- 1819-1855 (Creation)
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A Commission was established by Act of 8 July, 1 George IV Chapter 51 , entitled, 'An Act for building a Bridge over the River Wensum in the City of Norwich, at or near the Duke's Palace in the said City'. Commissioners were to include, as ex officio members, the mayor and recorder of the city and the dean and resident prebendary of Norwich Chapter, and meetings were to be held at the Guildhall and were quorate with the presence of 5 commissioners. Local solicitor, Alfred Barnard was appointed clerk to the commissioners, and remained so until his bankruptcy, after which, fellow commissoner, Joseph Stannard became clerk.
The Act authorised commissioners to borrow up to £9000 raised against the tolls for passage over the bridge. Messrs John Browne junior, iron-founder and Joseph Stannard junor, carpenter, were contracted in 1821 to undertake the erection of the bridge, toll house and gate and laying out of the new streets leading to the bridge for £4000. Costs spiralled and in fact, the bridge and new streets eventually cost £10,500 to build and lay out, and because of the death of some subscribers, the commissioners found themselves needing to borrow an additional £3000 from bankers, Messrs Tompson, Barclay and Ives. This they did on the personal bond of eight of the commissioners with the agreement of the other commissioners and subscribers that the £3000 debt should take precedence over all other claims (see NCR Case 22a/1/3). The bridge tolls were let for £420 per annum.
The Norwich Tonnage Act of July 1839, noting that the tolls payable on the three new bridges (Carrow, Foundry and the Duke's Palace) were insufficient to provide enough surplus to pay off their mortgage debts, and that it would be beneficial to the city to have free passage over these bridges, the Corporation was authorised to borrow against tonnage dues to pay off bridge mortgage loans. By the Act, the mayor, aldermen and burgesses had the power to inspect the accounts and other records in the possession of bridge commisssioners, and when all debt owing on bridge securities were fully paid off, the bridge tolls were to cease, all records were to be handed over to the Corporation and the bridges themselves to be vested in the Corporation. In addition, after the passage of the 1839 Act, the commissioners were not to borrow any further monies on the security of the bridges and their tolls.
In 1853, the Corporation, wishing to buy up the bridge mortgages, look legal advice when commissioner, Joseph Stannard, on their demand to inspect the accounts in his possession, called an extraordinary meeting of the surviving commissioners, which hurriedly appointed 16 new commissioners. Apparently, Stannard had long been (contrary to the provisions of the Bridge Act) both treasurer and clerk and had only recently relinquished the office of clerk to his son, Cubitt Stannard. Also, no minutes of early meetings of the commissioners could then be found (but see minutes in NCR 19d/1-4). Despite this lack of cooperation, the Corporation pressed ahead with the purchase of the mortgage debts and finally took over the bridge in 1855.
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