TO-MORROW A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMEBENEZER HOWARD’S TO-MORROW IS DESERVEDLY THE MOST FAMOUS publication in thehistory of modern town planning. Published in 1898, it was repeatedly republished under its more familiartitle Garden Cities of To-Morrow, and translated into many languages. Howard founded the Garden CityAssociation, today’s Town and Country Planning Association, in 1899; it generated a movement that spawnedgarden cities and garden suburbs in France and Argentina, Germany and Japan, Russia and the UnitedStates. In its homeland, it led to the construction of nearly thirty government-financed new towns afterWorld War Two, including examples as notable as Stevenage, Harlow and Milton Keynes. Yet To-Morrow has never since been published in its original form—partly because it contained elaborateand expensive colour diagrams, essential to understanding Howard’s central ideas, but lost in subsequenteditions. Partly in consequence, his message has been misunderstood and distorted. Most notably, mostcommentators think he advocated building isolated garden cities in the remote countryside, while thereverse was true: his proposal, contained in the lost diagram of Social Cities, was for construction of hugeplanned polycentric urban agglomerations. And another central notion—that the community shouldappropriate the land rent that went (and still goes) to distant landlords—has likewise been misunderstood,because another diagram —The Vanishing Point of Landlord’s Rent—also disappeared into limbo. Now, to celebrate the centenary of the first garden city at Letchworth, the Town and Country PlanningAssociation has performed a service to planners worldwide by initiating the facsimile republication of thevery scarce original first edition of To-Morrow. Accompanied by a scholarly commentary on the text, and anew introduction and postscript, by three leading commentators— Peter Hall, Dennis Hardy and Colin Ward—it throws new light on London in the 1890s and on the people who influenced Howard as he wrote hismasterpiece. Liberally illustrated, this facsimile edition of To-Morrow will be a compulsory purchase forevery serious student and practitioner of planning and for teachers and students of modern social, economicand political history. SIR PETER HALL is Director of the Institute of Community Studies and Bartlett Professor of Planning atUniversity College London. He is author or editor of 36 books on urban planning and development,including Cities of Tomorrow, Cities in Civilization and (with Colin Ward) Sociable Cities. DENNISHARDY has written several books on planning history, including the two-volume official history of theTown and Country Planning Association. He spends part of his time as Director of Development Strategy atMiddlesex University, part as a research professor. COLIN WARD wrote the Gulbenkian report New Town, Home Town: the Lessons of Experience and wasvisiting centenary professor at the London School of Economics. He is a historian of unofficialenvironment; his most recent book is Cotters & Squatters: Housing’s Hidden History.
CONTENTS FOREWORD vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vii ILLUSTRATIONS viii COMMENTATORS’ INTRODUCTION 1 The Facsimile 11 Introduction 18 I The Town-Country Magnet 33 II The Revenue of Garden City, and how it is obtained— The Agricultural Estate 43 III The Revenue of Garden City—Town Estate 51 IV The Revenue of Garden City—General Observations on its Expenditure 57 V Further Details of Expenditure on Garden City 68 VI Administration 79VII Semi-Municipal Enterprise—Local Option—Temperance Reform 89VIII Pro-Municipal Work 99 IX Administration—A Bird’s Eye View 106 X Some Difficulties Considered 110 XI A Unique Combination of Proposals 116XII The Path followed up 127XIII Social Cities 139XIV The Future of London 154 Appendix—Water-Supply 163 Index 16 9 POSTSCRIPT 173
FOREWORDTHIS IS THE FIRST REPUBLICATION OF EBENEZER HOWARD’S To-Morrow since the originalSwan Sonnenschein edition of 1898. Commentators Professor Sir Peter Hall—now President of the Townand Country Planning Association, formed in 1899 to promote Howard’s ideas—and Colin Ward introducethe text and provide notes on its context and content; Dennis Hardy, the Association’s historian, provides aPostscript on the consequences. These were rapid, direct and profound: the first Garden City at Letchworthwas begun in 1903, Welwyn followed after the Great War in 1919, while similar developments took placealmost simultaneously in many countries, most notably in Germany and France. To-Morrow was also to lead—through the tireless advocacy of F.J. Osborn, Howard’s manager atWelwyn and later full time leader of the TCPA—to the UK New Towns Act 1946, by which the stateacquired land at ‘no new town’ values and laid the necessary foundations for nearly 28 new towns in GreatBritain and four in Northern Ireland. The huge government investment in this programme was all repaid,with interest. And the people in the new towns—around two million of them—enjoy, for the most part, aremarkably high quality of life. The British model for implementing carefully planned sustainabledevelopment has been copied world-wide. Howard’s unique combination of ideas also fuelled the popular demand for the regulation and design ofthe use of land in the UK, culminating in the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 which nationalized landdevelopment rights. Though swiftly robbed of its provisions for the collection of rising land valuesconferred by the grant of planning permission, the Act shaped modern Britain and has provided abenchmark for the design of town planning systems in most of the developed world. This facsimile edition is published to celebrate the centenary of the first Garden City at Letchworth. Itmay also mark the rebirth of the new towns movement in its homeland, as the UK Government plans fourhuge growth areas accommodating more than 200,000 homes in the South East of England. So this editionis far more than an exercise in planning history: all those practically involved in new town planning,whether in Britain or across the world, will find enormous profit in reading this new edition of To-Morrow.The answers they seek will be found in these pages. David Lock Chairman of the Town and Country Planning Association March 2003
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSTHE LETCHWORTH GARDEN CITY HERITAGE FOUNDATION (http://www.lgchf.com), anIndustrial and Provident Society with charity status, which today manages the 5,300-acre Letch worthGarden City Estate, has sponsored the publication of this new edition of Howard’s seminal text as part ofthe Letchworth Garden City Centenary celebrations. The Lady Margaret Osborn Paterson Trust have also joined in sponsorship. The TCPA acknowledges thesupport of both bodies, without which publication of this facsimile edition would not have been possible. The Association would like to thank Peter Hall, Dennis Hardy and Colin Ward for their contributions tothe editorial commentaries, and to Peter in particular for his continuing work with Ann Rudkin oncompleting the commentaries, finding and selecting pictures, checking the manuscript and correcting proofs. Finally, we are deeply grateful to Ann Rudkin, who directed the entire process of producing the book forthe press, including the critical task of picture research, and to Richard Burton who did the typesetting. Wewould like particularly to acknowledge the work of Ann, Richard and Peter for their close collaboration inpreparing the book against a very tight production deadline, which involved their working over an Easterweekend to ensure on-time delivery. Gideon Amos Director, Town and Country Planning Association Easter Monday, 2003
ILLUSTRATIONSThe commentators and publisher thank the private owners, libraries, museums and other institutions andorganizations who have given their permission to reproduce illustrations. Every effort has been made tocontact copyright holders and to identify sources, but if any errors or omissions have occurred we wouldwish to correct these in subsequent printings. However, those illustrations not credited below are assumed tobe in the public domain. Commentators’ Introduction Ebenezer Howard (TCPA collection) Frederic Osborn (TCPA collection) John Stuart Mill (By courtesy of The Warren J.Samuels Portrait Collection at Duke University) William Light’s 1837 Plan for Adelaide (By courtesy of Planning South Australia) Housing at Bournville (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) William Hesketh Lever’s Port Sunlight (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Facing facsimile title page Portrait of Ebenezer Howard (TCPA collection) Chapter I George Bernard Shaw (By courtesy of Welwyn Garden City Library) Boundary Street (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Ben Tillett (Copyright the National Portrait Gallery) Tom Mann (Copyright the National Portrait Gallery) Three Magnets Diagrams (Ebenezer Howard Archive, Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies,Hertfordshire County Record Office) The Master Key (Ebenezer Howard Archive, Hertfordshire Archivesand Local Studies, Hertfordshire County Record Office) Elizabeth Howard (By courtesy of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Museum) Where town and country meet (TCPA Collection) Chapter II John Ruskin (Copyright the National Portrait Gallery) Peterborough’s shopping mall (TCPA colletion) Clarence Stein’s neighbourhood unit (New York Regional Survey) Prospect Park (By courtesy of National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site) Pierre-Charles L’Enfant’s 1791 plan for the City of Washington (Library of Congress collection) Chapter II Beatrice and Sidney Webb (Copyright the National Portrait Gallery) Late nineteenth-century harvest scene. (By courtesy of the Rural History Centre, University of Reading) Sir Benjamin Baker (By courtesy of The Gazetteer for Scotland)
ix The rural estate at Letchworth. (By courtesy of Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, HertfordshireCounty Record Office) Chapter III Milton Keynes Central Business District (Copyright English Partnerships) Letchworth Council Offices and cinema (TCPA collection) Houses in the residential neighbourhood of Willen (Copyright English Partnerships) Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre (Copyright English Partnerships) Chapter IV Forest Hills Gardens today (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Typical nineteenth-century working-class inner-city area (TCPA collection) Edward I’s Winchelsea reconstructed from the rent roll of 1292 by W.M.Holman (By courtesy ofWinchelsea Museum) Milton Keynes Central Station (Copyright English Partnerships) Gridlock in Bethnal Green (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Charing Cross Road (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Chapter V Terraced housing under construction (By courtesy of Alan A.Jackson: Semi-Detached London) Belle Vue Road, Ealing (By courtesy of Alan A.Jackson: Semi-Detached London) St Christopher School, Letchworth (TCPA collection) Howard Park, Letchworth in the 1930s—children in the paddling pool (TCPA collection) Letchworth Library and Museum (TCPA collection) A London tram, Greenwich (By courtesy of Dewi Williams, Ottawa, Canada) Chapter VI The Board of Directors of Letchworth (TCPA collection) Joseph Chamberlain (Copyright the National Portrait Gallery) Letchworth Fire Brigade (By courtesy of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Museum) Wyndham Thomas CBE (TCPA collection) The team of surveyors who surveyed the site of the First Garden City (By courtesy of Letchworth GardenCity Heritage Museum) Chapter VII Welwyn Stores in the 1930s (TCPA collection) Today’s farmers’ market in Ealing (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Leys Avenue, Letchworth (By courtesy of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Museum) The former Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society in Woolwich (By courtesy of Ron Roffey) The Skittles Inn (By courtesy of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Museum) The Three Magnets Free House (Dennis Hardy’s collection) Chapter VIII Brentham residents outside the Haven Arms (By courtesy of Brentham Heritage Society) Anchor Tenants Building Department 1909 (By courtesy of Leicester Mercury) Arthur James Balfour (Copyright the National Portrait Gallery) Members of the Letchworth building department (By courtesy of Letchworth Garden City HeritageMuseum) Chapter IX The page from Chambers’s Book of Days (By courtesy of University of Wisconsin Library)
x Members of the First Letchworth Urban District Council (By courtesy of Letchworth Garden CityHeritage Museum) Chapter X Guildsmen working in Chipping Camden (By courtesy of Guild of Handicraft Trust) Topolobampo: May party at Guyamas (By courtesy of Topolobampo Collection, Special CollectionsLibrary, California State University, Fresno) La Logia Fiesta (By courtesy of Topolobampo Collection, Special Collections Library, California StateUniversity, Fresno) Hellerau (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Block printing chintzes at Merton Abbey (By courtesy of William Morris Gallery) Chapter XI Edward Gibbon Wakefield (Copyright the National Portrait Gallery) Housing at Bournville (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) New Earswick (By courtesy of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Museum) Herbert Spencer (By courtesy of The Warren J.Samuels Portrait Collection at Duke University) Men marching to the fields at Hadleigh Farm Colony (By courtesy of Peter Howard) James Silk Buckingham (Copyright the National Portrait Gallery) Chapter XII Versions of the Three Magnets (By courtesy of Hertfordshire County Archives and Local Studies) Staff outside the Spirella Corset Factory (By courtesy of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Museum) The Spirella Corset Factory today (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Portrait of Robert Blatchford (By courtesy of Working Class Movement Library) Cover of December 1895 issue of The Scout (By courtesy of Working Class Movement Library) The ‘drift south’. London’s congested streets (TCPA collection) Henry George (By courtesy of The Warren J.Samuels Portrait Collection at Duke University) Chapter XIII Adelaide from North Adelaide (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Howard’s Social City as seen from the air today (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Sheffield’s tram outside the cathedral (By courtesy of Andrew Drucker) The Opening of the Central London Railway (By courtesy of London Transport Museum) The growth of London 1800–2000 (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Abandoned house at Beswick (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) The 1905 Cheap Cottages Exhibition (By courtesy of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Museum) Nevells Road (By courtesy of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Museum) Chapter XIV John Burns (Copyright the National Portrait Gallery) Queen’s Road, Ealing (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Abandoned terraced housing in Beswick, Manchester (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) A rundown London mews (TCPA collection) Lichfield Street, Birmingham c. 1870 (By courtesy of Birmingham City Library Services) Corporation Street, Birmingham c. 1899 (By courtesy of Birmingham City Library Services) Appendix Fox Reservoir (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Postscript Celebration of Letchworth Garden City Opening Day in 1903 (TCPA collection)
xi Station Road, Letch-worth (By courtesy of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Museum) Food Reform Restaurant and ‘Simple Life Hotel’ (By courtesy of Letchworth Garden City HeritageMuseum) Central Hotel (By courtesy of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Museum) Ebenezer Howard speaking at the Coronation Pageant for George V (TCPA collection) Parkway, Welwyn Garden City (TCPA collection) Parkway, Welwyn Garden City more than sixty years later (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Life in Welwyn in the 1930s (TCPA collection) Garden Cities and Town Planning Association members on a visit to Stuttgart before the First World War (TCPA collection) Greenbelt, Maryland (Sir Peter Hall’s collection) Frederic Osborn (TCPA collection) New housing at Stevenage (TCPA collection) Peterlee under construction in 1951 (TCPA collection) Milton Keynes from the air in 1979 (TCPA collection) Xscape, Milton Keynes at night (Copyright English Partnerships) Lightmoor (TCPA collection) TODs (By courtesy of Peter Calthorpe) City of Mercia (By courtesy of Sir Peter Hall and Colin Ward) Letchworth housing and High Street (Sir Peter Hall’s collection)
COMMENTATORS’ INTRODUCTIONTO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM is ALMOST WITHOUT question the mostimportant single work in the history of modern town planning. Published in October 1898, it sold wellenough for its publishers, Swan Sonnenschein, to bring out a cheap paperback edition, and within a coupleof years 3000 copies had been sold (Fishman, 1977, p. 54; Beevers, 1988, pp. 43, 57, 104); in 1902, it wasrepublished as Garden Cities of To-Morrow, appearing in further editions in 1946 and 1985 (Howard, 1902,1946, 1985); within a decade, translations were appearing. More than that: the first Garden City was underconstruction at Letchworth, from 1903; German Garden Cities were being planned, and the first-at Hellerauoutside Dresden-would soon start building. Less than half a century later, as the result of the movementHoward set in train, an Act of Parliament would be passed under which twenty-eight planned new townswould be built in Great Britain and four in Northern Ireland. Yet when it was first published, its prospects were inauspicious to say the least. Ebenezer Howard, itsauthor, was a 48-year-old parliamentary shorthand writer who had to borrow £50 from an American friendto get it published at all. Personally, as his disciple and faithful lieutenant Frederic Osborn said of him, Howard
2 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMEbenezer Howard (1850–1928) at about the time of the publication of To-Morrow and as an old man.was ‘the mildest and most unassuming of men…Mr. Bernard Shaw, who much admired what he did, onlyoverstates a truth when he says that this “amazing man” seemed an “elderly nobody”, “whom the StockExchange would have dismissed as a negligible crank”’ (Osborn, 1946, pp. 22–23). But ‘he had a reallybeautiful and powerful speaking voice, and it is not surprising that he was much in demand as an amateurShakespearean actor in his younger days’ (Osborn, 1946, p. 23). Osborn, who knew him as well as anyone, said, ‘Howard—let me emphasize this—was not a politicaltheorist, not a dreamer, but an inventor’ (Osborn, 1946, p. 21). The Garden City was an invention, just likehis idea of an improved variable spacing typewriter, which he failed to bring to fruition (Beevers, 1988, p.12); but Garden City would be spectacularly different. Born to tradespeople in the Barbican district of the City of London on 29 January 1850, Howard grew upin small southern English country towns—Sudbury, Ipswich, Cheshunt—perhaps explaining his love of thecountryside. Leaving school at 15, he became a City clerk. Then, at 21, he left for America, becoming apioneer farmer in Nebraska. It did not work: a year later he became a shorthand writer in Chicago, spendingfour years there. He later denied any influence, but it seems clear that he got the name of Garden City, andperhaps the idea, there (Osborn, 1950, pp. 226–227; Stern, 1986, pp. 133–134; Beevers, 1988, p. 7). In 1876he returned to London, securing a post with Gurneys, the official Parliamentary reporters; he remained ashorthand writer the rest of his life, and ‘His life was always one of hard work and little income’ (Osborn,1946, p. 19). But the job exposed him to debate on the major issues of the day (Beevers, 1988, p. 7). The London to which Howard returned was a city in ferment, a hotbed of radical activities and ‘causes’(Hardy, 199la, p. 30). William Morris broke with H.M.Hyndman (commentary page 147) and foundedCommonweal for the Socialist League; the anarchists produced Freedom, under the patronage of PrincePeter Kropotkin; another journal, To-Day, was run by Henry Champion and Hubert Bland (MacKenzie andMacKenzie, 1977, pp. 76–77). All looked for a new social order, no one quite knew what. In autumn 1879Howard joined a debating society for freethinkers, the Zetetical Society; it included George Bernard Shawand Sidney Webb (commentary page 45), with whom he was soon friendly. Howard read widely; in To-
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 3Frederic Osborn (‘FJO) (1885–1978) photographed at the height of his involvement in the Garden City movement.Morrow he cited over thirty writers, ranging from William Blake (commentary page 31) to the medicalofficer of health for Derbyshire; he read newspaper reports, Royal Commission evidence, articles in theFortnightly Review, Fabian Essays, J.S.Mill and above all Herbert Spencer (commentary page 135), perhapsthe key influence. He attended Dissenting chapels; much of this reading comes from a common dissentingtradition (Beevers, 1988, pp. 13–14, 19, 23). Significantly, no continental figure seems to have reached him,with the sole exception of Kropotkin—not even Marx (Beevers, 1988, p. 24). By the late 1880s he began to focus on the land question. It was a major issue of the age: British agriculturewas in deep structural crisis (Fishman, 1977, p. 62); the ‘Land War’ in Ireland had an impact on Britishpolitics second only to Irish Home Rule; Henry George’s Progress and Poverty (commentary page 153),published in 1881, sold 100,000 copies; it inspired the English Land Restoration League, formed in 1883, withthe aim of shifting all taxation on to the value of the land and taking all ground rent for public purposes. Thecampaign was embraced by a new and successful London evening paper, The Star, in 1888; in the firstLondon County Council elections of 1889, taxation of land values helped elect radical candidates; the LCCurged site value rating from 1894, and was followed by many other authorities; in 1901, a RoyalCommission on Local Taxation was split on it (Douglas, 1977, pp. 44–45, 47, 113, 118–119). Some went further: a Land Nationalization Society came into being in 1881, producing a stream ofpamphlets. Its key figure, Alfred Russel Wallace, was an eminent scientist who argued for providing ruralsmall-holdings to bring people back to the land. He knew Howard well, and his Society would support thelaunch of Howard’s Garden City Association in 1899 (Douglas, 1977, pp. 45–46, 48; Hardy, 1991a p. 30;
4 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMAlfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913). His essay, published in 1858, ‘On the law which has regulated the introduction ofnew species’, established him as the co-discoverer with Charles Darwin of the theory of evolution.Aalen, 1992, pp. 45–47). Joseph Chamberlain, a major political figure (commentary page 89), was wonover: in articles in 1883–85, he supported the notion of ‘three acres and a cow’ (Douglas, 1977, pp. 48–49).It helped the Liberals win the 1885 election, because it appealed to the newly-enfranchised rural labourers;but, as the politician Henry Labouchère put it, the Liberals lacked ‘an urban cow’ (Douglas, 1977, p. 53). For they lacked an answer to the parallel issue that dominated debate in London: the housing issue(Osborn, 1950, pp. 228–229). There was a huge drift of farm population from the rural districts into thecapital, which grew at great speed. London added nearly one million to its population each decade between1871 and 1901, nearly doubling from 3.9 to 6.6 million. Coupled with conversions of residential areas tooffices and railway building, many people were trapped in slums (Douglas, 1977, pp. 72, pp. 105–106;Beevers, 1988, pp. 9–10). Howard tried to develop his own solution. He toyed with ideas of land nationalization, derived fromHerbert Spencer (Beevers, 1988, p. 20) (commentary page 135). But he found a better answer from anobscure northern radical, Thomas Spence (commentary page 135), whose 1775 pamphlet was reprinted in1882 by H.M.Hyndman, founder of the Social Democratic Federation: every parish should become acorporation and seize its lost rights to its land collectively, collecting rents and using them for publicpurposes (Beevers 1988, pp. 21–23). Spence failed to explain how the people would appropriate the land,but Howard seized upon another idea. J.S.Mill’s Principles of Political Economy commended the idea ofplanned colonization as suggested by Edward Gibbon Wakefield forty years earlier (commentary page 131),with a planned mixture of town and country. The idea of ‘home colonies’ for the unemployed was popularat the time; one protagonist was Thomas Davidson, one of the founders of the Fellowship of the New Life,from which the Fabian Society sprang. But Howard grasped the core problem, which was the ‘urban cow’:unemployed Londoners could not be expected to become smallholders; they would need factory jobs(Beevers, 1988, pp. 25–26). The answer came from an article of 1884 by the economist Alfred Marshall: ‘…there are large classes ofthe population of London whose removal into the country would in the long run be economically
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 5John Stuart Mill (1806–1873).advantageous—that it would benefit alike those who moved and those who remained behind’ (Marshall,1884, p. 224) (commentary page 55). Railways, the penny post, the telegraph, newspapers could allowindustry to leave the great cities, especially if they were not dependent on fixed natural resources like coal;if their labour force moved out, they would follow. And labour was moving: one-fifth of the London-bornhad left the capital (Marshall, 1884, pp. 223–225, 228). So, Marshall argued: ‘…the general plan would be for a committee, whether specially formed for the purpose or not, to interestthemselves in the formation of a colony in some place well beyond the range of London smoke. Afterseeing their way to building or buying suitable cottages there, they would enter into communication withsome of the employers of low-waged labour.’ (Marshall, 1884, p. 229) Thus Howard had his key ideas, but he still could not bring them together. Then, early in 1888, he readEdward Bellamy’s best-selling Looking Backward (Beevers, 1988, pp. 26–27). Its central character takes asleeping draught and awakes in the Boston of 2000. It is a beautifully-planned, smoke-free city with tree-lined streets, open squares and beautiful landscapes. A huge industrial army, working in giant mills, isunbelievably productive; poverty, crime, greed, corruption have gone (Mullin and Payne, 1997, pp. 17–20). From Bellamy, Howard drew the idea of a ‘socialist community’ which owned all the land, bothagricultural and urban (Osborn, 1946, p. 21); he helped start a society, the Nationalization of LabourSociety, to promote Bellamy’s ideas in England (Hardy, 1991a, p. 31). But he soon came to see Bellamy’sconcept as authoritarian (Meyerson, 1961, p. 186; Fishman, 1977, p. 36). And at just this point, 1888–90, hemust have read a series of articles by Peter Kropotkin—a Russian anarchist émigré in England—in themagazine The Nineteenth Century, which later would become the book Fields, Factories, and Workshops.Kropotkin presented a vision of ‘industrial villages’ based on electric power (Fishman, 1977, p. 36).Howard later called Kropotkin ‘the greatest democrat ever born to wealth and power’; henceforth, his visionwould have an anarchist basis (Fishman, 1977, p. 37, quoting Howard’s draft of an unfinished draftautobiography).
6 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMPortrait of Colonel William Light (1786–1839). Kropotkin, then, was the main intellectual influence. But Howard, seeing himself always as an inventor,was always looking for practical models. He found them in various places. Edward Gibbon Wakefield’sscheme of planned colonization, commended by J.S.Mill, had resulted in the colony of South Australia,including Colonel William Light’s plan for its capital city of Adelaide, with the notion that once a city hadreached a certain size, planners should halt its growth by a green belt and begin a second city: the origin ofHoward’s notion of Social City. James Silk Buckingham’s plan of 1849 for a model town included manyfeatures he used in his Garden City diagram: limited size, a central place, radial avenues, peripheralindustries, a surrounding green belt and the notion of starting further settlements (Buckingham, 1849;Wakefield 1849; Ashworth, 1954, p. 125; Benevolo, 1967, p. 133) (commentary page 139). Industrialvillages of the 1880s and 1890s, in open countryside—George Cadbury’s Bournville outside Birmingham,William Hesketh Lever’s Port Sunlight near Liverpool—provided real-world models. Utopian back-to-the-land communities must have been also in his mind, almost all rural (Darley, 1975, chapter 10; Hardy, 1979,p. 215, 238; Hardy, 2000, passim). And, very pervasively, there was the movement led by William Morrisand John Ruskin and enthusiastically embraced by the architects Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker,rejecting industrialism and advocating a return to craft production and a sense of community (Hall, 2002, p.101). Howard cheerfully took whatever he needed (Osborn, 1950, p. 230); as he recognized, there wasnothing that was really new in his proposals, except their combination. In the famous heading of Chapter XI, his was ‘A Unique Combination of Proposals’, bringing togetherthe proposals for organized migration from Wakefield and Marshall, the system of land tenure derived from
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 7William Light’s 1837 plan for Adelaide. He died there of consumption in 1839.Spence and Spencer, and the model city forms of Buckingham and of Wakefield as interpreted by Light (p.103). By bringing them together, Howard believed he had found the solution: how to achieve an idealcommunity that could appropriate for itself the land values it created by its own existence and its ownefforts, achieving land nationalization step by step. Perhaps most novel of all, the capitalists were to beasked to act as chief agents in the process. From at least 1892, Howard began to introduce his ideas to the progressive London sects with which hewas associated. In 1893, in association with the Land Nationalization Society, he proposed to form a ‘Co-operative Land Society’. He supported the idea of municipal ownership of enterprises, though later hemodified this in favour of a great variety of forms of ownership. He already saw that he would need toappeal to the rich and powerful to lend money for his scheme, through a limited dividend company(Beevers, 1988, p. 34). The scheme he finally published in To-Morrow had two central features: its physical form, and its modeof creation. Both were idealized. Both proved much harder to achieve in reality than on paper, as discussedby Dennis Hardy in the postscript to this edition. Howard began with his famous Three Magnets diagram. Like the others, with their elaborate Victorianlettering—Howard apparently drew them himself, and in the original edition, now republished, they were indelicate pastel colours—it has an archaic charm. But, viewed more closely, it is a brilliant encapsulation ofthe virtues and vices of the late Victorian English city and English countryside. The city had economic andsocial opportunity, but overcrowded housing and an appalling physical environment. The countrysideoffered open fields and fresh air, but there were all-too-few jobs and very little social life; and,paradoxically, if anything housing conditions for the average worker were just as bad. This contrast cannotbe understood save in the context of the time: twenty years of agricultural depression, bringing massmigration from the countryside to the cities, coupled with huge changes in those cities—the destruction of
8 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMHousing at Bournville.housing for offices and railways and docks—crowding the poor into slum tenements. The problem, then,was to reverse the flow of migration. The clue was that it was possible to create yet a third form of living and way of life, superior to either: thethird magnet. Here it would be possible to square the circle: to gain all the opportunities of the town, all thequalities of the country, without any degree of sacrifice: ‘Town and country must be married, and out of thisjoyous union will spring a new hope, a new life, a new civilization’ (p. 10). This could be achieved througha totally new town in the middle of the countryside, far from the sphere of the city, where land could bebought at depressed agricultural land values: the Garden City. It would have a fixed limit—Howardsuggested 32,000 people, living on 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of land. On its edge would be a factory belt,which Howard describes in detail: it housed what came to be known as light industries, since—as Howardhimself emphasized—the industries attracted out here would be the ones where the quality of the workforcewould be the prime concern; pioneers like Cadbury at Bournville and Lever at Port Sunlight had alreadyshown the way. It would be surrounded by a much larger area of permanent green belt, bought and ownedby the Garden City management as part of the purchase package—Howard proposed 5000 acres, or 2235hectares —containing not merely farms, but also all kinds of urban quasi-urban institutions, likereformatories and convalescent homes, that could benefit from a rural location. It would be small (a little larger than the City of London), dense (Islington, not Camberley) and compact.To use an overworked contemporary term, it would be the epitome of sustainable urban development. ‘Theastonishing fact about Howard’s plan is how faithfully it follows the precepts of good planning a centurylater: this is a walking-scale settlement, within which no one needs a car to go anywhere; the densities arehigh by modern standards, thus economising on land; and yet the entire settlement is suffused by open spaceboth within and outside, thus sustaining a natural habitat’ (Hall and Ward, 1998, p. 23). This is clearly seen in the way Howard treated the growth of his Garden City. When it reached its plannedlimit of 32,000 people; another Garden City would be started a short distance away; then another, then
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 9William Hesketh Lever’s Port Sunlight today.another, thus creating not a single Garden City but a polycentric cluster, each offering a range of jobs andservices, all connected by a rapid transit system, so as to generate all the economic and social opportunitiesof the giant city. He calls it Social City. In the diagram again reproduced here, but sadly omitted in thesecond and subsequent editions, Social City covered 66,000 acres (29,500 hectares), slightly less than thearea of the old London County Council of his day; it had a total population of a quarter of a million, equal toa major English provincial town like Hull or Nottingham at that time (Hall and Ward, 1998, pp. 23–25). Butit is clear from the text that Social City could proliferate almost without limit, until it became the basicsettlement form covering most of the country. Because of the diagram’s disappearance in subsequenteditions, most readers have failed to grasp the vital fact that Social City, not the isolated Garden City, wasHoward’s vision. Thus the physical expression of Garden City was to be quite novel; certainly, unlike anything before. Butequally novel was to be its mode of creation. The land for each Garden City and its surrounding green belt,6000 acres (2700 hectares), would be purchased in the open market at depressed agricultural land values:£40 an acre (£100 per hectare), £240,000 in all, through mortgage debentures paying 4 per cent and legallyvested in four gentlemen ‘of responsible position and undoubted probity and honour, who hold it in trust,first, as a security for the debenture-holders, and, secondly, in trust for the people of Garden City’ (page13). Very shortly, the growth of Garden City would raise land values, and thus rents. The entire basis of thefinancing was that rents would be regularly revised upwards, allowing the four ‘responsible gentlemen’ notonly to pay off the mortgage debt, but over time to generate a fund for social purposes: a local welfare state,without need for local or central taxation, and directly responsible to local citizens. The biggest surprise for today’s readers is that so much of the book consists of detailed financialcalculations. There is a good reason: Howard was addressing hard-nosed Victorian businessmen who
10 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMneeded assurance that their money was safe. And the greater the success, the easier the money would be toraise. For Howard, Garden City was far more than just a town: it was a third socio-economic system, superiorboth to Victorian capitalism and to bureaucratic centralized socialism. The words at the bottom of the ThreeMagnets diagram, FREEDOM—COOPERATION, were no mere rhetorical flourish. Each Garden Citywould be an exercise in local self-government. ‘It was a vision of anarchist co-operation, to be achievedwithout large-scale central state intervention. Not for nothing did Howard admire Kropotkin. Garden Citywould be realized through individual enterprise, wherein individualism and co-operation would be happilymarried’ (Hall and Ward, 1998, p. 28). Just how radical was this vision, how far it proved capable ofrealization, it will be for the reader of this edition to judge.
THE FACSIMILEHOWARD CHOOSES FOR THE TITLE PAGE OF TO-MORROW A QUOTATION from ‘The PresentCrisis’ by James Russell Lowell (1819–1891) published in his Poems in 1844. Lowell was an ardentabolitionist, which would have appealed to Howard’s ideas on temperance. In 1855 he succeeded HenryWadsworth Longfellow as professor of modern languages at Harvard, was the first editor of AtlanticMonthly (1857–61), and went on to edit the North American Review (1864–72). But the latter part of his lifewas spent as a representative of his country abroad—as US minister to Spanish court (1877–80) and then inLondon at the Court of St James where he served until 1885. Much of the rest of his life was spent inLondon or Whitby in Yorkshire. Whether Howard actually met him is unknown.
INTRODUCTIONJOHN RICHARD GREEN (1837–1883) WAS A CLERGYMAN WHOSE CAREER WAS cut short bytuberculosis, making ‘all active work impossible’; thus he started his great work, Short History of theEnglish People (1874) followed by the multi-volume History of the English People (1877–) and TheConquest of England, which was completed after his death by his wife. Together these formed animmensely popular exposition of the Whig view of history, which represented history as the cumulativevictory of the forces of liberalism and democracy. The Times leader recalls George Bernard Shaw’s aphorism, All great truths begin as blasphemies.Although this dates from 1917 (Shaw, 1919, p. 262), it seems possible that Shaw recalled the passage whichhe would have read as a young man. Howard wrote after a decade of intense and often bitter debate on fundamental political issues, includingthe land issue (closely associated with Ireland, where Gladstone’s attempt to introduce Home Rule hadfailed in 1886, 1892 and 1893), housing (especially acute in London, leading to a Royal Commission on theHousing of the Working Classes of 1884–85 and the resulting Housing of the Working Classes Acts of 1885and 1890), and the condition of the poor (Hall, 2002, Chapter 2, passim). Howard, with his years of experience as a short-hand reporter of meetings of official bodies, was adept atselecting the appropriate quotations from public figures and public meetings to support his conclusions. TheLondon County Council had been set up in 1888 to bring order to the urban anarchy of its isolated tinyparishes, but already in March 1891, its first chairman, Lord Rosebery, was describing eloquently theproblem that Howard addressed: the grotesque overcrowding of the inner city and the simultaneousdepopulation of rural Britain. When the Progressives won control of the LCC, they embarked on aprogramme of slum clearance and municipal housing. The area in Shoreditch described by Arthur Morrisonin his famous novel A Child of the Jago (1896), condemned by health officers as early as 1883, was clearedand replaced in 1896 by the LCC’s Boundary Estate of flats housing 5,500 people. But this, and thecontemporary estates built by philanthropic bodies like the Peabody Trust, simply worsened the problems ofurban overcrowding in the surrounding areas.John Morley (1838–1923), writer and journalist, was elected a Liberal MP in 1883. He was a man of radicalviews, a supporter of Irish Home Rule, and very anti-war, opposing both the Boer War and First World War. Lord Rosebery (1847–1929) was made Chairman of the LCC in 1889 and again in 1892, while at the sametime serving as Foreign Secretary. He succeeded Gladstone as Prime Minister in 1894. A highly independent-minded and very able parliamentarian, Sir John Eldon Gorst (1835–1916) adheredto principles of Tory democracy and throughout his political life showed an active interest in the housing ofthe poor, the education of their children, and social questions generally. A keen advocate of total abstinence, Frederick William Farrar (1831– 1903) was made Dean ofCanterbury in 1895.
20 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMGeorge Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) in his revolving writing hut at his home in Ayot Saint Lawrence, Hertfordshire. Here Howard reminds us that there were two parallel problems in England in the 1880s and 1890s: theproblem of slum housing in London and other great cities, which is well-known today, and the problem ofrural housing and depopulation, which is less well-remembered. A deep agricultural depression, resultingfrom a series of poor harvests and intense overseas competition following the opening-up of new land in theAmericas and Australasia, reduced cereal acreage in England and Wales by no less than a quarter between1879 and 1900. Farm rents declined by up to 50 per cent; the Duke of Marlborough said in 1885 that if therewere any effective demand, half the land of England would be on the market tomorrow; even by 1902, inHertfordshire, it was estimated that 20 per cent of farms were unoccupied (Fishman, 1977, p. 62, quoted inHall and Ward, 1998, p. 8). Ironically, this not only encouraged rich London merchants, like theRothschilds, to buy up vast tracts of rural land to build rural estates; it also allowed Howard’s First GardenCity Company to buy the land for Letchworth Garden City at a very advantageous price, just as Howardproposed in his book: the 3,817-acre (1,545-hectare) site, 34 miles (55 km) from London in an area ofseverely depressed agriculture, was bought in 1903 for only £155,587 (Hall, 2002, p. 98).Ben Tillett (1860–1943) was one of the leaders of the 1889 London Dock Strike in which the dockers weregranted their main demands. A member of the Fabian Society, he was one of the founders of the LabourParty, although he did not get on with the main leaders James Keir Hardie and Ramsay MacDonald. Tom Mann(1856–1941), also a member of the Fabian Society, was another London Dock Strike leader. Following the
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 21Peabody Buildings, Blackfriars, London, designed by Henry Darbishire.strike he became President of the newly-formed General Labourers’ Union (Ben Tillett was GeneralSecretary). Both men remained devoted to socialism and the trade union cause throughout their lives. Here Howard makes a first reference to town and country as ‘magnets’, introducing the celebratedDiagram No. 1; in the ensuing century it would become the most widely reproduced and translated planningdocument in the world.Howard begins to use the language of economic equilibrium analysis, which may reflect his acquaintance withAlfred Marshall’s Principles of Economics (1890), a classic exposition of neoclassical theory (see page 55).
22 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMBoundary Street, Bethnal Green.He knew Marshall personally through the latter’s evidence to Parliamentary committees, notably the Goldand Silver Commission in 1887–1888 and his membership of the Royal Commission on Labour in 1891–94(Keynes, 1933, p. 196), where Howard probably acted as shorthand note-taker. Importantly, he argues thatfactors of location —which Marshall discusses fully in Book IV, Chapter X of the Principles, though laterEnglish neoclassical economists lost interest in locational questions—do not presuppose agglomeration incities. Interestingly, Marshall anticipated even then that the real increases in employment were in the serviceindustries; but he supposed that this would lead to increasing urban concentration (Marshall, 1920, p. 230).
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 23Ben Tillett, portrait in sanguine by Ivan Opffer. One of us has described the Three Magnets diagram as ‘an extremely compressed and brilliant statementof planning objectives. (It is an interesting exercise to try to write out the diagram in suitably jargon-ridden,abstract modern language as a statement of objectives; to say the same thing less clearly takes many pages,whereas Howard got it all in one simple diagram)’ (Hall, 2002, p. 31). In essence, Howard is arguing thatboth existing cities and the existing countryside had an indissoluble mixture of advantages anddisadvantages. The advantages of the city were the opportunities it offered in the form of accessibility tojobs and to urban services of all kinds; the disadvantages could all be summed up in the poor resultingnatural environment. Conversely the countryside offered an excellent environment, but virtually noeconomic or social opportunities of any sort. In the intervening century, many of these differences have been eroded. Clean air, urban reconstructionand effective planning have almost eliminated the grosser evils of the city, though pollution from the motorvehicle remains. Even more strikingly, the disadvantages of rural life have been almost completely removedby new technologies, barely sensible when Howard wrote: electrification, telecommunications, and theinternal combustion engine. Interestingly, however, this transformation was anticipated in different waysboth by Peter Kropotkin, in his book Fields, Factories and Workshops, published the year after To-Morrow,and by H.G.Wells’ Anticipations published three years later (Hall, 2002, pp. 91, 295–296). William Chandler Roberts-Austen (1843–1902) (Howard omitted the hyphen in his note) was Professor ofMetallurgy at the Royal School of Mines from 1880 to 1902 and in the final year of his life was DeputyMaster at the Royal Mint. Howard’s comment on the way in which the natural healthfulness of the country was largely lost throughlack of sanitation and a clean water supply was underlined by all historians of rural health and housing formuch of the twentieth century.
24 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMTom Mann, portrait in sanguine by Ivan Opffer.After the Second World War the historian of rural life George Ewart Evans moved to a Suffolk village whenhis wife became the village school-teacher. His whole family had frequent stomach troubles and were toldthat most newcomers to the village of Blaxhall suffered in the same way. Some babies had died throughbeing given well water in their food. Evans had to become an aggressive nuisance to get piped water to hisvillage, since the councils were dominated by wealthy people with clean water from their own deep wells(Evans, 1983). Here Howard develops the extraordinary sexual metaphor of the marriage of town and country in a kindof holy sacrament. It is important that Howard was a devout Congregationalist and lay preacher and that hewas deeply devoted to his equally devout first wife Lizzie and their four children; he depended on her, toomuch so in the view of Raymond Unwin, so much in fact that after her death he tried to maintaincommunication with her through a spiritualist medium (Beevers, 1988, pp. 37, 43, 83). The style isoratorical, and may well be based on text for one of the expositions Howard gave of his theory, atCongregational and other gatherings, during the years of the book’s composition (Beevers, 1988, pp. 30–37).
30 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMThe Master Key to which Howard refers on page 5 but which was never published. Note that on the drawing heincludes the quotation from James Russell Lowell which appears on the title page of To-Morrow.
32 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMEbenezer Howard’s first wife, Elizabeth.Where town and country meet—a factory on the edge of Letchworth c. 1920.
THE TOWN-COUNTRY MAGNETHOWARD’S REASON FOR QUOTING BLAKE IS OBVIOUS. POET, PAINTER and engraver, WilliamBlake (1757–1827) hated the effects of the Industrial Revolution and looked forward to the establishment ofa new Jerusalem ‘in England’s green and pleasant land’. The four essays which make up John Ruskin’s (1819–1900) Unto This Last attack laissez-faireeconomics and Victorian business ethics. These and his other socialist writings influenced not only Howardbut also trade unionists and political activists such as Tom Mann and Ben Tillett (commentary page 21). Here Howard raises his key argument: that the increase in site values arising solely from the existence ofan urban community should accrue to that community, and not to some distant aristocrat whose ancestorshad been rewarded with that land for their support of a conquering king or robber baron.
34 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM One of the many (but seldom-mentioned) reasons for the success of the post-war British New Towns hasbeen the increase in site values, accruing to the New Town Corporations and returned to the centralgovernment by way of the Commission for the New Towns and its successors. These would have been evengreater had not the Treasury raided the funds, as Ray Thomas has demonstrated (Thomas, 1996). Howard’s calculations were correct, but his aim had been that once the initial loans had been repaid, theincrease in income from property in the new town should benefit the community whose existence hadgenerated it, through the development of a communally-administered local welfare state. This was frustratedat Letchworth because Howard’s fellow-directors, faced with the Garden City’s lack of success in attractingpeople and in particular industry, introduced a system of long-term rents without regular upward revisions,reflecting rising land values, that were the essence of Howard’s plan (Creese, 1966, p. 316; Hall and Ward,1998, pp. 34–35).In post-war Britain there have been three attempts to retain for the public the increase in land values: theTown and Country Planning Act 1947; the Land Commission Act of 1967; and the Community Land Act of1975 (Hall and Ward, 1998, pp. 172–174). All were passed by Labour governments; all were promptlyrescinded by the following Conservative administrations. In any case, they were intended to capture valuesfor the central government though the 1975 Act contained a provision allowing local authorities to take ashare. Howard’s diagrams (No 2, Garden City, and No 3, relationship between Ward and Centre), show howingenious an inventor he was. Critics who have not read him assume he advocated extremely lowpopulation densities, but as Lewis Mumford stressed in the 1946 re-issue of the second edition, Howard’sassumptions about density were ‘on the conservative side; in fact they followed the traditional dimensionsthat had been handed down since the Middle Ages, and, one may add by way of criticism, followed themtoo closely’ (Mumford, 1946, pp. 30–31). As Mumford shows, net residential density would have beenabout 90–95 persons to the acre (220–235/ha): distinctly urban in today’s terms. Partly this resulted fromthe large average size of the late Victorian household. Garden City is thus a model of urban compactness:circular in form, it has a radius of only three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km) from centre to edge. The Central Park is 150 acres (67 hectares) in size, roughly equal to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens,with ‘abundant provision for football, cricket, tennis and other outdoor games’. The inspiration might havebeen the centre of Washington DC, which Daniel Burnham was just about to restore to its original glory,with the Congress and the White House and other great public buildings, set off against monumental openspace. More likely Howard took his inspiration from the Horse Guards and Buckingham Palace set againstthe greenery of St James’s Park. The critical point is that—just like Henry VIII three centuries before—Howard was free to put a park in the centre because he was not constrained by traditionally-high urban landvalues.Howard’s Arcade, or Crystal Palace, is an obvious precursor of the shopping malls which have changedretailing patterns both inside and outside the cities of Europe and America. It does however have precursorsin the arcades and covered markets of European and English cities. Doubtless, Howard was also directlyinfluenced by the Crystal Palace built for the 1851 Great Exhibition and re-erected at Sydenham in SouthLondon until its destruction by fire in 1936 and by the Winter Gardens then being built in a number of lateVictorian seaside towns. In apparently unconscious tribute, at the start of 2003 Sheffield proudly unveiledits new Winter Garden and Millennium Galleries, a complex 70 metres long, 22 metres wide and 21metres high, by the architects Pringle Richards Sharratt.And even though Howard wrote when the private motor car was a novelty on English streets—the Actrequiring that a man walk in front with a red flag had been repealed only two years earlier—he correctly
36 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMJohn Ruskin in 1881, platinum print by T.A. J.Green.judged the logic of urban transport priorities. The wide radial boulevards would have ensured that this was atown without serious congestion, even at the start of the twenty-first century. They divide Garden City into six equal sections or wards. Thirty years later, the American sociologist-planner Clarence Perry would re-invent the concept in the form of ‘neighbourhood units’, a term that becameincorporated into British planning practice after World War II.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 37Peterborough’s shopping mall.Perspective drawing of the Crystal Palace, 1851, designed by Joseph Paxton. The numbering of streets and avenues recalls New York, though the formal circular nature of the plan ismore reminiscent of Pierre L’Enfant’s celebrated plan for Washington DC. Grand Avenue may have echoesof the Midway, the wide parkway in Chicago that marks the position of the 1893 Columbian Expositiondesigned by the architect-planner Daniel Burnham, which now divides the Hyde Park district on the SouthSide of Chicago (Stern, 1986, p. 309; Girouaud, 1985, p. 317).In any case the idea has affinities with the parkway concept developed by the American landscape architectFrederick Law Olmsted for Brooklyn (New York) and Boston (Massachusetts) at this time. The conceptwould later be borrowed and employed in Louis de Soissons’s plan for Welwyn Garden City, where a broadlandscaped parkway subtly turns into a monumental mall as it approaches the town centre, and on an even
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 39Clarence Stein’s neighbourhood unit.Pierre-Charles L’Enfant’s 1791 plan for the city of Washington.larger scale as a basic structuring element in Barry Parker’s plan for the garden suburb of Wythenshawe inManchester (Creese, 1966, pp. 263–265). Locating the factory zone on a ring railway reflects the fact that Howard had not yet anticipated theimpact of the motor truck, which barely existed when he wrote. But substitute an outer orbital highway, andthe plan conforms to every notion of efficient logistical management. In 1898, jobs meant factory jobs andHoward illustrates them in detail: clothing, cycles, engineering, jam-making. They were light industries,since—as Howard himself emphasized—the industries attracted out here would be ones where the quality
40 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMFrederick Law Olmsted’s 1901 plan of Prospect Park, Brooklyn.of the workforce would be the prime concern. Howard believed that such industrialists would gladly followthe lead already set by pioneers like Cadbury at Bournville and Lever at Port Sunlight; they would see theadvantages of operating in a clean smoke-free atmosphere where their workers would be healthier andcloser to their work than in the giant city.Howard’s idea of returning the Garden City’s sewage to the soil anticipates modern environmentalprinciples. But it was not new, even then: Edwin Chadwick had suggested such an idea for London sewageas early as 1842 and it was adopted by the Metropolitan Board of Works in the 1860s, but never carried out(Hall, 1998, pp. 688, 694).
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 41 Skilfully, Howard, seeking as always to unite us rather than to split us on ideological issues, leaves openthe question of whether social goods should be publicly or privately provided, urging that any communityneeding goods and services should offer the franchise to the bidder who will serve it best. Curiously, hisproposals for open competition in provision of utilities rather precisely anticipates early twenty-first-centuryBritish reality.Howard’s proposal for philanthropic institutions is illustrated by concrete examples in his Diagrams No. 2and 8: an agricultural college, convalescent homes, asylums for the blind and deaf, a farm for epileptics,industrial schools, children’s cottage homes. Such institutions were then being built on open land outsideLondon and other cities. It is interesting that he sees all these as provided through philanthropic action,though even then some of these were the responsibilities of local school boards, and of course many couldbe expected to become functions of the local welfare state as the Garden City rents built up over time. Inthis respect, perhaps, Howard’s ideas are not quite fully worked out.
42 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMLong Grove Hospital at Horton, Epsom, Surrey, part of a complex of five LCC hospitals which were the largest inEurope. Closed in 1992, there is now a housing estate on the site.
THE AGRICULTURAL ESTATEHOWARD QUOTES FROM RICHARDSON’S PAMPHLET HYGEIA, A CITY OF Health (1876), one ofthe models on which he drew in developing his Garden City concept. Benjamin W.Richardson FRS (1828–1896) numbered amongst his activities a temperance crusade, poetry, play and novel writing, andsubstantial contributions in medicine. He concentrated not on the aesthetics of city planning, but on urbanservices that would enhance people’s health and quality of life. He proposed a new city of 100,000 peopleliving in 20,000 houses on 4,000 acres at an average density of 25 per acre (60/ha). Richardson commentedthat ‘This may be considered a large population for the space occupied, but, since the effect of density tellsonly determinately when it reaches a certain extreme degree, as in Liverpool and Glasgow, this estimatemay be ventured’ (Richardson, 1876, pp. 18–19).
44 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM Interestingly, a few lines above Howard’s quotation from Les Misérables (1862) the text reads: ‘…From this spring two results, the land impoverished, and the water tainted…It is notorious, forexample, that at the present hour, the Thames is poisoning London.’ Howard himself addresses the question of sewage disposal on pages 25 and 26. But, here too heintroduces the key idea of Garden City: that, in effect, the city creates its own land values. Essentially, the city is established far enough from London (or any large city) to ensure that the land isbought at pure agricultural value, at that time extremely low by reason of agricultural depression. (Thismight require that the purchase is made in secret, as happened at Letchworth —or in small packets so thatthe activity is not recognized, as occurred with the purchase of Columbia in Maryland, an American newtown of the late 1960s.) Thence, as the town grows, it generates urban land values which—after repaymentof the initial borrowings necessary to buy the land and build the town—pass back to the community. Asexplained in the Introduction to this edition, Howard essentially took this idea from the late eighteenth-century writer Thomas Spence (commentary page 135) (Beevers, 1988, pp. 21–25).Howard argues what was for him the most important contention of his book: that if the steadily-increasingbetterment value of land were retained for the benefit of the residents who had generated it, the resultingrevenue would be enough to fund all local social welfare thus constituting a local welfare state,administered by the citizens on their own collective behalf. The essence is in Diagram No. 4, The VanishingPoint of Landlord’s Rent, which regrettably was omitted from the second and subsequent editions of thebook. It contrasts the sum of ‘Landlord’s rent’, in the top circle, with the process in the Garden Citywhereby this rent is progressively paid off by rising land values; ‘This end being attained, all the fundshitherto devoted to that purpose may be applied municipally, or to the provision of Old Age Pensions’. At
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 45Beatrice and Sidney Webb, who in 1884 with George Bernard Shaw and H.G.Wells founded the Fabian Society. Thisphotograph which dates from about 1940 is by an unknown photographer.the time Howard wrote, though the Fabian Society was advocating ‘Gas and water socialism’ throughmunicipal utilities and municipal welfare provision, central state action—notably in the field of pensions—was still a decade away. But as we have noted, when the New Towns were ultimately designated after the Second World War, thegovernment’s chosen pattern of development was through public corporations financed directly by theExchequer, which garnered the profits as well as the liabilities. As one of us commented, ‘Thus, ironically,at one stroke they resolved the perennial problem of how to fund the new towns, but also destroyed theessence of Howard’s plan, which was to fund the creation of self-governing local welfare states. ‘Top-downplanning triumphed over bottom-up; Britain would have the shell of Howard’s garden-city vision without thesubstance’ (Hall, 2002, p. 139). Since it was essential for Howard’s conception of Garden City that it was to be surrounded by farms andsmallholdings providing for local food needs, it is useful to stress the evidence accumulated by PeterKropotkin that had been compiled from a series of annotated essays published in the monthly TheNineteenth Century between 1888 and 1890 and published as Fields, Factories and Workshops in 1899, ayear after Howard’s own book. Kropotkin argued for a new integration of town and country, and watchingthe depressed state of British farming at the time, observed that: ‘Each crop requiring human labour has had its area reduced; and almost one half of the agriculturallabourers have been sent away since 1861 to reinforce the ranks of the unemployed in the cities, so that farfrom being over-populated, the fields of Britain are starved of human labour…The British nation does notwork on her soil; she is prevented from doing so; and the would-be economists complain that the soil willnot nourish its inhabitants.’ (Kropotkin, 1985, p. 90)
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 47Late nineteenth-century harvest scene. From their attire it would appear that these farm labourers come from Scotland.
48 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM In fact, farmers had reacted to the flood of cheap overseas wheat and meat by concentrating on crops wherethey had some kind of natural protection, including dairy farming for fresh milk and market gardening. Butthe latter tended to be found only on the relatively small areas of top-grade soil, and over wide areas oflowland England—especially around London—former corn-growing country went to grass and thus to aform of farming that needed much less labour. In Essex, for instance, Scots dairy farmers moved south totake over derelict arable farms. See the evidence for each county from the local reports of the RoyalCommission on Agricultural Depression in 1894–96, summarized in Hall (1974). Here Howard refers to the failure of the former Metropolitan Board of Works to devise a practicablescheme to return London’s sewage to the soil, suggesting that in Garden City it will be much easier becausethe scheme can be comprehensively planned ab initio. At this point the use of artificial fertilizers was in itsinfancy, though great progress was being made, especially by the fast-growing German chemical industry.Howard’s argument—that local farmers would have privileged access to local markets, thus facilitating amore rational scheme of local production to meet local needs—was repeated in the 1920s by members ofthe Regional Planning Association of America, a body set up to carry Howard’s theories into practice on theother side of the Atlantic. See particularly the article by Stuart Chase, the economist member of the group,entitled Coals to Newcastle (Chase, 1925). The problem always proved to be that long-distance transport offood had become so cheap that local producers enjoyed little if any advantage against distant competitorsenjoying superior natural characteristics of terrain or climate.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 49Sir Benjamin Baker.
50 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMThe rural estate at Letchworth. Howard’s hopes for co-operative agriculture were not fulfilled and most experimentswere short-lived. Sir Benjamin Baker (1840–1907) was the chief designer of the Forth Rail Bridge (1890). His other projectsincluded several parts of the London Underground, transporting from Egypt and installing Cleopatra’s Needleby the Thames, the Aswan Dam (Egypt; 1902) and the first Hudson River Tunnel (USA). Sir Alexander Binnie (1839–1917) designed the Greenwich pedestrian tunnel under the Thames (1902)and Vauxhall Bridge over the Thames (1905). When Howard wrote To-Morrow he was Chief Engineer tothe London County Council. Here Howard clarifies the important Diagram No. 4, by carefully distinguishing the three elements of‘rent’ in Garden City. This rent, which he terms ‘rate-rent’, is different from conventional rent inconventional places, because it consists of three separate elements. First is ‘landlord’s rent’, actually thepayment of interest on the money borrowed to buy the land and build Garden City. Second is the ‘sinking-fund’, the replacement of the principal. And third is the ‘rates’ collected to support municipal services, as inany conventional local authority. The point of the diagram is that the share of the first two elementsdiminishes to zero. But the ‘rate-rent’ remains the same, and in effect is employed in its entirety to providemunicipal services—and farmers will gladly pay it, because they will appreciate that they enjoy the benefitsin return.
THE TOWN ESTATEPROFESSOR ALFRED MARSHALL (1842–1944) WAS THE MOST EXTENSIVELY quoted of Howard’ssources, and his Principles of Economics was the standard work for students in Britain for at least half acentury. He had argued in the 1884 paper that, ‘The general plan would be for a committee, whetherspecially formed for the purpose or not, to interest themselves in the formation of a colony in some placewell beyond the range of London smoke. After seeing their way to buying or building suitable cottagesthere, they would enter into communication with some of the employers of low-waged labour’ (Marshall,1884, p. 229). Marshall quotes this article in the Principles (Marshall, 1920, p. 167) and develops Howard’sargument further at some length, without however referring to his book in the revised 1920 edition (ibid., p.367).
52 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMProfessor Alfred Marshall in the Tyrol in 1901. Here, as in the previous chapter, Howard is busy persuading us that, if only the accumulation ofincreasing site values was owned by the community, every kind of commercial and industrial enterprisewould be viable. In fact just such a principle was employed by the development corporations of the newtowns after Wo rld War Two: the rents from shops and offices in the central business district were animportant part of the rising asset value of the town, and could be used to cross-subsidize other developmentsdeserving subsidy However, all calculations like this are extremely sensitive to basic macro-economicassumptions, particularly as to inflation. Howard wrote in an extremely stable late Victorian world whereinterest rates had been steady and low for three-quarters of a century. For what could happen in less stabletimes, see commentary page 59. The actual experience of the British New Towns in the decades after the Second World War illustratesHoward’s point in a negative way. The sensible planning ideology of ‘neighbourhood units’ demandedcertain basic ‘corner shops’ in each locality. Their turnover could not provide a viable income for theshopkeeper unless their rents were reduced to a level that made this possible. The New Town DevelopmentCorporations saw a policy of using the surplus on profitable sites to subsidize these socially desirablemanipulations of rents as part of their duty. Changes in government attitudes with the incoming centralgovernment of Mrs Thatcher in 1979 brought a dramatic shift in policy. The historians of Milton Keynesdescribe this graphically:
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 53Milton Keynes Central Business District photographed from the central station.
54 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMLetchworth Council offices and cinema. This photograph dates from the 1930s
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 55Houses in the residential neighbourhood of Willen, Milton Keynes. ‘Turning the warm-hearted, motherly, public-service-oriented Milton Keynes of the 1970s into a slim-Jim,self-financing, property investment machine designed to suit the commercial disciplines of the 1980s was ahuge task’. The central government’s instructions ‘were to cut public expenditure and to do so quickly. Onesolution was to sell assets. But as Milton Keynes was still a young place, there had been little time for thevalue of its factories and offices to grow. Meanwhile, huge sums had been invested in drains, roads andtrees. Keeping a balance between the corporation’s debts, accumulated during years of high interest rates,and its assets, therefore promised to be tricky’. The government was told that ‘the corporation was atpresent solvent with assets valued at £5 80m and a debt of £350m. But with construction costs increasingfaster than property values, and the accumulation of high interest rates on sixty-year loans, the corporationcould get into a position of never being able to settle its debts, particularly if it had to sell its assetsprematurely (Bendixson and Platt, 1992, p. 195).
56 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMCentral Milton Keynes Shopping Centre.
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON ITS EXPENDITUREGEORGE JOHN SHAW-LEFEVRE (1831–1928) CAME FROM A DISTINGUISHED family of publicservants. First Commissioner of Works in the 1880 and 1892 Gladstone administrations, he later became amember of the London County Council. The quotation here is interesting because it represents an early pleafor the planning of London as a whole. A London Society, devoted to planning, was founded in 1912 andpublished a Development Plan for Greater London in 1920 (Beaufoy, 1997), but Raymond Unwin’s LondonRegional Planning Committee, 1929–33, died in the Depression, and Patrick Abercrombie’s GreaterLondon Plan did not appear until nearly fifty years after 1898.
58 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMForest Hills Gardens today. Shaw-Lefevre says, correctly that quite large tracts of London were planned by private estate developersconcerned to preserve the character and value of their properties; but, as has been shown for West London,their estates were separated by much lower standard, speculative developments (Jahn, 1982). Howard’s statement about the start of public works is not entirely clear. As it would be essential that landvalues prices did not rise before construction of Garden City, all or most would need to be purchased inadvance and with some stealth. Thus it is difficult to see how public works could commence any earlier—unless Howard was thinking, for instance, of the construction of a new road or rail link, that would notautomatically trigger rises in land value. But even here, enhanced accessibility would boost values.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 59 Howard argues that each ward of Garden City ‘should be in some sense a complete town in itself’, thusanticipating the idea of the neighbourhood unit developed by Clarence Perry in Forest Hills Gardens, NewYork, and then in the Regional Plan of New York, between 1913 and 1928 (Hall, 2002, pp. 128–132).Here and in Chapter V, Howard explains in detail that the expenditure in building Garden City from scratchcan be rapidly repaid by the increase in site values that the existence of a new settlement brings in its wake. In the first generation of British New Towns, the increase in site values soon justified the government’sinvestment (Ward, 1993, p. 90). Looking at the financial history of the British New Towns initiated after theSecond World War, we can see the force of Howard’s case. Land was acquired at agricultural prices. The1947 Town and Country Planning Act effectively nationalized development rights and their associated landprices. Although this aspect of the Act was largely abandoned by later governments, the new towns wereexcluded, under what is known as the Pointe Gourde principle, requiring that ‘the effects of the scheme onvalues are to be disregarded’ (Hall and Ward, 1998). In the case of the new towns, the exception to this automatic return on initial investment is described inthe case of Milton Keynes earlier in our commentary (page 59) where the Thatcher government’s mistrustof public enterprise led it to squander public assets. Howard could not have anticipated this, since he wasenvisaging Garden Cities developed by public-spirited citizens, not by the State. Frederic Osborn remarkedthat Howard ‘had no belief in “the State”, and though he had a belief in the essential goodness of humannature, he didn’t expect that any environmental change would turn us all into angels’ (Hughes, ed., 1971).
60 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMBanister-Fletcher’s 1871 designs for an alternative to working-class tenements. Readers a century and more later may be surprised to find just how much of Howard’s text—30 pages, orone-fifth of the entire book—is taken up with financial calculations. But Howard’s main concern, evidently,was to persuade his real constituency: the hard-headed business interests who alone could raise the capital tobuild Garden City, either themselves or through borrowing on the market. Philanthropy plus 5 per cent wasa well-known and well-recognized Victorian principle. But it did demand the ability to repay at that rate.Building tenements for the respectable working poor on inner-city brownfield land, close to their jobs, wasone thing; building an apparently-speculative Garden City many miles away from the city, on a greenfieldsite without people or an economic base, was an entirely riskier enterprise.
62 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMMilton Keynes Central Station, viewed from Midsummer Boulevard roundabout: 42 minutes from London, and a majorcommuter station. Typical nineteenth-century working-class inner-city area. Howard seems to be making three separate but related points here. The first is that the cost of land fordevelopment will be lower in Garden City than in the centre of London. The second is that because of this,development can take place at lower densities, including allowance for much more open space. This isevident, and indeed one reason why urban densities have fallen—as the economist Colin Clark pointed outin classic papers—is that improved transportation has increased the area over which it is feasible to develop(Clark, 1951, 1957, 1967). One resulting irony is that London’s commuter field has extended right over thebelt, 20–35 miles (35–60 km) from the centre of London, which includes the original New Towns of 1946–50 and is invading the belt, 50–80 miles (80–130 km) distant, where the later ‘Mark Two’ New Towns ofMilton Keynes, Northampton and Peterborough are located. In this sense improved transport has negatedthe very premise on which Howard’s economic argument was based—though it could be argued that it hasjust moved the optimum Garden City location very much farther away from the big city. There is also athird argument: that redevelopment is more expensive than new development. Of course, over time weshould expect redevelopment to occur in Garden Cities too—as is now evident in the original new towns.In his footnote Howard is again referring to Benjamin W.Richardson and his work Hygeia—a city of health(see commentary page 43). Here the really radical nature of Howard’s thinking emerges: he makes it quite clear that the land value ofthe Garden City is to belong to the community. His scheme is one of local land municipalization. The pointis that no one can object because no one has been compelled to sell their land; all were willing sellers.Howard also makes it clear that Garden City is to be consciously planned. There is to be an overall plan,along the lines he has already suggested in Diagrams No. 2 and 3—modified, as he is at pains to state, to fitlocal geography. This, as he makes clear, was extremely rare at the time he wrote —at least in the UK.There had been comprehensive town planning in the past, under the Romans and more rarely afterwards intowns created by royal fiat or by religious orders, like Caernarvon or Winchelsea or Royston. There hadbeen model rural villages planned by aristocratic landlords and occasional industrial villages, planned by
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 63Edward I’s Winchelsea reconstructed from the rent roll of 1292 by W.M.Holman.philanthropic industrialists, like New Lanark, Saltaire, Bournville and Port Sunlight, with New Earswickjust about to take shape. And there had been individual planned suburbs like Bedford Park. But not since theMiddle Ages had there been a completely planned new town. So Letchworth, the first Garden City, reallydid represent an original invention, just as Howard claimed. The new 100-feet wide street between Holborn and the Strand in London was Kingsway, replacing adensely-packed slum district. Demolition began in 1889, but the new street was not opened until 1906, andthe office blocks that lined it much later. Behind Kingsway, as behind earlier planned new streets likeCharing Cross Road, philanthropic trusts built rather grim rental barrack blocks to house the respectablepoor, but they represented only a small part of the whole: most of the poor families who lived in the former
64 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMslum ‘rookeries’ on the site were evicted, to add still more to the pressure for living-space in theneighbouring streets around Drury Lane and Covent Garden. The root problem, as Howard emphasized andas Charles Booth had shown in his pioneering social survey, was that they depended on casual employmentto earn a living and so had to live very close to their work. Booth himself suggested cheap transport to allowthem to move out, and from 1901 the new London County Council began to operate electric tram services tonew cottage estates, the first at Totterdown Fields in Tooting. Howard and his followers saw this as second-best solution, but before long the Garden City-Garden Suburb debate split the incipient movement. Always a practically-minded inventor, Howard rejoiced in the District Surveyor’s sensible suggestion formaking ‘every conceivable variety of pipe, drain or conductor accessible’ in ducts which would not obstructthe use of the street. In fact he may have known that the Metropolitan Board of Works had plannedShaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road on this principle, and Kingsway followed them. A centurylater this aim has seldom been achieved anywhere else, and these are still the only streets to escape theplague of road works that regularly brings whole areas of London to a state of gridlock. Meanwhile, itremains self-evidently true that the cost of new greenfield construction is inevitably lower than that ofbrownfield reconstruction. A great deal of research was done on this topic in the 1960s, notably in PeterStone’s comprehensive study for the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Stone, 1959,1973), but it seems to have been forgotten.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 65Kingsway, 1906: the London County Council’s magnificent new north—south boulevard demolished some of VictorianLondon’s worst slums, and produced the world’s first underground tram tunnel: the trams have gone, the rails remain,and in 2003 London’s Mayor plans to bring the trams back.The inauguration of the first electric tram service to Tooting.
66 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMGridlock in Bethnal Green where the road is being dug up in order to carry out repairs to facilities beneath.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 67Charing Cross Road today, showing ducts designed by the Metropolitan Board of Works to give access to the servicesbeneath the street.
FURTHER DETAILS OF EXPENDITURE ON GARDEN CITYTHE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP, CHARLES DICKENS’S (1812–1870) FOURTH novel, was first publishedas a weekly serial between 1840 and 1841. The Old Curiosity Shop of the title was in the notorious ClareMarket slum—now the site of the London School of Economics. In his childhood Dickens was all toofamiliar with poverty and the slums of London. His father, a clerk in the Navy Pay Office, was transferredfrom Chatham Dockyard to London in 1822. Two years later he was imprisoned for debt and CharlesDickens, then 12 years old, left school and was sent to ‘work in a boot-blacking factory. His childhoodexperiences were unknown to his readers until after his death, but they undoubtedly were a major influenceon his views on social reform and on the world he portrayed in his writing.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 69 In his opening sentence Howard admits that it is hard to make his arguments on expenditure interesting tothe general reader. Later editors shared this view. But Howard did not shorten or otherwise modify themsubstantially in the second edition of the book which he published in 1902 under the revised title GardenCities of To-Morrow, and which was subsequently regarded as the definitive standard text. He must havebelieved that they were essential to serve as a kind of prospectus for the first Garden City. However, Howard’s comments on the cost of the 469 schools built by the London School Board between1872 and 1904, following Gladstone’s Elementary Education Act in 1870, have a certain interest sincemany of these durable buildings—with their Flemish gables, vast windows and handsome brickwork—survive as an admired feature of the London townscape to this day. Most of the earlier ones were designedby the School Board’s own architect Edward Robert Robson (1835–1917), and Howard’s contemporaryConan Doyle had his Sherlock Holmes explaining to Dr Watson that they were beacons of enlightenmenttowering over the mean streets of south London. Robson himself wrote, in a textbook on school architecture,that his schools—‘sermons in brick’, he called them —not only reached ‘the higher and more intellectualplane’ of architecture but also provided ‘a sort of leavening influence’ so that ‘a glimpse of nobler thingswill have been brought under the daily ken, and to the very door, of the working man’ (Robson, 1874,quoted in Jackson, 1993, pp. 36–37, 41, 42–43).But Howard’s observation was correct. The schools were multi-storeyed buildings precisely because of thecramped sites that the School Board, and its successor, the London County Council, could acquire. Therewere instances where play space had to be provided by erecting a cage around the flat roof. Interestingly,many have been replaced by lower (and even more expensive) structures, but have been re-adaptedsuccessfully as centres for adult education—or even, increasingly, luxury apartment complexes.
70 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMTerraced housing under construction at an unidentified London suburb. Thousands of such houses were built between1890 and 1910.Belle Vue Road, Ealing, 1910 showing terraced houses under construction.Howard’s long disquisition on the expected rate of interest provides further confirmation, if any be needed,that his book was designed very largely as a prospectus for the future Garden City Company that hadalready taken clear shape in his mind. Five per cent was regarded as a good rate of interest in late VictorianEngland, and philanthropic societies would expect to pay it on the money they borrowed to build housing forthe working classes in London; in comparison, Consols paid between 2.5 and 2.9 per cent during the 1890s
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 71while Bank Rate ranged between 2 and 6 per cent, the last on the eve of the Boer War in 1899 (Tarn, 1973;Mitchell and Dean, 1962, pp. 455, 458).The sinking fund, to which Howard returns on page 60, plays a critical role in his thesis because, once paidoff, it would provide permanent funding for his local welfare state. In fact, as Howard makes clear, therewere two such funds: one for the land purchase, the other—under consideration here —for the necessaryinfrastructure works. Paying for these early in the life of the project is a necessary burden for any such newdevelopment, as the new town development corporations found—and is equally true for any suchdevelopment in the private sector. ‘Gas and water socialism’ was expanding rapidly in the 1890s, as the Daily Chronicle quotation on page62 suggests. The bigger cities, in particular, were developing a comprehensive range of public utilitieswhich required heavy expenditure. Between 1893 and 1904 Birmingham flooded the Elan Valley in mid-Wales, 70 miles distant by aqueduct; Liverpool had already created Lake Vyrnwy not far away; Manchesterwas drawing on Thirlmere in the Lake District; London was unusual in having a Metropolitan Water Board.Virtually every city also municipalized and electrified its tramway system at the end of the 1890s; theLondon County Council, as already noted, followed in 1901.So Howard is raising an issue that has become important for local authorities a century later: the fact thattheir income and consequent scope for independent activity is now rigidly restricted by central government.Not only electricity and gas, but many other such services were run by local authorities and generatedincome for them. The London County Council had its own electricity generator and this produced cheapelectricity to run the municipal trams, which Richard Hoggart called ‘Gondolas of the people’ (Hoggart,1958, p. 116).
72 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMTypical London School Board schools: Harwood Road School, Fulham Wornington Road School, Kensal Town fromRobson, E.R. (1874) School Architecture: Being Practical Remarks on the Planning, Designing, Building andFurnishing of School Houses. Ironically, it was nationalization in 1946–48 that ended these municipal enterprises. The loss of thispower base was a strong motivation for the abandonment of trams, now universally regretted, in the 1950s.But Labour governments refrained from nationalizing water supplies, because so many local councils wereso proud of their water undertakings. Later Conservative governments sold all these service undertakings inthe speculative market and, as Howard observed, deprived the ratepayer of a means of making his rateslighter, and councils of the revenue that could promote municipal experiment.