Be­fore sledges gave way to mo­tor cars

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Family Announcements -

The old A2 from Lon­don passed through the an­cient vil­lage of Har­ble­down on the last leg of its route to Can­ter­bury.

This sec­tion of the road was nar­row, hilly and wind­ing. By the 1960s, with ve­hi­cles, es­pe­cially lor­ries, in­creas­ing in size, weight and quan­tity, the traf­fic sit­u­a­tion be­came very dif­fi­cult. De­lays were com­mon, ac­ci­dents fre­quent, and dam­age by ve­hi­cles to prop­erty was a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence.

Re­lief fi­nally came in the early 1970s, with plans to by-pass the vil­lage to the north.

The first pic­ture dates from May 1973 and shows a group of city coun­cil­lors and bosses from the cho­sen con­struc­tion con­trac­tor walk­ing the route of the pro­posed new road be­fore work had got un­der way. Note the sur­veyor’s poles mark­ing out the route of the pro­posed by­pass.

The site cho­sen was Duke’s Meadow, much beloved by gen­er­a­tions of lo­cal chil­dren, and some adults, as a play area – es­pe­cially in win­ter when the snowy slopes pro­vided an ex­cel­lent spot for sledg­ing. The by­pass put paid to such ac­tiv­i­ties.

Hall Place can also be seen in both pic­tures. In 1973, it was home to Jen­nings Print­ers. To­day, it is part of the ever-mush­room­ing Christ Church Univer­sity.

Har­ble­down by-pass opened in 1974 and, ini­tially, pro­vided re­lief only to the core of that vil­lage. How­ever, the road con­struc­tion works con­tin­ued on­wards and in the di­rec­tion of Faver­sham.

By 1975, farm build­ings on the out­skirts of the newly sep­a­rated Up­per Har­ble­down, were be­ing de­mol­ished in prepa­ra­tion for the much more sub­stan­tial Can­ter­bury by-pass.

The sec­ond pic­ture dates from 1997, and shows the steep slopes of the by­pass that, in the in­ter­ven­ing years, have be­come far more cov­ered in trees and shrubs. Hall Place is also de­void of its sur­round­ing, ma­ture ev­er­green trees, which were all lost in the great storm of 1987.

The pro­posed route of Har­ble­down by­pass, in 1973

The by-pass as it was in 1997

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