Stevenage and the Great North Road

First stop for the stage coaches heading north from London – the wide High Street retains a high density of pubs and restaurants.

The Great North Road ran through the High Street until the town was bypassed by the A1(M) in 1962.

The Cromwell is just one of a series of coaching Inns along the High Street. It was once a farm house and home to John Thurloe secretary to Oliver Cromwell.

About Stevenage

The Saxon and medieval origins of Stevenage lie a mile to the west of the current “old town”.  Take time out to walk up the Avenue to the early 12th century church of St Nicholas’ Church (start at the Great North Road sign opposite Alleyne’s School gates).

Alongside the Church is the house where novelist EM Forster lived – and nearby is the setting for Howards End.

Find the Six Hills – burial mounds of uncertain antiquity. These were right by the Great North Road until 1962.

Motor cyclists will want to pay respect to the legacy of Vincent – once the cult bike of the day producing legendary models such as the Black Shadow.

Visitors (other than students of Town Planning History) are unlikely to be tempted to explore the New Town which now dominates.

Explore Stevenage

The images below provide links to additional information either on this website or elsewhere.


Stevenage Then and Now

stevenage high streetStamford - not much changed in 70 years!

Image Credits. Then – 1952 Postcard. Now – Stevenage Urban Transport Plan, 2010

The Battle of Barnet

The Battle of Barnet may sound like a dispute between commuters on the Northern Line but in fact took place in 1471 and some 3,000 people died. It was one of the...

  • E M Forster - Stevenage

E M Forster

The writer Edward Morgan Forster lived at Rooks Nest House near Stevenage between the ages of 4 and 14. His time there had a lasting impact on him. In.....

  • stevenage-six-hills-1895

Six Hills – Stevenage

Alongside the original route of the Great North Road just south of Stevenage town centre there are 6 rounded barrows. There was damage to the Six Hills.....

  • george brown

George Brown

George Brown was test rider for Vincent in their heyday and in 1961 took the Standing Start Kilometre World Record for up to 1000cc machines with an.....