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Commissioner Of Highways Minute Book 1863 - 69

Extracts from the Highways minute book regarding the construction of a new bridge at Wootton.

September 1863

The committee recommends that the hill of Kite Hill be lowered and should it be found on inspection that the bridge is in an unsecured state, it is recommended that it be widened.

Report Of The General Surveyor

The road is carried across the opening by large timbers, which appear to sufficiently sound to carry the weight passing over them, there is little decay, but not of importance. The roadway is supported on top of these timbers by layers of small staples of special poles and these also appear to be sound. It may happen at times holes may occur between them, but no difficulty can be experienced in repairing them.

The great defect in the bridge is the side defences on the north, which are quite useless as a protection for a length of 110ft.

We recommend that this side fence is renewed as it is passed repair and will require long posts to be let into the ground and secured with ties.

December 1863

Resolved, that a new bridge be erected at Wootton on the north side [seaward] of the present bridge and that the lowering of the hill at Kite Hill be carried out at the same time.

The clerk was requested to write to Mr. Fleming, the owner of the land for consent, and inquire if he would he give the land.

July 1864

Mr Pink attended on behalf of Mr Fleming, and stated that the only terms on which Mr Fleming would agree to the alteration were stated in his letter dated 2nd July 1864 [copy not available].

Resolved that Messrs Rendall and Roach be required to wait on Mr Fleming, to consult with him with reference to the contemplated improvement, with a view to inducing him to forego the conditions in his letter 2nd July regarding the flood gates at the new bridge.

30th July 1864

Agreed that the work be done, and Mr Fleming be requested to contribute to it, as he think proper.

That before beginning the work the Commissioners should take steps to ascertain whether a new pond head will be required and what will be the expense of shifting the floodgates in line with the agreement with Mr. Fleming and his portion of the cost.

27th August 1864

Due to the changes in design the clerk was instructed to burn unopened, the three quotations received for the work. Mr Stratton [architect] was appointed to draw up plans for the new bridge and road alterations.

September 1864

Six tenders were received from contractors for the redesign scheme, the value of these were;
£2375, £2300, £2294, £2286, £2200, & £2035, the tender of Thomas Sibley at £2035 was accepted.

May 1865

With about half the work on the new bridge completed, all work was stopped; it was found that the stone masonry on the eastern side of the arches had bulged.

31st May 1865

At the meeting the architect presented a report suggesting a course of action to be adopted in order to resolve the structural problems.
Resolved, that Mr. Alfred Giles the engineer for Southampton Docks be engaged to comment on the proposed solution.

August 1865

It was reported that Mr. Fleming had a proposition to make regarding the substitution of embankment and sluice. The clerk was asked to contact Mr Fleming to ascertain details of his proposals.

Proposed, that in the event of these proposals being acceptable, the clerk was requested to contact Mr. Giles and ask him to compare the cost of the bridge design against an embankment.

It was agreed that the six tenders for the redesigned scheme remain unopened until the next meeting. A letter received from Mr. Fields [solicitor] on behalf Mr Dennett tenant of Wootton Mill claiming compensation for loss of production.

Mr Sibley’s contract was terminated at a cost of £1000.00 approx.

September 1865

The clerk read a letter from Mr Fleming’s agent regarding his proposals for the erection of a banking and sluice gate and the reclamation of the creek, the committee did not consider the proposals acceptable.

The six tenders for the new bridge were then opened and these ranged from £1825, £1800, £1790, £1557, £1431 & £1250. The tender of Mr. Edward Pitcher for £1250 was accepted.

October 1865

Mr Giles attended, and presented his report, stating that in his opinion it was necessary to take down and rebuild the archway over the millrace. He also stated that the borings as reported to him were not correct and would be necessary to lengthen the piles to reach a sound bottom, which will incur additional cost.

Resolved that Mr Giles be instructed to carry out the work as proposed by him including the new archway.

The clerk reported that Mr Dennett of Wootton Mill had agreed to accept £10 per week during the progress of the work when he could not operate the mill.

October 1866

Mr Giles attended the meeting and gave a report on the present state of the work. A letter from Mr. Field acting on behalf of Mr. Dennett was read out expressing concerned at the loss of income due to work on the bridge and millpond. The clerk was instructed to pay the tenant at Wootton mill the sum of £10 per week for so long as the workings at the mill were interrupted by bridgework, providing he made no objection to work, which interrupted the flow of water.

December 1866

Letter from Mr Dennett’s solicitor asking for £20 compensation for his work as part of the 30-week agreement.

June 1868

Slight sinking of the bridge at Wootton reported.

July 1868

Mr Giles attended the meeting and stated that in his opinion the foundations of the pier and abutments were sound. He stated that in his report of February 1867 [not traced], there was a slight settlement in the parapet which should not have occurred, and this settlement had increased slightly in the last eighteen months, but not sufficient to require any further remedy, other that some addition pointing. He considered the defect entirely due to the arches having settled where the centres were struck, and this settlement should not increase much more, further expensive repair was not recommended.

October 1868

Report received stating further settlement in the eastern arch, the clerk was asked to investigate and report back.

Note: - This is the last entry in the minute book.

Editors notes;
1. Approximate cost of work:
Initial bridge contact awarded to Mr Sibley and terminated £1000.00
Second tender for redesigned bridge scheme by Mr Pitcher £1250.00
Payment to Mr. Dennett at Wootton mill 30 weeks @ £10.00/week £ 300.00
Payment to Mr Fields £ 20.00
To these costs must be added the professional fees for Mr Stratton & Giles,
Therefore the total cost must have been in excess of £3500.00

2. As part of this road improvement scheme, the old cottage, which stood between the bakery in Mill Sq and the entrance to Fernhill Farm, was to be demolished. This would allow the road to come up what is now Wootton High Street. Previously the road had gone passed the Sloop Inn; 2 photographs in gallery nos. 3 & 4 under Old Wootton give a snapshot in time of the activity.

We have been told that possibly the last tenants of this cottage would have been a Mr & Mrs Lillywhite; Mr Lillywhite was the foreman at Wootton Mill for a number of years and his wife ran a small general shop next to the Sloop.

Source: Isle of Wight County Records, Newport

This page was last edited on: 26th January, 2022 17:50:34

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