8. Memories of the construction of the Ring Road
Ken recalls the construction of the Ring Road, which went almost past his door:
“I think everybody knew it was gonna happen, but when it did I don’t think people really went close enough to take a look at it to see what was going on. We all knew what was there before, which was a lovely road, you know – two or three roads coming up along and then the London Road. Bank Holidays, in the latter days, it was always solid all the way from the market … so I s’pose there was a need for the road. But it did cut that big swathe through the Greencroft. And main thing I can remember is all these houses being knocked down. And they literally did it in one big swipe …. you had part of the town cut off all of a sudden because you had barriers, you couldn’t get up there while they were working and digging, and the mess and chalk. Oh well then, we are in a chalky area…dust and dirt and chalk and bulldozers and diggers. It took some time before you could see exactly what it was gonna to look like. Along the London Road, opposite Estcourt Road, you see there was one, two, three…four bungalows, nice bungalows, nice houses in there. It just cut it right in.. and then you see the top of Milford Street, ‘cos they took the old wooden house down. Such a pity that was. Was a lovely building. It really was.
London Road ….. right opposite us Park Street and there was a couple of nice bungalows, set back……they were cleared out. And then there was another couple down the other way. It went into what is Rampart Road now. It went into that bit because Greencroft came right up to that corner and then the corner went down round and under the underpass into Winchester Street. That was the road. It was quite a bit knocked down when you think about it. Further on down it’s Tollgate Road and all that there. Rampart Road, it really got annihilated.
A lot happened in the whole of that area when that was done, and the Friary was built.
So that area’s changed… that whole area from the roundabout at Colley’s right the way through is dramatically changed to what it was. But it all happened in a short period of time, and now it’s a job to remember what was there”.