How to solve London's traffic problems, 1930s style.
These gorgeous but troubling plans, taken from the Illustrated London News, call for great viaducts, dubiously placed car parks, and double-decker bridges.
By the 1930s, London's roads were already clogged with motor traffic. The situation could only get worse as cars became more affordable. What could be done?
The Bressey Report of 1938 set out a series of measures to ease congestion. The report drew inspiration from American cities, whose wide roads were designed afresh for motor vehicles. London's medieval streets should be swept away, or else banished to the shadows beneath enormous viaducts.
To mark the publication of the report, the Illustrated London News commissioned artist Bryan de Grineau to imagine the capital city transformed for the motor car. His visions are a joy of draughtsmanship, if somewhat jarring in our age of global warming and environmentalism.
The Second World War put any radical infrastructure plans on hold. After the war, London had other priorities, such as rehousing a bombed-out population. Even so, elements of the Bressey Report filtered into the Abercrombie plans and Ringway schemes of later decades. Structures such as the Westway and North Circular are direct descendants.