MT 95/384

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Location National Archives
Title Designs of traffic signs: London-Birmingham motorway
Date range 1959-1973
Catalogue See entry


This file is a bit of a mixed bag - all of it interesting, but covering several slightly different topics and time periods.

Of greatest interest is the discussion within the Ministry of Transport regarding the signposting of the M1 from the all-purpose road system, and in particular how it should be signposted from further away on roads leading to the motorway. The eventual solution was new signs in white-on-blue to Anderson specifications, which were erected on non-motorway roads as a stopgap measure until the Worboys report and the new TSRGD 1964 brought in the facility to signpost motorways as part of the new direction sign system. In this file are various options considered as alternatives to this policy, most strikingly including Anderson white-on-blue panels being incorporated into pre-Worboys direction signs. Some examples show a regular black-on-white direction sign reading, for example, "A45 Rugby", then a chequered bar (then in current use to mean "leading to"), and below that the rest of the sign in white-on-blue mixed case lettering, reading "M1 Motorway" in Transport lettering. These odd combination signs were never used on the road but the diagrams are a bizarre enough mix of styles to be worth seeing.

Other options considered in this file are ways to signpost the different entry sliproads from non-motorway roads; the file contains diagrams of flag signs which reach "M1 Northbound traffic" and "M1 Southbound traffic". Eventually a more orthodox system of place names was adopted instead.

The bulk of the rest of this file is much later discussion of signposting policy in the mid-late 1960s of the M1 in South Yorkshire and the M6 through the West Midlands, with signposting strategies laid out on diagrammatic plans for the route of those motorways and of the nearby sections of M5, M18 and A1(M). These include some unusual "Don't change lane" wordings near lane drops.

Contents of note

  • Pattern-accurate diagrams of proposed signage schemes to be used near motorways, most of which were never adopted.
  • Signage policy on the developing motorway network being laid out on a large scale, not a scheme-by-scheme basis, in the Yorkshire and West Midlands areas.

Related files

MT 95/817 Motorways: signposting (1963)
DSIR 12/180d Direction signs in motorways (1959)

People with camera copies

Jonathan Winkler has a complete copy of this file.

Chris Marshall has a partial copy.