Montague Street, Worthing - Wooden Blocks© Martin Snow
In the days of horse drawn transport and before the advent of
'metalled' road surfaces, it was often the practise
to use closely laid wooden blocks in high status areas to reduce the mud etc from the otherwise unmade roads.
When later road construction techniques became available, these blocks were usually just covered up
with successive layers of tar and stones.
In some areas the blocks were lifted and sold for various uses, the materials used being hard wearing,
the later tar would have impregnated them making for a good fuel source!
In some areas where there were Tram tracks in the road, the operators had a statutory duty to maintain the road for
a certain width, often this area would be paved with wooden blocks leaving the remainder of the road unmade.
Modern residents are often surprised to see the blocks appear
when the modern highway authority have
to strip the damaged surface back to a solid foundation. The surface then reveals the history of repeated
repairs, where no effort has been made (nor needed?) to replace the blocks.