MT 110/18

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Oxford Circus improvement

Date range1947-1963
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 110

Context

This file sounds like it's going to be about some road scheme to remodel Oxford Circus in central London, in the manner of other "improvements" planned in this era that introduced grade separation or gyratory systems to important junctions in London. It's not about that, and it doesn't look like that was ever planned here.

Instead, this is actually about the works that took place at Oxford Circus for the Victoria Line in the mid-1960s, when the tube station (previously in a building to one side) was remodelled to gain a new ticket hall underneath the crossroads. Building this and all its associated escalator shafts involved building an "umbrella" - a metal canopy on raised pillars to allow road traffic to continue above the work site.

There is some information here about that, though as an engineering scheme it isn't described here in much detail and was presumably handled by London Transport. What is here, in great detail, is the complex network on interlinked one-way systems that were installed all around Oxford Circus as a temporary measure during the works. These were absurdly complicated - a whole map of the West End with a maze of arrows pointing in all directions.

There are press reports here too, describing the roadworks, and noting that new signs for the one-way system were mounted on gantries.

People with camera copies

None known.