MT 121/135

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London South Wales Motorway: Chiswick-Langley Special Road; Cromwell Road extension to Slough by-pass

Date range1957-1961
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 121


This file is part of a large series (see "links to other files") containing material generated in the run-up to the construction of the M4 from its terminus at Chiswick out past Heathrow to Langley, where it met the Slough Bypass section. This particular file is mostly concerned with the period immediately before construction work began. It is mainly a wealth of correspondence and press cuttings on various topics, but there's some rewarding material here if you dig through to find it.

Contents of note

  • Press notices on the tendering process for constructing the elevated section of the M4 and lots of reports in the press about the start of work. Ernest Marples, then the Minister of Transport, issued a stark warning to stay away while work was going on, warning of traffic congestion on an untold and horrifying scale. There are small diagrams, issued to the press, of the diversion routes the Ministry signposted to let traffic avoid the affected section of A4, which strangely included Brentford High Street.
  • A decision was taken in 1961 that there was no suitable location for a service area on this section of M4 and that the first one out of London would have to be west of Maidenhead.
  • An internal memo suggests the elevated section could only be D2 because of its cost.
  • An interesting correspondence between the MOT and the Royal Fine Art Commission from the period when the Chiswick Flyover was under construction. It was known that the brick-walled ramp at the west end of the flyover would be reconstructed to plug in the elevated road later, and that this would involve building up the tapered brickwork to a level height to support the work. The Royal Fine Art Commission were, it seems, very concerned that this would mean the original brickwork would have several years' weathering compared to the new and may even be of a different kind, and urged the MOT to buy all the bricks it would need immediately and store the spare ones outdoors so that they would be equally weathered when the ramp was rebuilt. This was a level of attention to detail that even had the MOT reeling.

Links to other files

MT 95/309 London-South Wales Motorway (M4): design of Chiswick-Langley section (1957-1960)
MT 95/653 London-South Wales motorway (No.7): Chiswick-Langley; design (1961)
MT 95/654 London-South Wales motorway (No.7): Chiswick-Langley; design (1961-1962)
MT 95/726 Chiswick-Langley: general. Includes 10 photographs depicting: M4 motorway: construction at Chiswick, Brentford and Boston Manor (1962-1963)
MT 95/727 Chiswick-Langley: design (1962-1964)

People with camera copies

Chris Marshall has a partial copy.