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    The 'Dismemberment of London': Chamberlain, Abercrombie and the London plans of 1943-44

    White, Jerry (2019) The 'Dismemberment of London': Chamberlain, Abercrombie and the London plans of 1943-44. The London Journal 44 (3), pp. 206-226. ISSN 0305-8034.

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    By the outbreak of the Second World War, anxieties over the great size of London and its assumed destructive impact on the rest of the nation had reached a crisis point. The metropolitan economic boom that followed swiftly on the end of the First World War led to an extraordinary growth of population and industry in the capital, especially in the 1930s. By the end of that decade one in five of the people of England and Wales was a Londoner, living somewhere within the boundaries of Greater London, as defined by the Metropolitan Police District. For many public policy-makers, this growth was not just draining the rest of the nation of its talent; it was directly causing disinvestment in the Distressed Areas of Northern England, Wales and Scotland. It was Neville Chamberlain, long a critic of London’s overgrowth and a convinced advocate of satellite towns and garden cities, who laid the national policy basis for at last solving the London problem with the Barlow Commission on the Distribution of the Industrial Population, reporting in 1940. In alliance with the town and country planning movement, with the nation’s most famous planner-architect Patrick Abercrombie, and with a consensus of opinion that was especially strong on the centre-left of national and London politics, a planning framework was established for the post-war capital in two ambitious plans for the County of London and for the Greater London area. The war, with its assertion of a new national unity embracing the notion of planning in all walks of life but especially in the reconstruction of the bombed cities, produced a receptive climate to planning interventions in the future of London. But there were unintended consequences. It is arguable that the London Plans of 1943-44, and the Government planning policy of 1946 that followed their lead, would help produce nearly forty years of metropolitan decline that only began to end in the second half of the 1980s.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): London, Neville Chamberlain, Patrick Abercrombie, Lewis Silkin, town and country planning, distribution of population and industry, Second World War, home front, blitz
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
    Depositing User: Jerry White
    Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2019 09:58
    Last Modified: 15 Jun 2021 01:42


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