A5/Central London - Brockley
|From:||Marble Arch (TQ278809)|
|Meets:||A40, A402, A4202, A4209, A501, A4205, A404, A5205, A4003, A407, A406, A504, A4006, A5150, A5109, A5100, A410, A41, A5183|
|Old route now:||A5183|
|Route outline (key)|
The mighty A5 starts at Marble Arch in London. The arch itself was designed by Nash, and built as the main entrance to Buckingham Palace. However, when the palace was extended in the mid-19th century, the arch had to go and was moved to its current location in the corner of Hyde Park, on the site of Tyburn gallows. The streets in the area mainly form a grid pattern, but Edgware Road, the start of the A5, sets off at a jaunty angle to the north-west.
The A5 continues through Kilburn, although it is usually rather slow progress due to all the traffic. We pass over the delightfully-named Shoot-Up Hill, and through Cricklewood, The Midland main line railway joins us to the east, running parallel with the A5 until St Albans, and over the next hill we reach Staples Corner and find the latest pretender to the A5's crown, the M1, which we shall encounter several times on our route. The A5 itself flies over the North Circular Road as a two-lane dual carriageway; slightly incongruous given the low quality of the route through many of the suburbs we have been passing through. This flyover achieved a sad notoriety in 1993, when it was blown up by the IRA.
West Hendon and Edgware loom large on the A5 now, and gradually the traffic lights thin out. Suddenly, the houses stop—welcome to the Green Belt—and we climb Brockley Hill, which was the site of Sulloniacis Roman camp.
Soon afterwards, we cross the M1 (without a junction) and meet the A41 Watford bypass at a roundabout. However, if we try to follow the A5 north of here we are stumped: it disappears into thin air. The A5 fell victim to a spate of renumberings in these parts in the 1970s and 1980s.