Historic Civil Engineering in Hertfordshire

This leaflet gives brief descriptions of some of the interesting historic civil engineering works in Hertfordshire.

  • Updated: 27 June 2016
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This leaflet gives brief descriptions of some of the interesting historic civil engineering works in Hertfordshire.

Hertfordshire has always been a conduit for man and his goods. The Icknield Way traversed the modern county following the line of the Chilterns. The Romans brought discipline with Akeman Street and Watling Street, straddling their new town of Verulamium (modern St Albans), a road many times altered but still the London-Holyhead Road; and the Great North Road, a name to catch the imagination rather than the prosaic A1 or A1(M).

In due course, at the end of the nineteenth century the navvies arrived to excavate the Tring cutting for the Grand Junction Canal which then followed the Bulbourne and Gade valleys. A generation later the London and Birmingham Railway also tackled the same Chilterns scarp near the canal and squeezed down the valley through Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead alongside the then A41 and canal or river. The Great Northern Railway followed and eventually the Midland Railway, tired of using other railways into London, constructed their own extension link through Harpenden and St Albans.

Now the M1 has celebrated its' 50th anniversary, and in due course the M25 will achieve historical status.

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