chapter  11
PLANNING
Pages 17

Shortly before the beginning of Queen Victoria's sixty-four year reign and again at its end, reform energies were quickened by a sense that the city's growth was out of control. In both instances this perception and the responses it evoked preceded the arrival of revolutionary innovations in technology: first the steam railway that reached London not long after Coronation Day and then the petrol-driven motor vehicle, still something of a curiosity when the Queen died. In 1837 prophetic minds were aware that commuter trains would cause further distortions to a city, already aimlessly destroying its boundaries, unless public opinion and Parliament could be awakened to the need for action. In 1901 these same warnings were being sounded about the effect of electric trams and motor vehicles . Even the language reformers used was similar at either end of the Victorian period. Sir John Wolfe Barry, whose 1898 speech on London traffic has already been noticed, counselled planners to have "Greater London" and not merely "Urban London" in mind, considering that "an active circulation is kept up, as in the human body, from all parts to and from the central heart of the system."! In 1914 The Times, in a series of articles on " that monster of many problems - the traffic problem," described "the ceaseless flow" of the city's " life-blood" through the highway arteries and along its "net-work of veins," and spoke about various reform projects as though they were anatomical interventions, clinical decisions about whether to proceed by way of surgery or regulatory treatment.'