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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): LCC/AR/TP
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1870-1965
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 34.34 linear metres
Name of creator(s): LCC | London County Council x London County Council


Administrative/Biographical history:

Town planning is the control of the general form and use of buildings and the urban environment (as opposed to control of the mode of construction of buildings, which was done by the District Surveyors). Modern legislation empowering local authorities to control the development of land dates from 1909, however, before 1939 planning by the London County Council (LCC) was hindered by restrictive legislation which made it very expensive to eliminate or restrict undesirable buildings. During the Second World War, however, it was recognised that air-raid damage provided an opportunity. In 1941 the Minister of Works asked the Council to prepare a plan for the reconstruction of London after the war. Sir Patrick Abercombie was appointed to prepare the plan in conjunction with the LCC Architect. The result was the County of London Plan, published in 1943, which drew attention to major defects in the structure of London: traffic congestion, sub-standard housing, intermingling of housing and industry and lack of open spaces. In 1945 the Council decided to embark on a short term programme of road works; to reconstruct certain areas, particularly Stepney and Poplar; to develop the South Bank of the Thames between County Hall and Waterloo Bridge, and to increase open space to 2 and a half acres per 1000 population.

The Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 embodied most of the planning principles for which legal recognition had been desired by the authors of the 1943 plan. Under that Act the County was made the planning authority for the Administrative County (including the City) and was required to carry out a survey and submit to the appropriate Minister a plan and report for future development. This report, in the form of a development plan setting out proposals for the next 20 years, was submitted to the Minister of Housing and Local Government in 1951. Objections to the plan were heard at an inquiry held from September 1952 until June 1953. The Minister gave final approval to the plan in 1955. It was a requirement of the Act that a review of the plan be held every five years, providing the opportunity for adjustment and flexibility. This was important as the LCC town planners increasingly faced new problems: the increase in motor traffic congestion, with associated problems of car parking; reconciling new roads with the urban scene; reconciling private development proposals with their own long term plans; ensuring waterside land was used appropriately; preserving buildings of historic interest; ensuring that tall buildings were properly sited; moving of wholesale markets and developing of surplus railway land for other uses.

The plan designated various sites were as 'areas of comprehensive redevelopment', such as Poplar, Stepney, Bermondsey, Elephant and Castle and Knightsbridge Green. In these areas the Council wanted to achieve better living conditions by regrouping commerce and industry close to railways, canals and docks and providing schools, local shopping, entertainment, open spaces and other social services while maintaining a traditional sense of community. In other areas traffic problems would be addressed with new roads.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the London County Council Architect's Department relating to Town Planning, including proposals prepared under the 1909 Town Planning Act, 1909-1938; papers regarding the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act, 1935-1937; proposals for Town Planning Schemes, 1927-1935; regulation of advertisements and illuminated signs, 1914-1939; preservation of trees, 1932-1939; papers regarding zoning, 1921-1936; coordination and development of transport, 1926-1932; arterial and classified roads, 1915-1935; papers and research data prepared for the Plan for Redevelopment of the County of London, 1940-1942; appeals against town planning decisions, 1949-1951; schemes for Croydon and Beckenham under the 1909 Town Planning Act, 1921-1923; papers regarding garden squares and enclosures, 1923-1945; Town Planning Information Bulletins, 1959-1965; papers regarding reviews of the County of London Development Plan, 1957-1964.

Papers, 1922-1956, regarding the formulation of town planning schemes, including consultation with crown lands, estate owners, borough councils and local authorities both in and outside of London. Subject and policy files relating to Green Belt proposals, 1926-1937, town planning schemes, 1924-1939 and correspondence of the Greater London Regional Planning Committee, 1933-1936. Objections, public enquiries and modifications to the County of London Development Plan, 1951-1962. Article 'Town Planning in relation to old and congested areas with special reference to London', by Arthur Crow, 1910; papers on Arterial Roads in London, 1914-1915; report on the travelling facilities to and from south east London, 1926; reports relating to post-war reconstruction, 1943-1949; 'Plan for Saint Pancras', prepared by the Saint Pancras Borough Council, 1949; reports of the Greater London Regional Planning Committee, 1929-1931. Registers of planning applications under the Town and Country Planning Act 1947-1951.

Maps of London, Middlesex, Kent and Hertfordshire, 1860-1940, showing sewers, drains, sites of Council buildings, locations of proposed developments, street name changes, road widening schemes and tree preservation, all stamped as 'superseded'. Plans including land use surveys, 1922-1957; maps and plans made to accompany town planning schemes, 1928-1941; age of buildings survey, 1870-1916; war damage surveys, 195-; objection maps, showing the site of buildings in the 1951 Development Plan about which objections were raised, 195-; maps showing the listed historical buildings in each borough, 1965 and Bermondsey reconstruction plans, 1937-1950.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

LCC/AR/TP/01: General papers; LCC/AR/TP/02: Consultations; LCC/AR/TP/03: Subject Files; LCC/AR/TP/04: County of London Development Plan; LCC/AR/TP/05: Reports; LCC/AR/TP/06: Registers; LCC/AR/TP/08-17: Superseded plans; LCC/AR/TP/07 and 13: Bomb damage maps; LCC/AR/TP/P: Plans.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acquired with the records of its parent body, the London County Council.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Papers of the LCC Architect's Department: LCC/AR/BA: London Building Acts; LCC/AR/CB: Council Buildings, LCC/AR/CD: Civil Defence; LCC/AR/CON: Contracts; LCC/AR/GEN: Organisational Financial and General; LCC/AR/HB: Historic Buildings, LCC/AR/HS: Housing; LCC/AR/PP: Presented Plans; LCC/AR/SCH: Council Buildings; LCC/AR/TH: Theatres, Cinemas and Places of Entertainment; LCC/AR/TP: Town Planning; LCC/AR/WAR: Emergency Wartime Measures.

Publication note:

For a detailed history of LCC town planning see Achievement: A Short History of the London County Council by W Eric Jackson (1965), LMA Library reference 18.0 1965 and The Youngest County: A description of London as a county and its public services, 1951, LMA Library reference 18.0 1951.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
April to June 2009

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