A Drink at the Bar
Pagan,W., Road Reform (Edinburgh,1845)
NSA, XI,(1845), St Cyrus, 296.
Many toll houses held the peculiar dual function of being not just a toll point but also a local pub! As Scotland’s toll network developed and road traffic increased, inns began to spring up along their routes to service the road weary travellers. It is likely that the tradition of toll house pubs developed out of this as a way for the Turnpike Trusts to tap into this new and growing market. This social side of the toll roads however became increasingly controversial as many toll houses gained a reputation as places of revelry and overindulgence! One critic complained that the consumption of spirits at a local toll house in St Cyrus was ‘enormous’. Further south in the borders, toll houses were on occasion linked to the illicit whisky smuggling trade over the border into England. Naturally this led to many instances of drink driving or ‘drink riding’ and accidents related to this practice became infamous.