TOOTLING along three-lane New Road on their way out of Worcester, motorists probably don’t appreciate how lucky they are. Compared to the old days, that is.
As a schoolboy in the late 1950s, hitching a lift with my hairdresser father on his way from Powick to his business at Skan’s in Broad Street, we would customarily hit the traffic at Ted Rollinson’s filling station in Lower Wick, on the junction of the Bromwich and Malvern roads.
It would then be a nose to tail crawl to the New Road island and along New Road, which was two-way, until crossing the river bridge.
Contrast that still with pre-1781, when automobiles were still 200 years away and you might have assumed travel would be less impeded. Not so. For the preceding five centuries a traveller from the city aiming for St John’s would have had to wind his way from All Saints, at the bottom of Broad Street, down Newport Street, and across the Severn by an ancient bridge which was obstructed for defence purposes by gates and barriers. Mainly to keep the unruly Welsh out.
Then came the crossing of…