The M1 motorway is turning 50. Harold Watkinson, the then transport minister, was there when work officially began on the St Albans to Birmingham route in 1958.
The 72-mile southern section of the road was built by a labour force of 5,000.
Twenty million tonnes of earth, gravel, rock and chalk were excavated to make way for the M1.
Flooding over the autumn and winter of 1958-1959 caused major problems.
The southern section of the M1 was completed in 19 months at a cost of £16.5 million.
Those who helped to build the M1 were taken to work on double-decker buses.
Transport Minister Ernest Marples officially opened the first section of the M1 motorway on 2 November, 1959.
In 1959 there was no speed limit, no central reservation, no crash barriers and no street lights. The documentary M1 Magic, first broadcast on Wed 28 October is available via Radio 4's website, bbc.co.uk/radio4.
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