Old Harlow Official street plan of Harlow New Town, Essex, from Barnett's publishers and cartographers

Old Harlow Photo: a fantastic Old Harlow Photograph Featuring Official street plan of Harlow New Town, Essex, from Barnett's publishers and cartographers

Photograph Taken On Friday, November 8, 2019

Barnett's were a well established Essex based map company who specialised in 'official' street plans that carried advertising, along the lines of Burrow's famous 'Pointer' maps. This undated map, but carrying some adverts with '58' print codes that would match a date quite nicely, is of interest in that Harlow was a decade into development as one of the "Mark One" New Towns, created under post-war legislation and intended to create new communities designed to the best intentions of the town planners. Harlow wasn't just to be a dormitory town for East London, from where it drew most of its new inhabitants, but was to be a sufficient community and so not only housing is shown here but also industrial sites - mostly to the north alongside the GE railway line. The town grew from the original settlement, then to be described as "Old Harlow" to the east of the development that with the hamlet of Potter Street sat on the old A11, London to Cambridge road, running north - south. The first estates to be developed were Mark Hll and Latton Bush, followed by the Town Centre and then places such as Tye Green, Latton Bush and Little Pardon. Embedded in these estates are the original hamlets and villages. Each neighbourhood, under the scheme designed by the consultant architect who was in charge of Harlow for decades, Frederick Gibberd, had a shopping centre as can be seen here. The skeleton of the town's road network can be seen here as quite American titled "First Avenue", etc. In the 1960s, before the development of Harlow was brought to a near close, the latter neighbourhoods to be built include the sites to the south west such as Stewards. Under current plans Harlow may yet, 50 years on, get its 'fourth quadrant' in this area, as originally intended but let to lapse. The road network shows one feature that wasn't completed in the form intended and that has left the town's road network oddly deficient to this day. Running to the west and north can be seen the 'proposed Norwich Radial road", aka the M11 motorway. For many years the intention was indeed to run it out of the London conurbation through the Lee Valley as seen here and Harlow's road network was directed to this trajectory. Then, quite late in planning, the MOT shifted the route east into the Roding Valley and the M11 skirts Harlow on the other side - with, currently, only one junction serving the town. The current intention is to construct an additional junction on the M11 to the east of Old Harlow in an attempt to remedy this deficiency. Such is integrated planning! The map only shows a few road numbers; the A11 and its proposed re-routing a little to the west of the original route, the B183 coming in from the east, and from the Hertford area, the A414 that 'vanishes' at Eastwick. It is odd to think looking at this but some parts of the New Town are now designated Conservation Areas given the town's importance in post-war planning and architecture. For example, "The Lawn" seen in Mark Hall, is Listed being one of the UK's first purpose built high rise blocks of flats having been designed by Gibberd and constructed in 1950/1.View image on Flickr

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