About this image
The Round House, once one of Smalley's most distinguishing features, was a toll house on a turnpike road. From the 1730's onwards old roads became better maintained and new, turnpike roads were constructed. The Turnpike Trusts, originally set up in 1706 and extended in 1735. This was in parallel with the development of canals and resulted from an increasing need to transport goods produced during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Turnpike trusts were set up by local businessmen, traders and other investors. Under the Turnpike Act they could build new roads or assume responsibility for existing roads. To finance their projects, a trust was allowed to collect a fee from every traveller using one of its roads. The fee, or toll, was collected at each end of each section of the road. In these places a gate and a tollkeeper's cottage were positioned. Demands for tolls led to serious outbreaks of rioting in 1735 and again in 1750, in which toll-gates and houses were destroyed - largely because the population objected to paying tolls for travel on roads which had previously been free. Nevertheless, the Turnpike Trusts were a success, and the money raised was used in part to finance the building of new and better roads. The building seen here was demolished in 1956.