‘M4 to Wales – and prosper!’ A history of a motorway


  •  Advertisement for Development Corporation for Wales, The Times, 13 Jan. 1972.


The M4 is integral to the south Wales economy, shapes the area's mental geography and contributes to the sense people in and outside Wales have of the Welsh nation being somewhere that is both part of Britain but at the same time ‘other’. Moreover, the motorway's history is the history of modern Wales: a reliance on the state, tensions over nationalism, administrative devolution and regional rivalries, the marginalization of working-class communities and the emphasis on economic integration with the rest of the U.K. This article explores these dynamics by looking at the Welsh stretch of the M4's political, economic and cultural origins, development and impacts.