Piece of Worthing history uncovered during road resurfacing works

A fascinating insight into Worthing history was uncovered during road resurfacing works in the town centre.

Under the ground, wooden blocks were revealed, likely to date back more than 100 years. These type of wooden blocks were historically used to reduce the sound of horses’ hooves in the days before cars.

Most of the old road showing in Montague Street has now been covered up with a new road surface but there is still one large pothole at the end of Gratwicke Road where the wooden blocks can be seen.

Beneath the top layer is a clear line of bricks and alongside them are the squishy remnants of the wood.

Wood block paving was a road surface that required skilled labour and a fairly high initial cost.

This surface consisted of wood blocks made generally from jarrah or yellow deal, impregnated with creosote to prevent them from absorbing water.

The blocks were usually 3in wide, 5in deep and 9in long, though smaller sizes were also available. They had to be placed on a concrete foundation, with adhesive or fine bedding between the blocks and the concrete.

Channel courses were laid using two or three rows of wood blocks, laid parallel to the kerb using either a hot adhesive to provide an expansion joint or a layer of fine sand.

The wood block paving was sealed with bitumen and the surface then sprayed with bitumen and covered with chippings, which would be brushed off 48 hours later.