This is one of a series of posts exploring some of the more obscure or overlooked parts of London and their past. Some of the photographs will appear in my 2022 calendar which will shortly be on sale. Click here for more information and check back to see when the calendar is available.

I have always liked photographing the roads beneath our feet because they are so often overlooked yet they are so heavy with meaning. They are ignored; just functional pieces of tarmac, something we drive, walk or cycle upon without another thought. They get us to where we want to be (mostly) and that is all that people ask of them. They can be seen in a negative light as well; dividing communities, creating noise and pollution, and death and injury.

But travel lightly and they offer so much potential.

This is the A1 in London and, as the sign says, it can take you all the way to the NORTH (in capitals). It runs 410 miles (660km) to Edinburgh, and it was designated the A1 one hundred years ago in 1921 by the Ministry of Transport. Parts of it include the Great North Road, a highway that has ran between England and Scotland since medieval times.

I love the potential of roads and where they may take you. That sign, “The NORTH” is so evocative. The route has been explored extensively in song and book but one day I may explore it myself.

In the meantime I have explored another road, or rather a series of roads until they gave out at the coast.

Published by Stephen Taylor

Freelance e-learning developer and instructional designer, photographer and cyclist

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