Ringways

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This is the story of a plan. It was a plan created by successive governments in London from the 1940s through to the 1970s. It would have affected life in the capital in every conceivable way, changing the way London looked and functioned. It would have changed the development of the city forever. It was far-reaching and visionary; planning on a scale rarely seen in this country. It was a transport scheme to end all transport schemes. And it was utterly unacceptable to the general public.

Engineering diagram of signs for a non-existant interchange

This section of CBRD explores the London Ringways - a proposal to drive a dense network of motorways through and around the capital. It represents the biggest research project ever undertaken into the history of UK roads, already the result of several years' work, and it's still ongoing. These pages are updated periodically with whatever new information has come to light.

At the bottom of the page you'll find the Ringway Maps which show information from all the plans and diagrams we currently have.

If you're new to this, or you don't think you need to learn the fine details, you might prefer the broad overview Ringways for Beginners at Pathetic Motorways.

Thumbnail Background

From the beginning of London's traffic problems and the motorway age to the death of the Ringways.

Thumbnail Ringway 2

The upgrade to the Circulars, second out from the centre.

Thumbnail Ringway 3

Epping Forest, Kingston on Thames and every wealthy suburb in between: the suburban ring.

Thumbnail Ringway 4

First conceived as a leafy "parkway", Ringway 4 ran far from the City through open countryside.

Thumbnail Northern Radials

New roads in and out, from the M1 in the west to the A13 in the east.

Thumbnail Western Radials

The west-facing routes from A41 to A3, heading for all points West.

Thumbnail Southern Radials

To the Channel for business or pleasure: A23 to the A2.

Thumbnail The Ringway map

You've read the history, now see the whole plan on an immensely detailed map of London.

Thumbnail About the research project

An outline of how we came to know about everything you read here and how unexpectedly difficult it has been to find the details.