The Turnpike Era
From the early 1600s onwards, a gradual increase in trade between markets, ports and centres of production highlighted the deficiencies of Lancashire's road network. Turnpike Trusts were a reaction to this lamentable state of affairs, their original intention being to 'improve' existing roads although later Trusts built on entirely new lines. The idea was that after the initial financial outlay (raised as shares amongst the Trustees), the cost of improvement would be recouped by charging travellers a toll - the Trusts optimistically hoped that any additional monies raised could be used for the ongoing maintenance of the road. Despite the fact that their efforts were rarely rewarded financially, Turnpike Trusts did leave a legacy of improved roads. Being an important market and industrial centre ensured that several Acts were passed for road improvements around Blackburn:
Chronology of local Turnpike Roads (dates refer to passing of Act)
1755 Blackburn-Preston (Blackburn & Walton Cop Trust) - Preston Old Road
1755 Blackburn-Burnley (Blackburn, Addingham & Cocking End Trust) - via Rishton &c.
1755 Clitheroe-Preston (Skipton & Preston Trust) - via Snodworth Cross & Ramsgreave
1776 Blackburn-Whalley (Blackburn, Whalley & Clitheroe Trust) - Whalley Old Road
1789 Blackburn-Bury (branch of Bury, Haslingden, Blackburn & Whalley Trust)
1797 Blackburn-Bolton (Bolton & Blackburn Trust) - via Over Darwen
1808 Clitheroe-Mellor (Clitheroe & Mellor Brook Trust) - the Longsight Road
1810 Blackburn-Elton (Elton & Blackburn Trust) - Grane Road
1810 Livesey Branch Road (branch of the Bolton & Blackburn Trust)
1819 Blackburn-Whalley (Blackburn, Whalley & Clitheroe Trust) - Whalley New Road
1825 Blackburn-Preston (Preston & Blackburn Trust) - Preston New Road
1826 Blackburn-Accrington (branch of the Bury, Haslingden, Blackburn & Whalley Trust)
Generally, the 18th century Acts were concerned with the improvement of existing roads, while those of the 19th century often surveyed completely new lines of road. Good examples of local toll houses remain at Oaks Bar (SD670334), Finnington Bar (SD634251) and Moss Hall, now the Old Toll Bar Inn (SD704279).