A London With Double-Decker Bridges And Floating Car Parks

By M@ Last edited 37 months ago
A London With Double-Decker Bridges And Floating Car Parks
A double-decker Blackfriars Bridge.
Blackfriars Bridge rebuilt as a double-decker. All well and good, but what about the beer garden of the Black Friar pub?

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?

Trafalgar Square as a car park. One wonders if the famous fountains would have been retained as a basement-level car wash.

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.

Floating car park
Waterloo Bridge has also gone double-decker, but note also the floating car park alongside the Embankment.

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.

Rooftop parking in London
The report called for parking provision on rooftops. Here access ramps climb up the outside of a building.

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.

Hyde Park Corner and Marble Arch can be such snarl ups. The obvious solution is to drive a motorway through Hyde Park.
Oxford Circus traffic
Oxford Circus. Rather than pedestrianise the area, perhaps it would be better to add another road on top?
Finally, a vision of how traffic might flow through the city on giant viaducts and suspension bridges. The caption tells us that such schemes could take traffic direct from Hampstead to Dulwich.

Images taken from the British Newspaper Archive. Illustrated London News, 28 May 1938. (c) Illustrated London News/www.maryevans.com.

Last Updated 10 June 2019

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