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England – North Western

Regional Co-ordinator: Harry Yeadon

England - North Western

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General introduction to the North West Archive summaries

This website is based on the Executive Summary for the North West Region. Further information about the Executive Summary can be seen on the "about Motorway Archive" page. The Executive Summary is itself based on a series of mini-archives, each covering a section of motorway within the Region. They are deposited in the County Record Offices at Chester, Preston, Kendal and Carlisle and contain

  • written material prepared by a number of those personnel who were directly involved in the development of the motorway network
  • various documents and
  • lists of other relevant documents held in establishments elsewhere

The Counties within the Region, as referred to in the Summaries, are the historic geographical Counties of Cheshire, Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmorland.

The individual summaries, describe the various motorways within the Region. Where the work was carried out in distinct sections, these also follow in chronological order.

The description in each case includes:

  • a brief history
  • the name of the organisation which undertook the design and supervision of construction, viz County Council, Sub-Unit of the North Western Road Construction Unit, firm of Consulting Engineers, or British Rail
  • the basic facts, eg length, number of bridges
  • matters of particular significance in its design and construction

The amount of space allocated to each motorway does not necessarily reflect the magnitude of the work involved, or its importance in the development of the network.

In most cases, the Tender figure for each Contract can be found in the Opening Brochure, or other documentation deposited in the relevant Records Office. No attempt has been made to identify the total cost of each section of motorway, which would not only include the amount of the final payment to the Contractors, but also ex-Contract items such as the expenditure on land acquisition and compensation, design and supervision, and the diversion of mains and services. Even it all this information was readily available, it would not be appropriate to make cost comparisons, due to the effect of inflation during the period of over 40 years of motorway construction, within the Region.

The construction of the network was carried out by a large number of different firms of Contractors and Sub-Contractors. They are too numerous for all to be mentioned in the Summary, but the Principal Main Contractors are listed in an Appendix. Information on the various Contracts can be found in Opening Brochures, where these are available.