A new name for a very old website

Published on 11 August 2018

Something is different. Have you spotted it yet?

Ah yes, that'll be it: four clunky initials have disappeared from the page title and the address of the website. You'll be used to visiting CBRD, but those letters are suddenly absent.

This website started life 17 years ago this month - August 2001, though exactly what day it was is not something I seem to have recorded. Let's say it was today. Back then, I never seriously expected anybody would want to read about roads, so I didn't spend too long giving my website a name. I settled on "Chris's British Roads Directory", a daft mouthful of words that has haunted me ever since. It's not a directory, for a start, and it's never been just about Britain.

The name was abbreviated to "CBRD" very quickly, with its full name in smaller letters underneath where it appeared at the top of pages, and then in about 2005 the wordy version was dropped entirely. Since then it's just been called CBRD, a collection of meaningless letters that don't look good together, don't roll off the tongue if you say them out loud, and which everybody finds difficult to remember. (Out loud, most people call it "CRBD".)

CBRD logos from 2002 to 2017. A range of graphic styles, applied to the same four unmemorable letters
CBRD logos from 2002 to 2017. A range of graphic styles, applied to the same four unmemorable letters

Well, no more: this month is the site's 17th birthday, and if it were a person, it would now finally be old enough to take a driving test. Since I can't buy it some driving lessons, its birthday present is a brand new name.

Welcome to Roads.org.uk

"CBRD" has vanished from view and has been replaced by a name that's also the new web address - Roads.org.uk. You'll see, if you look at the top of your screen, that you've already been redirected to the new address. All the old page addresses still work (and will do for many years), but they'll all seamlessly ping you across here now.

The new Roads.org.uk logo

So why is this the new name?

  • It lets you know what the site is about. It's about roads in the UK.
  • The name is the web address, so there's no confusion about where to find it.
  • It may take longer to say but it's much easier to remember and you'll almost certainly get it right first time.
  • All the really good web addresses for roads are already taken, but this one unexpectedly became available, so I bought it.

If you put a gun to my head and forced me to come clean, I'd have to admit that this is something I've wanted to do - but couldn't settle on a suitable new name - for about the last 16 years.

What's changing?

Just the name - nothing else.

You'll find that references to "CBRD" in the text of pages across the site will steadily disappear, except where it wouldn't make sense to change them. If you've emailed me before, my existing e-mail addresses will continue to work. And at some point soon, the site's Twitter and Facebook names will change to reflect the new name too.

Thank you

If you travelled back in time and told me, in August 2001, that the website I was about to tentatively put online would still be running nearly two decades later, with a readership in the thousands, I don't think I'd have believed you. I'd have told you it was just something I was doing to see if anyone else was interested in my pet subject.

I'd also have asked who on earth you are and why you're wearing all those futuristic clothes.

Nevertheless, here we all are. CBRD - sorry, Roads.org.uk - is only here after all this time because of all the people who take the time to visit, read the articles, post their comments and Road Schemes updates, send me messages and suggest corrections or new ideas. So, if you're here and reading this, then thank you. And if we're all still here in another 17 years I will definitely owe you all a drink.


Martyn Clapham 11 August 2018

Always thought the D was Database. Probably why I always went for CRDB - Chris's Roads Database when getting it wrong. Oops! :-)

Hopefully I'll be better at getting it right in future.

Happy birthday, Roads.org.uk!

Hyphen 11 August 2018

Happy birthday!

I'm with Martyn here. I always thought the D was Database. Never out loud, but in my head I always pronounced CBRD as "sea bird"...

Chris M 11 August 2018

CRBD is much easier to say than CBRD, the familiarity of the "DB" part may be an aspect of it but I think it more likely that it has to do with the shape of the phonemes - c-r-b flows easily whereas c-b-r-d with alternating stops requires a lot more movement of the mouth.
There is a name by which the phonological process of moving sounds around in a word to make them easier to say, commonly encountered when foreign words are assimilated into a language from one with a different pattern, but I've completely forgotten what it is!

Anyway this is all rather tangential to the topic of roads!

Charles 11 August 2018

Congratulations - and Happy Birthday. The best reason for starting any project is because it’s your passion and that certainly shows in the quality of this site. Here’s to the next 17 years and more.

Anthony 11 August 2018

I always thought that it was the "C Roads DataBase"...

Congratulations on such a long-lived and interesting site!

Gareth J. Thomas 11 August 2018

I always called it “see-brud” in my head. No idea why. But the new name is much better!

Patrickov 13 August 2018

I started browsing this site shortly into its hiatus (2012). Glad to see it resurrected and expanded over the years. Keep up the good work! I'm looking forward to the completion of the new Ringways series!

Zap 14 August 2018

Can we have some more ringways please? :D

Phil Deer 14 August 2018

Congratulations Chris and here's to another 17 years (and that pint you've mentioned). I'm chuffed to have had a couple of submissions on the site over the years, my favourite bits are "bad junctions" and the fantasy motorway section, for which I remember designing an M12 from the M25 at Brentwood to Norwich!

Mikey C 17 August 2018

CBRD made no sense at all as a name, but it was curiously memorable! Ah well, I'm sure I'll get used to Roads :-)

Happy Birthday, Interesting logo btw, what's going on behind the car?

Bob 21 August 2018

Happy Birthday!

Was wondering if there are plans down the line to do a feature or few (plus detailed maps) on the various M12 proposals, along with the shelved A11(M) - Lea Valley Route from Stratford to Bishops Stortford as well as unbuilt Stepney Greeting road?

Dec 24 August 2018

The number of times we've seen "Central British Road Database" or "Central British Road Directory" is incredible.

Even the BBC and ITV got it wrong

Belated birthday wishes anyway. Only 1 more year to go and you can buy your own e-drinks

Mark 30 August 2018

Congratulations on your 17th anniversary. LIke the new name, though I had no problem with the old one either.

I've spent many a happy hour here, especially on the Motorway Database. Long may that continue!

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