The John Armstrong Award for Transport Archives

The John Armstrong Award for Transport Archives was a special, one-off cataloguing grant for £4,000 jointly funded by a bequest from the late John Armstrong and the BAC. The winner of this award was The Motorway Archive Trust collection which is held by Glamorgan Archives.

The judging panel received 15 applications and was impressed with the high standard of the submissions; this made the decision not an easy one. Glamorgan Archives’ application was very well presented. It highlighted the importance of The Motorway Archive Trust collection, both locally and nationally, and it gave good examples of the research, promotional and user engagement benefits that will be gained once the collection is catalogued.

The Motorway Archive Trust was established in 1999 with the aim of advancing public education by acquiring and making available archives relating to the creation of the British motorway network. In Wales a Regional Committee was formed to carry forward this work, and the collection held by Glamorgan Archives chronicles the development of the M4 motorway across south Wales, the Severn Crossing, and A55 'North Wales Expressway', along with several trunk roads.

The M4 motorway, the Severn Crossing, and the A55 expressway in north Wales, are key to the history, economy and politics of the Welsh nation. The development of these roadways reflects the economic change with the move from heavy industry, the products of which were transported by rail, to a manufacturing industry more reliant on road transport, and the creation of commuter belts around the roadways. These roads had an enormous impact on major towns such as Cardiff and Newport, now by-passed by the road, and Port Talbot – bisected by the M4.  The impact was felt in the valleys beyond the roadways, with resentment building towards the M4 and A55 corridors seen as drawing economic investment to the detriment of the areas beyond, and through the transformation of small communities into commuter towns.

The records date from 1939 – 2010 and comprise of a range of record-types, including: minutes, correspondence, reports, contracts, photographs and plans.  The project began in January 2019 and was completed in August 2019.

The project report can be viewed: here

Any questions about this grant should be addressed to Ben White, Administrator of The John Armstrong Award for Transport Archives.