NOSTALGIA: Bus passengers too heavy to cross to Hayling so had to walk
In the aerial view of the entrance to Langstone Harbour we see the old wooden bridge that crossed from Langstone to Hayling Island and above it the new road bridge under construction.
The Hayling Island railway bridge is out of shot to the bottom left.
You will notice that where the road meets the Havant Road and Northney Road junction there is a T junction. Imagine that in today’s traffic.
The old bridge was built in 1824 and owned by the company of the Duke of Norfolk (Lord of the Manor of Hayling Island) – William Padwick and Sir George Staunton of Leigh Park fame. Another 40 other local men subscribed £12,000 to build it. It later became the property of Southern Railway.
The bridge became so unstable in its final years that a five-ton, 10mph speed restriction was placed on it.
Single decker buses were the only form of public transport allowed across and even then, if there were too many passengers, they had to get off the bus and walk over, reboarding the bus on the opposite side.
When a lorryload of tiles were to be transported over, the driver and his mate had to unload them and go backwards and forwards five times to get across.
There was a toll to pass over the bridge and the last wooden bridge tollkeeper was John Henry Bastin.
When the new bridge opened on September 10, 1956, there was still a toll to pay until April 11, 1960.
In the second photo we see a lone cyclist heading south over the old bridge. The new one was constructed to the right of it.
A boathouse with slipway can be seen alongside the end of the bridge. This would have been demolished when the new bridge was built.
In the distance, on the right can be seen the Royal Oak public house, no doubt as popular then as it is now.
And here’s a toll ticket to cross the old bridge, the fee was one halfpenny.
The hole in the top was where the tollkeeper had punched the ticket to save it being reused by some unscrupulous traveller.