diamond geezer

 Friday, July 10, 2020

One of the quirks of living on Bow Road is that Bow Road is also the A11.



I wondered whether any of you live on an A road...
...and in particular whether any of you live on an A road with a lower number than me.

This comments box is just for people who live on A roads. A road comments
Not near an A road, or round the corner from an A road, but properly on one.
All other comments at the foot of today's post, thanks.


Road classification was introduced in the UK in the early 1920s. A roads were the major through-routes at the heart of the road network, B roads weren't quite so important and the vast majority of roads were unclassified. If you'd like to read about how it happened, try here. For a road numbering FAQ, try here. For official government guidance, try here. If you'd like to see a map of the road network in 1956 try here.

There are nine one-digit A roads, the most important of all. Six of them head out radially from London and the other three from Edinburgh. If you live on one of these then you have beaten me in today's challenge.
A1 London to Edinburgh (409 miles, originally the Great North Road)
A2 London to Dover (77 miles, originally Watling Street)
A3 London to Portsmouth (74 miles)
A4 London to Bristol (130 miles, originally the Great West Road)
A5 London to Holyhead (270 miles, originally Watling Street)
A6 London to Carlisle (282 miles, actually started in Barnet)
A7 Edinburgh to Carlisle (101 miles)
A8 Edinburgh to Gourock (67 miles, via Glasgow)
A9 Edinburgh to Wick (273 miles, via Inverness)
Most of the A1 is dual carriageway, but a few stretches at either end are ordinary single carriageway roads. From St Paul's Cathedral to Hendon and across the eastern suburbs of Edinburgh, for example, several sections of the A1 are faced by housing. If your flat merely overlooks the A1, or your postal address isn't the A1 but a separate access road, I'm going to claim that I still beat you anyway.

The A2 includes the Old Kent Road and New Cross Road as well as a thin slice of the Medway region. The A3 kicks off from London Bridge, so you might well live on it in Kennington, Clapham or Wandsworth before it goes all arterial. The A4 is possibly your best chance to beat me because much of it follows its original route, the M4 having taken most of the traffic. If you live on the Great West Road through west London, or on main streets in Slough, Reading, Bath or Bristol, then I have lost.

I'm less worried about you living on the the A5, which heads to Holyhead without troubling too many houses, but the A6 hits some meaty chunks of the Midlands and North West on its way to Carlisle. I used to live two streets away from the A6 when i lived in Bedford, but as we've already ascertained two streets away doesn't count. As for the As 7, 8 and 9, they may run for miles across Scotland but again it's Edinburgh where the highest chance of residential readers exists.


I live on a double-digit A road. Double-digit A roads fill in the gaps between the spokes of the single-digiters. Officially they're less important, although the A34 is considerably busier than the A7 so that doesn't always work.

More to the point, I live on a very low numbered double-digit A road. This is because I am fortuitous enough to live in Sector 1, between the A1 and the A2.
The Numbering of Roads (Michelin Guide, 1921)
For the purpose of numbering the roads, Great Britain has been divided into nine sectors, six of which radiate in clockwise order from London, and the remaining three similarly from Edinburgh. Sector I includes all the roads situated between roads A1 and A2, and so on clockwise for the remaining sectors. Note: an exception occurs between road A2 and the estuary of the Thames which is part of sector II and not sector I. All roads take their initial number from the sector in which they start, eg A12 and A17 start in Sector I, A36 and A310 start in sector III. A road does not necessarily terminate in the same sector in which it begins. The commencement of a road is determined by the end of it which would be reached first by the hands of a clock radiating from London.
Sector 1 covers England east of the A1 and includes most of East Anglia, Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire. Within this zone the lowest one-something A roads stretch out radially from London and are numbered in a clockwise direction.
A10 London to King's Lynn (90 miles)
A11 London to Norwich (112 miles)
A12 London to Lowestoft (129 miles)
A13 London to Southend (42 miles)
I nearly live on the A12, because the A11 meets the A12 at the Bow Roundabout. It didn't always, they used to split in Leytonstone, but the road was renumbered following completion of the A12 extension in 1999. The A11 now has a whopping 40 mile hiatus between Bow and Great Chesterford in Cambridgeshire, with the M11 nominally plugging the gap.

The remainder of the teens are further from London and were originally numbered according to how far away they were.
A14 Felixstowe to Rugby (127 miles, previously Royston to Alconbury)
A15 Peterborough to the Humber Bridge (96 miles)
A16 Peterborough to Grimsby (78 miles)
A17 Newark to King's Lynn (62 miles)
A18 Doncaster to Louth (58 miles)
A19 Doncaster to Newcastle (124 miles)
After the A19 come eighty other double digit A roads. They range (clockwise) from the A20 in Kent to the A69 out of Carlisle, then from the A70 to Ayr to the A99 to John O'Groats. If you live on any of those, I win.

The A road system continues to three- and four-digit numbers. If you live on one of those then you beat most people, but I still thrash you by living on the A11.

The A11 is beatable. My mum's aunt had a house on the Great Cambridge Road opposite the Spurs training ground, for example, so she lived on the A10 which trumps me. But whichever A road you live on, if you do, let me know in the comments box at the start of the post. The rest of you on your B roads or (more likely) unclassifieds, if you have any comments then they need to go in the usual box below.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream