27 February 2024

Cobbles, congestion and woodblocks

They are resurfacing Holloway Road at the moment. Changing junction hierarchies, altering bus lanes, installing temporary traffic lights. It’s tedious to say the least.  

Last year it was tiresome on any bus heading north from Hi&Is as it took aaaages getting from there to Holloway Rd tube station – it was quicker to get out and walk (made even more frustrating by having to suffer that stupid conglomeration of traffic lights around Highbury corner – it's faster to walk from Union Chapel to the next stop outside Highbury Magistrates Court). And now they are slowing up the eastern side of HollowayRoad as they make further changes to the road and junctions, meaning that heading south takes aaaages, especially in the mornings and exacerbated by a stupid bit of replanning opposite Holloway Rd station. Let me elaborate...  

A yellow box partially restricts access. That’s usually great, as it ought to stop traffic from clogging that junction. But cars come out of Hornsey Rd and turn left (southwards) and subsequently block the way for traffic from the north which cannot move forward because those cars turning left obstruct the access, specifically to the bus lane on the other side. Aaaagh. Often it takes three changes of the traffic lights before an opportunity to move becomes available. And lots of bibbing and parping and sighing and swearing. 

Perhaps the only good thing about this for history nerds like me, is that from the front seat of a southbound bus (this is from a No21 to Lewisham) I  can get a good view of how the modern road surface has been scraped away to reveal the old cobbled street (yeah yeah; setts). A layer of Holloway history uncovered – it must have been an even noisier road in the past. 

I’ve written before how this road must’ve been completely woodblocks as there are a few old man hole covers in the vicinity that still contain woodblock infills (see the A-Z listing at the top of this site).  I’m not sure if the woodblocks predate or follow the cobbles/setts (advice please)

And, further along the route 21, just before Essex Road, I looked down to see a man hole cover on the left side within an accessway that would have led to the rear of the terrace. Two of the outer segments look to have remnants of wood within them. I need to go and poke it with a stick of some kind to be sure before I add it to the list. I will update you soon.