Until 1872 the only way from east to west from Hoe Street to Markhouse Road (then called Markhouse Lane) was along field paths. There was a recognised path along what is now Rutland Road and some people say there was another track along the route that is now Queen’s Road – but field paths changed round according to the season and the weather, so it’s impossible to be quite sure where it ran.
The Burial Board bought the land to make Queen’s Road at the same time as buying the ground for Queen’s Road Cemetery. Mr Innes sold the two plots for £5,000 including the standing timber. This was only the land to make the eastern section of the road.
It was decided to make the road surface of gravel – a relatively cheap option. All was ready for the opening day of the cemetery in October 1872. At this early stage Queen’s Road was a private road, intended only for use by funeral traffic.
This was to change over the next twenty years. By the time of the 1881 census there were fifteen households listed in Queen’s Road. Ten years later there were 122.
And ten years after that, in 1901, Queen’s Road West, running between the cemetery and Markhouse Road, had been added. By this time there had been yet another change – about half of the houses in the road were being used as shops. With the development of the surrounding streets, Queen’s Road had become a local shopping street, offering everything from coal merchants to bakers to a piano tuner and a cheesemonger. There was a coffee house at number 19, and a doctor living at number 75.
Queen’s Road’s life as a high street was to continue for over 70 years.