National Archives 2003-10-28

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Caught a 10.15 train out of London Paddington and arrived at the PRO much as usual—no problems this time. Had requested three files prior to setting out, none of which was MT 95/200 (it may need to be continued at a future visit), and may be previewing other files as well. Aide-memoire: copy down in an easier-to-find location the list of RJ papers file cites I will probably want the next time I am there, to close out RJ papers altogether. Also find the papers and files in the LSE Library (not Archives) which I thought were valuable last time.

FO 1014/803

Entitled “Transport/Road/German Organisation.” This is trucks and buses, not roads. Not worth a second glance.

FO 1013/1608

Entitled “Takeover German Roads Organisation.” This concerns the North Rhine Province (under British occupation) only—the general idea was that the RAB organization would be disbanded, would be assimilated into the provincial road-maintaining machinery, and that German management structures would be preserved from middle level down with high-level policy decisions being referred to the Military Government from the Landesbaurats (state construction directors) for roads and bridges via the Landesrat (state director).

This file isn’t really worth p’copying or photographing.

DSIR 12/292

Had originally ordered this file because one of the hits for it had to do with a postwar survey of German motor roads. This is in fact RN 642, numbered to fit within the CC (“concrete-cooperative”) series covering cooperative research in concrete between RRL and the Cement & Concrete Assn. It is not being rephotographed. The most interesting parts of this file are a summary of American concrete research, aimed at determining optimum slab length and spacing (whether reinforcement should be provided), and the report of a soil survey on Alconbury Hill in Huntingdonshire, designed to identify a long unbroken stretch of Oxford clay which would allow a new dual-carriageway relocation of the Great North Road (A1) to be built entirely on clay and to serve as a testbed for new techniques for constructing durable concrete roads on clay. This Alconbury experimental road eventually became part of the A1(M), although the file doesn’t refer to future motorway construction, and the attached road plan shows what appear to be at-grade intersections. This latter paper is CC 60, dated September 1945.

DSIR 28/220

Photographed this so I don’t have to do it again.

DSIR 28/221

Photographed this.

DSIR 28/223

Photographed this.

DSIR 28/222

Photographed this.

DSIR 28/225

Photographed this.

DSIR 28/227

Photographed this. (There is much interesting material on motorways, including an account of technical developments in Germany, Italy, and the USA.)

DSIR 28/208

Photographed this. Contains a document giving tentative design standards for British motorways.

DSIR 28/207

Have all but finished with this. Will have to leave it till the next time, however, as:

• Digital camera needs a picture download imminently—MMC is nearly full • I’m in the middle of a folder of plans for standard junction layouts which I have just discovered will need to be detagged for photography—a project too ambitious to do in the bare 47 minutes left before I have to be out of the building • I detagged the typescript material to photograph it and need to reassemble that.

Did not do DSIR 28/226 or MT 95/200 on this visit to the PRO. I will make up Thursday’s order right now and send it.