The advent of motorised vehicles in the 20th century meant that more traffic was using our roads, many of which were still the width that they had been created in the middle ages.

Most of the streets of central Romsey were very narrow as they had been for centuries, although in 1910 the main roads had been surfaced with tar macadam.

Bell Street was and is particularly narrow, with no room for expansion without demolishing the buildings that line each side.

By the 1920s the problems of Bell Street had become acute.

A badly parked car would mean that buses could not travel up or down the street. It is said that passengers would be asked to move the car onto the pavement if the driver could not be found.

The town was carrying traffic from Winchester to the New Forest and Bournemouth so saw many tourists passing through, along the Hundred, through the Market Place, down Bell Street and out along Middlebridge Street and then back again on their return journeys.

Hampshire County Council decided that something had to be done and a Bypass was planned to the south of Middlebridge Street, one of the earliest in England.

The line was decided upon and land acquired from the gardens of property in Middlebridge Street and the north part of Broadlands Park.

At that time part of Banning Street lay to the south of the Tadburn Lake and the residents were rehoused in new houses in Mill Lane.

In addition, several houses at the western end of Middlebridge Street were demolished including the Blacksmith’s Arms which faced Middlebridge. Bartlett’s almshouses were demolished and the inhabitants moved to a newly constructed building in Abbey Meads, where they are to this day.

One effect of the Bypass was to isolate the lodge by the gates to Broadlands although its address is still Middlebridge Street.

The new road linked up with an older road that ran east from Palmerston Street. The iconic Lombardy poplars were retained and cherry trees were planted to brighten up the new road, thus Romsey Bypass came into being in the 1930s.

During the Second World War it was occupied by American soldiers, so not then used as a public road.

Meanwhile all was not well with Middlebridge. This had been built in the 1790s and was sufficiently curved to give a view of Broadlands House from the Causeway.

However a humpback bridge was a traffic hazard, so the bridge had to be remodelled with a lower crest and it was largely rebuilt at the same time as the Bypass was created, although it still looks much the same as its predecessor.