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Ringway 2 (formerly C Ring Road)

Date range1967
LocationLondon Metropolitan Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseFond GLC, subfond DG/PTI/P


This - and all subsequent files in this subfond through to number 64 - contain the GLC's collected correspondence about Ringway 2 from 1967 to 1972, the period in which it was an active motorway proposal. It could, in fact, be described as a record of the inbox of Robert Vigars, who for most of that period headed the GLC's Planning and Transportation Committee, and was the man who let the motorway's planning and became its public face. The paperwork here is almost exclusively about the GLC section of the road - from the A13 to the M4 via South London - though there are occasional references to the North Circular and other roads here too.

There are 17 reasonably thick files of paperwork here, if that's something you'd like to wade through, though the really worthwhile things are few and far between, and the majority of all 17 files is made up of letters from people who want to know if their house is on the line of the motorway, and if it is what the GLC will do about that; replies from the GLC saying either the house is or isn't on the line, and that they will either buy it or they won't; and tissue-paper-thin carbon copies of internal memos recording the decision to purchase houses that were on the safeguarded motorway line.

One astonishing lesson from this series, if you decide to trawl doggedly through it all, is the sheer number of properties the GLC acquired for this abortive motorway project, many bought before the line had been made public at all, and a number purchased in places where they were publicly insisting that no line existed yet. My totally non-exhaustive list, made as I found the appropriate papers, is for 89 houses and flats that were purchased with GLC funds, though in places I was simply flicking past wads of letters and duplicate copies of minutes I'd already seen, and there were undoubtedly more that I will have missed in the sections I skipped through. There appears to have been blanket authorisation to do this where the cost of the property was £20,000 or less, which seems to have covered almost any house or flat in inner London.

You will have to click through all the file pages individually to see what I found in them, just like I had to order and read through all the files individually in six hours of my life that I won't get back.

This initial file contains correspondence from 1 January to 31 July 1967.

Contents of note

  • Some responses of various types to plans of the Wandsworth-Colliers Wood section of R2 that were sent out to what we'd now call "stakeholders" for comments. A July 1967 reply from Wandsworth Borough Council, in the form of a short report, hints at what was in the plans, though of course the plans aren't here. They describe the Wandsworth interchange (R2/Clapham-Wandsworth Link/A3) as "particularly large" and say the GLC had proposed a new local road network surrounding it, such was the disruption to the urban fabric. The Council were considering what uses the huge empty spaces within the interchange could be put to.
  • References to at least 17 properties purchased by the GLC.
  • A petition signed by 5613 residents of Chiswick, against the building of new roads there.
  • An outline plan of the route of Ringway 2, with some alternative options, ingeniously bound into the back of the file in a way that makes it impossible to open out or see.

Links to other files

GLC/DG/PTI/P/05/049 Ringway 2 (formerly C Ring Road) (1967-1968)

People with camera copies

None known.