This week we have added 112,314 new pages to The Archive. We are delighted to see updates to over seventy of our existing titles, which cover locations across the British Isles and Ireland. As well as updating regional papers, there are updates to some of our specialist titles including sporting publication The Referee, and religious publication the Catholic Standard. Updates this week variously cover the years 1872, 1912 and 1959, with more extended additions joining the Fulham Chronicle.
We also have two brand new titles this week, London newspaper the Harrow Observer, and Nottinghamshire title the Mansfield and Sutton Recorder. The Harrow Observer has pages covering much of the twentieth century, whilst the Mansfield and Sutton Recorder covers the late twentieth century.
With an abundance of our updated titles and one of our new titles covering the year 1959, we take a look this week at the sixtieth anniversary of the opening of Britain’s first motorway, the M1. It’s hard to believe that something we take so much for granted now was such a novelty then, but sixty years ago on the 2 November the first stretch of British motorway was opened between Watford and Rugby, with extensions south to Edgware and north to Leeds following in later years.
Updates to the Rugby Advertiser give a very special local viewpoint on the opening. Indeed, the newspaper comments that the opening of the M1, at least in their district, was ‘the greatest feat of roadmaking since the Romans laid the skeleton of the map of England. The Motorway’s construction is comparable with Robert Stephenson’s building of the London-Birmingham railway in the 1830s.’
The formal opening of the new motorway took place at Pepperstock, south of Luton, by the new Minister of Transport, Mr Ernest Marples. He gave a warning to users of the roadway; that with greater speeds the margin for error gets smaller, and that ‘new motoring techniques must be learned.’
The Rugby Advertiser‘s first impression of the motorway is one of ‘spaciousness and beauty, with none of the boredom associated with long straight stretches on the Continental highways.’ The 75 mile stretch cost more than £21 million to build, with 5,000 men being employed during the peak period of its construction.
Although the newly built M1 had certain restrictions – no pedestrians, learner-drivers, motorcycles under 50 cc, mopeds, bicycles and animals – there were initially no speed limits, crash barriers nor central reservations. On the 10 November 1959 the Rugby Advertiser reports on the tragedy of the first mortality on the motorway, with two lorry drivers – Alfred Charles Arnold and Gerald Anthony Canfield – being killed during an early foggy morning.
The same article reports on the novelty that most modern users of the M1 are weary of – traffic: ‘Cars lined the approaches to all the public over bridges on the motorway during the week-end. There was more traffic…than on a busy summer’s day. Dozens of people stood along the bridges amazed by the number of cars speeding along in both directions.’
|Harrow Observer||1921, 1945-1962, 1966-1973, 1975-1979|
|Mansfield & Sutton Recorder||1988, 1993-1994, 1996-1998|
This week we have updated seventy four of our existing titles.
You can learn more about each of the titles we add to every week by clicking on their names. On each paper’s title page, you can read a FREE sample issue, learn more about our current holdings, and our plans for digitisation.