Almost the whole of the UK has heard of
it but few know about it. It has been the butt of many
jokes, Has a book entitled North of Watford Gap by John
Brown, been written about in poetry and sung about by Roy
Harper and also the players of Liverpool F.C. It is home
to Britain's first ever motorway service station, the
legendary Blue Boar Cafe. This less than likely rock and
roll hangout was a thriving meeting point for any
London-based musicians driving home from a shows or
concerts. The service station recently celebrated its
50th anniversary prompting a huge party on the site and
this film from BBC Northampton, Watford Gap, the Musical, based on the
stories and memories of people who have been part of
Watford Gap services.
Although the gap is only 400metres wide, this is not a regular occurrence.
Please contact me if you are the owner of this picture found on the internet.
Northampton Heights is a hill range stretching from Brackley in the south of the county to Rockingham Forest in the north, following the northern boundary of the county. The Heights are part of the Jurassic System, the line of limestone hills that stretch from Yorkshire to the Dorset Coast. The Gap is a natural break in this range that is only 400 metres wide. Since time long forgotten, it has been a main pass between the north and south of Britain. The Romans exploited it and made it an important route to travel between London and Wroxeter in Shropshire. They called it Watling Street but now it is more commonly known as the A5 and the Gap has always been a crossing point from as early as the 16th century on the stagecoach route.
traditionally it has served as a major connecting route
for the midlands and the southern counties and continues
to do so today. Within that little 400m wide, four mile
long chink in the Heights, there nestles four major lines
of communication. The A5 road, the West Coast Main Line
railway, the M1 motorway and a branch of the Grand Union
Canal, all traversing the gap in parallel.
you’re a Londoner when ‘going south’
means south of the river, and ‘the north’
starts at the Watford Gap", states the now
famous advert seen on the London Underground. Watford Gap
is named after the nearby village of Watford, however
this is often mixed up with the much larger Watford found
further down the M1. Southerners claim that there is no
culture or sophistication north of Watford Gap, and
northerners claim that humour, humility and humanity
cease south of the Gap.