Mike Petty notes in Vanishing Cambridge: he toll house on the Chatteris to Somersham road stood on the site of an ancient river called the West Water where a ferry existed until it dried up in about 1765. It became a turnpike road and the tolls were collected by Mr Dyson on behalf of the General Estates Company.
Mike Petty’s Fenland History Facebook Group has these pictures of the Chatteris Ferry Tollgate and notes:
This photograph of Chatteris ferry tollgate was taken in 1926 by D.H.H. Jermy
Joan Robinson recalled the Chatteris turnpike:
“I remember an uncle and aunt of mine used to go to Bedford quite often from Chatteris and they come to the Somersham Toll when it was 6d. It was 6d each way if you were not local and didn’t live in Chatteris. The people that had the Toll, they were brother and sister Dyson, and he was very keen on his six pen’orth you know! He used to sit up and wait for uncle – the rogue – to go back in the evening, and uncle would deliberately stay as late as he could, you know, so he wouldn’t have to pay anything, because half the time he used to leave the gate open. He was very keen and I remember one Sunday they came, and I went out to them and there on the running board (they had running boards, didn’t they, for cars all those years ago), and there on the running board was the 6d and they must have passed it out of the window and Dyson missed it, and it had dropped on the running board – so he didn’t get that one!” [S. Oosthuizen. We’re the characters now. 1992]
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