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End of the Saltash Ferry

The ferry across the Saltash passage finally ends its run after over six hundred years.

News 1961 4 mins

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Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


A reporter takes to the Saltash Ferry before it disappears and interviews a local alderman, Mr Downe. The last ferry is to be at 11.15pm on 23 October 1961. The new Tamar Bridge will open to road traffic on the following day. Records show that the Saltash Passage existed as a crossing as early as the thirteenth century and the town developed and prospered from income generated by it. The child featured is Stephen Michael Snowden and he would have been born around 20 May 1956.

The de Valletort family owned the rights of ferry at Saltash from the Norman Conquest until 1270 when Trematon Castle and estate were sold to Richard Earl of Cornwall. The Duchy of Cornwall then leased the ferry and Queen Elizabeth I granted a royal charter to Saltash in 1585 which also guaranteed the passage. The Tamar Bridge is run owned and run jointly by a Committee on behalf of Plymouth City Council and Cornwall Council. The ferry was revived in 1832 and again by the Saltash Corporation in 1850 and by 1933 the ferry could carry up to twenty-four cars. Three car and passenger chain ferries, the Tamar, the Lynher and the Plym still run between Plymouth's Devonport and Torpoint, a crossing established in 1790.