|Romans invented towns in Great Britain.
The Romans built Britain's first towns. They built towns all over Britain as centers to administer the people they
had conquered. Within 17 years of the invasion, they had several major towns in place. connected by the famous Roman roads.
Towns soon became important places for meetings and trade.
Reconstruction of Roman Sichester
The Roman towns were full of fine buildings and temples.
The Romans liked everything to be organised and orderly. Streets were laid out in neat, straight lines, like on a chess-board. In the middle there was a large square, called the forum. It was used as a market place and for meetings. It had shops and offices on three sides and government offices on the other side.
Many towns had running water and sewers. Aqueducts were bridges for bringing water to the towns.
Only the rich had water piped to their houses; everyone else used water from public fountains. The only toilets were public lavatories, which were built around the town and connected to underground sewers.
Most towns would also have shops as well as the forum. At one end of the forum was a large building called the basilica. There were temples too where the Roman gods were worshipped. Some towns had public baths, an open-air theatre and huge monumental arches.
Throughout their empire the Romans built towns in exactly the same style. They were designed in the form of a grid, with streets built at right angles to each other and parallel with one of the two main roads.
The streets of Roman towns were between five and eight metres wide. Their width depended upon their importance.
Each town had two main roads. One heading North-South and the other East-West. At the point where these roads met was the town centre, where the administrative centre and the forum were found.
The central part of the towncontained the main businesses, with the homes and dwellings of the citizens further towards the edges of the town.
Buildings were made of stone and brick. They were so well built that we have been able to excavate many Roman buildings and even towns.
Corbridge Roman Town as it might have looked and some of its remains today.
The three largest were London, Colchester and St. Albans. Colchester was their main town.
The Romans called our towns different names to what we know them as today.
Verulamium (St Albans)
Every town with a name ending in 'chester' or 'caster' or ' cester' was once a Roman town e.g. Doncaster, Dorchester and Cirencester.
Digging up the Romans
Town life: work, rest and play