A SPECIAL plaque has been unveiled in Droitwich to mark 300 years since the opening of the Droitwich to Worcester turnpike.
The tercentenary was marked with entertainment in the town centre, with an announcement by the town crier Edgar Hargood, and a procession along the High Street, before the plaque was formally unveiled, and historical re-enactors provided free entertainment.
The Lord Lieutenant Lt Col Patrick Holcroft, attended the event. He said: “This is a marvellous and somewhat quirky occasion and I love such uniquely British events. A lot of work has gone into this celebration and the people of Droitwich must be very proud of this achievement particularly as 300 years ago Droitwich was leading the way in opening this Turnpike.”
The Droitwich to Worcester turnpike, was a toll road, introduced after the transport of salt from Droitwich slowly destroyed the roads into Worcester.
The road was becoming dangerous to travel along, and for nine months out of the year it was almost completely impassable, so an Act of Parliament was established to appoint trustees, who would charge travellers a toll in order to properly maintain six miles of the road between the town and the city. The last remaining tollhouse in Droitwich marks the Droitwich to Alcester turnpike on the Hanbury Road
Eventually the turnpike was extended out to Bromsgrove with a span of 37 miles.
As part of the event, themed group ‘Boygonz’ played historical musical instruments, and the Droitwich Community Choir and actors from Norbury Theatre performed. Local historian Julian Hunt also told the story of the roads.
Mrs Chris Bowers coordinated the event. She added: “It was a fitting celebration of a great achievement for Droitwich and it was lovely to see the interest and support of people of Droitwich.”