Motorways, bypasses, garages, petrol pumps, traffic lights and roundabouts. A new exhibition at London's Wellington Arch explores the impact of the car on our landscape.
Archive photographs show how London's streets changed between the 1890s and 2010s, at first to accommodate the arrival of the car and later to manage ever increasing traffic jams and congestion.
Construction of the elevated section of the M4 extension
Two successive road schemes reshaped much of west London in the twentieth century. At ground level is the Great West Road, opened in 1925 and designed to speed motorists out of the capital. However the arterial roads proved inadequate to deal with increasing volumes of traffic and, in 1963, the M4 motorway was extended on a continuous viaduct, seen here under construction, running above the existing road
Wellington Arch and Hyde Park Corner
The Arch was built in 1828 but Victorian traffic jams meant that in 1883, the Arch was dismantled and moved some 20 metres to its current location. Between 1958 and 1960, to further ease congestion – this time from motorised transport – Hyde Park Corner was radically altered and the Arch separated from Constitution Hill by a new roadway. The image above was taken in 1930.
Argyll's Showroom, Newman Street, Central London
As well as a showroom, the showroom included the sale of Dunhill accessories, a repair shop, and from 1908 cars were transported by lift to the roof top to be cleaned, or 'groomed' as it was known.
Ford, Dagenham, Essex
When it opened in 1931, the Ford factory on the banks of the Thames at Dagenham was the largest car factory in Europe and one of the most spectacular industrial plants in the south of England. The nearest building in this 1939 photograph is the power station. Behind it, fuel for the power station and furnaces is unloaded from ships via a double-decked jetty.
Michelin Building, Fulham Road, London
This concrete-framed 1909-11 building, designed by François Espinasse, is a spectacular advertisment for tyre-makers Michelin. The glass corner domes resemble sets of tyres and Bibendum, the firm's mascot, is in a stained glass window above the entrance.
Anglo-American Oil Company (Pratts) Filling Station, Euston Road
This was one of the earliest filling stations to open in London. It was built to a very high standard by F.D. Huntington in 1922 and photographed by the renowned Bedford Lemere & Co., with a uniformed pump attendant standing to attention.
Metropolitan traffic policeman, Fleet Street
In 1960, traffic police on point duty still had a role in controlling London traffic. However, automatic traffic lights and roundabouts were increasingly used to marshal junctions.
An early AA Filling Station, Stump Cross, Essex
This was one of the six filling stations built by the Automobile Association in 1919-20, the first to be opened in Great Britain, and originally selling only British-made benzole. The idea took off and over 7000 pumps were in use by 1923. Filling stations became a familiar sight throughout the country, as didthe AA telephone kiosk.
East Sheen Service Station, Surrey
A filling station of circa 1926 in the American idiom, built for Cory Brothers. This is one of a very few filling stations of this vintage still in use for its intended purpose, and perhaps the best surviving example of an early purpose-built filling station.
West London Audi, M4, West London
Car showrooms have travelled far from the adapted high street shops of the 1910s. Designed by Wilkinson Eyre, this curved glass-fronted building is one of the most expensive modern showrooms. Built at a cost of £45 million in 2009 it is highly visible from the elevated section of the M4.
‘Carscapes: How the Motor Car Reshaped England’ is at Wellington Arch, W1J 7JZ from 12 February to 6 July 2014, Wednesdays to Sundays and on Bank Holidays, 10am-4pm.