National Archives 2003-03-20

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MT 39/556

Some priority is being put on getting through this file as it has to be returned to Conservation—for retagging, etc. So some notes and direct quotes will be taken now, but the aim is not to go through this file comprehensively just now.

• Memo, TG Newcomen to FC Cook, 1/12/1941, about Motorways. Newcomen responds to a suggestion by FCC that motorways would divert only 25% of the traffic from existing parallel trunk roads, by pointing out that 33% of the traffic going through Dunstable (census point location) also goes through SW Coventry (another census point location), 42% if only truck traffic is considered, and the lack of a census point near Weedon does not show the amount of traffic leaving the trunk road, following the non-trunk part of A5, and rejoining the trunk road N of Birmingham, which would be attracted to a motorway in the London-Birmingham corridor if a suitable feeder road were provided near the A45.

• Minute, also by TG Newcomen, suggesting “lines of approach” in considering motorways. Outlines economics (effect on other forms of transport, effect on interchange of goods [door to door] and movement of persons, cost of provision and maintenance, cost of road vehicle operation, effect on land utilization, and employment value of constructional work), road safety, national defense, social life of urban and rural communities, national planning, amenities and aesthetics. Handwritten note adds fillip to motor industry, effect of severance on agriculture (facilities for transport).

• 15/12/1941—TGN to FCC, mentioning a project undertaken at DRE level to compare the cost of various bypass projects if built as AP or M, and enclosing a memo on how the comparisons should be made.

• TGN’s memo on how the comparison should be made. Every effort to compare like with like: purposes of bypasses must be served despite restriction to mechanically propelled vehicles, and the bypasses should not incorporate lengths of existing road as this would make access control using the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act difficult. However, memo does not exclude totally the possibility of bypasses permitting some degree of frontage access being used as comparators. 4 pp, 12/1941.

• “Comparative estimates of all purpose and one purpose roads.” Several drafts. First draft 8 pp. Second draft 9 pp, of which one p is a pencilled sheet of comments. The comparators include Maidstone BP, St Albans BP, N-S road in Cheshire, N-S road in Lancashire, LB road, London-Liverpool road.

File then includes correspondence on costings for specific bypasses. A page by HE Aldington worth quoting.


Deputy Chief Engineer, Roads Department.

Dual purpose and one purpose roads

With reference to the discussion we recently had in connection with the above, both the Maidstone BP and the St Albans BP have been designed on the principle of passing over or under every crossroad, with appropriate link road connections at important roads. AT other roads there is no vehicular connection between the BP and the existing road.

The following gives you the information you require. Estimate based on pre-war figures.

Maidstone BP, dual purpose road. All crossroads dealt with by means of over or under bridges.

Length 7 miles Two 22 ft carriageways Two 9 ft cycle tracks and footpaths Estimated cost—works only £727,000.

One purpose road Eliminating cycle tracks and footpaths with consequent reduction in earthworks and spans of bridges £620,000.

This shows a saving of £107,000.

With regard to this particular BP, I have not been able to prepare an estimate on the assumption that the new BP would cross all existing roads on the same level. The country is very hilly and undulating, and it is very doubtful whether any real saving would result. There might be a saving of a few thousand pounds in cfonnection with the bridges, but it is doubtful whether in this particular case there would be much saving in earthworks owing to the undulating nature of the ground.

St Albans BP

Dual purpose road: which includes for all crossroads to be dealt with by means of over and under bridges and including the provision of footpaths and cycle tracks.

Length: 20.5 miles Estimated cost—works only £1.750,000.

One purpose road: eliminating cycle tracks and footpaths and reducing the spans of bridges.

Estimated cost approximately £1,450,000.

This shows a saving of £300,000.

It is difficult to arrive at an estimate for this BP on the assumption that the BP would cross all existing roads on the level. It might be a saving of £50,000 would be effected on the original estimate of £1.750,000.

HE Aldington DRE (London)

23rd January 1942

• Memo by Aldington to AJ Lyddon, dated 17/12/1941, “One purpose roads,” which makes a strong argument in favor of a presumption to build to motorway standard. Traffic volumes are beginning to justify them on economic grounds, because RRD Act combined with crossings at level not adequate to handle traffic safely. 3 pp. Definitely worth copying, but perhaps not worth quoting.

• 2 pp of costings for “corresponding trunk routes,” giving the costs of widening and improvement, including necessary bypasses, if a system of motorways is not constructed.

• Miscellaneous correspondence between FCC and one Clemens talking about a motorway in the general LBM corridor. FCC tells him that specific routes have to wait until a general decision as to principle has been taken re motorways. He wants to know, however, if building the motorway would save the cost of providing bypasses at Luton, Bedford, and the Northants towns on the existing trunk roads.

Letter from HEA to FCC. Direct quote.


5th August 1942

Dear Sir Frederick,


I have been thinking over our discussion on Saturday morning last, and I feel it desirable to write to you in order to state my views clearly.

Possibly, some part of our discussion may have been a little at cross-purposes, and confusion may have been caused by the reference to a “system” of motorways.

The objection to a “system” of motorways, which I voiced at our meeting, wants some clarification as it depends on the interpretation of the word “system”.

If “system” means something on the lines of the County Surveyors’ Report recommending the construction of motorways between certain points, irrespective of the condition of the existing roads which would be paralleled, then I am against such a proposal, as I feel such a scheme is not tackling the problem in a business-like manner. But if “system” refers to the construction of motorways where traffic justification can be shown, and where existing roads are entirely unsuitable from the point of view of alignment, gradient, and location; I have in mind (1) existing atortuous roads with bad gradients, (2) roads passing through a series of built-up areas, or (3) where additional road facilities are required to new industrial areas, ports and docks; then I am in favor of the construction of the one-purpose road (motorways).

I referred at the beginning of this letter to “tackling the problem in a business-like manner.” What I had in mind was that where existing roads have been well engineered and money spent in providing modern road surfaces which are, in fact, better than anything to be found elsewhere in the world, and development is negligible or can easily be avoided, then there cannot be any justification in abandoning such roads purely for local traffic.

During the discussion the point was made that the Department could not face up to a policy where on any particular route certain sections were for one-purpose traffic and other sections on the same route for all-purpose traffic, as such conditions would be dangerous. This I think is a fallacy, for one-purpose roads (motorways) wherever constructed, are bound to result in this state of affairs, as it is impracticable to substitute motorways for all our Trunk Roads, to say nothing of the first-class roads, many being as important from a traffic point of view as the Trunk Roads.

In every case I have considered I am always brought back to the question of “justification,” and this means judging each proposal on its merits, in order to be quite satisfied that after construction, traffic will, in fact, make full use of the one-purpose road.

I find great difficulty in divorcing the road problem from the general transport problem of the country, and in this the railway situation must, I think, be taken into account

It is agreed that the light industries find road haulage particularly beneficial. At the present time it is, I believe, a fact that railway trucks and goods trains, apart from bulk haulage (coal), are only loaded to somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% of their capacity—I am speaking of peace-time conditions—and it has been suggested that railway traffic dealing with the lighter industries should be concentrated at central distributing stations rather than from each and every railway station, as at present.

Many branch railway lines do not pay, but in the past they have provided very necessary travelling facilities, and the loss on operation has been made good from profits on the lucrative lines. In the days when the £100 shares of the Great Western Railway were standing at £140-£160, it was said, and I think with some justification, that the Company paid their dividends mainly out of the profits on the heavy coal trade of South Wales.

Another aspect of the matter is the passenger carrying services of the Railways. There is little doubt Railway travel can provide and guarantee greater comfort, speed and safety, and possibly at a less cost if all factors are taken into account, than roads will ever be able to, for journeys over say 100 miles.

This raises the question of electrification, and the Southern Railway Company has shown what can be done to provide for the comfort, safety and rapid handling of heavy passenger loads.

Modernization of terminals, both for goods and passengers, together with electrification of essential routes and the abandonment of unprofitable branch lines, are possibilities affecting the future of the railways, which appear as yet hardly to have been considered, but they are intimately linked up with road policy.

It may be road policy should not only plan adequate road connections throughout the country, and to new industrial areas, ports and docks, but to fconstruct feeder roads to main distributing railway centres.

I suggest the Department would be unwise to support at this stage any motorway system on any such lines as those recommended by the County Surveyors’ Society, but I feel there is every justification for supporting the one-purpose road (motorway) provided justification can be shown in each case, and keeping in mind all factors bearing on the trnsport problem, some of which I have referred to above.

Yours sincerely,

HE Aldington


• Note from FCC acknowledging HEA’s letter and saying it’s been incorporated into his framework report.

• Letter from Clemens (DRE/Eastern) answering Cook’s questions re avoiding bypasses. Basic story: no, DAP with BPs may not be avoidable, but the motor road would help considerably with existing long-distance traffic.

Took a break from the file at this point (long hard slog, no joy of discovery, and it’s obvious much of the correspondence is windy and verbose) and looked at one of two others requested.

MT 39/96

This is the MOT file dealing with the German Road Delegation in September-October 1937, the consequent visit made by Burgin (MinT) to Germany over the Christmas parliamentary recess in 1937-38, and the proposal floated by Lancs CC to build an experimental N-S motorway in February 1938. It is actually two tagged files back to back in a common folder under a common file code. The contents include:

• Correspondence between MOT and German Road Delegation about, first, the latter’s invitation to MOT to send high-level engineers in an unofficial capacity, and then about the latter’s report (to be sent to MinT) and representations which selected members of the latter wanted to make to the Minister. It is interspersed, mostly throughout the first file.

• A typewritten copy of RG Clements’ report for the GRD.

• Minutes prepared by civil servants, picking apart the GRD report. Most of these are negative about motor roads, expressing open scepticism about the financing and safety outcomes, claiming that motor roads are irrelevant to traffic problems because most accidents happen in cities due to factors present in cities and diversion could never solve the problems to an appreciable extent, saying that it was wasteful to build in a new long corridor rather than to build town bypasses because town bypasses offered the higher short-run rate-of-return, saying that speed kills, saying that GRD was full of the road interests (one civil servant quoted what he considered to be special pleading by the motor manufacturers, and expressed surprise that the cement industry was so restrained), etc.

• A typewritten copy of Burgin’s report on his visit to Germany over the winter.

• A typewritten copy of a censored version of Burgin’s report prepared by civil servants underneath.

• Briefs for Burgin, for the delegations sent by Lancs CC to promote the experimental motorway, and by the GRD to urge the advantages of motor road construction. Tolerton (apparently Burgin’s sec’y) tells him up front to look as if he has an open mind.

• Prints of Lancs CC’s brochure describing the experimental motorway proposal (conceptual design, illustrated by pictures of Autobahnen, already present in RJ files).

• Print of the financial estimates accompanying Lancs CC’s proposal. This was designed to show that motorways would be close to the bottom in cost to several on-line and off-line improvement options (£4.9m against a high of £9m and a low of £3.9m).

• Memo by FCC setting out the pros and cons of motorways for the Minister before the GRD deputation on 8/3/1938.

• Correspondence between the Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer (COE) about the proposed experimental N-S road in Lancashire (from Westmorland to Cheshire). There are many, many, many drafts on the MOT side. Basic line: in first letter MinT asks COE what he thinks of a draft Cabinet memorandum proposing the road. COE writes back, saying insincerely that his mind is not shut, and then adding the kicker—approval of the experimental scheme is “out of the question” during a period of rearmament, when the country was undergoing considerable financial difficulty. MinT writes back, at much greater length (and with many many drafts), adding additional reasons for sponsoring the scheme. COE writes back again, clearly after a face-to-face or phone conversation with MinT, thanking him for withdrawing his suggestion and not adding to his own difficulties.

• Many drafts of the Cabinet memorandum proposing the Lancashire N-S road.

• Translation of two memoranda (no. 1 and 18) sent out by Todt, setting out general design principles for the Autobahnen (no 1), and rules for landscape accommodation (no 18). (German word for ‘memorandum’ = Merkblatt.)

• Minutes of the GRD deputation.

• Draft of a GRD report on what really happened at the deputation, to rebut a suggestion which had subsequently appeared in the Daily Mail to the general effect that MOT was opposed to motorways. MOT reviewed the draft but didn’t want to commit itself to a policy statement, even one that the GRD people promised to keep confidential, as it was already obvious that the Mail “leak” had been the result of an enterprising reporter assembling hints dropped here and there by various GRD members.

• Copy of a circular the GRD sent out to its members regarding the ministerial response to the deputation. Not altogether clear whether this was in response to the MOT suggestion re confidentiality, or in defiance of it.

• Correspondence with R Gresham Cooke concerning the last three items above.

• Internal MOT correspondence regarding the draft memo for the Lancashire N-S road.

• Correspondence regarding two letters the MOT received from the County Surveyors’ Society (neither included in the file). One of the CSS letters was apparently a cover letter for the CSS plan. The other was a request that the Minister announce the lines of trunk roads he proposed to improve, saying that their members needed it for planning purposes. MOT did not want to comply because it had had its fingers burnt when news of a routing near Staines leaked out, speculators purchased a moribund racetrack on the location of the proposed new road, and invented paper plans for its redevelopment—in advance of filing of a Section (1) (3) line protection order, whatever that is—to wring compensation out of the Ministry for supposedly disrupted redevelopment plans.

All of this material is important to the thesis, but is probably best suited for later close review with a scanner. It is very hard to determine which of the papers would be worthwhile to process through a scanner, especially as they all seem relevant (except for some of the correspondence) and valuable, and it is not clear what the time required to scan each page is, but it would appear that by proceeding by a system of prioritization, at the very least the draft Cabinet memorandum, the report of the GRD insofar as it is separate from Clements’, and the MOT internal memoranda in response thereto are worth scanning.

MT 39/145

This file contains papers from 1937 to 1942, concerning a possible LBM (as captioned in the file title) but also a possible Lancashire N-S motorway and a London-Preston road via Birmingham. Nearly all of the papers except the correspondence to him are signed by EM Bull, the DRE for this region. Most of the papers are from 1937-1938, with one outlier from 7/2/1942 giving Bull’s cost estimates (submitted to FCC while he was preparing his paper on the post-war development of motorways) for the LBM, which had been developed during 1937.

• Bull’s first report into the feasibility of the LBM, which was fairly positive and is worth copying, was dated 25/10/1937. It was accompanied by two ink-and-wash drawings of the typical flyover junctions then proposed, which showed the exiting traffic leaving at the right with the roundabout in the median (where the motorway passes over the intersecting road) or straddling the motorway (where the motorway passes under the intersecting road) but with its slip road feeders coming in through the motorway median. The overpass design shows the roundabout on a sort of deck over the motorway, with just a small rectangular “porthole” in the central island where the motorway traffic is visible. (This is a very strange design, which suggests that the people who devised it were not altogether conversant with the constructional possibilities of steel girders and reinforced concrete.)

• The file also includes additional costings for a London-Preston motorway with several routing variants, including one taking the London end to Uxbridge, and the other taking it to the Blackwall Tunnel, or the Blackwall Tunnel option with a spur off to Uxbridge. Unresolved questions were described as whether spurs or loops were to be used to connect with the industrial areas in the W Mids.

• There is correspondence and a copy of a day’s worth of Alness testimony in 1938, indicating that the file had been requested by others in order to show that the N-S Lancashire proposed experimental motorway was more worthwhile in traffic terms than a LBM experiment, contrary to what DC McLagan had said in the Alness testimony attached. The correspondence suggests that McLagan and his SMMT cronies wanted the LBM so they would have a fast route between Coventry, site of their automaking plants, and London, their principal market.

MT 39/556, again

• Minute, signed by Sir Cyril Hurcomb and dated 22/8/1942, endorsing Cook’s memorandum on post-war development and motorways, and suggesting that the MOT should now announce that provision of motorways would be subject to a four-point policy described in Cook’s memorandum—viz., (1) new roads (incl BPs) to be restricted to motor vehicles when justified, (2) cycletrack/footway provision to be determined by traffic, economy, and amenity, with no requirement to contain within a standard width, (3) additional powers for stopping-up and diverting minor roads needed, and (4) agricultural access to be curtailed for motor traffic roads. Hurcomb also suggests that the statement should announce that a system of motorways will not necessarily be built, but motorways will be built if engineering, traffic, and economies justify, on a more or less case-by-case basis.

• Another MOT functionary, agreeing with Sir Cyril. He’s very keen on motorways, thinks current RTFs are gross underestimates, that road safety can be assured only by homogenizing traffic and that the motorways should improve market access for market gardeners in keeping with govt’s stated policy of encouraging fresh fruit/veg consumption for health/nutrition reasons.

• Cook’s memo—“Post-war planning and Motorways”—first instance of it in the file, 15 pp, dated 14 August 1942.

• “Map no. 3”—suggested routing of the proposed Lancashire N-S motorway.

• Separate memo by FCC, “Memorandum on arguments for and against motorways,” together with TG Newcomen’s comments thereon.

• Map no. 2—LBM as proposed by CSS.

• Map no. 1—trunk road map of Britain (with the trunk road numbers, not the same as the signed road numbers, shown in black) together with the various motorway proposals in various colors. CSS in red.

• Diagram no. 4—number of mechanically propelled vehicles in GB.

• Map no. 5—trunk road map, but with beef/dairy and market gardening/cash crop areas colored in. Market gardening is concentrated largely in Lancs., around Edinburgh, in the Fens, S of Thames mouth, and in a few scattered places. Beef/dairy everywhere else except the N of England and Scotland, except for patches in Teesside and D&G and area just W of Glasgow.

• Memo by Cook—“Post-war Planning—Highway Policy” 17/12/1942. This suggests legislation which would be needed to implement a program of motorway construction and covers issues of policy statements, estuarial crossings, structure of road grant system, preparation of standard specs etc.

• Another copy of the minute sheets in response to FCC’s postwar/motorways memo. The second commenter is revealed as PJNB = Noel-Baker, the joint parliamentary sec’y to the MOT. NB proposes that motorways should be constructed within the framework of a general plan, not on an ad-hoc basis. Progress to be made only by segging different classes of traffic.

• NB apparently made an announcement (not fully sanctioned as an expression of official policy) that MOT was thinking of building motor-only roads. The press cuttings appeared on 22/5/1943, tailed off around 1/6/1943.

• Two items dealing with a parliamentary question by Wing-Cmdr James, MP, about usage of land for motorways in rural areas. One item is the question and draft answer. The other is a detailed rebuttal of claims made by James, prepared by AJ Lyddon. Compares and contrasts motorways and widening-cum-bypass policy, cites Scott report with strong recommendation in favor of bold new trunk roads, and the Stamp land utilization survey. Also rebuts James’ claim that motorways use 35 acres per mile—20 acres/mile more reasonable based on proposed technical standards, and 18 acres/mile included in plans proposed by the CS for Cheshire (held in MOT office) for a continuation to the Lancs N-S proposed road. (This is P.)

• Correspondence from Cses about proposed motorways and routings.

• Newcomen to Lyddon. 12/8/1943.


Mr Lyddon

Postwar road proposals.

At the meeting this afternoon you will no doubt emphasize that we have to consider the future road plan from two separate though interconnected angles:

1 Postwar works 2 Road planning and town and country planning

The importance of 91) is obvious and is emphasized by the fact that the Ministry of Works have said that “it is becoming more and more clear that in the future the Ministry of Works will have to rely increasingly on Ministry of War Transport for finding employment for civil engineering labour”; an allocation so high as 75% has been mentioned. But if we are to avoid the real danger that works put in hand to relieve employment are works conceived in relation to pre-war needs and do not fit into a properly devised postwar road system, we must know what the postwar system is to be. For example, if we are to have a new road from Birmingham to Prston we must reconsider the need for and scope of every prewar improvement proposed on the existing trunk road. But the first thing to determine is, are we going to have a new road from Birmingham to Preston?

Even if there were to be no immediate postwar road constructional programme put in hand to provide employment it would still be essential for us to determine the pattern of the future road system and this for two main reasons as follows:

A If we do not, Town and County Planning cannot proceed. The road system is fundmental to the plan whether this be the town plan or country plan and no progress can be made in planning until the road framework has been settled. In our dealings with the authorities of the blitzed and other towns who are active on replanning we are already up against the position that these plans cannot be properly prepared unless we can tell the authorities where, in relation to their town, the future national road will be. Whether this national route is to be on one side of the town or on another side will materially affect the road plan of the town. For example, Trunk Road 12, which is the present London to Carlisle road, passes through Leicester. We know that the future road from London to Carlisle will not pass through Leicester but we do not know yet how it will be located in relation to Leicester. Leicester has got to be connected to this new principal road and Leicester want to know what provision they have got to make in their plan for such a connection.

B It is certain that the postwar period will be a period of building and industrial development. If we do not now determine the best future line for our national routes we shall find that development has taken place on the best line and we shall be left with no alternative but to adopt an inferior and probably more expensive one.

The local authorities are increasingly demanding that we shall say what new roads we propose to put through their areas because, as I have said above, they cannot plan their areas, either towns or counties, until they know this. You should see the attched letters from the Hertfordshire County Council and the Luton Town Council which are typical. In our present position it is going to be very difficult to give any satisfactory answer to either of these letters. It happens that the areas both of Hertfordshire County Council and the Luton Town Council will be affected by our intentions for the final line of the most important route in the country, that is the London-Birmingham-Lancashire route.

TG Newcomen 12 August 1943


• Following is more correspondence between MOT and Las, together with correspondence internal to MOT on how to handle them. HEA suggests giving holding responses (26/8/1943) if MOT policy is going to be more clearly defined in six months’ time. Las want to know what MOT proposes WRT motorways/major trunk road improvements. Standard form letter sent in response, playing up “cooperative” role of MOT: MinT does not have immediate plans likely to affect them, but will be delighted to entertain LA plans and ideas for trunk roads in the LA region.

• Correspondence between Tolerton (MinT’s pvt sec’y, very big player in the GRD events) and another MOT functionary, regarding the BRF exhibition “Motorways for Great Britain” held 9-24/12/1943. Dated 29/10/1943. It was suggested that the BRF’s suggestion the Minister or PS open be gently rebuffed, and the planning minister also stay away.

• Minutes of a MOT meeting with the BRF, 25/11/1943. BRF was concerned that MOT had abandoned ideas of a major highway improvement. (Minutes, 2 pp., perhaps not worth reproducing in full, but some interesting tidbits.) MOT civil servants, incl Hurcomb, Reginald Hill, and AJ Lyddon and P Wilson, confronted CT Brunner, G Wilson, and HR Hastie. Lyddon mentioned that the current cost of motorways on the CSS lines was now £100,000/mile and not £60,000/mile. Hurcomb poured oil on troubled waters—“speaking within these four walls alone and not for repetition outside,” he dangled before them abandonment of the old bypasses-only “gumboil” policy, and new connected bypasses of Slough and Maidenhead—his BRF auditors were flabbergasted when they realized he was talking not about the existing Slough/Maidenhead road, but rather a motorway-standard bypass of it.

• Correspondence with the Home Affairs dept of the NI Govt, which asked for and got 5 copies of FCC’s memorandum on strict nondisclosure conditions.

• 8/12/1943—advance publicity for the BRF exhibition.

• The nuts heard from: SH Winton, owner of Winton’s Ltd hauling contractors, proposes his own motorway plan. His drawings get filed and then there is a huge witch-hunt for them when he asks for them back.


Chief engineer

Motor roads

I forward herewith as requested by Mr Hollinghurst on the 15th inst. A ¼” to the mile scale map showing by a blue line a preliminary route for a motor road in continuance of the Derbyshire road, the line of which was agreed before the war by the Cses of Derbyshire and the West Riding as suitable for a new traffic route with its northern termination in the vicinity of Doncaster. The preliminary line of the motor road leaves this proposed line of road directly east and approximately four miles from Rotherham and proceeds almost due north four miles east of Wakefield and five miles east of Leeds, connecting with the Great North Road north of Wetherby, incorporating a bypass to the town which takes a wider sweep eastwards than the line of the original bypass which was the subject of an Order under Section 1(3) of the Trunk Rods Act made by the Minister before the war. The line thus shown runs close to the industrial area of the West Riding and would be more accessible than the Great North Road. It is somewhat sinuous but this is unavoidable if built-up areas and areas liable to colliery subsidence and flooding in the valleys of the Aire and Calder are to be circumvented. These conditions limit the choice of route roughly to the line indicated if one of the purposes of the road is that it should be nearer to the industrial areas of the West Riding than the Great North Road. The siting through Mexborough is through the only gap remaining and a viaduct over the railway and river and the classified road would be necessary to deal effectively with the conditions there.

The plan shows in broken blue line the Doncaster By-Pass and connections from the route of the motor road, and the only practicable line for the motor road other than that shown in full blue line is to utilize this route as far as the Doncaster BP. The route, however, does not meet the desire for the motor road to be sited nearer to the West Riding industrial area. I find myself in doubt s to whether or not a road to serve this purpose is necessary in view of the llimitation of the choice of route with the heavy expense involved by the conditions which will be encountered, and the fact that the new rod as shown is only 4 ½ miles from the Great North Road where the disance between them is widest east of Wakefield.

I have also shown in broken blue line a proposed connection from the motor road to link up with Boothferry Bridge and the Hull trunk road and with the proposed trunk road A614 to Selby where it joins A19 which is also intended for inclusion in the Trunk Road system. This proposed route can be considered as a potential motor road to its junction with A1041 northwest of Goole, and traffic from the Great North Road for Hull and the north via A19 could use it from the point where the two roads cross north of Bawtry, and its usefulness would still remain whether the main motor road finished at Doncaster BP or is carried northwards to Wetherby as shown. The plan also shows the proposed bypass to Pontefract which would facilitate the passage of traffic from Leeds to the Great North Road for the south.

The motor road as shown has been sited on a preliminary reconnaissance only and it will be understood that a more detailed survey may lead to amendments of the line. It is unlikely, however, that the general siting of the route will be altered materially owing to the limitation of alternatives imposed by the physical and industrial conditions in this area.

AJ Richmond DRE/NE

19th May 1944.

• Ghost from the past: GP Blizard heard from (3/6/1944).


GP Blizard, JP, LCC

Cotswold, 6 Holmbush Road, Putney Hill, SW15 3/6/1944

Dear Mr Noel-Baker

Some years ago there was a small all-party Committee of the House of Commons to watch expenditure and control of roads and bridges. I was the Secretary of it, and what little expenditure incurred was met by the Roads Improvement Association. At the same time a Syndicate, headed by Lord Montagu, endeavoured to get a Motorways Bill through parliament. I lobbied and lectured for them, and attended and spoke at the International Road Congress in Milan 1926 in favor of motorways. The Bill got no further than a first reading, as exception was taken to the levying of tolls.

Our Joint Committee died an unnatural death when Churchill raided the Road Fund and Major Elliot (with the Conservative members) left us!

In view of my interest mentioned above, may I congratulate you on your speech on May 5th, especially on the emphasis you laid on the need for coordination and zoning of traffic to ensure the most economical and speedy use of routes. Do you think a small informal Committee, meeting as occasion offered, would be helpful? I would willingly act as Secretary in an honorary capacity.

Yours truly,

Geo. P. Blizard

My article on Motorways in enclosed magazine may interest you.


• Blizard had an article in Transport Management, 15/5/1944, about his early attempts to propagandise motorways. Pp. 183-5, definitely P, and not worth retyping here—request and copy at Bod.

• NOTES OF VISIT OF INSPECTION TO THE MIDLANDS AND NORTH WALES—bridge headroom on A34, routing of motorway near Cheshire and Staffs, etc. Aldington and Lyddon were on this trip.


• CSS deputation to MOT—11/1944. MOT assures CSS that the eventual motorway plan will look fairly similar to the CSS plan, but is carefully non-specific.

• Envelope at back includes maps and tables for A Spence’s Report of 30/8/1945 on Conditions on Existing Trunk Roads—took out one map and looked at it; it’s a traffic count map with proposed new roads/motorways superimposed.