MT 39/348

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HIGHWAY DEVELOPMENT SURVEY (GREATER LONDON): Wandsworth Bridge Road: extension north to Watford By-pass Road

Date range1937-1938
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 39

Context

This file discusses the possibility of creating a new northern approach to Wandsworth Bridge, in light of the London County Council's contemporary plans (which were fulfilled) to replace the bridge with a wider one free of weight restrictions. It is of interest in its own right as a detailed look at 1930s urban road design, but also because it forms the back story to the sixties scheme whereby Trinity Road in Wandsworth was upgraded with space for a flyover pointing to Wandsworth Bridge and the north bank of the river (for which see MT 118/379 and others).

This proposal was made by Bressey (of "and Lutyens" fame) for a route from the Bridge to Western Avenue's proposed line (Talbot Road, just south of the present A40 Westway). He states in his conclusion that “Wandsworth Bridge deserves special attention in this respect, having regard to its outstanding importance in the future, as the point where the South Circular Road strikes the River Thames. Clearly bigger things were planned for Wandsworth than actually transpired.

The part from the Thames to the A40 is the main one discussed here, but a further extension towards Edgware Road and thus Watford Bypass, as in the title, is also contemplated.

The scheme seems to have been scuppered by a Fulham Borough plan to put blocks of flats on the site of the proposed road, just north of Fulham Road. This was before rigid planning controls and the highway planners seemed unable to stop it or to persuade the council to leave space for the road plan in their housing scheme. An alternative line was proposed closer to the existing route, using all of North End Road, but rejected because it had to negotiate Fulham town centre and other difficult areas.

The full route of the planned approach road is plotted on Google Maps here, and is mostly formed by widening existing residential streets. This would not have been at all popular but seemed quite unexceptional by 1930s standards: the Great Chertsey Road and other contemporary schemes included lengthy sections where this was done.

The file also notes that the design of Wandsworth Bridge was produced in the knowledge that it could be subsequently widened to carry an 80ft road (six lanes of traffic, by 1930s standards) without marring its appearance.

Contents of note

  • Detailed outline of the proposed road, written by Bressey himself.
  • Plan of the proposal from the Thames to Talbot Road.

People with camera copies

Chris Marshall has a partial copy.