Following her fascinating article on the New River Tunnel Caroline Simpson is rapidly becoming our expert urban archeology correspondent. Caroline has been looking down another hole to sharing an equally interesting story:

Look down the hole!

Men with diggers and shovels are at work replacing ancient gas pipes and fittings in Myddleton Road. If you look at the sides of the trenches between Marlborough and Whittington you will see the wonderful wood blocks that were used to make the first road.

To prevent rotting and swelling when wet the wood blocks were impregnated with creosote before being laid in the road surface They are probably as good as when they were laid in the 1880s.

Here is a close up of 2006:

Those who notice these things will know that the main central part of the road here does not get great pot-holes like the eastern end, and that is due to the excellent wood block road (where they haven't been replaced by pipes and tarmac).

We last saw them when Thames Water renewed the water pipes in 2006. They burn well on an open fire, but make lots of really unhealthy smoke and fumes... so don't try it.


In 2006 I found a really good website - here is the article about the Wooden Brick Roads.

And here is a photograph taken last week:

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