MT 39/392

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IMPROVEMENT AND NEW CONSTRUCTION: Improvement at Hyde Park Corner, London

Date range1925-1947
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 39


My notes on this file are scarce but begin with the observation that "this file is enormous". It certainly is - a proper doorstop. I have stopped short of marking it a waste of time, because it isn't, but I wouldn't describe it as a very good use of your time either.

In the first half of the twentieth century, Hyde Park Corner was generally held to be the busiest junction in London (and, according to at least one account in this file, the world - in those days we had an Empire, you know, and weren't likely to let Johnny Foreigner beat us at anything). This file deals with the Ministry of Transport's handling of it from the creation of the MOT through to the end of the Second World War.

Large parts of the file date from the 1920s, dealing first with a scheme to provide more space for traffic entering and leaving Hyde Park (which at the time had to pass through three narrow arches in the ornamental gateway) by cutting a new opening in the park's perimeter - this was ruled out as an intolerable act that would deface the handsome entrance to the park and was not carried out. There is then an experimental scheme to introduce gyratory working at the irregularly shaped junction, circulating traffic around some of the oddly shaped traffic islands and closing a road through the middle of the junction. This was done, and seemed to improve things a bit.

There is then a gap before apparently the file was reopened again a decade or so later. The next part contains miscellaneous bits of correspondence that would fit much better in MT 39/352 as it concerns Bressey and Lutyens' plans for a rectangular roundabout at the junction.

Finally, the back of the file contains a thick wedge of plans in no particular order and of no particular significance, from schemes for modifying the white lines painted at the junction of Piccadilly and Hamilton Place in the late 1920s, to suggestions for altering the shape of traffic islands or installing refuges, to a colour drawing of Lutyens' plans for the centre of his roundabout, to an early draft of the late 1950s scheme for widening Park Lane and remodelling Hyde Park Corner which shows more or less what's there now.

Links to other files

MT 39/351 HIGHWAY DEVELOPMENT SURVEY (GREATER LONDON): Hyde Park Corner Tunnel (1936-1938)
MT 39/352 HIGHWAY DEVELOPMENT SURVEY (GREATER LONDON): Hyde Park Corner: surface lay-out (1936-1938)

People with camera copies

Chris Marshall has a partial copy.