Road Numbers

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It might not be to everybody's taste, but the subject of road numbering in Britain is surprisingly interesting. No, really! This section explores the alphanumeric designations of Great Britain's roads in detail, covering the way the separate numbering systems work for all-purpose roads and for motorways, how the system was created in the early twentieth century, and some of its curiosities. It also features a very enjoyable account of the numbering scheme, written when it was still something of a novelty.

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Numbers for A and B-roadsNumbers for A and B-roads

From A1 to B9178, the simple and straightforward system that puts every number in its place.

Numbers for motorwaysNumbers for motorways

Numbers for motorways from M1 to M898, and also the confusing question of those Ax(M) designations.

Oddities and anomaliesOddities and anomalies

Numbers that are misplaced, lost, found, recycled, invented, evolved, duplicated, doubted, mistaken or just plain wrong.

How it happenedHow it happened

The process of actually handing all those numbers out, and why it was ever attempted in the first place, is well worth a look.

A day at the MinistryA day at the Ministry

In autumn 1934 a journalist turned up at the Ministry of Transport hoping to gather some information for an article about road numbering. This is what he wrote.