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The M1

1131 of 1160 nominations


The M1

Is this an icon?


The M1

“In my view motoring on the motorway takes all the agony out of driving on an ordinary road. It is the most relaxed form of driving there is.” This is Mr Gibbons, speaking proudly in 1959 about the motorway he has just helped to construct – the M1, running the 72 miles from Aldenham to Rugby. It was the first long-distance motorway in England and heralded a new era of excitement about car travel. The original stretch of the M1 had no speed limit, no central reservation, no crash barriers and no motorway lighting – just how relaxing would driving under those conditions be, Mr Gibbons? Maybe you could unwind by breaking your journey in England’s first motorway service station at Watford Gap? Unfortunately, the buildings weren’t ready on time so food was served from temporary sheds! Even so, a little glamour has now attached itself to the M1: the motorway itself and its service stations have featured in countless films and even in songs. But can you name any of them?


Your comments

the first motorway in Uk we actually went to it on a friday night to try some speed as in mph and eat a greasy bun at watford gap. it was a revolution in travelling by car.

julie welsby

Here's a really reactionary view for you - I will celebrate the day there is grass growing on the lanes of the M1! Motorways, interchanges, etc have done more to ruin England in the last fifty years than anything else I can think of. Rail is the only sensible and environmentally friendly form of inland long-distance transportation. So no - it is not an icon of England.
John Rivers-Vaughan

Motorways aka: Autobahns, German!

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I nominate the red pillar box.

Donna Spencer