LSE Library Archives 2003-01-20
Arrived as usual (the 10.15 from Oxford was running about 6 minutes late; was originally supposed to leave on time but a bunch of other trains were much later and "bunched up" near Oxford, resulting in station congestion, the ascribed reason for the delay). Wore rain trousers en route to station, kept me dry but made me feel uncomfortably warm.
Requested the following files:
1/12, 1/15, 1/18, 1/20, 2/5. The 1-series files are from RJ's RIA affiliation and the 2-series file is from his Road Board years. These are just being screened very rapidly for relevance to conceptual evolution of motorways.
This contains postwar RIA material, including RJ's accounts of organizational involvement and press cuttings. One cutting of interest, dated 3/8/1946 and from 'Motor Transport', presents some interesting information WRT future plans. Extracted.
Making the roads fit the traffic
The celebration of the golden jubilee of the motor industry, marked, as it was, by a procession through the streets of London of specimens of the products of the last fifty years, must inevitably draw attention to the question of prospective road development in this country. At the present time, under Government direction, anything from 33 1/3 to 50 pc of total vehicle output of an industry which is experiencing gradual conversion from war to peace production is being exported. Figures in this connection for the five months ended May last, the latest available, are interesting. Of a total output of 62,900 cars and taxis 30,038 were exported, and of 55,918 commercial vehicles 18,392 were sent overseas. In spite of this--and petrol rationing notwithstanding--highways and streest are already uncomfortably full, and it is not difficult to imagine the situation when the motor industry is once again in full blast and all impediments to motoring have been removed. Add to this the possibility of lower prices for cars, increasing wage scales and holidays with pay, and the prospect becomes really alarming. No wonder Mr PJ Noel-Baker, the then Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of War Transport, speaking on September 3, 1943, felt justified in predicting that within twenty years after the war the number of motor vehicles on the roads would be four times as great as in 1939. Earlier in that year the Institution of Municipal and County Engineers had submitted to the Minister of Works and Planning a memorandum indicating the lines upon which the Government should plan future communications by a system of motorways.
How does the present Government propose to solve the problem? Certainly by plans more realistic and far-seeing than those of any of their predecessors for, although the proposals fall short of those adumbrated by the country surveyours, they do provide for an expenditure of £80,000,000 in a single year. The Minister's ten-year plan has been carefully devised. It was unfolded in our issue of May 11. Its main objects will be promotion of safety on the highways; improvements to assist development areas in particular and industrial development generally, including better access to ports and markets; improved through communications; rehabilitation and improvement of towns and countryside; the redevelopment of devastated areas; the improvement of access between the home and the workshop or office, and reduction of traffic congestion; and in the country, the promotion of the efficiency of agriculture. The pattern of this plan, said the Minister, must be determined now, as it would form the framework upon which the planning of town and country would largely be based. Major roadworks were necesssarily fairly long-term projects, and he had deemed it advisable to envisage a works programme spread over the next ten years. The first stage would cover the next two years; the second stage, years three to five; and the third stage, years six to ten.
In the first stage, attention is to be given to the overtaking of the large arrears of road maintenance accumulated during the war, and for the resumption of certain schemes which at the outbreak of war were either postponed or closed down--such as the Crofter Counties Scheme and the Dartford-Purfleet Tunnel; and for works of first priority in and in connection with the development areas, including the Severn Bridge and the Jarrow Tunnel, with their associated roads. The second stage should see the completion of arrears of maintenance and continued activity in the elimination of accident "black spots"; increased activity on major road works of new construction, among which high priority will continue to be given to road improvements, including a limited number of motor roads, for the development areas and other works begun before the war. In the last five years the programme envisages a comprehensive reconstruction of the principal national routes, and if Parliament sees fit to grant the necessary powers it is the Minister's intention to start on a further number of motor roads where that course is found to be preferable to the widening or by-passing of the existing roads.
All these contemplated activities are interesting, but as Mr Rees Jeffreys pointed out at the recent annual meeting of the Roads IMprovement Association, they do not go far to solve the problem of how to make the roads adequate and safe for the traffic of the next five years. Although it is apparent that money will no longer be an obstacle, the things that are lacking are labour, materials and transport. The Minister himself emphasised that the rate at which it would be possible to initiate and proceed with work would depend upon the priority which it was found possible to give the different schemes as part of the total investment activity of the country. In the past, said Mr Rees Jeffreys, we have had promises of road plans, but on one excuse and another they were only partially carried out. The drive and money behind them melted away. That may happen again unless road users combine and make themselves politically effective. The pressure upon the Government to implement their plans must not be relaxed, but rather intensified, and it is satisfactory to note that a deputation from the British Road Federation last week rwaited upon the Minister, who invited them to keep in close touch with his Department so as to be in a position to keep the Federation's members fully informed of progress made in carrying out the programme. We have no doubt that full advantage will be taken of this proffered opportunity.
Also: RAC pamphlet (1946) on 'Roadside Rests'. Enphasizes their ability to attract attention to lovely views. Suggests different types of approach signage, appropriate to woody, rocky, and flat-clay country. Actually quite interesting but not P.
RJ's speech on the traffic crisis, given before the RIA meeting. (6/61946, given at R.A.C.) 3 pp. P.
"Highway Policy": anonymously authored article appeared in 'Commercial Vehicle Users' Journal', June 1946. 4 pp. P.
Includes much interesting material, all P, but none thesis-relevant.
Report of the Departmental Committee [LGB] on Highways. 1903. Cmnd. 1793.
Same. Minutes of Evidence. 1903. Cmnd. 1794.
RIA. The movement for wider and better roads. Papers and correspondence relating to the appt. of a departmental committee of the local govt board to enquire into the existing system of hwy admin; together with the views of MPs and the press on the need for enquiry and reform, and a memorandum on hwy admin in E&W at the beginning of the C20. by RJ.
Report by RJ (typewritten) on Selby Royal Comm on road accidents. Main points: abolish the 20 mph limit, hypothecate motoring taxes.
RJ: The Motor Problem: A Road Problem. Reprint of paper read by RJ at AA, Piaccadilly, 12/3/1903.
Page from 1905 Royal Comm on London Traffic showing RJ's London main road proposals.
Reprints from 'The Car', 15/4/1903--article by RJ on impediments to motor traffic. Trams, omnibuses, standards in the street, general low speed of other traffic.
Interesting observation: the 1903 committee recommended central funding of roads (out of motor taxation) AND said that this should be used to finance new-location bypasses around congested areas rather than grants-in-aid of ordinary maintenance and repair.
Again, interesting material, some P, very little thesis-relevant. Only material which is P is cited:
'Glasgow Herald' article from RJ, suggesting geographical dispersal of metropolitan population into smaller, planned communities along the general lines of the New Towns. He suggested that this had been made possible by the wireless and the motor vehicle.
Various newspaper articles pertaining to a speech made by RJ (at RIA? April 1927?) where he advocated "speedways": high-speed motor roads with stopping restrictions (ie no stationary vehicles on which 14-15s per yard of road surfacing had to be paid), but not severed from the countryside via development restrictions like the Italian autostrade, and with factories, small residential communities, etc. having their own connecting roads. (There is a general trend in RJ's thinking about arterial roads. All of the features of the motorway exist, except the grade-separation concept.) (Possible corridors RJ threw out included London-Birmingham and London-Brighton.) RJ complained specifically about the Kingston Bypass, which was 30 ft wide and because of the lack of stopping restrictions could be used only as a two-track road. (In fact 30' would now be considered substandard for WS2.)
Countering opinion: 'Times' 28/10/1927, "New Roads for Old." P. Also RJ's article on the same page, P. But we are not going to bother with P. Instead we will type transcripts.
The new roads
Fifteen years of progress
London and its outlets
The opening today by the Prime Minister of the Kingston by-pass marks another steop in the completion of the Greater London arterial road programme.
Few conferences have been so productive as that convened by Mr. John Burns in 1912 to study the problem of London roads. Necessary as were the roads recommended by the Conference and those subsequently added by the Ministry of Transport, it is doubtful whether so many would have been constructed but for the assistance of two other factors. These were (1) the need for finding employment for demobilized soldiers, and (2) the existence of the Road Fund, augmented by the growing produce of the motor licence duties imposed by the Finance Act of 1920.
Including the two schemes arranged by the Road Board before the war (the Great West Road and the Croydon by-pass, the 31 items in the programme comprise in all about 256 miles of new construction, of which approximately 200 miles will be open for traffic before the end of the year. The total cost of the programme may be roughly assessed at 15 millions. This figure is not large when measured in relation to the increased rateable value which it will create, nor would the annual sinking fund necessary to redeem an expenditure which may be classified as "productive" appear excessive when weighed against the time saved and convenience gained by road users.
The Kingston by-pass
The Kingston by-pass is upwards of eight miles in length. It starts at Kingston Vale, opposite Robin Hood Gate, Richmond Park, and terminates on the Portsmouth Road at Esher. It will enable traffic wishing to pass into South-west Surrey to avoid the congested streets of Kingston and the low bridge which carries the main railway line over the road at Ditton. The scheme includes a branch road known as the Merton Spur, which affords a connexion from Tooting, Balham, and Wimbledon. The spur is 1 1/4 miles long.
The present northern entrance to the new road opposite Robin Hood gate is unsatisfactory. A scheme has been arranged for a conveniently designed junction with the road through Kingston Vale. This involves a new bridge over the Beverley Brook. The work is to be put in hand almost immediately.
Traffic requirements demand that at no distant date the road be carried farther north along the edge of Richmond Park and across Barnes Common to make junction with Castelnau and Hammersmith Bridge. As regards this extension no scheme has yet been agreed between the authorities concerned.
It must not be forgotten in reviewing the arterial road programme that it is a compromise between conflicting ideas and interests. If it is in some places incomplete, one must recall that the Government, being concerned mainly with the immediate relief of unemployment, were impelled towards projects affecting undeveloped lands free from those dilatory and costly obstacles which haunt all clearance schemes. Moreover the financial support of local authorities had to be secured, and it thus happens that the undertakings which were ultimately selected were not always those holding first place on the traffic priority schedule.
The fact that there are 170 independent highway authorities in the London traffic area, often with conflicting interests and holding different opinions as to the prportions in which any expenditure should be shared, makes all the more remarkable the achievement of securing the construction and arranging the finance of over 200 miles of arterial roads. A tribute should be paid to the local authorities for the willingness so many have shown to sink their purely local interests in a time of national emergency, and to the negotiating powers of Sir Henry Maybury, the Director-General of Roads, who has been primarily responsible for the arrangement and execution of the programme.
On comparing the road map of London today with that of ten years ago, it will be seen that all quarters of Greater London--east and west, north and south--have benefited by the executed programme. In the west is the Great West Road bypassing Brentford and Hounslow, with an extension to Staines. In the east, the Southend Road. In due course these thoroughfares will be connected by the North Circular Road. This scheme, which aims at connecting Kew Bridge with Woolwich Ferry, will involve about 22 miles of new construction and widening. The great obstacle in the past has been the finance of bridging the Lea Valley, which divides Middlesex and Essex. This has now been done, and the section, with its imposing viaduct, will be opened next month. The most difficult of the remaining sections is the tunnel under the Grand Junction Canal, near Stonebridge Park, and another tunnel under the railway line near New Southgate Station.
In the north have been constructed the new Cambridge Road, 11 1/2 miles long, running up the Lea Valley, and the Watford and Barnet bypasses. In the south the Croydon and Sutton bypasses are now open, although the bridge on the latter road over the railway at Cheam will not be complete for several months. In Kent the reconstruction of 11 miles of the old Watling Street and the improvement (amounting almost to new construction) of many miles of the London-Maidstone-Folkestone Road with numerous other roads have helped greatly the access to the Kentish ports.
Progress with the Western Avenue has been delayed. This road, about 12 miles long, extends from Bayswater to beyond Uxbridge. It is expected that the Government will release shortly the balance of the money to enable this work to be completed. The authority principally concerned--the Middlesex CC--is anxious to proceed. In passing, it is right to acknowledge the debt that Greater London owes to the chairman of the Council, Colonel Charles Pinkham (who has been chairman of the Highways Committee for 15 years), to whose leadership the progress in Middlesex is largely due.
Some day it is hoped that the LCC will connect the Western Avenue with the Eastern Avenue. The latter is an important piece of new construction across the Lea Marshes to Wanstead, Ilford, and Romford. When these avenues are linked up via the marylebone Road an important east and west thoroughfare across London will have been constructed which will reduce the congestion in Fleet Street and before the Mansion House.
Another important scheme which makes little progress yet is the Victoria Dock road improvement. It has been referred to frequently in the Columns of the Times in discussions on approaches to the docks. The attitude of the LCC will determine whether the Cromwell Road extension scheme and other urgent improvements on the western borders of the county shall progress.
Middlesex and Surrey
Outside the county of London it is gratifying to be able to record activity in pressing forward approved schemes and developing new ones. Terms have been arranged between the Government and the County Councils of Middlesex and Surrey which will enable progress to be made with the Chertsey arterial road. This scheme involves the construction of two new Thames bridges at Mortlake and Chiswick. The finance of the New Hampton Court Bridge also has been settled. The Middlesex and Surrey County Councils will deserve the tribute recently paid to them by Lord Lee in the Times of October 14 last.
Surrey County Council are also maturing further schemes of road improvement. Owing to mistakes of policy in the past, the arrears of road construction and development in this county are great. The present Council, under the guidance of the chairman (Alderman EJ Holland, JP) and the chairman of the Highways Committee (Alderman Leonard Ellis, LP) are courageously tackling them, and, in particular, are seeking to arrnge the finance of those works which should be immediately put in hand in advance of imminent building developments.
A scheme for which the Ministry of Trnsport deserves most of the redit is the attempt to preserve the line of a road 75 miles long on the north side of the Thames at a distance of 20 miles or so from Charing Cross. This route, officially named the North Orbital Road, starts from Colnbrook, on the Great West Road, and skirting Rickmansworth, St. Albans, Hatfield, Hoddesdon, and Brentwood, terminates at Tilbury. in the development of the northern edge of the metropolis its value to forthcoming generations will be incalculable. That value will be increased if with the road can be associated a belt of playing fields.
The engineering problems connected with the lay-out and construction of these new roads are more properly discussed in a purely technical article. It is interesting to note that the Kingston bypass measures 100ft between fences and 30ft between the kerbs. The present surfae coat is of cement concrete.
The feature in the ne arterial road construction most open to criticism is the design at corners, cross-roads, and important junctions. Too much care cannot be given to the consideration of the layout of roads at these points. Not only is the safety of the public concerned, but the necessity of avoiding traffic blocks and reducing the cost of police supervision, as well as the convenience of the drivers of vehicles. The Town Planning Institute has appointed a committee to report on road corners and junctions and prepare diagrams of suggested forms of lay-out.
In the provinces.
The opening the Birmingham-Wolverhampton road illustrates the share which the provinces have taken in the national programme of new construction. Farther north, progress is being made with the tunnel under the Mersey to connect Liverpool with Birkenhead. Liverpool has stolen a march on London in getting the finance of its tunnel arranged in advance of the Dartford-Purfleet tunnel. It is urgently necessary to connect the road systems of Kent and Essex by a tunnel under the Lower Thames to relieve the City of much of the heavy traffic which now crosses by the central bridges. The new road connecting Liverpool with East Lancashire has also been started.
In Northumberland, the new Border bridge at Berwick-on-Tweed is approaching completion. The new high-level Newcastle-Gateshead bridge is under way. The new road from Newcastle to Tynemouth, opened yesterday by the Minister of Transport, is elsewhere described. Across the Border the new Glasgow-Edinburgh road is well in hand.
This cursory survey shows the present position of the programme which derived its driving force from the conditions of unemployment existing in 1920. Future developments depend largely upon the recongition by the public and the Government of the need for new roads to provide for the requirements of transport. The Home Secretary, speaking but a fortnight ago, reminded the country that there was no limit to the extension of motor traffic on the highways, and therefore there could be no limit to the extension and improvement of the roads of the country. A very great work has been accomplished, but muchmore, he said, would have to be done in the near future. It is well that conditions are so correctly understood by Ministers. By reason of the small units into which the country is divided for purposes of local government, the guidance, the driving force, and the greater part of the funds for building new arterial roads must necessarily be provided by the central Government.
New roads for old.
The simultaneous completion of three new sections of the expanding network of arterial roads is a salutary reminder to the motoring public of the vast amount of money and labour which has been expended in various parts of the country for their benefit. [BTW, what was the funding ratio for the Road Board and early MOT?] Yesterday in the north the Newcastle-Tynemouth coast road was opened by the Minister of Transport, and today the Prime Minister is to perform the same office for the Kingston bypass in the south. Next week it will be the turn of the Midlands. The combined length of the three additions is some twenty-four miles, and the estimated cost well over £1,000,000. Of the three the Kingston bypass, though its cost per mile is considerably less than that of the Birmingham road, is probably the most important. One hundred feet in width and nearly ten miles in length, it will serve to carry a large volume of heavy traffic between the south and south-west of London and the main road to Guildford and Portsmouth. The first two sections of the by-pass are already familiar to motorists. The opening the remaining stretch--to its re-entry into the Portsmouth road on the boundary of the Thames Ditton and Esher Golf Course--puts the coping stone on an enterprise which will be an obvious boon not only to the traffic passing south of London, but to other Surrey townships besides Kingston.
Similarly the Birmingham-Wolverhampton road, which was first proposed nearly 20 years ago, should prove of real service to the industrial development of the district. Its construction has cost about £60,000 a mile, or considerably more than either of the other two roads--the extra expense being chiefly due to the greater number of bridges which have had to be built and to the extremely broken character of the land over which it passes in the Black Country. The average cost per mile of the Newcastle-Tynemouth coast road, which is nearly five miles in length, or about two-and-a-half less than the old Longbenton route, is also more than that of the Kingston bypass. It is very level and straight, and, according to an account published in a local newspaper, "were it not for nine roads running across it at right angles, it would be a motorist's paradise." The great extent of the total work of road construction and improvement of which these three short stretches are the latest development is shown in the article by Mr. W. Rees Jeffreys printed in an adjoining column. Including the two great pre-war schemes of the Road Board--the Great West Road and the Croydon by-pass--a total mileage of over 250 has been taken in hand, 200 of which will have been opened for traffic by the end of the present year. This arterial road programme, Mr. Jeffreys tells us, is a compromise. Partly undertaken as a means of providing work for the unemployed, dependent to a large extent on the financial support of the local authorities, and complicated by the number of highway authorities who have had tobe consulted, it has suffered in some cases from unavoidable delays and a lack of homogeneous treatment. On the whole, however, the local authorities, and not least those of Surrey and Middlesex, have taken a broad-minded and not a prochial view of their responsibilities. Thanks to their loyal cooperation, the whole plan of the main roads, especially in the districts north, south, east, and west of London, has already been radically changed and improved. In addition to minor operations, the new Cambridge road up the valley of the Lea, the Watford and Barnet bypass, the alterations in Kent on the Old Watling Street and the London, Maidstone, and Folkestone road, the Croydon and Sutton bypass, the Southend and the North Circular roads, nd the great West road extension to Saines and beyond--all these are in themselves worthy parts of an arterial system which might have rejoiced the heart of General Wade, and perhaps even of Cn Julius Agricola and his fellow engineers, the distinguished makers of the centuries-old roads which ran from London to Canterbury, Winchester, Gloucester, Chester, Leicester, Cirencester, and other Roman strongholds.
On the other hand the plans of our modern road makers annot always escape criticism. There are those who hold that in some cases they are altogether too Roman in the uncompromising directness of their routes. For other reasons objections to incidental parts of the schemes have lately been made, for example, by inhabitants of Petersham, Richmond, Leith Hill, Guildford, and the authorities of Dulwich College. Nor is it without cause that protests have been raised in these columns by Mr. Malcolmson and Mr. Leonard Huxley against the new project of driving a wide arterial road through the Pass of Glencoe, which forms one of the illustrations on a later page this morning.
Admittedly the present road is narrow and in bad condition, and because of its many zigzags will not safely admit of a motor speed of more than 20 miles an hour. But even as it is, it can be and is used by motor-coaches, and could certainly be made good for a far smaller sum than the £500,000 which the new road is said to cost. There could hardly be a better example than this proposal of the danger of subordinating all other interests to the demands of the motorist in a hurry. Scotsmen, at all events, will feel that to sacrifice the wonder of the Gleann na deoir for the sake of a possible extra 40 miles an hour would be an act not only of economic folly but of wnton desecration. Motorists may not be the sale of the earth, but they are not its only possessors.
RJ, @A regional authoirty for greater London. Proposed federal council: its constitution: its function: and it how it shall be financed.@ 'Municipal Journal and Public Works Engineer' p. 1833, 11/11/1927.
RJ, letter to Col Ashley (of MOT) regarding Western Ave. 16/12/1927. RJ wants MOT not to cancel Western Ave through Middlesex, and writes on RIA letterhead. Worth transcribing:
The Roads IMprovement Assn regret to learn from your reply to Sir Edward Iliffe in the House of Commons in November that you are not prepared to encourage the construction at the present time of the remaining section of the Western Avenue from Greenford to its junction with the Oxford Road beyond Uxbridge, a distance of about 7 miles of which six are in Middlesex and one in Buckinghamshire. The Association desire me respectfully to urge you to press the Treasury to release the money to enable this 7 miles to be proceeded with at once. Even if authority is given, the work could not be completed until 1930 having regard to the number of bridges required--5 in Middlesex and 2 in Bucks. A few thousand pounds only would be paid out in the present financial year. The money would go out in instalments in the three succeeding years. [Query. How has the ratio in cost between bridges and road surface fluctuated in time WRT technology? Why was reinforced/prestressed concrete such a great advance? What were the fiscal implications?]
You have pointed out publicly with special reference to the Kingston bypass that hardly is a new road completed than it is filled with traffic. This fact demonstrates how great is the need for new arterial approach roads to London. If the Kingston bypass serving only a small area of England ws urgent, how much more is the relief required to the Oxford Road which carries traffic for the South Midlands, Gloucester and South Wales, much of which is of an industrial character. The villages which are threaded upon this ancient highway--Acton, Ealing, Southall and Uxbridge--have now become populous townships. The traffic to and from their own local streets which feed the Oxford Road every few yards, and their shopping centres which front upon it require practically all the available road space, leaving very little for through traffic which is badly obstructed by local conditions for many miles.
Official statistics show that between 1914 and 1925 the traffic on this road through Acton more than doubled. Private motor cars and cabs increased about five times (from 3155 to 16027); motor omnibuses from 2077 to 10145. Most significant of all, however, is the increase in motor lorries from 288 to 5021. Since 1925 it is believed that the increase has been at a much greater ratio. Conditions are bad enough today. They will be much worse in 1930. Further delay beyond that date will lead to congestion and loss appalling to contemplate.
It is understood that the cost of the 6 miles in Middlesex is approximately £380,000 of which 50% is to be found out of the Road Fund. The Association beg to sugges that if the Treasury cannot be induced to release the £190,000 was a Capital sum between the years 1928 and 1931 to enable the work to be proceeded with at once, the Middlesex County Council should be authorized to borrow the whole of the amount (£380,000) instead of their moiety (£190,000) and that the Ministry of Transport with the consent of the Treasury shall give the Council a formal undertaking to pay 50% of the annual loan charges.
in this connection I venture to remind you of the undertaking given by the Cahncellor to the House of Commons on the Report stage of the Budget resolutions (April 28th) "we shall finance with the credit of the State every undertaking and commitment into which we have actually entered."
I am, yours faithfully, [sgd.]
Times, 29/10/1927: has a map of London arterial routes.
RJ, article in 'Autocar': "Money Avialable for Road Work", 30/9/1927. 1 p, P. Some interesting points: the grant %-ages of 50% for Class I and 33 1/3% for Class II are purely notional: Treasury introduces uncertainty (Circular 260 (Roads)) by reserving the right to vary %-ages year on year, not carrying obligations over from year to year, and maintaining the %-ages only to the extent allowed by Fund revenue and highway money voted.
RJ: "Road traffic and highway development. Conditions and requirements in Great Britain." 'Modern Transport' 17/9/1927. 1 p., P. RJ advocates a toll-free, tax-financed National Motor Road not precisely like the Italian 'autostrade' (which he says are disapproved of by British admin and engineers, but doesn't cite the reasons why--perhaps the monotonous straightness and failure to make full use of traffic insulation with wide medians, etc.) but with the indispensable feature that stationary traffic (to serve frontages) NOT BE PERMITTED. This, he believes, is the compelling advantage of the Italian 'autostrade'. He even suggests that railways might be willing to sell their unprofitable branch lines for conversion to motorways.
RJ: letter to editor of 'Times' regarding conflicting interests in London. 1 p., P. 31/8/1927. Reproduced below.
Sir,--I am afraid Mr. Collard's appeal to the LCC, and its chairman in particular, will be barren of result. As chairman of the Road sIMprovement Association I agree with Mr. Collard. There are many works on which £1,340,000 could be more usefully spent than on reconstructing Lambeth Bridge. On the other hand, I am afraid that if I were a responsible member of the LCC I should have voted with Mr. Gatti for its reconstruction. The RIA is free to take an unbiased survey of the needs of Greater London. Not so the LCC. It is a statutory authority. Its powers, its duties, and the limits of its jurisdiction have been fixed by Parliament. The LCC is a bridge authority (for a few bridges only) in the County of London. That county itself is not one-tenth of the area of traffic London. It is not the road authority for London; nor is it the traffic authority. A faithful discharge of its statutory duties, uncorrected by the pressure of larger interests, has led to a decision to rebuild Lambeth Bridge.
Its limited and defined responsibilities enforce a narrowness of outlook which is constantly forcing the LCC to decisions quite justifiable in themselves but opposed to the larger interests of London. May I cite a recent example? just before the recess--on July 19--the LCC refused to proceed with certain schemes for providing alternative routes for traffic recommended by the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee at a cost of £600,000. It decided, however, to proceed with a scheme for enlarging the tramway subway between Waterloo Bridge and Southampton Row at a cost of £326,500. I think these decisions were both wrong. But if a member of the LCC, I should probably have agreed with Sir George Hume--see the Times report July 20--that the recommendations of the responsible committee could not be resisted. Why?
The LCC is the trustee for 17 millions of the ratepayers' money invested in tramways, on which there is an annual loss running into hundreds of thousands of pounds. For the tramwys it has a direct responsibility. It is advised in its administration by very able officials who are able quite properly to influence the Finance, Improvement, Highways, and the other Committees of the Council to carry out schemes which benefit the tramway enterprise and to turn down most of those which do not. On the other hand, the LCC has no direct interest in motor-omnibus, cab, priate, or commercial traffic. The technical representatives of these interests are not constantly present, as are the representatives of the tramway interests, to inform, advise, and guide the Council. It is inevitable, therefore that a scheme for improving alternative routes for the benefit of general traffic is rejected in favor of one for improving tramway facilities.
It is absurd in these cirumstances to criticize the LCC for carrying out its statutory obligations to the best of its ability. Criticism has to be directed to successive Governments and Parliaments which neglect to adapt the machinery of Greater London's government to its presnt needs. We shall continue to get lopsided decisions which are opposed to the interests of London as a whole until Parliament creates an authority which is able to survey and provide for the needs of Greater London.
What, in short, London and the Home Counties require is a limited measure of home rule. Parliament has neither the time nor the knowledge nor the inclination to solve London's problems, and no existing local authority has the statutory powers to do so.
RJ: internal RIA memo (8/1927) to same general effect of the 'Times' letter regarding LCC. 4 pp. P.
RJ: Confidential Memorandum on the effect of Mr. Churchill's Raids on the Road Fund. this was sent to local Conservative associations (with cover letter dated 25/6/1927) spelling out the effect of the raid and its likelihood to rebound in the face of Tories. 3 pp. total. P.
RJ: suggestions for resolutions for County Councils to vote. 2 pp. total (incl cover letter). NP.
RJ: further memoranda, 2 pp. each, most NP. "The road fund. Memorandum on the future policy of highway authorities." "The raid on the road fund. effect on leicestershire rates and roads. questions for the candidates." "The road fund. Policy of the RIA. A ratepayers' question."
RJ: Letter to 'Times' (23/7/1927) about traffic conditions in Berlin. RJ says the city engineer showed him plans for an arterial road with a center tramway track sown with grass. 1 pp., P.
More froufrou on the Road Fund raid: 'Surveyor', blurb on 1/7/1927 playing up RJ's squawking; 'Contract Journal', 6/7/1927, giving added play to RJ's idea of borrowing against the Road Fund.
Plan for RIA campaign for road fund restoration. Budget between £10-12K. 1 p., P.
Times article (28/4/1927) describing RIA mtg after Churchill stole another £12m from the Road Fund (bringing total theft up to £26m).
RIA, mounrning the raids: "Roads. The second Churchill raid. Results on traffic and industry." 7 pp. P. @This Association has been beaten in its triumph. The fruits of the victory we had won have been torn from us by the politicians but we shall fight on," etc.
RJ: 'Times' article, 5/4/1927, ranging over much the same subject matter as the article advocating the National Motor Road, but taking construction of the Great North Road/Welwyn bypass connection as the jumping-off point. 1 pp. P.
'The Roadmaker' extracts (1927): incidence of road taxation on property rates estimated at 50%.
RJ: drafts of 'The RIA: Its past work and its new Programme', 1903. 5 pp. P. (but not thesis-relevant).
Records of nepotism in surveyors' depts and other abuses.
Complaints re. tramways on roads. 3 pp. P.
Extract from 1907 RIA annual regarding the "million pound scheme": suggests that Lord Balfour of Burleigh's proposed state grant to local authorities for roads (made in report of Royal? Comm on Local Taxation) should be spent on new location roads and on strengthening principal roads and on making existing roads dustless.
Thomas Codrington (MInstCE). Report on Road Maintenance. HMSO, 1889. (A publication of the LGB.)
Memorandum by the RIA (Inc), the CTC, the Natl Cyclists Union, and the Automobile Club, on the renewal of the Light Railways Act of 1896. Incl. proposed amendments. 5 pp. P. Mostly deisgned to bring the tramways to heel, but has lots of info on history of local finance of roads; apparently a block grant became available to CC's when they were formed in 1888. At the time of writing (ca 1903), the unallocated balance of the Exchequer contribution to counties was the govt grant in aid of roads.
Much of this is concerned with RJ's attempts to find mud on Sir George Gibb. Potential lines of attack included the following: (1) Gibb believed roads shouldn't compete with rail, and had a conflict of interest with the railways since he was receiving £5,000 for his Road Board job plus £3,000 as director of the NER, and had previously been employed by the Speyers (an American family which had acquired control of the District and Metropolitan lines in what eventually became the London Underground) at a cost of £8,000 PA. (2) Gibb's appointment was secured by powerful interests opposed to the Road Board. He was a friend of the Asquiths. (3) Gibb was apparently a first cousin of Eric Geddes (by marriage?).
File also includes the minute of the Road Board censuring Gibb for taking the files to Geddes without consulting the Board beforehand.
Correspondence between RJ and Gibb also included. Gibb's side of the correspondence is on Road Board letterhead. The official crest of the Road Board was "THE ROAD BOARD" above the lion and unicorn, enclosed in an oval, embossed on the paper. It's similar to the current Home Office seal.
Gibb to RJ 12/8/1914: a super-nasty letter! A quote:
As regards the secretarial work I am bound to say that I have been disappointed with the manner in which you have grappled with it. You seem content to hand over to the junior staff, to an undue extent, work which ought to have your personal effort and attention and when you return I will expect you to put more personal effort into the secretarial work.
Also a letter to 'The Times' from Montagu WRT Geddes' conflict of interest as MOT (then "Minister-designate for Ways and Communications"). Montagu was probably RJ's silent supporter on the board--surprising that there is so little evidence of correspondence or contact between the two?