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Geography Rivers

Ha’penny (Caroline) Bridge

The hamlet of Astley lies between the River Aire and the Aire and Calder canal (Yorkshire Evening Paper 1959) One of the houses was formerly the Caroline Inn. The toll was levied for those wanting to go to Allerton Bywater, Great Preston, Swillington,Bowers Row or Woodlesford.

Mr Lister is kept busy from 5am to 10.30pm opening and closing the swing bridge for barges, and pedestrians or carts and has been so employed since 1946. As the capstan revolves it winds in a chain which swings back the bridge on a swivel. The canal undertook a large trade in timber, fuel oil, coal and other traffic, and each time Mr Lister had to walk round and round unwinding the capstan to give access in the event of someone using the toll bridge in between canal traffic. Mr Lister said it could be lonely at night and especially in the winter, also it becomes a worry at times of flood.

The present wrought iron bridge was installed at Methley in 1909 but had been built and in use previously in the Goole area from 1895. It would have succeeded and earlier wooden swing bridge.

The cast iron bridge over the river Aire was built in 1876 and today requires continual examination.

The list of tolls start from half pence per person to increasing for 1 horse, 1 horse and cart etc.