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Roundabouts

This summer, a group of protesters camped for 17 days on a roundabout in Leek resisting the council’s plans to replace it with a set of traffic lights. The group fought to save the landmark, which was given¬†iconic status by the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society in May 2011, until they were issued with a possession order this week.

The group encapsulate the British love of the roundabout; a¬†truly British concept, the 10,000 roundabouts in the UK are not only an essential traffic management system but provide a space for gardening, sponsorship and sculpture. They become town landmarks and one protester commented that the Leek roundabout in question is a “real work of art.”

While roundabouts are a common sight in many European and former Commonwealth countries, they are much less common in the United States. Americans are known to be wary of them – remember National Lampoon’s European Vacation featuring Lambeth Bridge roundabout?

Origins of the roundabout are unclear, with Letchworth Garden City claiming to be the owners of Britain’s first roundabout, dating from 1905.

Image credit: ZapTheDingbat

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