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1854 Public Health Inquiry Part 4


By virtue of sections 17,18,19,29,21,22 and 23, the commissioners are constituted the surveyors of highways, and persons assessed under the Improvement Act are exonerated from statute duty and highway rates, for repairs &c, of the highways beyond the limits of the town.

The 24ths section gives gives power to the commissioners to place and affix, at or near each end corner, or entrance of the several streets, roads, squares, crescents, lanes, entries, passages or places any name by which they shall direct such street, roads, &c, to be thereafter called; also shall cause the houses &c to be numbered. Persons destroying or defacing such mark or number are liable to a penalty of five pounds.

Mr Witchell, clerk to the commissioners, stated, -

“The 117th section of the local act secures the right of the trustees of the turnpike roads to levy tolls withi nthe limits of the parish, whilst the proviso of the 15th section does not effectually release or discharge them from repairing the roads. The clause runs thus:- 'Provided always that nothing in this Act contained shall extend or be construed to extend or release, exonerate or discharge the trustees or commissioners of turnpike roads within the limits of the said town from the repairs of the said turnpike roads within the said limits.'”

The length, width, &c of the various streets are given in the App. P44.

Turnpike Roads

By the 117ths section is is provided that nothing in the said Act 6 Geo 4. c. vi. shall extend to or affect the rights of the trustees of any turnpike road or roads within the limits of the town under or by virtue of any Acts of Parliament in force at the time of the passing this Act relating to any such road or roads.

It was stated that the those portion of the turnpike roads belonging to the Stroud and Chalford trust, the Stroud and Cainscross, and the Stroud and Bisley roads as are within the Parish have been thrown upon the ratepayers to repair, and an application has been made by the Stroud and Gloucester trust, with a view that to the future repairs being made and defrayed by the improvement commissioners.

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The toll-gates on each of the turnpike roads are situated close to the town, and this fact, coupled with the heavy rate of tolls, is considered as a great hardship upon the residents of the town.


The commissioners by sections 23 to 43 both inclusive, to light the public streets, &c within the limits of the town by oil or gas, and to erect works (Section 31) and manufacture gas for lighting the said streets, &c, and after sufficiently lighting the streets they may supply private consumers within their district upon terms to be settled by themselves(the commissioners), the funds arising therefrom to be applied generally for the purposes of the Act or they may contract and agree with any company or other persons to light the said streets.

Mr Witchell stated,-

“The commissioners have not erected gasworks, but they have entered into a contract with a private company to light the town with gas.”

Mr T Howell, manager o the gasworks, stated, -

“The company have two gas holders containing together 80,000 cubic feet and 13 retorts, three being sufficient for the summer supply, and 10 in winter. The quantity of gas made in the year is about six millions of feet. The leakage is estimated at about 20 per cent. They purify by means of dry lime. Illuminating power of the gas has not been tested (but believes it to be equal to six or eight dips).

The length of the mains within the limits of the Improvement Act (in the parish) is about 5,860 yards, and consists of 750 yards of 9-inch, 1950 yards of 5-inch, 170 of 4-inch, 480 yards of 3 inch, 150 of 21/2 inch, 170 of 2-inch, and 2170 of 11/2 inch pipes. In addition thereto the company have 6.140 yards of pipes beyond the limits of the Improvement Act. The company find lamp posts and lamps. They light, turn-off and keep in repair the public lights amounting to 57 in number. The pressure is 2 inches, and the estimated consumption of each lamp is 41/2 cubic feet per hour. The contract with the Commissioners is to burn till five o'clock in the morning in the months of November, December, January and February, and until four o'clock in the morning during the months of September, October, March and April, subject to the following arrangement, i.e. They are not to light for the four nights before the full moon nor on the night and the three nights after the full moon , nor in May, June, July and August, that is from the full moon in middle of April to the full moon in the middle of August, they do not light at all.

The capital of the company is about 11,000l. Since 1833 the price has been reduced from 15s per thousand feet to 7 s. The dividend now paid is 4 ½ per cent.

The charge to the commissioners is 2l 10s per lamp per annum, and to private consumers 7s, with a reduction of 1s to large consumers.

Mr Harmer said.-

“It is a matter of complaint that the town is not lighted during the whole year. There are many dark nights in which persons moving about are in danger of running against each other or the lamp posts.”


The commissioners are authorised and empowered by sections 68 to 71 both inclusive to establish a watch and patrol, and from time to time to cause the streets, roads, squares, crescents, lanes, entries, passages and places, or such of them as they think fit , to be safely and properly watched; also to make orders and regulations for the government of the watchmen and patrolmen to provide watch-boxes, watch-houses, or places for the reception of such watchmen or patrol, and to impose a fine not exceeding forty shillings upon any watchman or patrol-man for neglect or misbehaviour.

Mr Witchell stated,-

“The county policy force now take the watch duty of the town.”


The market situate near the church is rented of the feoffes by Mr Thornton, and by him related in standings at the rate of 6d per week per stall, and 1s per pen for pigs, about 10feet long by 5feet wide.

The corn market is held at the White Hart on Friday each week.

There are two fairs held annually in the streets of the town, each lasting two days, but the sheep are penned in the yard of one of the inns as well as in the streets.

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