MT 95/817

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Motorways: signposting

Date range1963 (see below)
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 95

Note: The official date range for this file of "1963" appears to be inaccurate, and the file contains documents dated through to at least the late 1960s.


This file covers the formulation of a national policy for long-distance direction signage on motorways. As the motorway network in England began to join together around 1968, the Ministry's previous policy of using the next major town after the motorway's terminus as its control destination was unsuitable. The example cited in the correspondence is that, when the M1 was complete, "Leeds" would be the sole forward destination when heading northbound from London.

The system proposed was nothing unexpected, and the majority of the file is spent discussing which towns and cities should be used for any given road, whether general regional destinations are acceptable, and how great a number of places should appear on one sign.

Some development of the system can be seen; the M4 control city list initially runs Bristol, Newbury, Reading but is revised to include Swindon. Regional destinations appear but are not capitalised (e.g. "The North").

Contents of note

  • Small number of schematic diagrams of the motorway network in England as it appeared circa 1968, each annotated with proposed control destinations and rough signage ideas. The details vary from one to the next.

Links to other files

MT 95/384 Designs of traffic signs: London-Birmingham motorway (1959-1973)

People with camera copies

Jonathan Winkler has a full copy of both correspondence and maps.

Chris Marshall intends to return for copies at a later date.