The M1 motorway connects London to Leeds, where it joins the A1 near Aberford, to connect to Newcastle. It was the first inter-urban motorway to be completed in the UK; the motorway was constructed in four phases. Most of the motorway was opened between 1959 and 1968 but the southern end was extended in 1977 and the northern end was extended in 1999, it forms part of the unsigned European route E13. There had been plans before the Second World War for a motorway network in the United Kingdom. Lord Montagu formed a company to build a'motorway like road' from London to Birmingham in 1923, but it was a further 26 years before the Special Roads Act 1949 was passed, which allowed for the construction of roads limited to specific vehicle classifications, in the 1950s, the country's first motorways were given the government go-ahead; the first section of motorway was the Preston Bypass in Lancashire, now part of the M6 motorway, which opened in 1958. The M1 was Britain's first full-length motorway and opened in 1959.
The early M1 had no speed limits, no central reservation or crash barriers, no lighting. The first section of the motorway, between Junction 5 and Junction 18, opened on 1 November 1959, together with the motorway's two spurs, the M10 and the M45. Parts of the Hertfordshire section were built using steam rollers; the M1 was inaugurated from Slip End, celebrated by a large concrete slab on the bridge next to the village, with inscription "London-Yorkshire Motorway – This slab was sealed by the Rt Hon Harold Watkinson M. P. – Minister of Transport – Inauguration Day – 24th March 1958". It was relocated, during widening works in 2007–08, to the eastern side of junction 10; this section of the M1 broadly follows the route of the A5 north-west. It started at the Watford Bypass, which runs south-east to meet the A1 at Apex corner, ended on the A5 at Crick; the M10 spur motorway connected the M1 to the North Orbital Road where it met the A5 and, 2 miles to the east via the A414, the A6, which subsequently became part of the M25.
Although the whole of the first section opened in 1959, it was built in two parts, with the northern part being built by John Laing and the southern part being built by Tarmac Construction. The continuation of the motorway from Junction 18 towards Yorkshire was carried out as a series of extensions between 1965 and 1968. Diverging from the A5, the motorway takes a more northerly route through the East Midlands, via Leicester, Nottingham to Sheffield, where the M18 splits from the M1 at Junction 32 to head to Doncaster; the M1 was planned to end at Doncaster but it was decided to make what was going to be the "Leeds and Sheffield Spur" into the primary route, with the 11-mile section to the A1 south of Doncaster given the separate motorway number M18. From Junction 32, the motorway passes Sheffield, Rotherham and Wakefield, reaching the original end of the motorway at Junction 44 to the east of Leeds. There were plans to route the M1 from just south of Junction 42, where it interchanges with the M62, round the west of Leeds to the A1 at Dishforth.
The chosen route passes to the east of Leeds. With the M62 and M621, the M1 forms a ring of motorways around the south of Leeds. In 1972, an extension of the M1 was opened into central Leeds as the Leeds South Eastern Motorway, where it met the Leeds South Western Motorway coming north-east from the M62 at Junction 3. In July 1972, the UK Minister for Transport Industries, John Peyton, announced that 86 miles of UK motorway prone to fog would benefit from lighting in a project that "should be" completed by 1973. Sections to be illuminated included the M1 between Junctions 3 and 14, between Junctions 16 and 24. In August 2011, the Highways Agency announced that, despite being converted to Smart Motorway status, the lights will be switched off on stretches of the motorway between Junctions 10 and 15 without affecting road user safety; the motorway junctions and their approaches, a section of the M1 on either side of Junction 11, would have lighting columns replaced and remain lit. All lighting columns from Junctions 10 to 14 were removed apart from some on slip roads.
An increasing official interest in secondary safety was evident in an announcement in March 1973 that work would begin shortly on erecting "tensioned safety barriers" along the central reservation of a 34-mile section of the M1 between Kegworth and Barlborough. Between 1996 and 1999, the M1 section north of the M62 underwent a major reconstruction and extension to take the M1 on a new route to the A1 at Aberford; the new road involved the construction of a series of new junctions and viaducts to the east of Leeds. When the new section of M1 was completed and opened on 4 February 1999, the Leeds South Eastern Motorway section of the M1 was re-designated as the M621, the junctions were given new numbers: M621 Junctions 4 to 7; the M1 was extended south towards London from its original starting point at Junction 5, in three stages. The first stage, opened in 1966, took the motorway south-east, parallel to the A41, to meet the A5 at junction 4 south of Elstree; the second phase continued east to Scratchwood (the London Gateway Service Area occupies the location of the missing junction 3 from where an un-built spur would have connected to the A1 at
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The Star of Bengal was an iron three-masted 1,877 GT merchant sailing vessel built in Belfast in 1874 by Harland and Wolff Industries, the shipyard that constructed the Titanic. Although built towards the decline of the Age of Sail, the Star of Bengal was operated for 24 years by the British trading company J. P. Corry & Co; the ship was used on London-Calcutta trading route, but made a few voyages to Australian and American ports. By 1898, following the formative change in the shipping industry, J. P. Corry sold its sailing fleet. On the other hand, merchant shipping along the United States Pacific Coast was experiencing a boom triggered by Klondike and Nome gold rushes which intensified the colonization of the Pacific Northwest, spiked the demand for both passenger and cargo shipping in the area; as a result, the Star of Bengal was purchased by a San Francisco trading company J. J. Smith & Co. and, along with many other old European vessels, was taken around Cape Horn to the Pacific Ocean. J.
J. Smith conducted an overhaul of the ship and re-rigged her from a full-rigged ship to a barque, aiming to decrease costs of her operations. J. J. Smith operated the Star of Bengal for 7 more years for grain and coal trade; as the steamships were pushing sailing vessels out of business, the trading company could no longer operated her for profit, in 1905, the Star of Bengal was sold to Alaska Packers' Association. This company was in business of canning Alaskan salmon, using its sailing ships for a single voyage a year: a spring sail from San Francisco to one of its Alaskan canneries with seasonal workers and supplies, followed by a return trip in early fall with the workers and a load of canned salmon. On September 20, 1908, in the beginning of her return trip from Fort Wrangell to San Francisco, the Star of Bengal was in tow into the open sea when she encountered a storm; the ship struck the rocks near the shore of Coronation Island and sunk, killing 110 of 138 people aboard. The Star of Bengal's captain, Nicholas Wagner, who survived the wreck, publicly blamed the tugboats' captains for the event, but after months of federal investigation, nobody was held responsible.
As of 2015, the wreck of the Star of Bengal remains in the top five worst maritime disasters in Alaskan history. Captain Wagner's daughter, Joan Lowell pursued acting and literary careers, which led to the Star of Bengal's portrayals in fiction; the Cradle of the Deep, the third best-selling book of 1929, contains an embellished account of the wreck. A melodramatic play Star of Bengal written by Thompson Buchanan and produced by Christopher Morley is set on the ship; the Star of Bengal was built by the shipbuilder Harland and Wolff Industries in Belfast, Ireland in 1873–1874. 1873–1874 were the years when the construction of three-masted iron ships reached its zenith, during these years, the shipbuilding industry produced a series of fastest ships in this category, the Star of Bengal being one of them. Constructed as two-decks three-masted full-rigged ship, in 1898 the Star of Bengal was re-rigged as a barque, her gross tonnage was 1877, net tonnage 1694, tonnage under deck 1684. She was 262.8 feet long, 40.2 feet wide and 23.5 feet deep, designed to be operated by a crew of seventeen.
The ship could load 2,530 long tons of deadweight cargo on a draught of 21 feet 3 inches. The Star of Bengal had 9-inch-deep bar keel, her poop deck was forecastle 42 feet long. The ship's moulded depth was 25 feet 3 inches with freeboard of 5 feet 2.5 inches. She was constructed with 3 cemented bulkheads, but after her overhaul in 1898, only one bulkhead remained in service. Overall, the ship's hull required 200 long tons of stiffening; the Star of Bengal was ordered by the shipping company J. P. Corry & Co. headquartered in London. At the time of her launch, on January 3, 1874, the Star of Bengal was the largest vessel in gross tonnage in service of J. P. Corry & Co. but in December 1874 she was surpassed by the 1,981 GT Star of Russia. These two Stars remained the company's largest sailing vessels; the Star of Bengal's maiden voyage began on April 25, 1874 when she sailed out of London to Melbourne continued to San Francisco, returned to Liverpool. The company's sailing vessels operated three main trading routes, linking London with Canada and Australia.
The Star of Bengal remained on the London-Calcutta route with occasional visits to Melbourne and Valparaíso. The ship's average time for London-Calcutta-London round-trip was 7 month and 24 days, the shortest 7 months and 2 days, the longest 8 months and 14 days. John Smyth was the Star of Bengal's first captain, he remained at this position for eleven years, until 1885, when he took command of another company ship, the Star of Erin graduating to commanding large company steamers and earning an unofficial title of the commodore of the Star fleet. In 1885, William Legg became the next Star of Bengal's captain. During the ship's 1886 voyage to Calcutta, the Scottish maritime novelist, George Cupples, sailed as the Star of Bengal's honorary first mate; the ship arrived to Calcutta on August 19, 1886, shortly after her arrival, the captain broke his leg. Under the circumstances, 63-year-old novelist assumed the command; the Star of Bengal was about to leave India and to sail out of Garden Reach when on September 25, the steamship Gulf of Mexico collided with the moored Star of Bengal resulting in a month of repairs.
Cupples could sail out on October 26, bringing the Star of Bengal back to London on February 1, 1887. Upon arrival, Cupples yielded the captain's position t