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Author Topic: Bored of London-centric Britain? Blame the Romans and their roads  (Read 230 times)

cpzilliacus

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Guardian Cities: Bored of London-centric Britain? Blame the Romans and their roads - Sasha Trubetskoy’s subway-style maps show Roman roads radiating from the capital like spokes – a 2,000-year-old template that still shapes Britain today

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But there is really only one thing that lives on as a functioning part of our world: the roads. Roman engineers set a template that still shapes Britain.

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Roman grids can often be picked out in our modern cities. When Jenson Button drove a Formula One McLaren along Manchester’s Deansgate in 2011, he was speeding down a Roman road. The junction of Chichester’s two main Roman streets is marked by a medieval cross. A Roman road gave London Oxford Street; another gave the passage that separates the two great blocks of Bloomberg’s new Foster-designed European HQ, opening in the capital in autumn.
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english si

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Re: Bored of London-centric Britain? Blame the Romans and their roads
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2017, 12:53:06 PM »

Londinium wasn't the original Roman capital - Colchester was. And we did have a south coast capital for at least 2 centuries - Winchester (OK, it's about 15 miles inland from Southampton's Roman Port, though far better connected by the Roman Road network).

15 intineries from London (which became the provincial capital for ~400 years before it declined in political importance until Edward the Confessor made it important once more), but there were only 10 radials, while St Albans had 12 (two of which linked each other) - we don't have a St Albans' centric country. (See the Big Geographically Accurate map of Roman Roads known about and confirmed in 1973).

This is one of these articles where you want to write about something (the UK's London centricity), but you were asked to write about something else (the Roman Road maps). See also the NYT cover story last week on Crossrail, that was really about saying "Brexit is bad" out of ignorance.
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kalvado

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Re: Bored of London-centric Britain? Blame the Romans and their roads
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2017, 01:04:37 PM »

old story about dimensions of Space Shuttle boosters linked roman horse is a better one..
As for road grid... Many important landmarks sisnt move much since then. Rivers, port harbors. Mountains - wherever they exist, passes through mountains...
Probably if development would have to start from scratch, cities would mostly be where they are today, and roads would run similar paths.
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english si

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Re: Bored of London-centric Britain? Blame the Romans and their roads
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 02:24:20 PM »

Many important landmarks sisnt move much since then.
Not always.

St Albans (nee Verulamium) was pretty minor as a settlement post-Roman-era (despite having a Cathedral and being on a main road - cf Lichfield, Wells and Bury St Edmunds as similar places) until the mid-20th century where it grew massively as a London commuter-belt town - and even then is overshadowed by the nearby newer towns of Watford, Hemel Hempstead and Luton to the south, west and north respectively. It's been between 6 and 15 miles away for most of my life, and I've been there twice: once to see the extensive Roman site on a school trip and once to stay overnight (during the time period where I live 80 miles away and was part of a large group that had an early flight the next morning from Luton Airport and so travelling 2 hours the night before to one of the group's parent's house made sense). The Roman Road that used to run from Verulamium through this area (passing about 80 yards from my house) is mostly a path with the 17th century turnpike taking a much less hilly route, barely using the Roman Road's route.

Silchester (which isn't on the site of the Roman Town nowadays, but a mile away), with 5 Roman Roads radiating from it, was a bustling Roman town is now only not a small village totally in the middle of nowhere because Reading to the north, and the New Town of Basingstoke to the south, are both growing towards it in the middle. Most of the Roman Roads radiating from it aren't even roads anymore (Map).
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