Tuesday 7 September 2021

Tuesday Variety

Inspect Utrecht : We Oughter Turn Road To Water

Utrecht in 1650 was a walled anf moated town. Note particularly the 9 defesive "thingeys" (fbb could nor find the correct tchnical term - but knows there is one) jutting out into the moat.
The pattern remained as the city expanded leaving odd little promontories in the water. Canals linked in to the moat bringing barge trade right into the city. The shape of these defences can be seen today as wooded areas, notably to the east of the city centre.
But in the 1960s, the motor car was king, so a plan was hatched to plaster this historic city with multi lane highways and ring roads. The first section to be built was in the north west corner, where the moat was turned into a road.
A video takes up the story.
It is worth 6 minutes of our busy readers' time to watch the story unfold.

It's Aldwych versus Strand, We Understand
It is probably fair to say that Westminster City Council has indulged in a bit of self foot shooting with the Marble Arch Mound project. The idea that joe public would pay up to £8 to walk up a pile of mud never seemed the best of schemes. The deputy chairman of the council was forced to resign.

But what is planned at Aldwych, just along the road, seems a much better cunning plan. Let's go back a bit.
In the above old map, the grand avenue that is called Kingsway, running from High Holborn (top centre) to the Strand is simply not there. In about 1915 we see the road in place and the arc of Aldwych, but with a big bit of nothing in the arc.
That is where Bush House was planted, once the home of the BBC World Service. And this is what it was like before the bush grew large ...
... now with the first wing of the Bush House block in place.

Bush House is a Grade II listed building at the southern end of Kingsway between Aldwych and the Strand in London. It was conceived as a major new trade centre by American industrialist Irving T. Bush, and commissioned, designed, funded, and constructed under his direction. The design was approved in 1919, work began in 1925, and was completed in 1935. Erected in stages, by 1929 Bush House was already declared the "most expensive building in the world".

You can see why! It is truly huuuge.
Most of it is now part of the University of London ... with its grand and massive portico an obvious end to Kingsway.
It is all very huge!

In recent years this chord of roads has become a roundbout (a chord-about?). Buses from Euston to Waterloo, for example, turn left at Bush House ...
... sharp right into The Strand ...
... then left on to Waterloo Bridge.
The Westminster plan has turned the arc of Aldwych into a two way road ...
... with terminating buses that used to "lay over" on the right ...
... moved elsewhere. The chunk of the Strand behind the Bush House complex is pedestrianised and will eventually be very lovely ...
... compared with today! (St Marys-le-Strand on left)
Here is the grand plan:-
One of the reasons for keeping Melbourne Place (side road on the left) open ...
... is to give those terminating buses space for their layover, which will be on the right where the now out of date Streetview shows the buses facing towards Waterloo Bridge.

Seems a good plan. Nicer for the University, less hassle at the junctions for the buses and a pleasant breathing space as well.

Quiz Question
Where does the First Sheffield route 208 go? Options are :-


or it might be:-

... there again, it could be:-
... or, according to the current timetable, above:-

The results of fbb's extensive research will appear in tomorrow's blog.

 Next State of 208 blog : Wednesday 8th September 


  1. Bastion. The word you are looking for, not an insult

  2. The sticky out defensive thingys are bastions (or bolwerks to the Dutch). Four were built c. 1550 in stone under the direction of Willem van Noort and the other five earthen bolwerks added c.1580 by Adriaen Anthonisz.