North East London: study of roads and road proposals; appointment of consultants for the London-Bishops Stortford Motorway, M11
|Location||National Archives (see all files stored here)|
|File base||Series MT, subseries MT 106|
If you go for volume rather than content, this is the file for you. It's enormous. A thicker wedge of paperwork than most, accompanied by the fattest folder of loose paperwork and plans I think I've ever seen at the National Archives. Fill your boots. You could beat a rhino to death with this thing.
In 1964, at the start of this file, the M11 was still planned to run down the Lea Valley, terminating at Temple Mills, just east of Hackney, and tying in to a further route from Temple Mills to Silvertown-ish, called the Docks Relief Road. In Abercrombie terms, this was Radial Route 6. By mid-1964, though, the wheels were coming off that plan because the Lea Valley was increasingly seen as a poor route for a motorway; by the end of the year the MOT was pretty firmly decided on running the M11 down the Roding Valley instead, which is where you'll find it today.
As soon as that decision was made, the M11 project became dependent on Radial Route 7, which was the proposed road out from Temple Mills towards Brentwood on the line of the A12: that would be the M11's route in to London. Because of that, WS Atkins - who were already engaged on design work for the M11 - had their brief expanded to include the section of RR7 between Hackney and Woodford. This was known as the North East London Study.
If you want to know all the administrative details surrounding Atkins' contract for this work, and read the minutes of meetings held between the MOT and Atkins, this is the place to find it. If you want to know anything at all about what they came up with, you will leave disappointed.
In the plans folder there is a remarkable lack of anything that will show you the M11 that Atkins designed. Occupying the bulk of the weight of that massive folder is another hardback file, tied together with white tape, that contains 168 copies of the map accompanying the press release that announced the North East London Study in 1967. I know this because someone has written "168 copies" on it in biro. Next to that, in pencil, someone else has written "what on earth for?".
People with camera copies
Chris Marshall has a partial copy.