Newgate Lane

The poster-boy of late 20th century change, Newgate Lane has gone from a little track to a chaotic through-route. It was designated the catchy administrative title B3385 in 1935; until this date, it was a barely-known backwater, and its evolution into one of the region's busiest roads has been quite something.

The route starts at the strange flyover junction. This used to be a simple fork with Gosport Road, roughly where the southbound carriageway diverges today. To the west was Cams Alders and in the middle were two properties called Black House, which became Cams Cottages.

The end of the Eastleigh to Gosport railway crossed the road with a narrow arch, and six terraces called Married Quarters were built in the 1920s.

Newgate Lane level crossing (2008)

In 1986 the strange gyratory system was introduced by building a new Newgate Lane, which flew over the top, crossed the railway and then met the old Newgate Lane - now Palmerston Drive - before rejoining its main course. Those who remember the old railway bridge will know it was very narrow, which showed us how wide Newgate Lane used to be.

Level crossings had started to be phased out in the 1960s, and were later banned completely. The new level crossing built here in 1986 was therefore probably one of the last level crossings to be built in the UK. By this point the railway was only being used to serve the depot at Bedenham so the outdated layout was justified by its very little use.

These rail services stopped in 1991, but the crossing still appeared to be maintained until 2008. It's not clear how much use it ever saw; again, it's possible that it was one of the country's least used level crossings, measured from opening to closure.

In 2012 the railway was removed and converted into the busway, Henry Cort Way. This saw the old railway lowered.

In the 1920s two more properties were built at Fort House. These were demolished as part of the 1986 works.

The retail parks and Newgate Lane Industrial Estate started to appear in 1972. Buildings called Newgate Cottage and New Bungalows were demolished to make way for this.

Lots has been written about Fareham's forts elsewhere, but what is intriguing is the fact Fort Fareham was designated for use as a shelter for chosen council staff in the event of a Cold War nuclear attack.

Longfield Avenue was already substantially built by 1952. It was extended westwards, but the eastwards extension took until the 1980s to materialise.

The retail parks at Collingwood and Speedfields were built in the late 1980s, and massively increased the passing traffic along Newgate Lane. Asda was one of the first stores to open, in 1988, followed by the B&M/Focus building.

Since the motorway opened there had been plans for hundreds of retail parks across Hampshire, with the these two forming one of the biggest retail areas. Newgate Lane itself wasn't really upgraded to accommodate these, other than the flyover already mentioned. Sandy's Bungalow became a building called Speedfields.

There were accesses to HMS Collingwood along Hector Road and Royal Sovereign Avenue. According to Ordnance Survey, HMS Collingwood was built between 1932 and 1938, although an official opening date is recorded as being slightly later. In any case, Collingwood gave Newgate Lane a purpose, and the narrow lane was widened and straightened.Before Collingwood there was a farm called Mettles Barn.

The next section down to Peel Common (along the original course) had playing fields on the right and a string of cottages to the left. Sights along the way incuded Peel Farm, The Brickworks, Hope Cottage, Stubbington Corn Windmill. Woodcot Lane and Brooker Lane went through to Woodcot Farm and Brookers Farm which eventually became part of Woodcot and Bridgemary. It was too narrow and was mercifully replaced by Newgate Lane East in 2018.

The Stubbington Gosport Road existed to the west only - to the east was a floodplain until Rowner Road was built in the 1950s. Instead, Newgate Lane gave way at a crossroads, which became the large roundabout in the 1980s. The crossroads straddled a stream into the River Alder, and a pumping station was provided which is still there today.

Users of the modern road to Lee-on-the-Solent may be surprised to know that this was where the journey ends. Very few people would have continued down Broom Way, which was less important than the tiny lanes feeding off it. Broom Way eventually gave up at Chark Lane, with no direct route to Lee-on-the-Solent at all. That's because until HMS Daedalus expanded in the 1930s (now Solent Airport or some other marketing name), the route north out of Lee was Milvil Road, so before Collingwood and before Rowner Road, Newgate Lane had very little to offer.