To the north east!

Published on 07 April 2022

Time for a trip to the north east, and a journey back in time, with two new additions to our popular Opening Booklets collection.

It doesn't happen so much these days, but in the mid twentieth century, when roadbuilding was the symbol of modernity and progress, proud ministries, councils and builders would often issue a commemorative booklet to mark the official opening of a new road. For many years now we've been collecting some of them and publishing them online - sometimes providing a nostalgic look at places that have changed out of all recognition, and sometimes providing a thrilling glimpse into a world that never quite materialised in the way its planners expected.

Today we're delighted to be publishing two more of them, both in the north east of England.

In 1965, the A1(M) Darlington Bypass opened, removing one of the most significant bottlenecks on the main road connecting Tyneside and County Durham to the other major population centres of England. The book is brimming with pride - and precise lists of equipment and materials - for this landmark road scheme, and includes views of the road under construction. It's a joy.

A decade later, and a few miles further east, we find the book that marked the inauguration of the A174 Parkway to the south of Middlesbrough, a local road opening up new housing developments and improving access to industrial sites whose size and scale are a testament to the huge ambitions for this area. It was completed in 1976, but here you can see aerial pictures of its interchanges under construction, surrounded by the brand new housing estates it was designed to serve, and a description of its bold and optimistic purpose.

You'll find both in our Opening Booklets pages.

Elsewhere on

Opening booklets

In days gone by, new roads were often celebrated with a grand opening ceremony and the issue of a commemorative booklet heralding the exciting new highway. You'll find some of them here, complete with a glimpse of all that empty tarmac and a healthy dose of modernist optimism.



i drive down this motorway only on roadtrips across country its so amazing!!!!

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Published7 April 2022

Last updated7 April 2022