A6 is a measurement of paper size. The A6 is a road which runs for over 300 miles from Luton to Carlisle in England. Creative partnership Asbury & Asbury has brought the two together in the form of a notebook, its first product in a new series of items dedicated to the British A-roads…
From The Canterbury Tales to Jack Kerouac and Will Self’s musings on the British motorway, travelling by road is closely linked to creativity and inspiration.
But Britain’s A-roads have perhaps been rather overlooked in this regard, supplanted from their position as the country’s main arterial links when the high-speed motorways came along. The very first A-roads – A1 through to A6 – radiated out of London (in a clockwise direction), while the A7 to A9 spun out from Edinburgh.
In his foreword to the A6 Notebook, the significance – and mystery – of this particular A-road is addressed by social historian, Joe Moran. “A-roads serve as the road system’s unconscious,” he writes, “often stretching for miles without being signposted or acknowledged, disappearing into street names and getting caught up in one-way systems but still always there, connecting up different areas of our lives serendipitously.”
The notebook itself is blank (as you’d expect) but there are footnotes on each page marking various A6 destinations and points of interest (two shown, below). The studio has also included an introductory essay on the road, while the notebook’s cover features an image from a journey made on a lovely stretch near Dove Holes in the Peak District.
Starting out in Luton, the A6 goes through Bedford, Leicester, Loughborough, Derby and Matlock and on to Bakewell, Buxton, Stockport, Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Chorley, Preston and Lancaster, before moving through Kendal and Penrith and finally to Carlisle. Along the way it is known by more than 60 different names.
Since first conceiving of the idea of pairing a suitably-sized notebook with its matching single-digit A-road eight years ago, Asbury & Asbury have been taking photographs of six roads – the A3, A4, A5, A6, A7 and A8 – while on trips away (a mock up of what the full series might look like is shown above).
The studio plans to tackle the A5 next – the 181 miles from Marble Arch in London to the Port of Holyhead in Wales.
The A6 Notebook will ship from July 1 and is available to order for £11 (plus P&P) from asburyandasbury.tictail.com.