Thursday, February 11, 2010

Giving way to history

Today saw me going not once but twice round Britain's oldest roundabout, albeit in different directions, in Letchworth Garden City. It looked like a pretty ordinary roundabout but according to the sign it dates from 1909 making it 101 years old.

What on earth did they need roundabouts for in 1909? Surely there were only two cars and lots of horses around in those days. It's hard to imagine horse congestion. I'm sure it happened in London but in Letchworth? Doesn't seem likely. Just as well really as according to Wikipedia, traffic could travel around it in either direction, the rules of roundabout use we recognise today not coming until the 1920s.

I can only assume it was a result of Quakerish zeal for order and discipline. The whole town has that considered, orderly feel as befits the first garden city and an early exemplar of town planning.

Can't say my heritage trip around the roundabout was that exciting. However I did find out it's called Sollershot Circus - now that is interesting.

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