The streets of London were once paved with wood, and in a few places, echoes of that little-known period of road history can be seen – such as at Waterloo.
The road behind the old County Hall – Belvedere Road is largely tarmac, but in a few places, patches of the old wooden road can be seen underneath the tarmac.
It seems that the wooden setts (unofficially cobbles) were deliberately preserved, unlike the majority of the rest which were usually burnt for fuel in the post-war rebuilding of London.
They’ve been visible for some time, popping up in a 2007 conservation document from Lambeth council that notes “the roadway is paved with timber setts and terrazzo; a feature worthy of retention.”
While there are small patches to be found in places, mainly in old manhole covers that haven’t been replaced, this is the largest chunk of original in-situ paving that I’ve seen.
Would be nice if there was a description board put up to explain the history and why there are wooden “cobbles” in the road.
Worth a detour if in the area to see though, and point out to friends as you show off your impeccable knowledge of London.
More about the time the streets were paved with wood here.
Location map and local interesting places
- 1] Wooden setts in the road
- 2] A 17th century prison doorway
- 3] Garden Museum clock tower
- 4] The Great Storm tree
- 9] Florence Nightingale Museum
- 10] Southbank Centre
- 11] Banqueting House
- 12] Jewel Tower
- 13] Household Cavalry Museum
- 14] Churchill War Rooms
- 15] Benjamin Franklin House
- 16] Imperial War Museum
- 18] SOE Memorial