The Romans invaded Britain in about 54BC, for the first time they brought uptodate technology to Britain which being pearched off the west of Europe was one of the last places new inventions reached. The Romans built new cities and towns across England and Wales to communicate between these population centres and to speed up the movements of there armies they built new roads. Roman roads where so well built that many are still around or can be easily identified today.
Make up of Roman Road
A ditch about 3 ft (1 metre) deep was excavated. This was filled with large stones that were packed as compactly as possible to avoid movement and so lessen the risk of the road sinking.Over this a layer of smaller stones was laid and this was bound by cement that just covered the stones.The final layer was made up of gravel, or small pieces of flint that was compressed as tightly as possible.
Roman Roads that Became the A6
A map of the roman roads of Britain. Shows a road leaving then following the pennine hills to Ribchester just east of Preston, then on to Manchester and Buxton, a road leave Buxton to the south, but stops a little way from Derby. A road leaves Derby going South west past Burton on Trent to join Watling Street, Another road leaves Leicester to join Watling Street at High Cross.Watling Street itself leaves High Cross passing Milton Keynes, Dunstable and St Albans before reaching London. In fact apart from a gap from just north of Derby to Leicester it was possible to follow a similar route to that of today's A6 all the way from Carlisle to London. However several major places on the A6 where bypassed by these roads they include:- Kendal, Lancaster, Preston, Matlock, Loughborough, Kettering and Bedford. Do the fact bear this out, where these Roman roads the predecessor of the A6 or was there a Roman Road closer to today's route? In this section we will try to find out, we start this section with the city of Carlisle
During the Eighteenth century responsibility for the roads in Britain was transfered to private companies called Turnpike trusts. These had the mandate to, "to repair, upgrade and maintain the main road", in there particular area, in return for this work they could charge the traveller a toll to use the road, the traveller was stoped at a toll house by a pike across the road which was turned once the toll was paid thus allowing the traveller to continue his journey.The turnpike trusts responsible for the route that became the A6 where:-
The Carlisle and Eamont Bridge Trust (1753) The Heiring Syke and Eamont Bridge Trust (1753), The Garstang and Heiring Syke Trust (1751) The Kendal, Milnthorpe and Clawthorpe Trust, (1759), The Ulverston and Carnforth Trust (1817), The Preston and Garstang Trust (1750), The Preston and Wigan Trust (1726), The Adlington and Westhoughton Trust (1824), The Manchester and Westhoughton Trust (1762), The Manchester and Buxton Trust (1724), The Bakewell to Bentley (1811), The Matlock Bath and Crompton Trust (1818), The E Cromford and Belper (1817) The Duffield and Heage (1764), The Derby and Duffield (1786), The Loughborough and Derby Trust (1737) The Market Harborough and Loughborough Trust (1726), The Market Harborough and Kettering Trust (1746), The Higham Ferrers Trust (1754), The Bedford and St Albans Trust (1743), London and St Albans Trust.
In 1871 the govenment stopped renewing the Turnpike Trusts licence, effectively ending this type of road funding, control now reverting to the local authority. This was the start of the era of Motor Transport, from about 1900 most of the roads surfaces where sprayed with tar to stop cars throwing up dust and gravel from the old road surface. Soon after this came World War 1 with the roads being reorganised and numbered shortly after. This will be dealt with in the A6 Trunk Road section.