M1 under construction

In 1959, Britain had never seen anything like it. Six lanes wide and grade separated for almost sixty miles, the M1 was a sign of things to come for a country still working its way out of the aftermath of the Second World War.

The photographs on this page showing the M1 as it was built appear courtesy of David Jones, who cycled out to the site as a schoolboy to take them. They have never been published before. They are not presented in date order, instead moving from early stages of construction to completion. In reality different structures and sections of road were finished at different times.

An anonymous contributor adds the following information:

"You might find the following interesting — it's a community history project website produced by a local school and contains a potted history of a section of the (old) A5, prior to the Milton Keynes Dual Carriageway section, which ran through what was the village of Loughton.

"We have lots of flyovers around Milton Keynes but the one referred to on this page was, as it says, constructed before MK was thought of and was apparently a prototype for M1 construction. M1 J14 is 3 miles away."

Routes
M1

Picture credits

  • All photographs on this page appear courtesy of David Jones.

With thanks to Mark Wilson for information on this page.

What's new

Go west! New Ringways pages are here

A new set of Ringways pages are now online, looking at unbuilt motorways and road projects west of London.

No smoke without ire

London's Ultra Low Emission Zone has just expanded to cover the whole inner city, and across the UK, other cities are implementing their own Clean Air Zones. Is this the future?

Devon help us

Road signs are colour coded for different types of road, but in Devon there are more colours than anywhere else. What do Devon's colourful signs mean?

Have you seen...

M1 Architecture

The most unique motorway in Britain owes its identity to its fifties architecture. Much of it is in danger of being removed or irreperably altered. This page documents it in detail.