Old Kent Road, SE15

Place Name

Directional. This is the principle road that leads from the City to Kent via London Bridge, which until the 18thCentury was the only River Thames crossing in the capital. It has always been an important ancient route, originally as a Celtic trackway that was paved over by the Romans. For the occupying force its importance soared as it linked London with Canterbury and the Channel ports and it was recorded as Inter III on the Antonine Itinerary, a survey of the Roman empire’s roadways. The Anglo-Saxons knew it as Wæcelinga Stræt (Watling Street). It was later known as Kentsret around 1330 and Kentisshestrete in 1482. It was down this road that Geoffrey Chaucer’s pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales traveled down.

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