National Archives 2012-03-27

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Arrived at 12.20 PM, only to discover that my attempt to reserve my seat for the next visit seems not to have taken, possibly because my documents (all of them?) had a 2012-03-26 return date, or because I chose the wrong date in the Web form and of course failed to show up on that date. In any case, I have reserved 31H (which I hope will work well, though I suspect 26H was better lit) and will try to get stuff done here. In the meantime, while I am waiting for re-ordered documents to arrive, I will do some clerical work.

T 161/169

This is a boxed file with multiple items, the majority of which deal with the Road Fund Budgets for a number of financial years in the 1920's (1923-24 to 1928-29). Much of the business in these items is routine. The Ministry applies for Treasury approval for its budget for the coming financial year, enclosing statements of the amounts involved together with summaries of how they have increased or decreased from the previous year, and why. There are often supplemental requests from the Ministry for release of additional funding to cope with funding shortfalls, and to allow alterations in the rate of grant (e.g. from 33.3% to 50% for one stage of the road classification hierarchy). There are copies of Ministry of Transport circulars stating what items of work are payable by grant. I am photographing the budget file for 1927-28 as a sample since, in addition to the usual budget approval items, it also includes transcripts of deputations asking for revisions in grant percentages and Ministry takeover of through rural roads.

T 161/560

This deals with cost overruns associated with the 1921-22 arterial road programme. Contractors had had to be appointed before the roads were actually designed so that the unemployed could be put to work immediately, so the engineering uncertainties were not thoroughly shaken out, and the Treasury found itself asked to cover a 45% cost overrun on a clutch of roads in the London area with LCC part-funding and labor taken from labor exchanges in the London area.

T 161/577

This box contains five folders dealing with the Ministry's and the Treasury's attempts to expand road construction output to deal with unemployment in 1929-30. There is some overlap with Treasury files dealing with betterment and recoupment, and also with Ministry files dealing with the Lloyd George unemployment proposals. The covering dates appear to span 1929-1931. I have examined only the first file, which deals with a Treasury grant of permission (strictly on a temporary basis) to Ministry to grant money to local authority schemes without advance Treasury vetting. I have not yet examined any correspondence there may be in relation to the Lloyd George proposals or the 1931 cuts.

MT 117/109

This looks to be another dud steer from the Motorway Archive visualization and policy volume. It attributes current motorway terminology (terms like 'slip road' and so on) to material supplied by Hargreaves on this file. It is not evident in a cursory inspection: the main burden of the file is minutes and correspondence relating to a motorway scheme (now M6) from North of Birmingham to Preston Bypass. Possibly the plan showing terminology (reproduced in the Motorway Archive volume) is in the plans folder, which has 16 items. There is not enough time to unpack and repack it. I will return this file.