Papers of the West Midland Group for Post-War Reconstruction and Planning

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers and Correspondence: Miscellaneous correspondence, 1941-1950; West Midland Group files, 1942-1950; statistics, annual reports, accounts, 1941-1947; miscellaneous pamphlets on statistics and committees; English county (survey of Herefordshire) early correspondence of West Midland Group; English county distribution, Herefordshire broadcast, Hereford correspondence; West Midland Group, Local Government notes and reports; Local Government inquiry correspondence with Local Authority officials; land classification and utilisation files; Local Government and Finance files; English county, Herefordshire, reports and correspondence; industrial survey, Herefordshire reports; Birmingham Council minutes, Wolverhapmpton accounts; reports on Canals, Worcestershire; conurbation correspondence; siting satellite towns, reports and correspondence; conurbation, Birmingham and Black Country housing statistics; Nuffield Survey, West Midland Group memoranda and reports; conurbation,agriculture and geographical committees, minute books and papers; industrial and local administration committees, 1940-1942; West Midland Group sub-committees minute books, 1941-1944; Land Classification Committee and Local Government Committee minutes, 1943-1952.

Maps and Charts: Conurbation, surface utilisation; West Midland amenities; West Midland Region, county diagrams; Herefordshire Social Services; Herefordshire crop maps; Herefordshire, historical maps; industrial survey conurbation; Herefordshire sieve maps and other related maps; industrial survey Herefordshire; miscellaneous maps; Birmingham housing survey; Dudley housing survey; Wolverhampton factory survey; housing, Black Country; conurbation Pennines map; factories map, Central Birmingham; land classification around conurbation; North Bromsgrove; geological mantle map of the Herefordshire catchment area; Jellicoe's scheme for reclamation of derelict land in conurbation; housing and shopping area of Birmingham and the Black Country; West Midland regional housing survey; Herefordshire housing survey; green belt proposals; surface utilisation and land use; West Midlands Gas Supplies.

Wall Maps: relate to conurbation; urban spread; the Black Country; redevelopment; and factory buildings in Birmingham.

Administrative / Biographical History

The West Midland Group for Post-War Reconstruction and Planning was formed in 1941, and over the next ten years in particular, it exercised a considerable influence in local and regional affairs. The first meeting was held at the University of Birmingham. The Group brought together a number of influential people, who, acting unofficially, and largely in a voluntary capacity, contributed significantly to the development of planning thought and practice in the West Midlands.

The origins of the Group are traced in the 1940 Council to Promote the Planning of Social Environment formed in February 1940. The objectives of the Council were to put forward a programme of work for local groups to carry out regional research based on the principles set out in the nine unanimous conclusions of the Royal Commission for the Distribution of the Industrial Population (the Barlow Report) presented to Parliament the previous month. A minute of the 1940 Council was that a small committee under the chairmanship of Dr Priestley, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, should undertake research work as the Birmingham Research Committee of the 1940 Council. This was the basis of the constitution of the West Midland Group. The formation of the Group, however, followed a visit by Sir Montague Barlow, and the Group, developing its own approach to research, did not form part of the organisation of the 1940 Council.

In the late 1940s local planning authorities charged with the preparation of Development Plans, were embarking on the collection and analysis of a range of survey material. The Group provided well produced regional surveys which established high standards of survey, analysis and presentation and also showed the Group's concern with the social aspects of planning.

The area of the Group's interest was the five counties of the West Midlands: Herefordshire, Shropshire; Staffordshire; Warwickshire and Worcestershire. Its main emphasis was research "into the relevant facts necessary for forming conclusions on the possible reconstruction and planning that the post-war situation will permit". The research was organised under four sub-committees: A. The Land and its Uses-the Location of Industry; B. Cities, Towns and Urban centres; C. Regional Communications - Services; D. Social Services, Places of Natural Beauty, Recreational Facilities. Other committees were set up from time to time.

Publications of the Group include English Country: A Planning Survey of Herefordshire, Faber, 1946; Land Classification in the West Midland Region, Faber, 1947; Conurbation: A Planning Survey of Birmingham and the Black Country, Architectural Press, 1948; Local Government and Central Control, Routledge, 1956; Control of the Use of Land and the Administrative and Financial Problems of Town Planning, 1944.

Reference: University of Birmingham Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, Guide to the Papers of the West Midland Group on Post-War Reconstruction and Planning (Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, Occasional Paper No. 6, 1969.).

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following series: Papers and correspondence, arranged alphabetically by correspondent within each box; maps and charts; wall maps.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

The papers of the Group were formerly kept at the offices of the Bournville Village Trust, but in February 1967 they were presented to the Library of the University of Birmingham.

Other Finding Aids

A paper catalogue to file and item level is available in the Special Collections Department and at the National Register of Archives in London.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Accruals

Further deposits are not expected.