Every day, modern commuters drive beneath this nearly 2,000-year-old Roman archway. They pass through a portal believed to be the oldest arch still used by traffic in the United Kingdom.
Originally, the opening allowed Ermine Street, a Roman Road, to pass into what was then the town of Lindum Colonia. It was built to mark the establishment of the “colonia,” a self-governing settlement for retired legionaries in the third century.
Their wall encased the city, though now little more remains than a few fragments. The inner wall of the once-impressive fortified gatehouse managed to survive throughout the centuries, as did this arch, which originally let horse-drawn traffic pass through. Next to it there’s a smaller portal, one of two pedestrian arches that originally flanked the main opening.
Modern travelers still pass beneath the old stones, though they’ve traded in carriages and buggies for a different sort of horse power. Unfortunately for the archway, these speeding cars and enormous trucks may eventually be its downfall.
In 1964, a truck hit the arch while passing through it and caused extensive damage. This has been completely restored, though other oversized vehicles have since also struck, gotten stuck in, or otherwise damaged the opening throughout the years.
Visit England with Atlas Obscura Trips
London Science Weekend: Medicine and Science in the Press
Join New York Times Journeys and Atlas Obscura for three days of scientific learning, special access and exploration in London. Accompanied by Times journalists and scientific experts, meet people contributing to the history of medicine and scientific journalism. This two-track program includes panels, exclusive visits and access to some of the best scientific minds available to concentrate on science reporting or medical history.