National Archives 2012-03-08

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Arrived at National Archives at 12.35 PM. The delay (about 15 minutes later than usual time) was a result of not being able to top up my Oyster card with a credit card. Apparently the card address has to match the registered address, which is never going to happen because my credit card has an US address and the Oyster card accounting system will not allow registration of a non-UK address. In the end I had to use a cashpoint and pay the top-up charge (£20) with banknotes fed through a slurper. Still going through MT 95/132. 5.40 PM: Finally finished with MT 95/132.

CAB 117/183

Extracted the reference from the Motorway Archive volume on the South East. It is a very thin file dealing with Birmingham City Council and its attitudes to post-war reconstruction, which focused primarily on buildings and issues of betterment and an annual recoupment levy being considered as part of what eventually became the Town and Country Planning Act 1947. It includes much correspondence between the leader of the Birmingham City Council reconstruction committee and Jowitt, of a somewhat sycophantic character. I cannot imagine why this file was included in the Motorway Archive volume's listing of relevant National Archives files.

MT 74/1

This file has been boxed by the National Archives' conservation department, as of 1998. It was full of copy markers, which I removed. It deals with transport nationalization issues and has papers by Hurcomb covering the issues involved, with some background (together with references to Coates' report, in CAB 117/266, which I think needs to be photographed, and some alternative solutions such as the thirties "Square Deal" and the Mance arrangement). Apparently this file has been cited--how extensively, I cannot tell from a casual Google search--by an expert named Martin Lodge in a book, 'Different Tracks' (published 2002, but probably the publication of his LSE PhD thesis which was finished in 2000), dealing with the design of rail regulation in Britain and comparing and contrasting it with that of Germany (I ought to look it up). The reference was also obtained from the Motorway Archive volume and, like the previous one, has little material which concerns motorways.

MT 74/2

This file continues the theme of the previous one, but has papers dealing with the actual design of a nationalized body responsible for all long-distance transport undertakings and much local transport (called in most of the memoranda "NTC," presumably short for "National Transport Commission," but eventually created as the British Transport Commission). Nothing is said (as far as I can tell) about motorways, or for that matter the infrastructural element of transport service provision. As with MT 74/1, Lodge's book is the number-one Google hit, ahead of the National Archives catalogue entry. Decisions as to photographability of these two files pends a review of Lodge's book--it makes more sense to rely on secondary sources for issues which are already well covered in the secondary literature and are tangential to the motorways project.