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Mind the municipal gap: Did the London Passenger Transport Board 'secure for the workers the best obtainable system of popular administration and control'? 1905-48

Fowler, James (2018) Mind the municipal gap: Did the London Passenger Transport Board 'secure for the workers the best obtainable system of popular administration and control'? 1905-48. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

The period 1905-1948 saw the transformation of London Transport from a mass of private and municipal providers into a single nationalised entity. Such drastic and rapid changes in institutions expose the tensions between the ideals of public administration and the realities of politics in the provision of an essential public utility more starkly than periods of stability, making it especially conducive to research and analysis. This thesis challenges existing thinking on the subject in three ways. Firstly, it critically examines who benefitted financially from the operation of London Transport. It finds that, contrary to previous accounts, the passengers rather than the investors were the primary beneficiaries, but that investors were nevertheless better remunerated than sources allow. Secondly, it finds London Transport to have been an essentially unaccountable body. However, contrary to current views, there is no evidence that this was detrimental to the quality of service provided. In fact service quantity and quality markedly improved over the period in question. Thirdly, the management and leadership qualities of the two central figures in London Transport in first half of the 20th Century are critically and systematically assessed here for the first time. Previous accounts do not place their evidence within relevant theoretical frameworks and are often somewhat hagiographic. In summary this thesis is an overdue revision of an existing area of history where the initial accounts published forty or fifty years ago have been uncritically accepted and are themselves too unquestioning of the sources used.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Keywords: Governance, Hybridity, Accounting, London, Transport
Academic Units: The University of York > The York Management School
Depositing User: Mr James Fowler
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2018 16:38
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2018 16:38
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21536

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