LSE Library Archives 2002-10-24

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Arrived at LSE around noon (had some trouble finding, had to use London streetfinder and campus map. More complex than delineated either on streetplan or map). Registered, requested Rees Jeffreys files no 25/25, London and South Coast Motorways press cuttings book and scrapbook, 16/1, 25/10, and 8/42.

Main aim of this research visit was to find out what the collections have with respect to motorway precursors such as German autobahnen and Italian autostrade; a subsidary goal was to find out more about Rees Jeffreys the man. Obviously very cultured, as evidenced by his steady stream of visits to art museums in the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark; a good dinner-conversation specialist; but also given to positive judgments on people of different nationality (journal of Mexican travels comments unfavorably on reliability of Mexicans and local sanitary arrangements; conventionally British criticisms also made of Americans, e.g. the difficulty of having productive conversations re institutional arrangements, blindness to the apparently fascistic aspects of the Roosevelt administration). Diaries are terse in character, reflecting a high value placed on economy of expression and possibly discretion (also suggested by numerous lacunae, which suggest the diaries were prepared afterward, from notes taken at the time or possibly memory, and Rees Jeffreys planned to fill in lacunae with the appropriate facts after he had verified them; but a few suggest info deliberately censored). Mexico trip made in company with "Miss" Edith Rees Jeffreys (probably a spinster sister rather than wife), but Germany trip seems to have been made alone. Mexico trip included southern US and lasted for two months; Germany trip included Netherlands and Denmark and lasted for 1 month.

Following are file descriptions (precis of contents and assessment of whether they are worth copying).


Book, 'Autostrade' across cover, 'Motor-Roads and the "Milan Lakes."' on inside, text largely in English. English quite good but nature of abbreviations--Coy for Company, etc.--suggests prepared by native Italian speaker working at almost native-language fluency in British English. Richly illustrated by photographs. Discusses the planning, construction, and geometric design characteristics of Piero Puricelli's original network of 'autostrade'. Main features: single carriageway, wide formation, solid white traffic stripe down center, petrol stations in laybys, traffic stripe bifurcates at major bifurcations which are also at level (no grade separations). All other roads except autostrade on same system are grade-separated. Traffic signing very simple: rectangular signs, either BoW or WoB, supported on zebra posts. typical legends: "BIFORCAZIONE," "TENERE A LA DESTRA," etc. Pictures show sections in cutting and on fill. Showpiece arch bridges across Olona river, Olgiate Olona tunnel. Authorship: Piero Puricelli, 1925. Discusses future autostrade proposals, incl Naples-Salerno (different autostrada company) and Rome-Ostia (again, different company). WORTH COPYING (c 43 pp)

Reprint by Rees Jeffreys: The Italian Autostrade: shall special motor roads be built in Great Britain? Railway v Road Intersts. REport by Rees Jeffreys. WORTH COPYING (c 10 pp). Goes into some detail re the controversy over the PIARC resolution (at Milan congress, 1926?) advocating building of motorways.

Modern Transport, 18/11/1933. Highways in Italy: functions of the road board. From a correspondent. Shows map of ANAS network.

Modern Transport, 4/11/1933. New Italian roads: genoa to Milan. A short blurb.

Roads and Road Construction, 1/11/1932. Blurb announcing imminent opening of Florence-Pisa autostrada.

Undated, uncredited. Blurb re Florence-Migliorino Autostrada of N Italy.

Times, 20/4/1932. Blurb re building motorways as unemployment relief.

Misc correspondence between Rees Jeffreys and various Italians requesting information about autostrade; nature and extent of the network; enabling legislation for ANAS; amortization of initial capital through tolls/state takeover; etc.

Ufficio tecnico Puricelli. Sistemazione della rete stradale di 1a classe. Riassunto generale. RElazione. Very short document setting out proposed high-level principles for ANAS-maintained network. Best part is the map, with colored lines showing Italian trunk road system.

Pio Calletti. Le Strade da Roma imperiale all'Italia Fascista. Calletti was a DG of ANAS under Mussolini; c. 25 pp. This book is richly illustrated with figures and plates showing autostrade and strade statali built or improved under Mussolini, designed to showcase ANAS engineering achievements. Best part are the pictures.

Four negs (unfortunately, held in place with plastic paperclip, and now quite decayed), taken from the opening of the Brescia-Bergamo Autostrada. Accompanied with Daily Teleg article, 26/8/1931.

Copy of PIARC Vth Congress (Milan, 1926) resolution re "Roads specially reserved for motor cars," containing conclusions by the general speaker Grand Uff. Avv. Michele Carlo Isacco (MD of traffic & ports, Min of PW, Rome).

Surveyor, 17/9/1926, with Rees Jeffreys' explanation of why Britain/US abstained from 1926 resolution.

Blizard: couple of articles on "roads specially reserved for motor cars." Blizard an important figure (principal exec) in company organized to build Lond-Brighton m'way and other failed m'way proposals, on essentially same x-section as early autostrade, but with 5 traffic lines.

Blizard, roads specially reserved for motor cars, Transport Mgmt, Jan 1928

Blizard, GP, the first forad built for motor traffic only. Manch Guard Comm.

Some info on proposed Madrid-Irun motor road, mostly correspondence between RJ and Horace Wyatt, and also RJ and Juan Montojo y Knight (?)

No apparent author. L'Autostrada Bergamo-Milano. 28/10/1927. Anno VI. Italian text; describes construction, with numerous construction photographs, pictures of Puricelli and principal engineers/planners. Pictures of the showcase arch bridge being built (archshaped wood form for pouring the concrete).


RJ's account of the Mexican trip. Day-by-day narration, stops in Trinidad, Jamaica, Florida, AL, MS, LA, TX, Mexico (DF, Cuernavaca, and Acapulco). Dec 1936-Feb 1937.


RJ's account of the NL - D - DK - D trip, combined with a PIARC conference at The Hague. June-July; year lost, probably 1938.


Motorways mostly in this folder--mainly maps showing locations of proposed motorways and lists of stretches and costs, mostly based on 100' wide ROW assumption. Position paper (v short) by County Surveyor's society--only 2 pp.

RJ, apparently: Road finance. report and recommendations. 10/1936.

Lancs CC. WORTH COPYING. Special report of the highways and bridges committee. Authorial voice is noticeably Drake's: also shows interchange typicals, cross-section typicals, Preston-to-Westmorland and Warrington-to-Preston route proposals. 10 PP.

Wolverhampton-Birkenhead Road costings. 75 miles, total cost £3.8m, 4.8% ROW acquisition.

A National Road Scheme. Mr. E L Leeming's proposals. 2 pp. WORTH COPYING.

", MR RJ's proposals. 14 pp. OWRTH COPYING.

King George v Highway: London-Glasgow. 4 pp. WORTH COPYING.

10/33: London-Cardiff Road. 4 pp. OWRTH CFOPYING.

5 pp: County Surveyor's Press release/map/posn paper re motorway plan. WORTH COPYING.

Chertsey Road nn typed up by RJ. 1 pp. WORTH COPYING.

complete file descriptions end here

16/1 partial

Pub Rds, vol 25 no. 4 June 1948: the German Autobahnen issue. COPY.