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Before the A1

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Hi wise people of this parish. I've been trying to find photos of the area before the A1 was built, or of it being built. I don't know why but I find this stuff interesting. I think I've managed to get in my head the old route of the great north road, but some photos would be great. I've looked on the SABRE website, but only a couple of maps are of any use.
Any photos can be posted on here, or I'll be happy to scan and return any originals.
Thanks folks.

Hi Bazza,

I suppose you could start with the old coaching road from South Mimms to North Mymms.

My wife was reading Bleak House by Charles Dickens recently and that could have been the road mentioned early on in the book when they travelled from London via Barnet to Bleak House (which I always imagined was up north, but apparently was near St Albans).

If you want to walk part of it you can try Walk One in this site's selection of 12 local walks.

At the point in the south-west corner of the map, where the path turns south-east, you can keep going and follow the coaching road to South Mimms. I guess that might have been a very early version of the A1.


I know it well David, I cycle it quite often as it's a bridleway and a very pleasant quiet route. Your suggestion makes a lot of sense as a main route, however, I was walking around the top of Swanland Road, over the footbridge over the A1 and upto the church the other day, which was when I started thinking about this all. To get between South Mimms and North Mymms, Swanland Road, although a bit longer would have been a better route as it's fairly flat. The bridleway has two steep hills in it.
I then looked at the old bit of Tollgate Road, from the war memorial down to the cricket club. I wonder if  as the name suggests you had to pay a toll that people would use other routes to avoid it.
Then, well I can go on for ages but I wondered where Tollgate Road went at it's south-east end as it now ends at the houses next to the A1 at Home Farm. Might it have been built over by the A1? Standing on the footbridge opposite the cafe on Swanland road, the route of Tollgate Road points roughly towards Warrengate Road at Water End.
I suspect Swanland Road, and possibly Warrengate Road were part of the route from South Mymms to Hatfield, but were they ever the A1? I believe all roads were numbered in 1922 but I don't know when the Barnet By-pass (the A1M) was built. In other words, which came first, the bypass or the numbers?

Alfred the Great:
Have you tried You need broadband and it's a bit choppy but still a good tool. Just tap in Brookmans Park in the search field and hey presto.

This isn't a great scan, I am afraid, but it is from the book North Mymms Pictures From The Past, which is reproduced on this site - for some reason I missed this one out, but a forum user has reminded me that it might be of interest to those following this thread.


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