MT 106/195

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Central Hampstead redevelopment scheme: effect on North Cross route

Date range1963-1967
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 106

Thumbs up.png This file is truly delightful.
It is likely to bring a smile to your face, probably because it contains the sort of thing that makes trawling through dusty archive documents worthwhile. The thing in this file that makes your day might actually have nothing to do with its subject matter.


This is one of those files that appears, at first, to be completely tedious, but which demonstrates the vital importance of plodding through to the end even if the first three quarters make you fall asleep.

It concerns a site earmarked for redevelopment in West Hampstead - the site where the O2 centre now sits, on the A41 Finchley Road. In the early 1960s this was something called the Central Hampstead Redevelopment Scheme. There is a lot of paperwork here but nothing that actually describes what was proposed, other than the obvious fact that the Borough Council wanted to build something or other there. The majority of the file is a conversation with Travers Morgan, the consultants employed to design the North Cross Route, about whether the motorway plans would affect this development.

So far, so dull. Then - suddenly - MT 106/195 produces a reward for making it all the way through this insomniac ramble; a big archive-trawling cake on which to gorge yourself, having gone hungry for so long. It's a large A1 plan sheet, undated but produced by the London County Council (given the file dates, that would make it 1963 or 1964) and titled "Suggested Motorway Pattern". It's a basic outline map of major roads in the former LCC area with a motorway network sketched on it. It shows:

  • North Cross Route on a different line, following the Euston Lines instead of tunneling under Belsize Park
  • West Cross Route as we already know it
  • South Cross Route on the same line as later, but with a different pattern of junctions
  • A new road from Dalston to Brockley forming the east side of the box, via Stepney, Rotherhithe and New Cross Gate
  • East Cross Route via Blackwall shown as a secondary road, not a motorway and not part of the LMB
  • Additional links and spurs not found in later plans, including a continuation of the Balham Loop to join the A205 east of Tulse Hill

This tells us a great deal about the development process for what became Ringway 1 and answers a lot of questions about why some aspects of the London Motorway Box - and in particular the incongruous East Cross Route via Blackwall - are the way they are.

People with camera copies

Chris Marshall has a partial copy, including that nice map.