Mr Lenthall on why there’s a kink in the road on Six Hills Way

“when we were building Six Hills Way, the nice straight direct line which we wanted for our customers ran over the northernmost of the six hills, and, Eric Claxton, who was the Chief Engineer at that time, went to the Ministry of Housing and Planning, and suggested that we should remove the sixth hill.”

Stevenage Museum

Transcript:

When we were building Six Hills Way – which is the east/west road that runs just to the north of the six hills, and connects the large part of the housing areas with the industrial area – when we were building Six Hills Way, the nice straight direct line which we wanted for our customers ran over the northernmost of the six hills, and, Eric Claxton, who was the Chief Engineer at that time, went to the Ministry of  Housing and Planning, and suggested that we should remove the sixth hill. They said “Ah, it’s an ancient monument. We’re not really sure you can do that.” So he said “Well, all right then, what happens if I get a large steel sheet and push it underneath the sixth hill. Then I’ll haul it round and stick it up the other end of the line. You’d still have your sixth hill, and I’ll be able to have my straight road, you see.”  And they said, “Oh, we’ll, we’ll have to consult the, the monuments people, ancient monuments people.” And they were horrified; they said, “Oh no, under no circumstances must you touch the sixth hill.”  So Eric said to them, “Well, I don’t understand this because anybody who inspects the six hills will see from the depressions on the top of these hills, they’ve been rifled.” “Oh,” they said, “We know this. They’ve been rifled a number of times in centuries past. People have explored the six hills. But what people don’t appreciate is that in order to create the six hills originally the ancient people dug a ring ditch. They threw the soil from the ring ditch into the centre which made the mound. Now, ditches are places where human beings like to throw all sorts of rubbish, and that’s gone on through the centuries, and as the rubbish has been thrown in the ditch, so the ditches have silted up and eventually they’ve filled up completely and disappeared, and nobody has explored the ditches, and we can’t afford to lose perhaps something priceless which is hidden in those ditches.”  So we had to put a kink in the road.

Lenthall 1986

This page was added on 21/10/2015.

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