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Plan of Ringway 1 showing the parts of the central area scheme that were built. Blue lines are roads built as planned, red lines those built later. Roads shown in grey were never built.

Ringway 1, or the London Motorway Box, was the innermost of a series of four motorway standard roads, known as the London Ringways, which were part of a comprehensive scheme developed by the Greater London Council (GLC) to provide high-speed motorway-standard roads within the capital, linking a series of radial roads taking traffic into and out of the city. The scheme was cancelled in 1973.


Ringway 1 was planned to comprise four sections across the capital forming a roughly rectangular box of motorways. These sections were designated:

Much of the scheme would have been constructed as elevated roads on concrete pylons and the routes were designed to follow the alignments of existing railway lines to minimise the amount of land required for construction. Nevertheless, the disruption and widespread demolition required to build the Ringway would have been considerable.

Ringway 1 was expected to cost £480 million (£7.29 billion today) including £144 million (£2.13 billion today) for property purchases. It would require 1,048 acres (4.24 km2) and affect 7,585 houses.[1] In 1970 the GLC set aside £1.7 billion (approximately £25.8 billion today[2]) for the construction of about half of the Ringways.

The only elements of Ringway 1 that were constructed were:

  • Part of the West Cross Route between North Kensington and Shepherds Bush which was opened by Michael Heseltine in 1970, simultaneously with Westway, to loud protests; some residents hung a huge banners with 'Get us out of this Hell - Rehouse Us Now' outside their windows and protesters disrupted the opening procession by driving a lorry the wrong way along the new road.[3]
  • The East Cross Route, including a new 'eastern bore' for the Blackwall Tunnel opened between 1967 and 1979.[4]

See alsoEdit


  • Asher, Wayne. 2018. Rings Around London - Orbital Motorways and The Battle For Homes Before Roads. ISBN 978-1-85414-421-8

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Micheal Bailey, Road programme cost estimated at £1,700 m, The Times, 19 August 1970
  2. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  3. ^ "History". Westway Trust. Archived from the original on 12 December 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  4. ^ "Westway". British History. Retrieved 28 December 2009.