Duke of Bedford's Estates, Upper Woburn Place Gate,
In 1755 a petition was put before Parliament for a new road from Paddington to Islington, the idea being to make east-west communications easier. Business for those living in Marylebone but needing to get to the City would be greatly helped, avoiding some of the more unsavoury areas of Holborn, Clerkenwell and Smithfield.
Opposition was led by the Duke of Bedford, who had land north of Bloomsbury, through which the road would run. One of his concerns was having his view of the Highgate Hills ruined by development along the road.
The New Road was built between 1756/7 from Edgware Road to Paddington. Soon the various City connections were enhanced by an entirely new private enterprise, City Road. This opened as a toll road in 1761, "has a foot-path on each side, is well lighted, and is indisputably the finest road about London." Even the Duke of Bedford, the arch critic of the New Road, built his own private road secured by gates and keepers, to connect Bedford House from Southampton Row to the convenient new route.
The silver passes that gave leave to travel the Duke's private road were greatly prized. David Garrick solicited for one in 1760.
Bronze examples were for tenents.
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