MT 39/64

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LEGISLATION: Dartford and Purfleet (Thames) Tunnel Bill, 1930

Date range1929-1931
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 39

Context

This is a hefty box that contains one enormous file, all concerning the drafting of a bill for construction of what we now call the Dartford Tunnel. In the 1930s this was to be a single bore carrying two lines of traffic under the Thames and, while it wasn't eventually built until the 1960s, the legislation was completed and passed in 1930 to enable its construction.

There are many drafts of the Thames Tunnel Bill here, and much conversation about proposed amendments to it.

More interesting are the many thick "petition" documents: these are effectively objections in an era before road schemes involved public consultation. Florid legal documents were drawn up and presented to Parliament for consideration by interested parties who took exception to some aspect of the road scheme. Some were relatively minor but others were very serious.

There is a vast amount of paperwork here concerning what amounted to a fight between the MOT and the Port of London Authority over the tunnel. The PLA wanted to be able to dredge the river to a depth of 70' below spring low tide, but the MOT said a tunnel that would run deep enough to pass beneath that level was prohibitively expensive and unnecessary. They surveyed numerous shipbuilding and shipping companies and found no evidence that a 60' draft was a likely prospect in designs for future ocean-going ships, and concluded that there was no need for the tunnel to go any deeper than 45' below spring low tide. The PLA disagreement did, at one stage, threaten to destabilise the whole project.

The file concludes with a discussion on settling the costs of promoting the Bill.

Links to other files

MT 39/94 LEGISLATION: Dartford Tunnel Bill, 1936-1937 (1936-1947)

People with camera copies

None known.