The blog

Roads Were Not Built for Cars (this one was built for horses)

Road built for carts, not cars

This is Hanover Street in Newcastle upon Tyne, close to the Quayside, and once lined with bonded warehouses. The road was constructed in about 1841. Most of the road is made up of small granite setts but, to aid horses pulling heavy carts up the steep hill, there are large, smooth granite baulks, laid as ‘cast ways’.

This system was provided for the traffic travelling up the steep slope of the street.

Hanover Street, Newcastle

Here’s an archive photo of the cast way from 1971.

043336:Hanover Street Newcastle upon Tyne City Engineers 1971

Many of the bonded warehouses – built by Amor Spoor from 1841-1859 – are now gone (some were gutted by a large fire just a few years ago) and in their place there’s a new upscale housing development. Cars are prevented from parking (too long) on Hanover Street by double yellow lines but the thermoplastic road paint doesn’t adhere very well to the small granite setts.

I can confirm that cycling up the hill is very much eased with the granite ‘tram way’ and, downhill, it’s a blast. There’s a similar road on a rise in Richmond, leading up from the River Thames.

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