MT 106/219

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London radial motorways: linking with London road system; London-Crawley Motorway (M23)

Date range1963-1969
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 106


This file contains much of the history relating to what we might call the M23 question: how do you end it? From the earliest proposals in the 1950s through to the demise of the scheme in the 1980s the same problem - of how a motorway could possibly terminate somewhere in inner south London - was the one that held up progress. The relatively brief interlude in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the GLC's motorway plans would have given it a neat motorway-standard terminus were, in fact, quite exceptional.

There is also some discussion here of interchange options at Mitcham Junction (A236), where local authority objections and road proposals made choosing a layout troublesome. Two layouts similar to a parclo, with a gyratory system to the west, are detailed.

The useful contents of this file are distributed among some of the most comprehensive and tedious meeting minutes you are ever likely to encounter.

Contents of note

  • Plans of proposals for an interchange with the A236 at Mitcham.
  • Correspondence regarding the section of Ringway 2 between A23 and A24 becoming temporarily a trunk road, so that the Ministry of Transport could build it as part of the M23 scheme, with it subsequently reverting to a Metropolitan Road when the GLC completed the rest of Ringway 2 in the south. This presented considerable administrative problems.
  • Documents that indicate the protected alignment for the M23 continued north of the Ringway 2 terminus, finishing at the railway junction near Streatham Vale, because of prolonged uncertainty over whether it would continue north of that point. This explains why so many commercial maps show the "proposed" line hanging in mid-air beyond the point where the route would have terminated at Ringway 2.
  • Details on the standard of construction - dual four-lanes, it seems, from the South Orbital Road all the way to Streatham.
  • Plans at 1:2500 scale of the entire Tulse Hill link, which appears to continue west into a dualled A214.
  • A report dated 1964 that recommends the Tulse Hill link (a proposal made by consultants only investigating the M23) is dropped in favour of continuing the M23 north to a new motorway link from Clapham to Tulse Hill via Balham being proposed by the London County Council, and which the consultants had not considered. Building both would be a duplication of effort.

Links to other files

MT 106/460 Highways projects: M23 London to Crawley (West Sussex) motorway: planning of the northern terminal; minutes and correspondence (1971-1974)
GLC/DG/PUB/01/362 Thames Tunnel publication [contains a misfiled report on terminating the M23]

People with camera copies

Chris Marshall has a partial copy.