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25 November 2013

All You Need to Know About Cobbles

Cobbled streets and pavements have been a part of British life for as long as any of us can remember, but how did this come to be so, and why were they so popular? Here at Aggregate Shop we explain to you the origins of the cobblestone and how they came to be used throughout the UK in such a short space of time.

 

What Are Cobbles?

The term cobblestone is derived from the English word ‘cob’ which implies a small object that is hard and round; this term is believed to have been used as early as the 15th century to describe stones, bread and much more.

 

The cobblestones that are seen today are not as favourable as they used to be and have been replaced throughout the majority of the UK with tarmac and asphalt roads. Although some of the most famous cobbled streets still remain, one example of this is the cobbled streets of the popular British soap, Coronation Street.

 

 

What Was Their Purpose?

Cobbles were used throughout the UK to create streets, roads and pavements. The cobblestones were used due to their stable, sturdy and incredibly hard wearing nature, although it was not the English that discovered this use for cobblestones.

 

It was the Romans that first began to use cobblestones to pave their streets and roads; they would often send their men and various workers to wade into very cold streams and the edges of rivers to find the roundest and sturdiest pebbles to create more roads throughout the country.

 

The word cobble was later used for any stone that was between 2.5 and 10 inches across, but the stones were not measured. All of the stones were evaluated by eye alone and the roads were not measured either; the roads were put to together like very long and time consuming jigsaw puzzles by hundreds of different people over the span of many years.

 

 

Significant Changes Caused by Cobbled Roads

Cobblestone paths and roads were created long before anybody had thought to invent health and safety regulations, but the use of cobbles did make a significant change to the daily lives of those that were able to sue them.

 

Before cobble stone roads were made there were only muddy paths that were used as roads. The longer that these paths were used for the more treacherous they became as the dirt began to wear away creating potholes that posed a danger to both the people and the horses using the roads.

 

It was the duty of the government and the landowners to pay bills and taxes to repair these roads which would make them safer to use, but the majority of the time they could not afford to. When the roads became too difficult to use trade would stop completely which would leave people without supplies that they desperately needed.

 

By paving the roads with cobblestones it made them much safer and repairs did not have to be made as frequently which meant that trade also increased significantly.

 

Another issue that was partially resolved through the use of cobblestone roads is traffic accidents. Often a horse and carriage or a vehicle could hit a person before they knew what was happening as they did not hear the approach of the horse or vehicle. Cobblestone paths and roads made it so that you could hear anything approaching from an increased distance which decreased the amount of deaths that were caused through road accidents.

 

It’s unfortunate that cobblestone roads have lost favour in the eyes of society but I believe that they will always remain a part of the UK. For more information on installing a cobble path within your garden or as part of your driveway you can get in touch with us here at Aggregate Shop.

Category: News
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posted by Aggregate Shop at 12:15

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