can still see, on the right of the photograph above, the gate that barred the crossing to anyone not paying the required fee. Just visible below is a door leading to two small rooms lit by port-hole style openings. Perhaps they were used by the crossing keeper, though not, I think, when the river was high. Around the year 1724 Daniel Defoe, undertaking his "Tour Through The Whole Island Of Great Britain" paid the very high toll fee of 2s 6d to cross the bridge and remarked, "I think 'tis the only half crown toll in Britain". I'm pleased we paid nothing: I shudder to think what the inflation-adjusted price would be today.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo Title: Milton Ferry Bridge, near Castor, Cambridgeshire
Camera: Sony RX10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.) crop
F No: f4
Shutter Speed: 1/2000 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On