MT 110/3

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London County Council: 'A' ring road

Date range1947-1954
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 110


With the end of the Second World War, London was finally in a position to start implementing the recommendations of the County of London Plan (1943) and the Greater London Plan (1944). The recommended highway network in the central area was seen as too destructive and expensive, however, and was rationalised into an arterial-standard (ie, fast and grade-separated) A-ring, and sub-arterial B-ring, with the cross routes XX and YY largely dropped or scaled down.

By April 1950, the London County Council was keen to add the arterial A-Ring to its Development Plan, but because the line required protection, needed the approval of a Parliamentary committee to do so. Much of the correspondence here is the LCC's attempts to get that approval, including a lengthy report expounding the virtues of the A-Ring, and gravely intoning that if action is not taken now, the line would become developed and a similar road scheme may never again be possible. It added that the A-Ring was the only solution that was both feasible, affordable and suitable for the needs of traffic, and that asking the LCC or MoT to reconsider was not an option as neither had any alternative proposal to suggest.

The committee turned down the propsal to protect the line of the A-Ring and, of course, the road was never built. It takes no leap of imagination at all to say that the LCC began looking further out of the central area for a way to provide London with an inner ring road.

Contents of note

  • Written description of the route, and the standard of engineering expected: it was to be dual three-lanes with grade-separated roundabout interchanges, narrowing to dual two-lanes only for the bored tunnel adjacent to Tower Bridge.
  • Evidence that the A-Ring's start date was to be at the point when the housing situation was back to pre-war availability, so that the LCC's housing programme had enough capacity to re-home those displaced by the road.
  • Discussion of the application of motorway-like restrictions (no stopping, minimum speed, ban on non-motor traffic), though there is no consideration of the A-Ring being a Special Road despite the Special Roads Act having been passed into law a year previously.
  • Colour plan of the route - the same one we know already, but it's in colour, so that's nice.
  • Artist's impressions of the route in various situations - elevated, depressed, before and after post-war reconstruction work, that sort of thing.

Links to related files

MT 95/86 Ring roads 'A' and 'B' (1945-1955)

People with camera copies

Chris Marshall has a partial copy.