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Drunk In Charge Of A Ferry

Apr 1, 2008
Putney has long been famous as a crossing point for the Thames. Mentioned in The Doomesday Book of 1086 at Putelei, a ferry was already in place and continued to be so until the building of a permanent bridge. It would seem that many people would have been grateful for car hire in Putney if it had been available at the time, meaning they would not have been held to ransom with the drinking habits of the ferryman!

The accounts of Edward I in 1272 show that the ferryman of the time was paid 3/6d for transporting the Royal family across the Thames and taking the King to Westminster. I wonder how much a taxi driver would charge to get you from Fulham to Putney these days? I bet car hire in Putney would be cheaper.

A rudimentary bridge was built over this crossing during the civil war in 1642 made up of boats with a fort on either side for protection. It seems short cuts were needed back then too. The first permanent bridge was completed in 1729 thanks to the frustrations of Sir Robert Walpole.

In a hurry to get to the House of Commons after visiting King George I at Kingston, Sir Robert called to the ferryman to take him across the river. Unfortunately, the ferryman was drinking in The Swan pub and ignored the calls, leaving Sir Robert with the frustrating task of finding another, more time consuming way over. This is the point when he vowed a bridge would take his place, thus freeing up the ferryman from his job, thus leaving more drinking time.

What I would call a win/win situation!

Putney was known for its clean air and open spaces. Even Queen Elizabeth I was known for her two or three day excursions to play games in the town. Maybe car hire in Putney has gone some way to the downfall of this reputation along with the build up of the town's homes, shops and factories.

Congestion charges are now prevalent in parts of London and users of car hire in Putney are just as subject to these as other drivers. Charges have always been used for highways. May 1767 saw the largest takings of fees to cross the Thames at Putney with a total of 63 pounds collected in one day.

Putney Heath was a famous meeting place of highway men with the notorious Jerry Avershaw being caught in the Green Man pub and being hanged for his offenses. It would seem highways and alcohol didn't mix then, just as now. Today's highway men hit drivers pretty hard with taxes these days - they just put a legal slant on it.

There are many reasons to use car hire in Putney today. It is still a buzzing town with many highlights including museums, cinemas and restaurants as well as good retail therapy. Take the short trip across that famous Putney Bridge and experience the delights of Fulham Palace.

Home to the bishop's of London for hundreds of years, this stately home is now in the capable hands of the council who look after it and visitors will be treated to beautiful gardens, a gallery and museum right in the heart of London.

Being in a fairly central spot, car hire in Putney is a good base to start from for visits to all areas of London.
About the Author
Expert historian Catherine Harvey looks at the ways car hire Putney could have helped in days gone by. To find out more please visit http://www.chronolux.com/catalog/
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