“The Great North Road – Then and Now” is the title of an excellent 2013 book by lorry driver and roads enthusiast, Chris “Wolfie” Cooper.
I suspect many of his loads were not delivered on time. Chris has clearly spent countless hours exploring the nooks and crannies of the A1. His book includes hundreds of photos and sketches, many of them contrasting images captured decades apart. They serve to illustrate the ongoing evolution of the route of the Great North Road: towns and villages are by-passed; new bottlenecks develop and by-passes are upgraded and linked; “ox-bow laybys” and dead-end lanes tell the tales of times past. The economy of the Great North Road also evolves: cars and people proliferate; towns and villages wax and wane; telephone wires, filling stations, inns and transport cafes come and go.
I am grateful to Chris for allowing me to reproduce some examples of his “then & now” images below. They give a flavour of his book which is still available to purchase:
The Great North Road: Then and Now, Chris Cooper, 2013, Pen & Sword Books, ISBN: 9781870067799
Chris has also created a Facebook Page which allows additional pictures and stories to be shared.