Not always, and there are many examples: Camp Road in the vicinity of the blue bridge was a new line for the road when the little railway was brought through the district. George Marten, in the 1850s, thought that his private drive, now Marshals Drive, should be reserved for his family and guests. Unfortunately, many "ordinary people" used it as a short cut between Sandpit Lane and Sandridge Road. The impertinence of it! He decided the most realistic solution would be to build a public lane beyond the edge of his property. The new road began life as New Road but was later changed to Marshalswick Lane.
Railways have been known for other diversions as well. The same little railway, between St Albans and Hatfield, had to cross a lane near Colney Heath Lane at a steep angle; carts and pedestrians need to see oncoming trains, so a crossing point needs to be perpendicular. In the 1860s the railway company therefore diverted a short length of road in Hill End Lane far enough to build a safe crossing at right angles to the line.
|This footpath passes behind home to reach Ashley Road and|
was formerly known as The Ashpath.
The former meandering lane was almost lost, but survived when the railway siding into the hospital grounds was built on the firm road bed in one section; and the only part to survive until today is the new Bramley Way.
There is another former remnant about which all of us will be quite unaware. From one of the junctions with the old Hill End Lane (now under houses along part of Sovereign Park) there was another lane striking out westwards. Today any remains lie under a warehouse and then under the access road of Brick Knoll Park, nearly opposite Cambridge Road.
|Bramley Way is the only part of the earlier Hill|
End Lane which is part of today's road network.
Anyone who recalls Ashley Road (The Ashpath, or Cinder Track as it was also known) in the 1950s, will remember the old clay pits being fenced off. Part of the fencing was a tall wide (at least it was tall and wide to a ten-year-old) double gate, next to which were the brick workers cottages.
So this un-named and forgotten lane, probably always a very narrow private one, finally achieved some recognition when it was awarded the name Brick Knoll Park when the warehouses and other businesses arrived in the 1970s. Maybe the footpath behind the Camp Road houses towards the former hospital entrance, became the public pedestrian access to Hill End Lane to prevent public use of the private track.
Of course, that is only one explanation, but without a close study of a wide range of available maps no-one would ever know that the existence and layouts of some our lanes had been altered with time.
While the 1860s are rather early for photos of the former route of Hill End Lane, it is a pity that that no-one thought to take photos of The Ashpath, a wide track which many of us keep in our memory. If I am wrong, and there is a photo lurking somewhere, hopefully including the brick workers cottages, do please email.