LSE Library Archives 2002-12-04

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Arrived around 12.30. Trains ran smoothly all the way from Oxford rail station to West Hampstead tube station, but Baker Street station was closed (transfers only; people could not walk out) due to an "incident outside the station." However, it was raining when I walked out of West Hampstead tube station, and the rain progressed in severity until it was raining cats and dogs by the time I walked into the Skeel Library forecourt. In spite of the raincoat, I could not avoid a full shoulder-and-lower-leg soaking, and am sitting here writing this in half-wet sweatshirt and trousers, which are only just now starting to dry out. Archives are unusually busy, with one other present and evidence of 2-3 visitors a day in the visitor's book. Otherwise not very crowded. Requested 5 files as usual.

14/31

Very thin file--contains only correspondence about RJ's views on the Trunk Roads Bill 1936 (not included in the file itself) and an article clipped from 'Times', 23 May 1938, reading (in full):

MAIDENHEAD BY-PASS

At a meeting of Berkshir ecounty Council on Saturday Colonel F. G. Barker, chairman of the Highways and Bridges Committee, was asked the reason for the delay in the construction of the Maidenhead by-pass. Colonel Barker replied that the matter was now wholly with the Ministry of Transport, but he gathered that there was little hope of the work being started yet. The Ministry of Transport had said they had to work under the Ribbon Development Act, 1935, which meant that every owner had to be given a chance to negotiate. The benefit of handing over trunk roads to the Ministry of Transport, he added, did not seem very helpful in getting work proceeded with.

The scheme, when mooted about 16 years ago, was estimated to cost £200,000; the cost now is approximately £500,000.

[end article]

Letters comment that RJ understands the County Councils Assn was 50-50 on the Trunk Roads Bill. But RJ does not know, and asks, what the County Boroughs think.

14/36

This is more Committee material, consisting mostly of reports to the Committee by police officials with respect to motorcycles with sidecars being licensed as taxis in provincial towns and being proposed for such licensing in London. The police suggest that experimentation in London be refused since the sidecars generally don't have their own brakes, the motorcycles wear out rapidly, traffic delays are likely from the fact that engines have to be restarted after waiting for passing traffic, and there is little net roadspace advantage since the motorcycle + sidecar combination is slightly wider and slightly shorter than a hackney cab.

There is also correspondence between RJ and a trailer manufacturer. Trailer manufacturer wants the Committee to eliminate restrictions on trailers. An industry group, the Road Transport Federation (?), is against this, because of the safety implications of lorries hauling trailers which the driver cannot supervise properly and which may overload the braking system (reference is made to dangerous reliance on flywheel brakes, whatever those are). However, this industry group swiftly gets down to its real message--it won't object to derestriction so long as operators are required to have a "third hand" to watch the trailer. Typical union make-work bullshit.

14/38

This is a WHOLE BOX of Committee material. A good deal of it is printed minutes of evidence (HMSO non-parliamentary). This should be looked for at the Bodleian first. A full account of this box is deferred until a later time.

Returning to . . .

8/36

Interesting excerpts, from RJ's American journal:

Friday, January 9. Mr. & Mrs. Crosby called with letters and to say Au revoir. Mr. Spencer V. Cortelyou (District engr. 7th div.) and Mr. L.M. Ranson (district construction engineer) arrived with two cars at 12.45 just before the Crosbys left, and lunched with us.

We departed from [the Hotel] del Coronado 2.10 p.m. following coast route. Drive of great natural beauty. San Diego under an old Spanish grant extends some 20 miles and much of the land belongs to the town. It is an ideal site for laying out and building a magnificent town. The type of Government is City Manager but the manager has no real power and has to report to the politicians by whom he is controlled. Apart from the problems of water supply, drainage, and freeing harbour from oil, there is the question of town planning and layout to stop the congestion of traffic in the central portion of the town. The State is helping the town by cooperating in building a new approach road up the hill at the entrance to the city, and another one to an aerodrome near the habor. Work is being done by contract let by City, contract specification being approved by the State which has a Resident Engineer. The object of Mr. Cortelyou's visit to the Manager that morning was to insist upon the work being done to a higher standard.

We passed through Del Mar (nice hotel) Oceanside (raw and unfinished) Laguna Beach, attractive looking with an artist's colony, Newport Beach where we had tea and turned inland through Santa Ana and Anaheim, originally a German settlement. They possess attractive fruit markets and florist shops where what we regard as spring, summer, and autumn flowers are all sold together.

Mr. Cortelyou was very informative about his work and gave me costs &c. He was appointed by Mr. Fletcher. Some of the road originally built by Mr. Fletcher as 16 ft. road have all been widened to 20 ft. and conditions much improved. Mr. Cortelyou is very anxious to work in with the cities and pointed out many "co-operative" schemes.

REached the Huntingon, Pasadena, about 6 p.m. 145 miles. The Huntington is a large hotel with views of the mountains including snow-clad range, gardens and terraces, palms and outdoor swimming pool, all laid out attractively. Artistic bungalows are in the grounds for visitors staying any length of time who prefer their own quarters. It is expensive. The lowest rate, like the Coronado, is $12 (48/-) per day inclusive of board (American plan) as opposed to separate charges for meals and rooms (European plan).

[next excerpt]

Tuesday January 13. Left Hotel about 10.30 in Highway car with Mr. Ranson and drove through Pasadena and Glendale to Hollywood, passing some of the Cinema Studios to Beverly Hills. In the broken foothills the successful film stars have built their houses. The homes of Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and others were pointed out to us. After driving the length of the Beverly Boulevard we followed the cost route to VEntura County, the road lying between small summer residences on the beach (these beach residences are of great value) and high cliffs. For some 16 miles we went through an estat ethe owner of which (a woman) had held up the road construction for 3 years by litigation carried to the Supreme Court. Her claim for $6 million was reduced to less than $100,000. There had been heavy falls of rock, the road maintenance gangs were at work and further on some coast protection work was in progress.

Turning inland we climbed well graded mountain pass formerly a narrow track now made safe by judicious widening. Our route lay through the Valley of San Fernando irrigated by the Los Angeles water scheme, and walnut groves claimed to be the largest in the world. After passing small townships forming part of the film industry withkennels for dogs, a farm of African lions, and other animals used in staging the scenes, we re-entered Hollywood by the Ventura Boulevard and got back to Pasadena after a round trip of 100 miles. The weather was hazy with a slight sea mist and we did not see the mountains and coast line with the same sharp clearness as on our journey from San Diego to Pasadena. On this trip we saw a coyote, a wolf like wild beast.

[Jan. 17. RJ meets E.E. East and A.S. Greer, ACSC figures. Apparently EE East had worked under SV Cortelyou in Fletcher's dept.]

[next excerpt]

Left Pasadena 10.30 A.M. Mr. L.M. Ranson taking E. & self. Mr. Frank Moore called to say au revoir bringing introductions for Honolulu. Mr. Wanzer, Cosntruction Engineer, with car for luggage from Fresno.

Crossing the Arroyo Seco Bridge and through the San Fernando Valley to the Ridge Road. The Ridge Route is the outstanding scenic feature of this portion of the country. A winding road through the mountains over the Tejon Pass (4200') and a second pass of the same height with view of the Tehachapi Mountains. Although this road over the mountains is first class according to British and Continental standards being well graded, banked at corners, well protected, it does not satisfy California standards. A new road over the Pass is being built at a cost of $3 million with fewer bends and corners to facilitate overtaking and increase speed of travel. (We did the existing road which will be turned over to the County between 40 and 50 miles per hour.) We crossed the scene of a dam burst, water rushing down the valley, sweeping bridge, railway track and all before it. Loss of over 400 lives. The breakage about 2 years ago was due to an insufficient study of soil conditions by the designer. Mr. Ranson was on the scene on the morning following the burst and described the finding of bodies &c.

At Lebec we lunched in the open and were met by Mr. E. Wallace, District Engineer, and changed into his car saying goodbye to Mr. Ranson, with messages to Mr. Cortelyou who was prevented at the last moment from accompanying us. Passed through the valley towns of SAn Joaquin and so to the Hotel Californian, Fresno. 235 miles. Curious scenic effect over the valley giving the appearance of the ocean in the distance caused by mist.

(The San Joaquin Valley is nearly 300 miles long [Stockton to 40 miles S. of Bakersfield] and 60 miles wide.) It is one of the first valleys to be irrigated. It grows peaches, figs, walnuts, olives, citrus fruits; some of the fig and other ranches cover many thousands of acres. The fig is fertilized by a wasp which breeds in one particular kind of fig (the Capri fig) and two of these figs are put in boxes on the trees of the white fig to facilitate fertilization.

[next excerpt]

Went to Highway Offices to say goodbye to Mr. Pierce who gave me a good selection of photos illustrating the journey through his district, No. 10. Mr. Pope prepared and gave to me a map of California marked to show the 10 districts into which it is divided and the names of the engineers. Met Mr. Purcell and he came back to hotel and talked with E. for a few moments. Mr. Pope and Mr. Pierce also came to wish us Bon Voyage. Left hotel 1.15 in the car of Mr. H.A. Summers.

Taking Riverside Route to San Francisco, over County Roads, our way lay through rich alluvial country, many miles of asparagus, pear and cherry farms. Passing the big asparagus canning plants of Libby & Co., we next crossed river by bridge and drove about 10 miles of very bad ungraded road, recrossed by ferry to the main highway and then again by Antioch Bridge. Cup of tea in little town of Walnut Creek climbing in time to see from Observation Point on the Akland Sky-line Boulevard the sun set over the Golden Gate, the wonderful view of the bay and town not too clear on account of mist. We were motored through Piedmont (rich residential "enclave" into Oakland round Lake Merritt, passing the Oakland Hotel and through the new tunnel to Alameda and thence by the ferry from Alameda to San Francisco.

These ferries are wonderfully organized. They take thousands of people and dozens of cars and go every few minutes. The journey takes about 20 minutes and there is a restaurant on board so that travellers can eat their breakfast or dinner on board. Schemes are in hand, with every reasonable prospect of being carried through, for building a bridge from San Francisco to Oakland resting midway on Goat Island for $72,000,000, and another across the Golden Gate for $36,000,000, but more likely to cost double.

We motored quickly through the town and up the very steep hill, possibly 1 in 6, to the Fairmont Hotel, regarded as the best-class hotel in San Francisco although it is not so modern as the St. Francis or the Sir Francis Drake or the Mark Hopkins. The latter is under the same proprietorship as the Fairmont. We occupy two fine rooms overlooking the Bay which get the morning sun, the only drawback the noise of the cable trams climbing the hill. This is however a city of tramlines and is intolerably noisy in consequence; but Americans don't mind noise. Rooms 232 & 234.

[Jan. 27. RJ mentions: The State has built and is building 3 magnificent highways into the SF peninsula, all with 10 ft. tracks or as they call them "lanes": (1) Sky Line Boulevard, (2) US 101 (strings the towns), (3) Bay Drive (dock and commercial)]

[next excerpt, at the end--this journal does not go to NZ after all, perhaps separate file]

Extract from the Weekly Bulletin of the Engineering Association of Hawaii. Vol. IV no. 7.

A special guest of honor at last week's meeting was Mr. W. Rees Jeffreys of London, head of the British Delegation to the 6th International Road Congress held last October in Washington. Since that time he crossed the States entirely by auto and has given our road system careful and critical study. Mr. Jeffreys has attended all previous international Road Congresses, the first of which was held in Paris in 1908. He was Secretary of the third, held in London in 1913. At home he is Chairman of the Roads IMprovement Association of Great Britain and a technical adviser to the Minister of Transport. In England the words "Jeffreys" and "Roads" are synonymous. In America he was present at the birth of the Federal Aid. This occurred in 1912 when, as a guest of Mr. Logan Waller Page, head of our Good Roads Bureau, he gave valuable testimony before a committee of the Senate, which was then considering the first Federal Aid Bill. This measure was passed and marked the beginning of our trememdous expansion as a road building nation. Wm. C. Furer, Secretary.

REturning to . . .

14/38

Contents include (this listing is not comprehensive):

RV/TR/149. HM Customs, Memorandum on the Taxation of Motor Fuel. P. 20 pp. Details the technical difficulties associated with collecting the petrol tax, arising from the lack of a workable definition of (taxable) motor spirit which resulted in only spirit actually used as a motor vehicle fuel being taxed while rebates and bonded supplies were given to non-motor users of otherwise taxable fuel; these collection difficulties were exacerbated by the introduction of Imperial Preference in 1919 (5d for fuel coming from within the Empire, 6d for fuel coming from without), and the mixing of imperial and non-imperial petrol.

Philip G Tennant, Proof of Evidence given before C'ttee (23/2/1923). 4 pp. P.

Sidney E Garcke, Proof of Evidence given before C'ttee--this deals mainly with taxation of petrol and its effect on omnibuses. Garcke argues that taxation of petrol doesn't tax according to use because petrol consumption varies according to congestion. (Garcke implicitly takes the view that taxation by use should mean taxation by miles travelled or people carried.) 11 pp. P.

Corbet le Marchant Gosselin (representative of Commercial Motor Uses Assn), Proof of Evidence given before C'ttee (10/4/1923). Tenor is much as in Garcke's report, except that Gosselin engages in special pleading for reduced rates of duty for PT vehicles. 12 pp. P.

Meeting proceedings, printed, for days 3-16 of the 1923 C'ttee's meeting. Far too much to summarize and this material really should be in the Bodleian (among the non-parl OP's). One important comment, however, is Maybury's statement that the 1923 committee faces the same definitional problems in deciding what a motor spirit is, and how to tax it, that inhibited the 1919-20 committee from following its "first best" choice of taxing proportionately to user by taxing the petrol.

JA Cole, Addendum to Proof of Evidence (25/1/1923). LTC Cole wishes to stress his position: taxation of home-produced benzole would be more expensive than taxation of imported motor spirit, because excise tax gathering machinery would have to be put in place domestically. Plus benzole production is limited (20m gals PA, 6-7% of annual consumption of motor spirit), and collection costs would be high in relation to revenue gain. Ca. 10 pp. P.

Note: do JSTOR searches for "motor taxation," "motor spirit," "car" and "taxation," and see what secondary-source material exists on motor taxation. Also, look in the familiar references--Theo C Barker, Philip Bagwell. Need a view of the forest before getting lost in trees.

Paperwork indicating the Motor Cab Trade supports petrol taxation, endorses the principle of taxation according to use (in spite of the possibility of greater tax incidence for SOME but obviously not ALL of its members), does not want special preference for home-produced petrol, etc.

RV/TR/140. Typescript of C'ttee's 28/3/1923 meeting. 100 pp.

RV/TR/141. Supplementary memo by govt chemist on a possible taxation regime. 4 pp. P. Govt chemist basically tells the C'ttee that, sorry, there's no way around the dual-use problem.

RV/TR/139. Not P; this is set-up correspondence to get the oil cos to send chemists to comment on the proposed liquid fuel tax.

RV/TR/135. Circa 10 pp., P. This is a memo supplied by RJ explaining how petrol-based tax works in India.

Note: do Web searches (and attempt to relocate page on the FHWA website describing FHWA's attempts to help states collect the gax tax more efficiently) on tax collection mechanisms in the USA. Find out what it means to tax at terminal, tax off the rack, etc. (How does KDOR do it?)

RV/TR/131. Secretary's memo on alternative schemes for motor taxation. A fair precis of the various options and the problems with them. 20 pp. P. Interesting observation: after 1920, Ireland dumped the RAC rating for a tax system based on cubic capacity. (This the same as displacement?)

RV/TR/130. Views of the local authorities. Mostly BOMFOG. Definitely not P.

RV/TR/129. Views of the special interest groups. circa 20 pp. P.

RV/TR/128. Views of individuals. Very long, maybe 200 pp. Mostly not P.

Note: does PRO hold papers for HoL Roads Group?

14/37

THe bulk of this file is duplicative of 14/38. The material that is not duplicative, however, includes stage-setting documentation for the "reform" of motor taxation considered by the 1923 committee (the haters of vehicle tax having finally made themselves heard), memos from the automobile clubs as to their preferred mode of taxation, a paper by E Leeming (possibly a relative of the JJ Leeming who later advocated transitions for vertical curves?) arguing broadly for taxation according to use and pointing to tests by the US BPR and its French equivalent which showed that pneumatic tires were less damaging to the roads than solid rubber tires and should be given waivers on taxation, etc.

Perhaps most important doc in this file is a memo by Godsell, C'ttee secretary, explaining the rationale behind the 1921 decision to place the whole tax on vehicles and the reason for rejecting a tire tax (it was felt that this would create perverse incentives for nonmaintenance of roads, among other things), and suggesting ways of approaching the new problem of devising tax for liquid fuel. Mention is made of the fact that, in the immediate postwar period, it was felt inexpedient to subject home-produced fuel to even a use-based tax.