LSE Library Archives 2002-11-14

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Arrived about noon. Requested five folders: 8/52, 6/18, 5/14, 8/6, and 8/1. 8/6 actually an archive box, not a folder. 8/1 slow in coming since it contains prints and negatives, and apparently stored separately. Found the new strategy of using a separate, detachable keyboard works well, although when it's plugged in the laptop keyboard is nonresponsive (bad design!). More key travel, more silent, and no problems with abrupt relocations of the cursor due to accidental brushings of the L mouse button.

Tentative attempt at a contents list (5/14 was requested last time and is mostly London-Cardiff Road material, but transcript of contents got "juted" when I ejected the PCMCIA card without thinking--boredom is dangerous, especially when combined with random curiosity).


Not all that much here, and apparently none of it worth P.

1918? Chart of Union Castle Steamers, showing Africa with colonial boundaries.

1910 municipal street plan of Jo'burg, on linen.

Correspondence regarding RJ's inclusion in S African Who's Who

Correspondence with author regarding possibility of war in Europe (1938)

Distribution list for 'Roads in Undeveloped Countries' (another RJ publication?)

African World, n.d. (though reverse side of cutting indicates Sir Robert Williams, builder of a railway from SA to Belgian Congo, was made a baronet in the NY's Honors 1928), regarding "Brussels to Cape Town by Motor" (via Kenya), an expedition made by Reserve-Lt. Hubert Carton de Wiart.


Spare copies of London-Cardiff route map as proposed by RIA, built as dual carriageway, continuing route of Western Ave out of London (A40), and going to Cardiff via Chepstow, Wootton-under-Edge, Tetbury, Cricklade, Stanford in the Vale, Whanney, Sutton Courtenay, and Shillingford. It is about midway between the Bath Road (current A4 alignment) and A40/M40.

River Severn Development Association, 'Annual Report', 1936-37.

Same, 'Severnside: an industrial survey', n.d. but making reference to car and CMV ownership in the Severn valley. For all that, not P.

RJ letter to Geoffrey Smith, 25/11/1935, regarding Severn bridge dream. P.

Wallace E. Riche, general letter to Severn counties regarding Severn Bridge (on behalf of RIA), 2 pp. P.

Gibb to Rees Jeffreys, 3/4/1935. Severn barrage dead, but Ministry inclined favorably to the bridge. However, does not want to commit to location, and wants Gloucestershire to propose a scheme. (Problem: previous letter from Riche indicates Severn bridge is a regional need, best served by one located downriver, rather than a purely local Gloucestershire/Monmouthshire need, which has hitherto prevented the bridge being built.) P.

Robert Brodie to RJ, 12/9/1935, nominating possible Bristol advocates for a Severn bridge. Key point: advocate must not be perceived as servant of civil engineering interests.

More correspondence, including question of depositing copies (for a charge) of the Gibbs plan in Gloucester public library, and free copies for Monmouth public library.

Guardian cutting, 16/12/1935. Text reproduced here in full.


A mixed reception

A Parliamentary bill to authorise the construction of a road bridge across the Severn at English Stones is being promoted by the county councils of Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire.

A plan for bridging the River Severn before Gloucester was put forward as early as 1845 and was taken up by the Admiralty. Several schemes followed, and in 1929 the building of a bridge was suggested by the Chepstow Urban District Council. Had it not been that the Severn barrage scheme (to generate electricyt and to carry a road) was then under consideration this scheme might have gone through.

The present scheme is for a bridge to cross the river just south of the existing railway tunnel at English Stones. It is here that the trvellers in stage coaches used to cross the river. The nagivable channel at this point is 900 ft wide and is known as the "shoots." At low tide the rest of the river-bed dries. The western approach of the proposed bridge is in Monmouthshire, while the eastern end is so far to the south of Gloucestershire that only a small area of the county's traffic would be tapped. The plan has now taken on a national aspect, and the traffic which the bridge would benefit would come, for the most part, from farther afield, as from London, from Bath, and from Exeter, while trding facilities with South Wales would be opened to Southampton, Plymouth, and Portsmouth. In South Wales, besides the advantages of increased trading facilities, it seems likely that there would be a considerable increase in the volume of holiday traffic to the seaside towns.

But the building of the bridge, while benefiting some districts, might have the reverse effect on others. In Gloucester, for instance, it is being said that the only advantage to the city would be a decrease in the volume of traffic and therefore in the cost of the upkeep of the main roads from Gloucester to London, Gloucester to Chepstow, and Gloucester to Bristol, and possibly also a decrease in the cost of reconstruction which would have been necessary owing to the increasing traffic on these roads. Gloucester people, however, do not think that the saving in this direction would offset the financial burden that the building of thebridge would impose on the rates.

Seven miles of new approach roads

Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire would benefit by the increasing rateable value of the land at the two approaches to the bridge, where a scheme of roadmaking and reconstruction would be undertaken. The roads which would lead to the proposed bridge are now mere lanes, offshoots of the main Gloucester-to-Bristol and Chepstow-Newport roads. The site can be reached by turning left about one and a half mile past Chepstow. This road leads to Sudbrook. The roads approaching it are rough, and a fifteen-mile speed-limit is in operation. A notice also states that "This road is unsafe and therefore closed to vehicular traffic." This is because of the insecure state of the banks. There are two such approach roads; the first ends at the Great Western Railway Severn Tunnel pumping station and the other at the Black Rock Lighthouse. Owing presumably to the bad state of the roads, cyclists in these parts ride on the railway tracks. It has been estimated that when the bridge is built about seven miles of approach roads will have to be constructed on both sides of the river. The prsent road through Chepstow is both narrow and steep. The bridge over the Wye and the old Norman gateway higher up in the town can take only single-line traffic. Although a large proportion of the traffic for the bridge would travel through Chepstow, the surveyors say that there is no immediate need for a new bridge in the town, so they have not included it in the estimate of the cost of the whole undertaking. Such a bridge, however, would be necessary if the traffic through Chepstow increased to any considerable extent, as it undoubtedly would.

Opinion in Gloucester is turning against the scheme, for not only would the rates be increased but the city would lose its importance as the most southerly point at which the river can be crossed by cars. The earlier plan to bridge the river above Sharpness would have been of advantage to Gloucester in joining the manufacturing districts round the city with the coalmining area of the Forst of Dean. The Ministry of Transport, however, would not be prepared to help a scheme of so purely local a nature. Fears are felt that the trade which at present comes by water to the port of Gloucester to be sent by road to South Wales would in future go the shorter route by the new bridge. The authorities of several of the Severn ports believe that the great number of piers which the bridge is to have will upset the currents and tides and raise new shoals or silt up the channels. The member for Gloucester (Mr. H Leslie boyce) has said that theprojected bridge "can only be fraught with peril, injury, and even disaster to the city of Cloucester," and his opinion is apparently shared by a good many of his constituents.

Article signed D.G.C.

There is a map--it shows Severn bridge proposed location up of Bristol, down of Chepstow.

[file summary ends here, will be resumed later--Severn Bridge coming out of my ears]

Requested an additional file, 8/16. This contains mostly material RJ received in response to an inquiry regarding American highway progress, addressed to Thos H MacDonald. Inquiry covered roadside development issues.

File list:

July 1934. Model state enabling act empowering state highway departments to construct and maintain freeways and parkways. 10 pp. P. Discusses New York parkways and Pulaski Skyway as design examples, 'sui generis' for location but attempts to identify common traits.

Letter to RJ from Westchester Co Park Comm.

Median neutral strips in multi-lane Highways. Division of Design, US BPR, August 1936. 4 pp. P.

MacDonald, "Looking toward the highway future," paper presented to AASHO at 7/12/1936 meeting in SF. 17 pp. P.

US BPR, Division of Design, January 1936. The transplanting of large shade trees and larger sizes of nursery-grown plant material as a part of roadside development work. 18 pp. all, 11 text.

Wilbur Simonson, "Roadside Planting," 7/1936 issue of 'Landscape Architecture'. Simonson ws the BPR's senior landscape architect. 4 pp. P.

Simonson, "Roadside development and control in its relation to safety," 4 pp., P.

US BPR, Division of Design, "A resume of progress in roadside improvement," 6 pp., P. 7/1936.

27/11/1936 letter to RJ from McD listing pubns enclosed.

4 pictures' worth of SFOBB West Span porn. photographer of record is Julie F. Goss, 500 Sansome St, SF, Calif.

Explanation of California Toll Bridge Authority, apparently forwarded by CH Purcell, 15/12/1937 (but there is no cover letter).

Map showing roads of Mexico: planned, built, projected, by maintaining agency etc. Mex 16 via Coyame just a dream; Juárez-Chihuahua built, but apparently only as a one-lane road.

Correspondence between RJ and ARBA (now ARTBA), mostly about statistics and RJ's request for the 1937 proceedings volume.

Guide for a BPR filmstrip (no. 415), "The country roadside restored," prepared by WH Simonson and GB Gordon.

Blue-on-white plans sheets (MacDonald called them "whiteprints") produced by the "cooperative Erosion Research Project" and giving typicals for roadway cuts and fills, slopes, flattenings, ditches etc etc. Some interesting info--P but not high priority.

Continuation of 6/18.

Handbill for "London-Cardiff Road Committee" of the RIA. RJ was a member, as was the organization general secretary (Riche?).

Interesting letter between RJ and DJ Vaughan, living at the Ridgeway, Newport. RJ: "I do not think Gloucester's opposition will count for much. It is so purely selfish."

Letter from RJ to Worthington, n.d. BUT written before 27/11/1935 and after 12/11/1935. Text as follows:

Dear Mr. Worthington, I am glad to have your letter of 12th September and to know that you are interested in the proposal for a new bridge across the lower Severn and that you are prepared to do anything you can to forward the scheme.

For the moment events wait upon themeeting convened by the Gloucetershire County Council of local authorities to be held on 27th September at Gloucester. Much will depend upon the guidance given to that meeting by Sir Frederick Cripps, the Chairman of the Gloucestershire County Council.

I have made several attempts dating from 1909 onwards to get a road bridge built across the lower Severn. None of them came to fruition because of the unwillingness of Gloucestershire to take the initiative. Until quite recently the strong recommendation of the Commissioner for the Depressed Areas together with the encouragement of the Ministry of Transport has changed the situation and I hope that Parliamentary powers will be obtained by Gloucestershire in the next session of Parliament to build the bridge. It will take four years to construct.

If Gloucestershire again fails, I think there are three courses open--

1. For the Minister of Transport himself to build thebridge. He has powers under Sec. 8 of the Development and Road IMprovement Funds Act, but the Treasury have always placed a veto on the exercise of these powers.

2. That a Regional Council be set up to carry out work affecting the area of more than one county; or that such powers be given to the Commissioner for Depressed Areas. Or

3. That it shall be made practicable and profitable for private enterprise once more to build arterial roads and bridges and promote a bill which will satisfy (1) Minister of Transport (2) the local authorities and (3) the traffic organisations.

The easiest course is for Gloucestershire to take theinitiative, and if you have any influence with the County Council, I hope you will exercise it in that direction.

Yours truly


Another RJ letter:

5th October, 1935.

Dear Mr. Vaughan,

I am now in a position to answer your five questions. My information is that Sir Frederick Cripps and the Gloucestershire County Council have definitely decided to go on with the scheme if they get a 75% grant from the Road Fund. The only issue for consideration is whether the whole of the balance shall be paid by Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire out of County rates, or whether half shall be paid out of County rates and half by tolls, as to which see the answers to your questions.

1. [i]Differences in estimates[/i]. Apart from the fact that estimates for a private authority are usually more closely estimated than for public authoirties, the difference between the two estimates are due in the main, so far as I can see and without having a technical report before me, to the following--

(A) Increased height of the Anderson bridge required for navigation purposes.

(B) Increased cost in the Anderson scheme to permit the Barrage scheme being carried out at a subsequent date if so desired.

(C) Additional cost in the Anderson scheme due to the main piers of the bridge being in a position to enable them to be examined under all conditions of the river.

(d) Provision for a double-track road.

2. Under present conditions, the two Councils, subject to Minisry supervision are thebest people to handle the job when it comes to erection. There is no practical alternative.

3. You cannot hope for 100% grant under present political conditions. If there is a change in public policy in the distant future under another Government, it is inconceivable that the local authorities would be permitted to administer 100% grants.

4. You can accept any estimates by Mr. Arthur Collins, the financial expert. He is the last man to be influenced by any local pressure.

Broadly speaking, if the local authorities pay 25% of the cost between them, it will cost only about 3d in the rates. If they insist upon part of this being reduced by instituting tolls for half the county contribution, the rate would be reduced to about 2d. It really isnot worth it, especially as a large proportion of the tolls would have tobe paid by people living in Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire.

I hope, therefore, so far as your influence goes, it will be in favour of a free bridge, providing the Government contribute 75% of the clost. If the Government reduce their contribution, and they may do so if the total sum available for grants throughout Great Britain is not sufficient to give Cloucestershire and Monmouthshire such a large sum as the scheme requires, then the question of tolls and contributions by outside authorities would have to be considered; but so far as your weight goes, please be dead against tolls or contributions from outside authoirities if the scheme can be financed on thebasis of 75% grant from the Ministry and 25% contribution, not exceeding 3d in the £ by Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire.

5. According to the best advice I can obtain, the Barrage scheme is both dead and buried.

Yours very truly,

Diary for tour taken around Wales by RJ and sister Edith in autumn 1933.

Description: City of Cardiff, Orbital Road (Western Avenue). 40 ft carriageway with 9" concrete surfacing. 7/10/1933. P.

Town Planning Institute, country meeting at Cardiff, Motor Tour. Saturday afternoon 7/10/1933. Mentions the Cardiff western bypass and also the Wenvoe bypass, constructed of concrete 60" wide. P.

"Roads and Bridges." Another 1 p. propaganda special from RJ, advocating trunking, and adding novel arguments--government can use trunk roads to initiate land settlement schemes (New Towns) and long-distance pipeline utilities.

RJ's memorandum (present in other arterial road files as well) advocating central initiative to build Lond-So'ton, Lond-Cardiff, B'ham-Birkenhead, Lancs (mersey) to Yorks (Humber), as unemployment relief projects. 6 pp. P.

RJ: an essay advocating London-Cardiff road, as a mechanism for employing surplus Welsh miners, making possible their resettlement, etc. 3 pp. P.

RJ: letter to the press regarding 27/9/1935 Glos. CC meeting on Severn Bridge. Probably best to type it in.



My attention has been called to a letter to which Press publicity has been given addressed by the Clerk to the Gloucestershire County Council to the various local bodies which have been invited to a Conference at Gloucester on September 27th for the purpose of discussing a proposal for a bridge across the Severn.

It is all to the good that a Conference has at length been called by the County Council, and it is hoped that all invited local authorities will attend and register their approval of a bridge across the Severn and pledge themselves individually and collectively to use their utmost endeavours to obtain early Parliamentary sanction for such a bridge.

It would be of doubtful wisdom, however, for that Conference to express itself in favour of any particular scheme, whether that prepared by Messrs. Mott Hay & Anderson which has not yet been published, or that prepared by Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners to which wide publicity has been given. Obviously these or any other schemes of an authoritative character require technical examination by the very capable engineers of Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and Glamorganshire as well as by the County Surveyors of Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire. In the event of any difference of opinion the decision as to which is the best must rest ultimately with the Minister of Transport who will be called upon to provide the greater part of the money.

It would be well perhaps to put on record the reason why two reports by distinguished firms are available to the Conference.

The RIA first proposed a bridge over the Severn in 1909. Further attempts were made either by the Association or by myself personally to get a bridge constructed in 1912, 1920 and 1929; but they all failed to make progress because of the unwillingness of the Gloucestershire County Council to move.

In 1931 the RIA prepared a more ambitious scheme showing a bridge and new road connections to London and to the Bath Road, and caused it to be exhibited at the Ideal Homes and Building Exhibition at Cardiff. That scheme with many others was sacrificed on the altar of National Economy.

In the current year we have made a sustained effort to get the bridge scheme into the region of practical politics. We were aware of the importnce the Commissioner for the Depressed Areas attached to it in the interests of South Wales. We knew also that the Minister of Transport was benevolently disposed to any well considered scheme which could be financed within the limits of the funds at his disposal. We were also advised that the Gloucestershire County Council had set up a Committee to consider the subject.

RJ, 25/7/1935, RIA press release describing "RIA Activities. New Severn Bridge." P.

5/14: contents list is deferred until a later time. This is because it comes wrapped in linen tape, and there is not all that much valuable stuff in it.

8/6 is a treasure trove of publications, many of them from Dr. Todt himself. Ignoring most of the correspondence, we will focus on the primary source materials.

Statistiche Ungaben über die 2. deutsche Verkehrszählung vom 1. Oktober 1928 bis 30. September 1929. This gives traffic and haulage statistics disaggregated by province, town, state, etc.

Die Reichsautobahnen: Principles of Design and Construction. Edited by Volk und Reich Verlag on behalf of the Inspector General of the German Roads. 1936. Basically, an English translation of the official Reichsautobahnen description. This describes technical standards, but is probably not a technical manual per se. 30 pp., but definitely P.

Biblio references:

Richtlinien für Fahrbahndecken (Specifications for Roadway surfaces)

'Strasse' magazine no. 4, 1936. (Another Volk und Reich Verlag pubn.)

A series of notes or technical advisories: "Merkblatt".

Merkblatt nr. 1. Die landschaftliche Eingliederung der Reichsautobahnen (Landscaping of Autobahns)

Merkblatt Nr. 21. Gestaltungsaufgaben (Problems of Form Giving)

Also has interesting descriptions, accompanied by pictures, of the Autobahn work camps.

Papers which don't really belong in here: materials RJ received from George Pepler, his Min of Health contact, regarding the Second Arterial Road Conferences (1916). (First Arterial Road conferences were held in 1914. These were 2 rounds of conferences sponsored by the Local Government Board.)

Other material, of not much interest, which has to do with traffic statistics. But then there are two maps:

Traffic count maps from Saxony state.

Karte A shows tonne-km along major corridors. The biggest and busiest ones are among Leipzig, Dresden, and Chemnitz.

Karte B shows traffic counts (AADT?) along the major corridors.

Both maps are "bar type"--ie bars are widened to correspond to traffic volumes. Both maps disaggregate into PT, private cars, and freight vehicles. Same symbolism (red for private cars, blue for freight vehicles, etc.) used throughout.

Maps cover period 1928-29.

And a road map for Saxony, strikingly similar to Ameican ones with road numbers appearing in little circles etc. Both this map and the preceding traffic flow maps prepared by Staatliche Sächsische Strassen-Baudirektion (ie the road maintaining agency for the state of Saxony).

And there is a preprinted blank book, called a 'Zählbuch', which looks vaguely like a trucker's logbook but is more probably a traffic census taker's book because the cover has blanks for writing the street name, and the inside has room for writing different vehicle classes. Not clear whether it has provision for writing down origins and destinations.

Translation: Act for the creation of an imperial motorways undertaking. 27 June, 1933. Worth transcribing (the original is clipped to the translation--apparently it was published in full at the time).

The imperial government has passed the following act, which is hereby brought to notice:

1. The German imperial railway company is empowered to establish a subsidiary undertaking for the construction and operation of a revenue-producing system of motor roads under the title of Imperial Motorways. The Undertaking is a fully recognized corporate body, and its registered office is in Berlin.

The motor roads are to be highways exclusively reserved for use by mechanically propelled vehicles.

3. The Imperial motorways undertaking has the exclusive right to construct and operate motor roads.

4. The supervision of the Imperial Motorways vests in the Imperial government.

5. The imperial chancellor appoints an Inspector General for German Road Administration. This officer will determine the location and layout of the motor roads. The German Imperial Railway Company is repsonsible for the administration and organization of the Imperial Motorways.

6. The German Imperial Railay Company appoints advisers to act in a consultative capacity with respect to the planning of the motor roads.

7. The imperial motorways undertaking is empowered to charge tolls, subject to a tariff approved by the imperial minister of transport.

The inspector general of German Roads determines the construction plans after hearing the views of the local authorities. His approval of plans comprises the final decision regarding all interests affected by the cheme.

For the execution of these functions, the imperial motorways undertaking hs compulsory powers of land acquisition. The provisions of paragraph 38 of the imperial railway act as interpreted by the decree of the 13th March 1930, and by the third order for the provision of employment dated 16 May 1933, are applicable.

10 The empire assumes the supreme administrative powers in so far as the motor roads are concerned. The imperial government issues the regulations affecting the construction, the operation and the traffic on motor roads.

11. To ensure conformity in the planning of the provincial highway system, the inspector general of German roads has the right to demand from all highway authorities the submission of plans for the construction and improvement of provincial highways. The inspector general of German roads has the right to intervene in the case of all building projects which might affect the construction and development of the imperial motorways undertaking. The effet of this intevention is that all works planned by the highway authorities must take second place. There is a right of appeal conferred upon highway authorities against this intervention. A decision upon the appeal rests with the German government, after hearing the highway authorities affected.

12. The Imperial government issues the requisitie provisions for the due execution of this Law.

Berlin, 27 June, 1933.

(signed) Adolf Hitler, Imperial Chancellor.

(signed) van Eltz.-Rübeneck, Imperial Minister for Transport.

And there is an old gazetted copy of the 'Strassenverkehrsordnung', with insert giving basic regulatory and warning signs but no direction or information signing. (The insert is similar to the NSKK road book later published.)

'Die Reichsbahn'. pp. 602-608 has an rticle, in German, by Dr. Theodor Kittel (Berlin) explaining the implications of the autobahn ordinance.