By Peter Merriman

Peter Merriman strains the social and cultural histories and geographies of riding areas via an exam of the layout, building and use of England’s M1 toll road within the Nineteen Fifties and Nineteen Sixties. A first-of-its-kind educational examine analyzing the construction and intake of the landscapes and areas of a British toll road An interdisciplinary strategy, attractive with theoretical and empirical paintings from sociology, heritage, cultural experiences, anthropology and geography includes 38 prime quality illustrations in response to wide, unique archive paintings

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Clarke 1937: 9). Clarke’s praise extended to the design, construction and landscaping of the Autobahnen, but he made it clear that the ‘ruthlessness of war-time necessities’, which Hitler had brought to Autobahn construction, was ‘incapable of reproduction in Britain’ (F. Clarke 1937: 9). Whether he regretted this lack of British ‘ruthlessness’ is unclear. Writing on ‘The new German motor-roads’ in The Geographical Magazine in January 1938 – two months prior to the Anschluss with Austria – Alan Brodrick was quite clear that nationalist politics and ‘military considerations had played an important part’ in the design of the Autobahnen: The roads which follow the frontiers lie well back from them so as to be beyond the range of artillery fire.

5 The Third Reich had hosted the International Automobile Show in Berlin in 1933, the seventh International Road Congress in 1934 and the second International Congress for Bridges and Overground 32 ENVISIONING BRITISH MOTORWAYS Structures in 1936 (Todt 1938; Sachs 1992). Documentary films and technical booklets were produced in English and German, foreign dignitaries and inspection parties were invited to view the Autobahnen, celebratory articles appeared in the National Socialist journal Die Straße (The Road), and inauguration ceremonies by Adolf Hitler and senior party figures were widely publicized (Sachs 1992; Dimendberg 1995).

During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s the spaces of the motorway have featured in a series of more dystopian (sometimes critical, sometimes dark, sometimes nostalgic) narratives which remark on the marginal or anonymous nature of these landscapes – from J. G. Ballard’s Crash (1973) and Concrete Island (1974), Peter Nichols’ play The Freeway (1975), and Chris Petit’s film Radio On (1979), to Trevor Hoyle’s novel The Man who Travelled on Motorways (1979), Will Self’s short story ‘Scale’ (1994), Michael Winterbottom’s film Butterfly Kiss (1995), St Etienne’s song ‘Like a Motorway’ (1994) and Black Box Recorder’s ‘The English Motorway System’ (2000).

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