Stories and People of the Great North Road

What makes this road GREAT is the people, their changing lives, their beliefs, their battles, their knowledge, their technology, their trade, their communication.


Emperor Hadrian

Emperors, Kings, Queens, Lords, Ladies, Scientists, Bankers, Businessmen, Craftsmen, Labourers, Bandits, Serfs, Slaves. They’ve all had connections with the Great North Road. We will try to bring a few of them to life.

The Coach Road 

London Coaching Inns -Angel, - Hogarth - 1747

The development of the stage coach and the postal service were central to the history of the Great North Road during the 17th and 18th centuries. Take a look at how these innovations came about and how, alongside new road building technologies, they helped transform communications.

Business and Trade

richard hornsby tractor 1907

Roads are always about business and trade. New technologies, businesses and economic priorities stimulate development of roads. Roads in turn open up new business and trade opportunities. There are plenty of examples to be found within the history of the Great North Road.


Through the medieval period it is arguably the church that was the greatest stimulus to long distance travel. Religious wealth and influence was great. Cathedrals and other religious houses were spread widely across the country. They held large tracts of land and they attracted visitors from afar.