As far as the buildings are concerned this scene doesn’t appear to have changed very much. However, the signs attached to the lamp post indicate just how much traffic has increased. Before the construction of the Southern Bypass (Grove Road) in the 1930s all traffic from the east wishing to get to the West Country or Southampton went through Basingstoke via London Road, London Street and Winchester Street. Winton Square represented the great divide. Traffic for Winchester and Southampton took Winchester Road and that for Andover and Salisbury went down Sarum Hill - Sarum being the ancient name for Salisbury.
In the earlier picture not a vehicle is to be seen at this critical junction in the highway network – critical since the days when Basingstoke was a major junction and staging post in the horse drawn coach network. This history is evidenced by the large number of former coaching inns in London Street and Winchester Street. The former Wheatsheaf in Winton Square is just to the right of these views.
Basingstoke’s current success as a modern town is, in part, still dependent on its location at critical junctions in the region’s highway and railway networks.