Saturday, 5 November 2016

A direct hit from HMS Belfast?

As we fiddled our way through the northern suburbs of London on the A1, or the Great North Road as it used to be called, we stopped at a green space which declared itself to be Scratchwood. Now, I had only ever heard of Scratchwood in the context of the M1 motorway services but Scratchwood was part of the great Middlesex forest dating from the last ice age. 

Scratchwood Open Space
It has been variously managed since that time for rearing game, raising timber oak, supplying coppiced hornbeam and even as hay meadows to provide the fodder for the horse population of London.

To the south of this wood is the motorway service station which is now called London Gateway and if you have ever visited it you might wonder why the access road is so convoluted. The reason is that it was designed as the roundabout for Junction 3 which was intended to link the M1 with the A1 but was never built.  So the M1 motorway has no Junction 3; the numbering jumps from 2 to 4.

And another interesting fact about Scratchwood Services is that the Royal Navy's heavy cruiser HMS Belfast  which has been moored in the Thames near Tower Bridge as a floating museum since 1971 has its forward 6" guns targeted on... Scratchwood Services.

Which made me wonder if this unfortunate car had suffered a direct hit?

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