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.
74 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMHoward Park, Letchworth in the 1930s—children in the paddling pool
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 75St Christopher School, Letchworth which was set up in 1915 as a progressive, vegetarian boarding and day school. Thisphotograph probably dates from the 1930s.
76 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMLetchworth Library and Museum, also photographed in the 1930s.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 77The Bank of England in the nineteenth century.
78 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMA London tram in Greenwich, c. 1950; the LCC electricity generating station can be seen in the background. The tramsdisappeared in 1952.
ADMINISTRATIONHOWARD’S LENGTHY REFERENCE TO ALBERT SHAW MAY BE SIGNIFICANT because Shawwas an American and editor of the reformist journal The Review of Reviews, ‘who popularized the term‘municipal socialism’. But Shaw was not a socialist in the accepted sense of the word, and for him the termwas devoid of any true socialist connotation: he meant simply the expedient use of public funds to providenecessary public services for all citizens. At that time, in the USA as in the UK, a critical question was thebest way of organizing such necessary public utility services such as gas, electricity, water and publictransport. In the UK, they invariably came under municipal management until their nationalization (exceptfor local transport) in 1947–48. In the USA, the formula varied —but some cities, notably San Francisco,actively espoused ‘municipal socialism’, as the San Francisco MUNI light rail system testifies to this day.
80 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMThe Board of Directors of Letchworth. Ralph Neville, chair, at the centre; Edward Cadbury, top left; Howard, centreright.For Shaw’s numerous articles on the subject of municipal reform in Europe and America, see the extensivebibliography in Graybar (1974, pp. 206–220), and Shaw (1895a, b). Howard had an essentially libertarian approach: he wanted to avoid the gulf between the political Rightand Left in winning the widest possible support for his project. As Lewis Mumford put it, ‘With his gift ofsweet reasonableness Howard hoped to win Tory and Anarchist, single-taxer and socialist, individualist andcollectivism over to his experiment. And his hopes were not altogether discomfited: for in finding commonground he was utilizing a solid political tradition’ (Mumford, 1946, p. 37). But this was not a simple left-right distinction. Joseph Chamberlain, three-times Mayor of Birmingham whose administration was soactive in municipal enterprise, was a radical Liberal until—in 1885, already an established national politician—he broke with the party over the issue of Home Rule for Ireland. He continued to live in Birmingham,where in 1896 he gave a speech at a banquet: ‘I have always compared the work of a great corporation likethis to that of a joint-stock company, in which the directors are represented by the Councillors of the City,and in which the dividends are to be found in the increased health and wealth and happiness and educationof the community’ (Parkin, 1989, p. 137, quoted in Cherry, 1994, p. 81).But Howard was almost certainly over-sanguine in imagining a smooth relationship between the trustees ofthe limited-dividend company, who were to be responsible for the commercial business of borrowing themoney and building the Garden City, and the board of management, who would spend the proceeds fromthe rate-rents. ‘Howard did not seem seriously to have grasped that the two bodies might come into conflict.But this would emerge all too soon’ (Hall and Ward, 1998, p. 29). It emerged in Letchworth in 1904, when
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 81—in opposition to Howard —the directors abandoned the principle of regular rent rises. Howard took thedefeat in good spirits, believing that the principle could reassert itself over time; evidently he failed torealize that the directors’ decision had destroyed the very foundation of his scheme (Hall and Ward, 1998,p. 35). Here Howard continues to appeal to both sides, or perhaps to every side. The issue has of coursecontinued to rage, particularly in the United Kingdom. In the late 1940s the pendulum swung frommunicipal to national ownership of major public services including gas, electricity and the railways and buscompanies. But the radical reforming Labour government of the time refrained from including either wateror local transport, because it could not afford to upset the mainly Labour-led city councils. There was arationale here: that these were essentially local services working at an optimal scale, whereas electricity andgas (more dubiously at that date, before the advent of natural gas) could benefit from grid facilities and ensuingeconomies of scale. Half a century on, an equally radical Thatcher government privatized the lot—with theinteresting exception of London Transport, a public body that had been brought into being in 1933 and hadbeen nationalized in 1948. In the real world of the British New Towns, there were built-in rivalries between local authorities and theNew Town development corporations. The veteran chairman of the last and largest of the British NewTowns, Milton Keynes, told one of us how ‘We tumbled over backwards not to be a cuckoo in their nest,and to cultivate good relations with all the local authorities. I myself made friends with all of them’ (LordCampbell of Eskan former Chairman of Milton Keynes Development Corporation interviewed in Ward,1993). Partly to deal with this problem, in the 1960s several of the Mark Two New towns, based onexpanding already-established medium-sized towns—Northampton, Peterborough and Warrington—were
82 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMJoseph Chamberlain photographed by Eveleen Myers in the early 1890s.designated as Partnership new towns with substantial local authority representation on the DevelopmentCorporation boards. Even so, as Wyndham Thomas—Director of Peterborough—recalled, it took a lot of harddiplomatic work to make the relationship work well. Howard was clearly on the radical side in proposing that members could be men or women, though twowomen were represented on the London School Board from the start in 1870—Emily Davies in Greenwichand Elizabeth Garrett in Marylebone. Both shared strong views on women’s rights and were foundermembers of the London Suffrage Committee. This group presented a petition for female suffrage to Parliamentin 1866, but despite the support of such Liberals as John Stuart Mill, the petition was rejected and not until1921 could women either vote or stand for Parliament. Emily Davies (1830–1921) campaigned for theadmission of women to higher education and was a key figure in the founding of Girton College,Cambridge in 1873. Elizabeth Garrett (1836–1917), with her father’s support, determined to become Britain’sfirst woman doctor; in 1883 she was elected Dean of the London School of Medicine. When elected to theLondon School Board she won more votes than any other candidate.
86 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMWyndham Thomas CBE, former General Manager of Peterborough New Town Development Corporation, and earlierDirector of the Town and Country Planning Association.
88 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMThe team of surveyors who surveyed the site of the First Garden City.
SEMI-MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE— LOCAL OPTION— TEMPERANCE REFORMTHE ECONOMICS OF INDUSTRY FROM WHICH HOWARD QUOTES HERE WAS jointly written byAlfred Marshall and his wife Mary Paley Marshall (1850–1944) (see also page 55). Mary Paley receivedlittle recognition for her work which was always overshadowed by that of her husband. Like her husband shefollowed the neo-classical school of economics, known after her husband as Marshallian economics. Shewas the first woman to lecture at Cambridge University and one of the first to teach at Bristol Universitywhere Alfred Marshall was Principal. Throughout her career she fought to promote women’s rights to highereducation.
90 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMAlfred Marshall and Mary Paley Marshall photographed in 1892, but not at the same time nor by the samephotographer.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 91Howard refers to the many municipal markets which went back to time immemorial in most English townsand cities. While most of these retained their original character of open street markets, often held once or twicea week on the public high way, by his time some towns—mainly but not exclusively in northern England—had built off-street covered markets where stall-keepers operated every weekday, paying a rent to themunicipality. Today, they survive and even thrive in competition with the economies of scale of the bigsuperstore chains, partly because they cater effectively to the growing demand for fresh farm produce. It isironic that when in 1998 we suggested that the time was ripe for establishing American-style farmers’markets in the UK (Hall and Ward, 1998, pp. 208–209), there were hardly any examples; five years later,they are found everywhere.
92 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMWelwyn Stores in the 1930s. The shop was owned by Welwyn Garden City Ltd.Today’s farmers’ market in Ealing. Here Howard clearly demonstrates his knowledge of Marshall’s Principles of Economics, Book IV,Chapter X, with its argument about the economies of agglomeration that accrue to individual firms inIndustrial Districts —an analysis that has latterly been rediscovered in the ‘new economic geography’ bygeographers such as Allan Scott and Michael Storper and by economists such as Paul Krugman (Scott, 1986,1988a, 19886; Scott and Storper, 1988; Krugman, 1991, 1995). But he argues that the economies ofretailing are different: competition can bring about market failure, because the potential market is too smallfor more than one shop to make a bare profit. This, of course, is because the market in Garden City isdeliberately limited in size, by reason of its geographical isolation. However, in the following pages Howard
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 93develops an ingenious—if tortuous—institutional arrangement to inject a degree of competition into theGarden City retail structure. Howard develops his argument: a retailer will enjoy an effective monopoly in each ward, but will besubject to potential competition in the central shopping area, ‘Crystal Palace’. It needs to be rememberedthat in his day, because of low incomes and lack of storage facilities—let alone refrigeration—poor peopleshopped locally and frequently at corner shops, making only occasional trips father afield. Even then,however, the covered markets in the centres of towns were well frequented by everybody because theyoffered such good value. This is yet another example of the application of Howard’s philosophy: themanagement of Garden City behaves deliberately like a good landlord, regulating competition in theinterests of consumers, but still maintaining the private profit motive as the mainspring of provision.
94 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMLeys Avenue, Letchworth shopping centre, probably about 1909. Howard suggests that the cooperative principle might develop in some undertakings. In fact cooperativeshad developed hugely since their beginnings in Rochdale in 1844: local coops existed in almost every townof any size in England, and in London the Royal Arsenal Cooperative Society, founded in Woolwich in1868, was among the country’s largest. But as Beatrice Webb showed, as the movement grew it changedcharacter: originally envisaged as a way of facilitating both producer and consumer cooperatives, in practiceit developed only the latter (Webb, 1938, pp. 431–432; Hall and Ward, 1998, p. 80). Despite that, Howardand his supporters hoped that the cooperative movement would be the main builders of Garden City: atCooperative Congresses between 1900 and 1909, they argued that the movement’s stores, factories and homesshould be concentrated at Letchworth. But local distributive societies were too concerned to protect theirindependence (Fishman, 1977, p. 65; Hall and Ward, 1998, p. 80).That was symptomatic: reaching an apogee between the two World Wars, the movement then declined andvirtually died, a victim of sluggish management and political inertia. But Howard, it seems, got the formularight here: he appears to anticipate a quite different development, whereby a capitalist proprietor would giveshares to his workpeople—a principle followed in 1914 by John Spedan Lewis, son of the founder of ahighly successful London drapery business, who took over his father’s Peter Jones store in Sloane Square inLondon and began to apply the co-partnership system there, finally extending the scheme to the wholebusiness in 1929. The John Lewis partnership, including the Waitrose grocery chain, has become one of themost outstanding examples of cooperation in the world. But it is of course a producer, not a consumercooperative. Howard had grasped the correct formula, but he did not consistently stay with it. Here, Howard pursues the discussion he opened in his previous chapter, and, to stress the effectiveness ofthe libertarian approach he refers to the issue of the liquor trade. Howard was a non-drinker, but in hislibertarian way, he pointed to the lack of wisdom in decisions to forbid bars or public-houses in GardenCity. Control of the liquor trade was a matter of very fierce debate at the time, since—with some reason—
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 95drink was seen as the curse of the working classes. One reason of course was that overcrowded houses andtenements drove the workers into the pubs. In Garden City, some argued, there would be no reason to gothere.In the event, Letchworth was originally dry: the Skittles Inn served nothing stronger than lemonade. Soindeed was Hampstead Garden Suburb, though Bedford Park, an earlier essay in the same genre, had (andhas) its Tabard Inn. Glasgow for many years forbade any licensed premises on its vast municipal housingestates, with the result that thousands took buses back into the bars of the inner city.
96 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMThe former Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society in Woolwich (established in 1868 and rebuilt in 1908) in 1925.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 97The Three Magnets Free House in Letchworth, which clearly does not observe the temperance of the early days of theSkittles Inn.
98 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMThe Skittles Inn in 1913 when building workers went on strike demanding a pay increase from the Master BuildersAssociation.
PRO-MUNICIPAL WORKJOHN MORLEY WHOM HOWARD QUOTES HERE PUBLISHED ON COMPROMISE in 1874(commentary page 19). When Howard wrote there were thousands of friendly societies organized on the principle of voluntarymutual aid among the working poor; they flourished until in 1948 the National Health Service made themredundant. There were also building societies organized on the mutual principle, which in the 1890s wereevolving from ‘temporary’ into ‘permanent’ societies. They would prove the main agent propelling the hugeshift from renting to home ownership during the twentieth century —at the end of which, ironically, mostde-mutualized. But there was an earlier irony: by their success, they massively aided the suburbanization ofthe population, the negation of what Howard and his followers were campaigning for.
100 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM The initiatives for the first two British experiments in establishing Garden Cities, at Letchworth and atWelwyn, were instigated as Howard proposed here—by unofficial groups of enthusiasts, marshalled intoactivity by Howard himself. But they desperately needed both investors content with a modest return oncapital, and the statutory services of local authorities. Howard’s discussion raises issues which are stillrelevant. Hence current political disputes on the defects or virtues of ‘public-private partnerships’. Here, Howard raises the intriguing principle that groups of workmen should form voluntaryorganizations, uniting their labour and their modest savings to build their own homes. This was explicit inthe original objectives of the cooperative movement: the rules of the pioneer Rochdale Society, in 1844,provided for ‘The building, purchasing or erecting a number of houses, in which those members desiring toassist each other in improving their domestic and social conditions may reside’ (Bailey, 1955, p. 19, quotedin Hall and Ward, 1998, p. 31). But, as already noted, in practice the cooperative societies developed as aconsumer, not a producer, movement.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 101Brentham residents and shareholders meet outside the Haven Arms to share their enterprise to publish the history ofBrentham. It was in this pub, 100 years ago, that Henry Vivian addressed the Brentham pioneers, and persuaded themthat their new estate should be organized as a co– partnership.There was however a major exception: in 1901, in the Haven Arms public house in Ealing, a group ofworking men met with Henry Vivian, a Liberal MP, to found Co-Partnership Tenants (Reid, 2000, p. 58).They went on to build the first garden suburb at Brentham, and suburbs outside Leicester, Cardiff, andStoke-on-Trent. The 1909 Housing and Town Planning Act allowed such ‘Public Utility Societies’ toborrow public money at low rates of interest; by 1918 there were more than 100 of them, and Howard’sGarden Cities and Town Planning Association warmly supported them. But the Treasury would not allow them to borrow money on the same terms as local authorities, and after1918 this fatally constrained them: local authority housing took their place (Jackson, 1985, pp. 73, 109–110; Reiss, 1918, pp. 85–86; Skilleter 1996, p. 139). Ironically, it was Howard’s ally Raymond Unwin whodrafted the Tudor Walters Report of 1918, which, setting the standards for what we would now describe as‘social housing’ in the inter-war period, assumed that the sole providers of housing to receive subsidies fromcentral government would be local government. It was not until long after the Second World War that disillusionment with public housing policy led to arenewal and expansion of the role of housing societies, to the discovery of the feasibility of self-buildgroups, and to the reinvention of housing cooperatives. In the 1970s there were only two housingcooperatives in Britain. Today there are perhaps a thousand, still a pathetic figure from Howard’s point ofview. Meanwhile the policies of both major political parties have squeezed local authorities out of housingprovision (Ward, 1989).Howard seems to be developing a concept similar to that used by John Maynard Keynes in his GeneralTheory, forty years later: the idea of the velocity of circulation of money. He has certainly grasped the basiceconomic notion that money is a mere medium of exchange, and that what really matters is the underlyinggrowth of the economy. Howard’s footnote on page 86, of course, refers to James Silk Buckingham’s National Evils and PracticalRemedies, with the Plan of a Model Town, published in London in 1849 (commentary page 139). The Physiology of Industry referred to in the footnote on page 87 was published in 1889. John AtkinsonHobson (1858–1940), a journalist and professional writer, was an active member of the Fabian Society. Hetitled his autobiography The Confessions of an Economic Heretic, which perhaps summed up how his viewswere regarded by many during his lifetime. His co-author A.F.Mummery is probably best known for hismountaineering feats.
102 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMAnchor Tenants Building Department 1909. Inspired by Howard, workers at the Anchor Book and Shoe Co-operativeSociety in Leicester set up the Anchor Tenants Co-partnership and purchased a block of land on the edge of the nearbyvillage of Humberstone; by 1914 they had built 94 gabled cottages. Howard further develops his idea of the velocity of circulation, and applies it directly to a quintessentialKeynesian concept: his critique of savings accumulating uselessly in banks, instead of being productivelyemployed in investment that would bring the unemployed back to work. Howard ingeniously connects thisto a development of his previous argument: not only will construction of a Garden City create land values,but —underlying that creation—it will initiate a fully-fledged urban economy where previously the entirelabour force depended on agriculture.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 103Arthur James Balfour (1848–1930), whom Howard quotes here, was a leading Conservative politician forhalf a century. A nephew of the Earl of Salisbury, he came from a distinguished aristocratic family. He waspresident of the Local Government Board in his uncle’s first government (1885–86) and Secretary forScotland and then Chief Secretary for Ireland, with a Cabinet seat, in the second (1886–92), when he becamean implacable opponent of Irish Home Rule. In 1891 he became leader of the House of Commons and FirstLord of the Treasury. During Gladstone’s last government (1892–94), he was Leader of the Opposition. Inthe last Salisbury government (1895–1902), he became more powerful as his uncle’s health declined. Hewas Prime Minister from 1902 to 1905, and Foreign Secretary from 1916 to 1919. Diagram No. 5—which was not reproduced in the 1902 and 1946 editions, a major omission—is the keyto the entire chapter that follows, without which the radical nature of Howard’s proposals cannot easily beappreciated. It shows clearly the nature of the different categories of enterprise in Garden City. The‘municipal groups’ essentially constitute an elected town council, providing municipal services through thethree ‘groups’: engineering, social purposes and public control. The ‘semi-municipal group’, discussedearlier in Chapter VII, is a group of market licences located in the ‘Crystal Palace’, intended to provide adegree of competition to local stores. The ‘pro-municipal group’, earlier discussed in Chapter VIII, areessentially public services—ranging from farms for epileptics through technical schools to building societies—all run by voluntary or charitable agencies. The ‘cooperative individualistic group’, on the outer edge,consists of a huge variety of enterprises developed through voluntary cooperative action, ranging fromsmallholdings through farms to factories; they are more fully explained in the chapter that follows.
104 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMArthur James Balfour; a pen and ink drawing by Harry Furniss.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 105Members of the Letchworth building department.
ADMINISTRATION— A BIRD’S EYE VIEWIN 1857 CHARLES DARWIN (1809–1882) WROTE ‘YOU ASK WHETHER I SHALL discuss man. Ithink I shall avoid the whole subject, as surrounded by prejudice’. But with the publication of The Descentof Man in 1871, from which Howard quotes here, he did indeed apply his theory of evolution as set out in Onthe Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859) directly to human beings. An oddity is that Howard seems to assume that the elected Central Council also includes the appointed chiefofficers of the public departments. In a similar way, it seems that relevant officers would be members of thedifferent groups, rather than simply being invited to attend in order to report and answer questions, as wouldbe usual with the committees of an English town council. Whether Howard had fully worked out theconstitution of his council remains unclear from this account. Once more, Howard makes it clear that women would be eligible to become full members of his proposedcouncil—or perhaps also officers, though this is not entirely clear.The pro-municipal group, Howard shows, would be responsible for enterprises that represent a ‘labour oflove…without fee or reward’: that is, voluntary sector organizations. There is a rather fuzzy line betweenthese and the ‘individualistic and cooperative group’, which are either intended to benefit their ownmembers (that is, clubs of various kinds) or are organizations purely for private profit. Howard is at pains tounderline the point that in Garden City the authorities will aim to encourage both individual enterprise andmutual aid; he looks forward to a time when life will be seen ‘stereoscopically’, in which both are somehowamicably fused. Here, once again, he is attempting to win support for his proposals from readers with every variety ofpolitical attitude, anxious to show that they all had a role in the establishment of Garden City. But thereseems little doubt that in practice, Garden City would have had a mixed economy incorporating a greatvariety of organizations—public, private and voluntary. The interesting point is how much he seems to relyon the growth of what has come to be known as social capital: the development of a huge complex ofvoluntary organizations for a great variety of work, both for mutual benefit and for charitable purposes. Inthe United States Robert Putnam has recently suggested that this impulse, once so powerful in Americansociety, may be on the decline (Putnam, 2000).
108 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM The page from Chambers’s Book of Days to which Howard refers. The work was published in three volumes in 1879 by J.B. Lippincott and Co.
ADMINISTRATION— A BIRD’S EYE VIEW 109Members of the First Letchworth Urban District Council. This picture was distributed as a supplement with The Citizen,April 17, 1919.
SOME DIFFICULTIES CONSIDEREDHERE HOWARD QUOTES FROM THE HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL NOVELIST MRS Humphry Ward’sRobert Elsemere (though he misspells her name). Mary Augusta Arnold (1851–1920) married ThomasHumphry Ward in 1872 and published her first novel Millie and Olly in 1881. Robert Elsemere, publishedin 1888, was an instant best-seller and like many of her books was concerned with the need to help the poorand the weak. She was, however, totally opposed to women’s suffrage and in 1908 became first president ofthe Anti-Suffrage League. By 1914 she was said to be the best-known English woman in America and in1915 became the first woman journalist to visit the Western Front.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 111Charterville, named after the Chartist movement, was founded in 1842 when Feargus O’Connor’s National LandCompany purchased 244 acres at Minster Lovell in Oxfordshire from the estate of a wealthy farmer. The land wasdivided into about 80 plots, each comprising an area of arable land and a small cottage.Howard seems to be suggesting something like the development of a ‘Third Way’ through a process of trialand error. Howard’s reference to ‘communism’ may mislead here: though To-Morrow appeared exactly 50 yearsafter the Communist Manifesto, and Marx had published Volume One of Das Kapital 15 years earlier, hemakes no explicit reference at all to Marxian thought—even though there was a huge amount of discussionof it in London intellectual circles of the 1890s. Rather, he refers here to experiments in what Marx woulddisparagingly have called ‘primitive communism’ among the countless Utopian communities that waxedand waned during the nineteenth century, and beyond, in rural England. For a full account of some of these
112 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMIn 1902 C.R.Ashbee chose the Cotswold village of Chipping Camden as the new home for the Guild of Handicraft whenthe lease of their London premises ran out. His colony of craftsmen, some seen here at work, survived there until 1908.experiments and their almost invariable failure, see Hardy (2000); Darley (1975) provides a comprehensivelisting.Readers who have watched a century of socialist and communist experiments in various countries willprobably smile in rueful agreement with Howard’s conclusions about both ideologies, while others relyingon extending the range of voluntary cooperation may well share his observation that ‘The degree of strain
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 113Topolobampo: May party at Guyamas.La Logia Fiesta. Third anniversary of the landing of the First Credit Foncier Colonists at Topolobampo on 17November 1886.which human nature will bear in an altruistic direction has not been duly considered by those who haveessayed the task of suggesting new forms of social organisation’. Lacking the twentieth-century experience of governmental socialism, he was obliged to draw uponexperiments at Topolobampo on the Gulf of California in Mexico and of those Australian settlers inParaguay. Unlike earlier social experiments, he claims, the ingredients for his invention are all ‘ready tohand and have but to be fitted together’. But the notable failure of the Soviet Union to engender technical orproductive innovation, especially in its final years, would have provided him with further ample testimony.The driving force behind the Topolobampo Bay colony was Albert Kimsey Owen (1847–1916), anidealistic socialist. His original plan was to build a railway from Texas to Topolobampo Bay, but heextended this to include a cooperative colony. He set out his plans for the organization of labour anddistribution in the colony in Integral Co-operation at Work, to which Howard refers. The first twenty-sevencolonists arrived in 1886. But the colony was a failure with much factional infighting. Owen left in 1893,never to return.William Lane and two hundred and twenty Australians set sail from Sydney in 1893 to set up a socialistcolony in Paraguay. Within a year the colony they founded, ‘New Australia’, was a place of acrimoniousargument. Lane and his supporters left to form a new colony, ‘Cosme’, 75 km to the south. But here too theexperiment failed. New Australia was dissolved in 1887 and Cosme in 1909, Lane having returned toAustralia in 1900. Once again, Howard argues that his scheme alone will allow people of all kinds to enter into what Marxmemorably called ‘the realm of freedom’, neither alienated from their labour as Marx argues was inevitable
114 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMHellerau, home of the erstwhile Deutsche Werkstätte für Handwerkskunst.under capitalism, nor stifled by monolithic State organization. His vision seems to have been of a hugevariety of small-scale enterprises, some turning a modest profit, some purely voluntary and non-profit-making, into which people would freely enter and in which they could reach their fullest creative potential.There were many small experiments of this kind at the time he wrote, many concerned with the promotionof handicrafts as the answer to mass machine production. Here, a direct line can be drawn from WilliamMorris’s workshop at Merton Abbey in London—then an idyllic rural location—started in 1881, to theDeutsche Werkstätte für Handwerkskunst, established in the German Garden City of Hellerau outsideDresden in 1906. Unhappily, few survived for long.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 115Block printing chintzes at Merton Abbey, photographed in the 1900s.
A UNIQUE COMBINATION OF PROPOSALSTHE WALTER SCOTT CITED HERE WAS, OF COURSE, NOT THE SCOTTISH novelist but theEnglish radical publisher who in 1894 produced the first English edition of Tolstoy’s very influential essay.A Tolstoyan community was established at Whiteway in the Cotswolds in 1898. One of the most celebratedUtopian rural communes (Hardy, 2000), over the years it became a thriving anarchist community, withpeople living in a variety of homemade huts, houses and railway carriages. Still operating under theiroriginal constitution, they are Britain’s longest surviving secular community. The footnote shows that Howard largely developed his own ideas. He may have only come acrossMarshall’s 1884 article in the Contemporary Review through meeting him at a Parliamentary committee
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 117meeting—most likely during Marshall’s membership of the Royal Commission on Labour in 1891–94(Keynes, 1933, p. 242). Clearly, he was familiar with the work of the philosopher and economist, John Stuart Mill (1806–1873)(introduction page 3). Mill, a utilitarian, wrote extensively, but is probably best known for Principles ofPolitical Economy (1848) to which Howard refers here. In 1865 he became MP for Westminster and in1866 presented the petition in favour of women’s suffrage organized by—among others—Emily Davies andElizabeth Garrett (commentary page 95). Losing his seat in 1868, he returned to his unfinished book TheSubjection of Women, published in 1869 and now seen as a classic statement of liberal feminism. F.J.Osborn observed that ‘Howard was mistaken in attributing this passage to Wakefield. The latterquotes it in his Art of Colonization from an appendix by Dr Hind (Dean of Carlisle) to Thoughts onSecondary Punishment (1832). It is of course consistent with Wakefield’s advocacy of the colonization ofAustralia and New Zealand by balanced groups of migrants’ (Osborn, 1946, p. 120n.).Mistakenly or not, Howard here refers to Wakefield’s 1849 book The Art of Colonisation withoutmentioning that it derived from Wakefield’s experience in promoting South Australia, the first Australiancolony for free settlers as opposed to convicts, in 1836. (He would remedy the omission in Chapter XIII onSocial Cities.) The essence of this plan was that a central city should be established from the outset, to serveas an entrepôt for the agricultural produce of the surrounding community. Colonel William Light’scelebrated plan for Adelaide (see page 5) provided Howard with one of his key ideas for the physical designof Garden City (Bunker, 1988, 1998). Following elopement (for a second time) in 1826 Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1796–1862) spent threeyears in prison, during which he studied economics and social topics, developing his ideas on colonization.In 1830 he joined with others to form the National Colonization Society. Barred from political life in
118 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMEdward Gibbon Wakefield. A miniature by an unknown artist dating from c. 1820.England because of his reputation, he became involved in plans for the colonization of South Australia andNew Zealand. He helped set up the New Zealand Association, later the New Zealand Company, whichestablished Wellington in 1839. Following the death of a brother in the 1843 Wairau affray, he had todefend the company and its policies in England. Undeterred, in 1848 he led the establishment of the Canterbury Association to plan a colony on the SouthIsland, and then started a movement for New Zealand self-government. He was elected to the WellingtonProvincial Council and the House of Representatives, but political problems and ill health ended his career. Marshall (commentary page 55) must surely have been conscious of the industrial villages founded bysocially-minded employers like Robert Owen at New Lanark or George Cadbury at Bournville, though thelatter had been started on a small scale (with homes for key workers) only 5 years before his article, andWilliam Hesketh Lever would start Port Sunlight only in 1888. These employers, like Richard Arkwrighteven earlier at Cromford outside Matlock, were driven partly by necessity: they wanted to establish theirnew factory in a remote location (Arkwright and Owen on the source of water power; Cadbury and Leverbecause they wanted to build a more efficient factory on cheap land outside existing city limits) but theycould not find the workers unless they also built housing for them. But Owen, Cadbury and Lever had aserious social purpose too; and a similar exercise by yet another Quaker chocolate magnate, JosephRowntree’s New Earswick outside York, employed Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker as architect-plannersand so served as a direct link to the first Garden City of Letchworth. But Marshall was developing theargument: if it would pay one manufacturer to take this step, how much more advantageous it would be fora number of them to do so simultaneously, thus achieving the economies of agglomeration in an industrialdistrict —as he would shortly demonstrate in the Principles.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 119Housing at Bournville, founded by George Cadbury.Marianne Farningham, referred to in Howard’s footnote, was the nom de plume of Mary Anne Hearn (1834–1909). She was well known in evangelical circles in the second half of the nineteenth century and for morethan 50 years she produced comment, poetry, biography and fiction for the popular Christian press.
120 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMNew Earswick, planned by Parker and Unwin. Howard here describes his own intellectual pilgrimage: he started with Spencer’s enormously influentialadvocacy of land nationalization, especially in his book Social Statics. Herbert Spencer (1820–1903), a civilengineer turned journalist and political writer, worked from 1848 to 1853 for The Economist, meetingpolitical controversialists such as Thomas Carlyle, George Henry Lewes, Lewes’ future lover George Eliot(Mary Ann Evans, 1819–1880) and T.H.Huxley.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 121Portrait of Herbert Spencer.Thomas Spence, Pitt on the Gallows, Trade Token, c. 1800. After a day’s work he scrawled graffiti on London’sstreets, proclaiming ‘Spence’s Plan and Full Bellies’ and ‘The Land is the People’s Farm’. Unsurprisingly, theauthorities tried to lock him up.His first book, Social Statics, or the Conditions Essential to Human Happiness: or the Conditions essentialto Human Happiness specified, and the first of them developed, appeared in 1851 and presented an account
122 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMof the development of human freedom and a defence of individual liberties, based on evolutionary theory. Hedefended radical causes—land nationalization, critique of laissez-faire economics, and the place and role ofwomen in society—most of which he later abandoned.Men marching to the fields at Hadleigh Farm Colony created by William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, in1891. His second book, The Principles of Psychology (1855), was much less successful. Suffering mental healthproblems, he took 30 years to finish his nine-volume A System of Synthetic Philosophy, a systematicaccount of his views in biology, sociology, ethics and politics. A contributor to leading intellectual
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 123magazines and newspapers, very celebrated, he counted among his admirers radical thinkers and prominentscientists, notably John Stuart Mill (commentary page 129); his evolutionary theory was on a par withDarwin’s (commentary page 117).But Howard then found a better solution in a much more obscure work by a forgotten eighteenth-centuryradical, Thomas Spence (1750– 1814). One of nineteen children, son of a net-maker and shoemaker fromNewcastle upon Tyne, Spence was taught to read by his father and became a schoolmaster. He was stronglyinfluenced by the writings of Tom Paine, selling his pamphlets on the streets along with his own. Inspiredby a lawsuit between the freemen and corporation of Newcastle over the use of the common land in thetown, he developed ‘Spencean Philanthropy’. Spence moved to London in 1792 where he sold tracts, first from a shop and then from a street barrow,written in his peculiar phonetic writing. He was arrested and gaoled for sedition a number of times. From1793 to 1796 he published a radical periodical called Pig’s Meat in response to Edmund Burke’s phrase ‘theswinish multitude’ referring to the lower classes.His pamphlet The Rights of Man, as Exhibited in a Lecture, Read at the Philosophical Society in Newcastle,published in November 1775, was reprinted in 1882 by H.M.Hyndman (commentary page 147)— founderof the Social Democratic Federation—with his own notes and comments under the title The Nationalisationof the Land in 1775 and 1882 (reprinted in Beer, 1920); Howard must surely have discovered it then, orsurely afterwards. Spence argued that every individual parish should become a corporation and seize its rights to its land,which had been usurped by landlords, in collectivity; rents would henceforth be paid to them, to be used forpublic purposes like building and repairing houses and roads. These rents would produce a surplus for
124 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMAn 1837 portrait of James Silk Buckingham by Edwin Dalton Smith.distribution to the needy and for social expenditure. His ideal community would be regulated by a board ofdirectors elected from and by the shareholders (Beevers, 1988, pp. 21–23; Hall and Ward, 1998, pp. 9–10). But Spence failed to explain how the people would appropriate the land—hence Howard’s adoption ofWakefield’s idea of planned migration and colonization. The idea of ‘home colonies’ for the unemployedwas canvassed in the early 1880s by the Social Democratic Federation, by Keir Hardie and by ThomasDavidson, a co-founder of the Fellowship of the New Life from which the Fabian Society sprang in 1884. ButHoward appreciated that unemployed town workers would not return to agriculture; they would needmanufacturing jobs (Beevers, 1988, pp. 25–26). James Silk Buckingham (1786–1855) went to sea at the age often and spent over 20 years as a seamanbefore turning to journalism in India. He served in Parliament as member for Sheffield from 1832 to 1837.He then travelled and lectured in America; he wrote travel books as well as tracts and pamphlets on issuesof the day. His National Evils and Practical Remedies (Buckingham, 1849) proposed a number of economicand political reforms and included a description and plan of a model town. Only at a late stage did he realizeits similarity to Christopher Wren’s plan for rebuilding London.The town, exactly a mile square in size, has broad diagonal avenues leading to a central square, and a seriesof progressively larger and grander houses, all arranged in squares, from edge to centre. They are separatedby open spaces which contain public buildings such as dining halls, baths and schools, and by coveredarcades which serve as shops or workshops or as places of public recreation. In two central squares, an outer and an inner, are major public buildings; the outer one has churches, amuseum and art gallery, concert hall, technical university and public library; the inner one a court, councilchamber and post office, as well as a huge space for walking and recreation, with a central clock tower.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 125 Buckingham explained that ‘The arrangement of the buildings, in concentric Squares, places theresidences of the working classes nearest the green fields, on the immediate edge of the Town, which isfavourable to their health, and, being close to their workshops, is also favourable to the economy of theirtime and labour’. Further, ‘There being neither beer-shops, gin-palaces, dram-shops, cigar divans,pawnbrokers, gambling-houses, or brothels, permitted or possible to be established without immediatedetection and suppression in any part of the Town, the host of evils thus avoided may be more easilyimagined than described’ (based on a web document from Professor John W.Reps, Cornell University).Howard ends with a typical rhetorical flourish. But he establishes his central point: that he has broughttogether a number of carefully-constructed and intensively-discussed ideas, so that this is not the casualwhim of a lightweight polemicist. That verdict, clearly, is what he was most concerned to avoid.
126 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMBuckingham’s plan for a model town.
THE PATH FOLLOWED UPJOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE (1749–1832) is GERMANY’S BEST-KNOWN poet anddramatist, author of Die Leiden des jungen Werther (The Sorrows of Young Werther) (1774) Iphigenie aufTauris (1789) and his masterpiece Faust, published in two parts (1808, 1832). Howard’s translatedquotation resists all attempts at ascription, and must have been an extremely free one.
128 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMVersions of the Three Magnets diagram in German, French, Russian and Japanese.In fact Howard’s book would be widely translated and would have a direct impact in many other countries,which built garden cities in imitation of Letchworth. Unfortunately, most were not true garden cities at all;they were garden suburbs, as Dennis Hardy explains in the postscript. Howard here returns to the idea of Garden City as an invention equivalent to that of the railway. Heclearly feels that the Garden City will have an equally pervasive effect in changing the entire life and workof the people. Ironically, a different set of inventions, already in place but barely perceptible—electricity,the motor car, and the permanent building society making available low-interest long-term mortgages—would make possible the massive suburbanization of the Victorian city, thus weakening the case thatHoward was making. The debate to which Howard refers—between the increase production school and the more just andequitable distribution school—continues unabated a century later—with the former school’s argumentlabelled ‘trickle-down theory’: the benefits of economic growth will dribble through even to the leastfortunate, so it is unwise to adopt policies that could inhibit that growth, however regressive they mightappear. Thus, economists and politicians debate the question: a common assumption has been that economicdevelopment at first increases wealth disparities but then decreases them as mass education diffuses skillsand reduces the economic ‘rent’ to qualified workers. But this assumption, current in the 1960s, has beenshattered by sharp increases in income disparity, at least in the United States and Britain, in the 1980s and1990s.Howard seems to be developing a concept that Garden Cities will prove uniquely advantageous locationsfor encouraging new small enterprises which will diffuse wealth widely. Implicit here is the notion of theeconomy as highly dynamic—a concept that would later be developed by Joseph Schumpeter in his theoryof economic development through ‘new men’ introducing technological or organizational innovations. In1898 it was a remarkably original idea, though the germ of it can be found in Marshall’s Principles(commentary page 55).
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 129 Frank Fairman ‘was a pseudonym, as Herbert Spencer (commentary page 135) tells us in The ManVersus The State published in 1884: ‘… The gentleman who writes under the pseudonym of ‘FrankFairman’, reproaches me with having receded from that sympathetic defence of the labouring-classes whichhe finds in Social Statics…’. Benjamin Kidd (1858–1916), civil servant and social philosopher, published Social Evolution in 1894.He challenged the Darwinian concept of ‘the survival of the fittest’, arguing that by altruistic policiessociety could raise rather than eliminate those at the bottom of the social ladder. Born into a wealthy family in London in 1842, Henry M.Hyndman became a journalist, writing for thePall Mall Gazette. In 1869 he went on a world tour; by 1880 he had decided to make a career in politics, butcould not find a party he could support. He became interested in the ideas of Karl Marx, particularly hisanalysis of capitalism, and in 1881 formed the Social Democratic Federation, whose members includedWilliam Morris, Ben Tillett, Tom Mann, and Marx’s daughter Eleanor (commentary page 21). Tensionswithin the party in 1884 resulted in the departure of William Morris and others to set up the SocialistLeague. Further internal conflict in 1890 caused the departure of Tom Mann and others who joined theIndependent Labour Party. Hyndman went on to form the British Socialist Party in 1911, but this split intwo and he formed a new National Socialist Party. He died in 1921.Howard is following his argument that Garden City will create new businesses and new forms of wealth,though he is not specific about their nature. He seems to be arguing, against Hyndman, that it would not benecessary to worry over-much about existing businesses representing the old economic order. But in fact hehas earlier admitted that some of these would need to be attracted to Garden City in order to provide initialjobs for those who would move. In fact, attracting industry proved to be the main problem at Letchworth—
130 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMPromotional campaign of c. 1909 to attract industry to Letchworth.and, to overcome it, his fellow-directors had to abandon the principle of regular rises in rate-rents, the entireeconomic basis of Howard’s scheme.‘Nunquam’ was the pen-name of Robert Blatchford (1851–1943). The son of an actor, who died when hewas two, Blatchford ran away from home in his teens and joined the army. After leaving the army in 1878 hebecame a freelance journalist. His journalistic experience of working-class life turned him into a socialist. In1890 he founded the Manchester Fabian Society and the following year launched and edited the socialistpaper The Clarion, which was distributed in rural England by the bicycling Clarion Scouts who would setup their stall on the village green. In it he serialized his book Merrie England in 1892 and 1893, envisagingthe repopulation of rural England by smallholders. When published as a book it had the phenomenal salesof nearly a million copies in the next few years (Blatchford, 1976, 1893). This and Blatchford’s later bookLand Nationalisation of 1898 were seen as ‘eloquent witness of the deep and lasting impression which land-reform doctrines had exerted on the minds of the working people’ (Douglas, 1976).In discussing Blatchford’s argument Howard makes clear that Garden City would depend on newtechnologies like electricity—plus some decidedly old technologies like water power. In fact he seems to
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 131have been much less technologically-aware than his contemporary Kropotkin. He reminds us just howenormous had been the creation of fixed capital of all kinds in the Victorian era, and he was of course rightin assuming that equally great capital formation would take place in the coming century. What he did notsee was that much of this—in the form of highways and electricity transmission—would allow infinitelyvaried settlement forms, from the suburb to the remote cyber-cottage; there was no guarantee at all thatGarden City would be their sole or inevitable outcome. Here, as he seldom does elsewhere, Howard specifically refers to new technologies including ‘newmotive powers’ and ‘new means of locomotion’—although electric light and power and motor cars werealready in existence, the first for two decades, the second for over a decade. In mentioning ‘new methods ofwater supply’ he may have been referring to the Appendix of his book, where he proposed that water shouldbe pumped up from lower to higher levels using windmills —though the Dutch had introduced suchtechnology in draining the fens in the seventeenth century, so it was hardly ‘new’. Perhaps he had in mindsomething even more revolutionary, like cloud seeding—but this is doubtful, and in any case hardlynecessary in the British climate.Howard clearly envisaged a very large-scale redistribution of population, though he may not have graspedwhat form this might take. In fact, by the 1890s London was clearly growing in comparison with the oldcoalfield-based northern industrial districts. The twentieth century would see a remarkable return to pre-industrial patterns of population distribution in Britain, with the so-called ‘drift south’, first evident in the1930s but continuing after World War Two.
132 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMStaff outside the Spirella Corset Factory.The Spirella Corset Factory today. Howard’s references to ‘planet earth’ have a strangely modern ring, giving him a claim to be identified asa pioneer of the environmental movement. Almost forgotten today, Henry George (1839–1897) was perhaps the most important economist andradical social thinker in nineteenth-century America and one of its biggest celebrities. Born in Philadelphia,he went to sea at fifteen. In 1859 he settled in San Francisco, working as a journalist and typesetter. By1867 he was managing editor of the San Francisco Times. Five years later he co-founded the San FranciscoEvening Post—sold for one cent, it was a huge success.That year, in a pamphlet Our Land and Land Policy, he advocated a single tax on land. Six years later hewrote Progress and Poverty, publishing it himself and even doing much of the typesetting. A sensation, itsold hundreds of thousands of copies and was translated into many languages. In it he argued that the‘shocking contrast between monstrous wealth and debasing want’ resulted from the ‘unearned increment’ inland values accrued by capitalists who withheld sites from the market until they had been enhanced by
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 133labour. He advocated a ‘single tax’ on this unearned profit, which would make all other taxationunnecessary. He moved to New York in 1880, and ran for mayor of New York in 1886 as the candidate of the labourorganizations but lost to the Democratic party candidate; fraud was suspected. In 1886 he publishedProtection or Free Trade, in 1891 a reply to Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical ‘On the Condition of Labour’, andin 1892 A Perplexed Philosopher, a critique of Herbert Spencer (commentary page 153). After his death hisson brought out The Science of Political Economy, which he regarded as his master work. Howard may well have heard him during one of his speaking tours, possibly when he debated withH.M.Hyndman (commentary page 147) in London in 1881. His strictures on George recall his earlierrejection of Herbert Spencer’s arguments for land nationalization: he wanted to see the process done step bystep, almost imperceptibly, through local land purchases in the free market—though subsequently he admitsthe possibility of compulsory purchase, at open market value, as the process gains momentum.
134 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMCover of December 1895 issue of The Scout published from the Clarion Office in Fleet Street.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 135Portrait of Robert Blatchford.
136 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMThe ‘drift south’. London’s congested streets: London Bridge in the 1930s.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 137
138 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMPortrait of Henry George.
SOCIAL CITIESNATHANIEL HAWTHORNE (1804–1864) WAS BORN IN SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS. Determinedto become a writer, in 1828 he self-published Fanshawe: A Tale anonymously and wrote numerous shortstories over the next decade. In 1838 he became engaged to Sophia Peabody who drew him towards theTranscendentalist movement led by Ralph Waldo Emerson. For seven months in 1841 he lived at BrookFarm Utopian Community, but soon became disillusioned. Following marriage in 1842, he and his wifesettled in Concord, Massachusetts close to Emerson and other writers. He published The Scarlet Letter in1850. Said to be America’s first psychological novel and set in Colonial Boston of the 1600s, it tells thestory of Hester Prynne, condemned to wear a scarlet ‘A’ as punishment for adultery. In 1853 Hawthornewas appointed US Consul in Liverpool by President Pierce, remaining there for four years.
140 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM Again, it seems clear here that Howard regarded the Garden City as a kind of invention: once itsusefulness had been perceived, everyone would want to adopt it. But this, as he recognizes, could bringproblems: it would no longer be possible, as it might be at the start, to buy the land for future Garden Citiesin a kind of underground way, because landowners would by now be alert as to what was going on. This is one of Howard’s most intriguing chapters. Despite his mistrust of the State, he argues here thatsome kind of legislation is necessary, as it was in the building of the railways, to acquire land compulsorilyat its existing use value.Here Howard introduces his celebrated diagram of a ‘Group of Slumless Smokeless Cities’ which wasomitted from the 1902 and subsequent editions (to be replaced by a new Diagram No. 4, showing Adelaide)but is reflected in a long series of far more recent planning documents. When the centenary of Howard’sbook was commemorated, and it was thought important to address today’s housing and planning concerns(Hall and Ward, 1998), we found that there was a remarkable degree of agreement among experts on themost energy-efficient and sustainable form for new settlements. This was evident in the UK in the work ofMichael Breheny and Ralph Rookwood (Breheny and Rookwood, 1993) and of Susan Owens (Owens,1986), and, in the context of the United States, in Peter Calthorpe (Calthorpe, 1993; Calthorpe and Fulton,2001) (see page 212). Essentially, this consensus was around a linear version of Howard’s Social City, with relatively smallwalking-scale communities (population 20,000 to 30,000) clustered along public transport routes into (asHoward proposed) larger units of up to 200,000 or 250,000 along the transport corridors, which wouldinclude expansions of existing towns.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 141In the 1902 edition Howard replaced the Social Cities map with this more modest diagram, based on Colonel Light’splan for Adelaide and its satellite North Adelaide.Adelaide from North Adelaide today: Light’s vision realized. Something like Social City was achieved in Hertfordshire after World War Two: Howard’s two originalGarden Cities (Letchworth and Welwyn) are clustered together with the postwar new towns of Hatfield andStevenage, and with the existing town of Hitchin and the village of Knebworth, into a Social City along theline of the East Coast Main Line and the A1(M) motorway This is startlingly evident from the air today froma plane flying out of Heathrow towards Amsterdam.
142 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMOn the previous page Howard suggests the similarity of his concept to one in Palingenesia: or, the Earth’sNew Birth, published in two parts in Glasgow by Hay Nisbet & Co. in 1884. Gideon Jasper Ouseley (1835–
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 143Howard’s Social City as seen from the air today.1906), an Anglo-Irish clergyman, was educated in Dublin and ordained into the Church of England in 1861.But in 1870, ‘having voluntarily renounced all eating of flesh, strong drink and tobacco, as inconsistent withthe humanity and the true religion of Christ, as taught by Him and His apostles’, he was received as a priestof the Catholic Apostolic Church, but was ‘suspended’ in 1894 on account of ‘anti-Christian’ views. In1881 he had founded The Order of At-one-ment and United Templars Society, with the motto: ‘One God,one Religion, various names, various forms’ and the aim of reconciling opposing ideas, things, persons orsystems; it never had many members, and soon ceased to exist. Ouseley was best known as the translator of The Gospel of the Holy Twelve, an Aramaic text which heclaimed to be the original Essene Nazarene New Testament of Jesus—the version that existed before theBible was altered by worldly powers at the Nicene Council in 325 AD (and by followers of Paul evenbefore that). He claimed that it included lost teachings of Jesus on vegetarianism, reincarnation, and thefeminine aspect of God. Ouseley alleged that the early Christian fathers had been guilty of deliberatefalsification; he urged a return to the original Christian faith, based on a regime of vegetarianism andabstention from drinking and smoking. It was first published, somewhat inauspiciously, as a serial in TheLindsey & Lincolnshire Star and published in book form in 1901. However, in 1894 he had published asymbolic work, Palingenesia: or The Earth’s New Birth including ‘Fragments from the Gospel of thePerfect Life’, which had been presented to him ‘in dreams and visions of the night’. In the preface, he refersto himself as ‘The seeress’; the book is stated to have been written ‘By Theosopho, a minister of the Holies,and Ellora, a Seeress of the Sanctuary’.Howard’s account of the water supply system, developed in more detail in the Appendix, suggests that thewater would be recycled. But this is not spelt out explicitly. In any case, the canals are used both for watertransfer and for transport—a prescient suggestion, given today’s arguments for the revival of canal transportfor goods which are both heavy and non-urgent. In introducing the 1985 reprint of Garden Cities of Tomorrow, Ray Thomas pointed to another areawhere Howard’s ideas can be seen as more relevant now than when they were first enunciated, personalmobility:‘Howard envisaged that the dominant means of individual movement would be by foot and by rail. With thegrowth of road transport… Howard’s vision has for many decades appeared anachronistic… Until the 1970s the major governmental response to rising car ownership was road improvement. But theoil crisis of 1973 marked a turning point in thinking about personal transport. It became apparent that roadimprovements generate traffic and do not necessarily reduce congestion. It came to be appreciated that thegrowth of car travel can be socially divisive in that independent use is available only to a proportion of the
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TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 145Ouseley’s Plan of a Heptapolis, or system of Seven Cities, with their Seven Churches, and the Suburbs or Countryaround them with their Canals, Roads, etc., leading to the adjoining Heptapoles, from Palingenesia; or, The Earth’sNew Birth (1884); as Howard suggests, there is an astonishing similarity.population—adult license holders who constitute only 40 per cent of the total population. It came to berealised that road improvements often exacerbated the problem by making accessibility by foot and bypublic transport more difficult’ (Thomas in Howard, 1985, p. xxv). As Ray Thomas concluded, the realization that the private car creates as many transport problems as itsolves ‘puts Howard’s ideas on the design of social cities back on the centre of the stage’. Tramsdisappeared from the streets of British cities in the early 1950s, only to re-appear by the end of the centuryin Manchester, Sheffield and Croydon, with reports from some cities that modern user-friendly trams hadpersuaded urban commuters to leave their cars at home. In any case, Howard’s scheme uncannily resemblesthe transport system of the polycentric Randstad Holland, where the cities are served by excellent local tramservices (with priority over other vehicles) and interconnected by frequent trains running at about 90 mph—the speed he assumes for his system—linked by excellent interchange facilities at the central city trainstations. Howard reintroduces his now-familiar comparison between the Garden City and the railway, presentingboth as basic ‘inventions’ with profound consequences. Ironically, as he wrote, the last main railway line ofVictorian England, the Great Central Railway into Marylebone Station in London, was just being built, tobe opened the following year; apart from a linking line from Paddington, completed in 1906–10, this was
146 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMToday’s Sheffield tram outside the cathedral.the effective end of Britain’s railway age. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link, the first stage of which opens inthe Letchworth centenary year of 2003, perhaps represents the start of a second age.In any event, Howard could already see another major wave of invention and investment, which wouldprove inimical to his cause. The City and South London Railway, first deep-level tube line in the world, hadopened in 1890; the Waterloo and City Railway opened in the year his book was published, and work hadstarted on the even more ambitious Central London Railway, which opened in 1900. Focusing on the City
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 147The Central London Railway, London’s third deep tube line, opened in 1900 from the Bank to Shepherd’s Bush. AfterWorld War One, tube extensions made possible the vast growth of suburban London.and eventually extended above ground, the tubes would massively aid both central office concentration andsuburban residential dispersion in London—developments against which his followers protested in vain. Even greater would be the influence of the motor car, about which he is silent. But even in 1904, whenthe first national registration figures were collected, there were only 8,500 cars on the roads of the UnitedKingdom (Plowden, 1971, p. 60). When Howard was writing, the Red Flag Act was just being repealed andthe number of cars on Britain’s roads must have been negligible. So perhaps he can be forgiven for his
148 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMfailure to appreciate their future impact—even though H.G.Wells, writing in 1902, was already accuratelyforecasting the arrival of motorways and their effect in dispersing urban populations across the face ofBritain (Wells, 1902). Howard’s argument—that the investors in existing cities would be faced by an equally powerful groupeager to invest in new urban developments —was undoubtedly right in principle, as the history of thetwentieth century would show. The problem is that the major forces—both technological, in the form of theelectric train and the motor car, and organizational, in the form of cheap mortgage finance—worked tospread existing cities rather than develop new ones. Perhaps, with stronger powers than those provided bythe first Town Planning Act of 1909, it could have been different. But even when a radical Labourgovernment at last legislated for both State-financed New Towns, in 1946, and for effective land-useplanning, in 1947, the New Towns eventually housed only a fraction of the growing population. The marketmight have been guided and steered in the direction of Garden-City building, but it would have needed aheavier State hand than any twentieth-century UK government ever tried to raise. Howard relies on market forces to lower land values in existing cities and to raise them in his new GardenCities. Something like this in fact happened in the course of the following century, as new transportfacilities brought accessibility to areas that had earlier been too remote from urban jobs or services—thoughparadoxically, they also served to raise commercial land values in the very centres of the cities. At the startof the twenty-first century, there is an extension of this paradox in major British provincial cities: thoughthe land market is strong in the city centres, both for commercial and residential development, thesurrounding ring is marked by collapsing land values and abandonment. Here Howard’s prophecy might besaid to have come true—but a later generation of urbanists sees it not as the solution but as the problem.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 149The growth of London 1800–2000.Howard’s appeal to altruism might possibly reflect his experience in America, where the tradition ofcharitable giving has been historically stronger than in Britain—especially on the part of the very rich andmost successful, from Andrew Carnegie to Bill Gates. This is one of Howard’s most visionary—even rhetorical—passages. In it he makes clear the all-embracing and radical nature of his proposal: at one level the construction of Garden Cities would representa vast public works programme to relieve unemployment, albeit not through a national programme but aseries of local initiatives; but at another level, it would create a loose network of local welfare states, whichwould end the brutal Victorian Poor Law and provide for lone mothers and their children, even apparentlytriggering a worldwide peace movement against rearmament and war—a sentiment doubtless inspired bythe deepening crisis in South Africa.
150 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMAbandoned house in Beswick, Manchester.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 151
152 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 153Letch worth under construction. The 1905 Cheap Cottages exhibition, and Nevells Road which is yet to be paved, atabout the same time.
THE FUTURE OF LONDONBORN IN LONDON, JOHN BURNS (1858–1943) BECAME AN ENGINEERING apprentice. A fellow-worker introduced him to writers such as John Stuart Mill (commentary page 129), Thomas Carlyle andJohn Ruskin (commentary page 31).
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 155Pen and ink cartoon of John Burns by Sir Francis Carruthers Gould, 1908.In 1879 he went to work in Africa; horrified by the treatment of Africans, he became a Socialist. Returningto England in 1881 he joined the Social Democratic Federation (SDF), but left in 1889 after a disagreementwith H.M.Hyndman (commentary page 147). He was elected to represent Battersea first in the newly-established London County Council, and then in1892 in the House of Commons. But in 1900 he refused to join the new Labour Representation Committee,forerunner of the Labour Party, remaining a Liberal. When the Liberals won the 1906 election, he becamePresident of the Local Government Board and was responsible for the 1909 Housing and Town PlanningAct. In 1914 he became President of the Board of Trade but resigned because he was opposed to war onGermany. He did not stand for re-election in 1918 and spent 25 years in retirement. There are several accounts of the origin of ‘Tommy Atkins’, a well-known 1890s nickname for theBritish private soldier. But it was immortalized in Kipling’s poem in Barrack-Room Ballads (1892), asavage indictment of public opinion towards the uneducated working-class soldier, which doubtless wouldhave been familiar to John Burns. Howard summed up his predictions on the evolution of Social Cities, in opening the discussion of a paperby Patrick Geddes, titled ‘Civics as Applied Sociology’, at the London School of Economics in 1904. Heobserved that ‘while the age we live in is the age of the great closely compacted, overcrowded city, there arealready signs, for those who can read them, of a coming change so great and so momentous that thetwentieth century will be known as the period of the great exodus’ (reprinted in Meller, 1979).His prediction was correct, although property-owners ensured that inner-city land prices and rents remainedartificially inflated. Similarly, he envisaged a ‘greening of the city’, while with a few exceptions, inner-cityland has been seen as too precious for use as parks or allotments. But property interests proved morepowerful than Howard had supposed, and the mere existence of planning permission can increase a site’s valuetenfold. He could never have anticipated that his successors had failed to reach unanimity in promoting the publicinterest and rescuing the land from speculators. The procedure of city property speculation was described byPeter Ambrose and Bob Colenutt (1975).
156 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMQueen’s Road, Ealing: started in 1903, the same year as Letchworth, it is typical of London suburban development atthe time. Already, as Howard was writing, London was spreading out as the middle class discovered the delightsof suburban living. The map of population change in the decade 1891–1901 is dominated by a ring ofgrowth outside the boundaries of the London County Council, which was outmoded as a definition ofLondon even when it came into being in 1888–89. Places like Ealing, Harrow on the Hill, Muswell Hill,Bromley and Wimbledon grew from tiny beginnings into considerable towns. But, because London as a
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 157whole was growing through in-migration from the depressed rural counties of southern England, this wouldbring little relief to the congested districts of inner London for another 40 years: though the LCC populationpeaked in 1901, declining slowly after that, real thinning-out would occur only through the drastic agencyof wartime bombing. Howard assumes a fiscal crisis on the part of urban local authorities, as they lose their tax base throughout-migration. In fact, during the twentieth century fiscal reallocation through rate support grant by thecentral government obviated this outcome. But in the United States, where no such cushion existed, evenlarge cities found themselves facing bankruptcy—most notably New York City in the 1970s. Though twenty-first century Londoners might smile ruefully at Howard’s picture of a city where housingcosts became drastically affordable, the poorer inhabitants of northern cities might recognize the picture.Indeed, as well-publicized cases have shown, in some parts of these cities land values have collapsed andhouse owners have sold their homes in desperation for whatever little they would fetch. Howard does notseem to have anticipated the spread of owner-occupation and the consequent outcomes of falls in urban landvalues for ordinary people with small savings. Howard somewhat neglected the fact that even then, as the more successful middle-class urbanites used newtransport facilities to move out to suburban homes, their places were taken by new arrivals from thecountryside, or even—as with the huge Jewish migration into the East End of London in the 1890s—fromabroad. This was very fully documented in official sources, such as the 1889 report of the Select Committeeon Emigration and Immigration (Foreigners) and the 1894 Board of Trade Report on the Volume andEffects of Recent Immigration from Eastern Europe, even as he was writing.
158 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMAbandoned terraced housing in Beswick, Manchester.The reference to the Epping Forest Railway is to the ill-starred London, Walthamstow and Epping Forestrailway, proposed in 1894, a horseshoe-shaped line consisting of a large-bore tube from Finsbury Circus inthe City of London out to Walthamstow, linking back via the Barking-Gospel Oak line to Kentish Town andthe Midland Railway back to its terminus at Moorgate (now part of Thameslink). It was never built, andWalthamstow had to wait over seventy years for completion of the Victoria Line in 1969 (Barker andRobbins, 1974, pp. 37–38). The 117-square-mile London County Council area reached a peak population of 4,536,000 at the 1901Census. By 1981 it had declined to 2,297,000—almost exactly half the 1901 total. Since then, however, ithas risen again. New investment did in fact occur on a vast scale: in tube lines in the period 1890–1907, intheir extensions above ground between 1920 and 1947, in the electrification of surface railways south of theThames between 1909 and 1939, and in arterial road construction between the two world wars. But, as Howardsuggests, Birmingham under Joseph Chamberlain had shown London the way in terms of large-scalereconstruction—and London government, divided after 1901 between the LCC and the MetropolitanBoroughs, did not prove capable of such resolute action. In fact, as William Robson pointed out in 1939, theLCC’s record down to that point was far less impressive than that of the corrupt Metropolitan Board ofWorks which it had replaced (Robson, 1939, pp. 62–63, 196). Howard’s proposed reconstruction neveroccurred until the Abercrombie plans of 1943–44, and then on a more modest scale than Haussmann’sreconstruction of Paris.William Westgarth (1815–1889) was an Australian merchant, politician and historian of colonial Victoria.He wrote Australia Felix; an Account of the Settlement of Port Philip (1843); Victoria, late Australia Felix(1853); and Victoria and the Australian Goldmines in 1857 (1857), Personal Recollections of EarlyMelbourne and Victoria (1888) and Half-a-Century of Australian Progress; a Personal Retrospect (1889).He organized group migration to Victoria, including a German colony (Westgarthtown) that settled in 1850.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 159 Arthur Cawston (1857–1894), a late nineteenth-century London architect, was best known for his GothicRevival churches such as St Philip’s, Whitechapel, now part of the former London Hospital MedicalCollege Library (now Queen Mary, University of London).
160 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMA rundown London mews, probably early 1900s.
TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM 161
162 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMLichfield Street, Birmingham c. 1870, an overcrowded slum area which was demolished to make way for CorporationStreet.Corporation Street, Birmingham c. 1899, which became the shopping area of the city as Joseph Chamberlain intended.
APPENDIX WATER-SUPPLYHOWARD’S APPENDIX ALMOST HAS THE CHARACTER OF A SEPARATE project. It is oddlyplaced, since the relevant diagram (No. 6) occurs not here but in the main text, immediately before theSocial Cities diagram, suggesting that the entire section may have been relegated to the Appendix at a latedate. We are therefore limiting our commentary to the next two pages and then allowing it to speak foritself. His choice of the American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) as source for his epigram may besignificant. Originally a Unitarian minister, Emerson lost his faith and turned to writing and public speaking.Through his essay on Nature (1836), he became founder and leader (from 1836 to 1844) of the Boston-centred Transcendentalist movement to which Nathaniel Hawthorne (commentary, pages 128–129) also
164 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMbelonged. His Essays, published in two volumes (1841 and 1844), made him internationally famous.Howard had been introduced to Emerson’s (and Hawthorne’s) writings by Alonzo Griffin, a Quaker, who wasa colleague in the shorthand firm of Ely, Burnham and Bartlett in Chicago during his sojourn there from1872 to 1876 (Beevers, 1988, pp. 5–6). Howard had obviously devoted a great deal of time to working out the water supply system, though he isat pains to defend himself on the grounds that it had not been fully tried and tested. Howard proposes collecting water in low-level reservoirs and pumping it up into higher-level reservoirsfor storage and distribution. Similar systems existed at the time: in Ealing, the Grand Junction WaterworksCo’s Fox Reservoir of 1888 took water pumped up from the Thames at Kew and distributed it by gravity tothe growing suburb; a similar arrangement served a larger reservoir at Campden Hill in Kensington.Whether or not he knew of these schemes, he was probably acquainted with the New River, a seventeenth-century canal which flowed (and still flows in part) from Hertfordshire for some 39 miles through StokeNewington and Islington to a reservoir in front of Sadlers Wells Theatre.Some of his ideas link him to ‘Green’ thinkers of today. On page 157, for example, he argues for theseparation of drinking water from water gathered for other purposes. On pages 158 and 159 he shows that waterwill be most economically supplied because it is locally supplied and serves multiple purposes. And, on thefollowing pages, he seems to be essaying an early exercise in cost-benefit analysis, by imputing the timesavings on the part of the labour force that will result from eliminating the daily journey to work. Howard reminds us on pages 162 and 163 that windmills are not merely ‘antiquated contrivances’ butremain important, not merely as the most economic way of pumping water, but also in generating the powersupply of Garden City. His quotation from the outstanding physicist and mathematician, Lord Kelvin (1824–1907), shows that he is proposing to use wind power as a method of generating electrical power—a novel
APPENDIX WATER-SUPPLY 165Fox Reservoir, at the top of Hanger Hill in Ealing, west London, was fed by Thames water pumped from Kew. Filled induring World War Two to foil Luftwaffe bombers who used it to navigate on moonlit nights, it is now a playing fieldand Ealing’s water comes from the covered reservoir behind it.notion in 1898. Here as elsewhere, Howard reveals an astonishing capacity to find just the idea he needs tosupport his general plan.
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POSTSCRIPTFOR A SMALL BOOK, PUBLISHED WITH THE HELP OF A SUBVENTION BY Howard, and sold fora modest shilling a copy, the influence of To-Morrow must have exceeded even the wildest dreams of itsinventive author. No sooner was it published than it led to the formation in 1899 of the Garden CityAssociation, and just four years after that to the start of Letchworth Garden City. The rest is history.Welwyn, the second garden city, took shape after the ending of the First World War. Several attempts tostart a third foundered, but the Garden City idea was later to find new life (albeit in modified form) in theambitious programme of new towns launched by the post-war Labour government in 1946. Additionally, indifferent countries around the world, throughout the past century various forms of garden city and new towndevelopment have enriched the history of Howard’s original idea. In the first decade of the new millennium the surprising thing is that Howard’s book is still a source ofinspiration. It would be easy to dismiss its reprinting now as mere indulgence, just another trip downmemory lane, but a reading of the original text accompanied by Peter Hall’s and Colin Ward’s Commentaryreveals so clearly why this would be wrong. Simply as a model of coherent advocacy, Howard’s bookremains intrinsically interesting for the contemporary reader; if for no other reason it is worth re-visiting asa text brimming with ideas. It touches on numerous themes that, even if some were more pertinent at the timethan now, continue to invite critical reflection. But there are also more tangible reasons for this newpublication. One is that To-Morrow exercised a strong influence on both ideas and urban planning practicein the twentieth century, not simply in the country where the idea was first promoted but also across theworld. A second reason is that, more than a hundred years on, elements of the original thesis might still berelevant to the work of contemporary planners and policy makers. To-Morrow YesterdayIt would be an exaggeration to claim that the 1898 publication took the world by storm, although its earlyreprint as a paperback and the volume of sales in the first two years exceeded even the author’s ownexpectations. Howard was encouraged, too, by a number of favourable reviews from fellow radicals, likethe influential land nationalization campaigners. But in this camp he was already preaching to the convertedand it was inevitable that others with different priorities were more sceptical. Political critics (particularlyfrom factions on the Left who believed that real change could only be achieved through working-classrepresentation in Parliament, if not by outright revolution) disliked the author’s search for a middle way andpoured scorn on his conviction that capitalists could be persuaded by rational argument to change theirways. For them it was all hopelessly Utopian. Howard, though, was nothing if not determined and in 1899 he joined with twelve like-minded radicals toform the Garden City Association (Beevers 1998, Hardy 1991a). Its aims were simply to promote the ideas
174 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMin To-Morrow and to prepare the ground for the first Garden City experiment. Like dozens of other wellintentioned groups in that period, the newly formed Association might well have lost its way within a fewyears, in the train of ill-attended meetings, insufficient funds and a dwindling membership. Instead, thecause was soon to be adopted by a small number of liberal-minded ‘men of substance’ led by an eminentlawyer, Ralph Neville (who in 1901 became the Association’s Chairman), and an able organizer, ThomasAdams (appointed as Secretary). Through these individuals the Association was rapidly transformed into asharply focused organization with its sights set firmly on the task of building the first garden city.Celebration of Letchworth Garden City Opening Day in 1903.For Howard himself progress was not without a price. He remained the ‘ideas man’, the inventor, but inother respects he was sidelined by those with a sharper political and financial acumen. The closer theGarden City idea came to realization the more its radical pretensions were stripped away. Neville and hisbusiness associates (at odds with the more radical sections of the 1898 text) were constantly at pains toreassure investors that this was not a crypto communist plan for a ‘co-operative commonwealth’ (eventhough Howard had rather hoped that it would be). When a second version of the book was published in1902, Howard was persuaded to change the title to Garden Cities of To-Morrow, avoiding any reference to‘real reform’. And, in due course, when the first garden city was built, it was done without the morecontentious elements of Howard’s original plan. Important changes were made to the ways in which capitalcould be raised, how the community could capture the value of rising rents, how garden cities should beadministered, the nature of public services, land tenure, the size of the estate, the area reserved foragriculture, restrictions on growth, and the design layout (Hardy, 1991a, p. 55) To say that what evolved inpractice was unrecognizable to readers of To-Morrow would be an exaggeration, but, undoubtedly, in theinterests of political contingency important elements of the original concept were jettisoned. Politics, though, is the art of compromise, and Howard’s willingness to let his sponsors have their wayallowed at least some of his ideas to take shape. Sufficient capital was raised and the foundations of
POSTSCRIPT 175Station Road Letchworth: cottages designed by Parker and Unwin between 1905 and 1907.Letchworth, the first garden city, were laid in 1903, under the inspired guidance of the chief architects,Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker. In spite of a slow start the emergent garden city was soon to draw tensof thousands of visitors, intrigued by the prospect of a newly found Utopia in the Hertfordshirecountryside. Media views of this New Jerusalem were tempered by the experience of trudging across themud-sodden ground, and later by the sight of prominent groups of eccentrics amongst the pioneer settlers. Tooutsiders they seemed an odd lot: clad in djibbas and with home-crafted sandals on their feet, invariablypracticing vegetarianism, and subscribing to what were regarded as alien beliefs. The fact that it was ateetotal community must have added to the discomforts of visiting journalists; the Skittles Inn, with itsBovril and hot chocolate, was a poor substitute for the real thing (commentary page 105). It was, of course,the exceptional that made the headlines, at the expense of more enduring features, such as the modelhousing and progressive schools, and the exemplary parks and social facilities that became the mainstays ofthe first garden city (Miller, 1989). Letchworth grew slowly at first but its very foundation was enough to set an unquestionable standard forits keenest advocates. The pages of the Garden City Association’s journal at that time contained regularreports of what was seen elsewhere as the misappropriation for commercial purposes of Howard’s concept.Property developers were quick to spot the attraction of adding the term ‘Garden City’ to what in manycases might have been little more than speculative housing estates. The ultimate transgression was the caseof Peacehaven, on the south coast of England, a motley collection of shacks and bungalows that theinstigator, Charles Neville, marketed as the ‘garden city by the sea’ (Hardy and Ward, 1984, pp. 71–91). In the eyes of the purists, though, even worse than developments that were manifestly not garden citieswas the growing popularity of the garden suburb. This was a term that was commonly used to describe eventhe most mundane of suburban developments, although high standards were set by the pioneering andprestigious Hampstead Garden Suburb (designed by no less than Parker and Unwin, following their work atLetchworth). The criticism of the garden suburb was not on grounds of design so much as a fundamentalflaw in the very idea of extending the boundaries of large cities. Even the Hampstead development was
176 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMbased on an acceptance that its residents would commute from nearby Golders Green into the centre ofLondon. Garden suburbs, no matter how carefully planned, could simply not, according to the Garden Citycampaigners, offer the benefits of a totally new settlement built according to the ideas in To-Morrow. In challenging localized developments, the Association was at risk of becoming too inward looking andmight well have campaigned itself into an historical cul-de-sac. In the event, wiser counsel prevailed andthe point was taken that what would really matter in the future was to see progress in establishing a propersystem of town and country planning for the nation as a whole. Without this, it was argued, Garden Cityexperiments would, inevitably, remain isolated and their very principles would be eroded by schemes owinglittle to the principles promoted by Howard. Thus, the Garden City Association gradually entered a widerpolitical arena of campaigning, becoming heavily involved in a national lobby for planning. To coincidewith the first national planning legislation, the pressure group changed its name and constitution in 1909 tothe Garden Cities and Town Planning Association. Within this broader remit, garden cities were no longerthe sole or even the prime reason for the organization, and it was left very much to Howard and a core offellow sympathizers to keep the original flame alight. In 1910 an attempt was made to commemorate thedeath of the late king with a new garden city, to be called King Edward’s Town, but Edward’s successor,George V, made it known that he would prefer to see more conventional monuments. It was not until after the First World War that, very much as a result of the personal initiative andinsistence of Howard, land was secured for a second experiment, to be known as Welwyn Garden City. Inspite of bold statements by the government of the day that homes would be built for returning heroes,Howard remained healthily sceptical: ‘if you wait for the Government to do it you will be as old as Methusalehbefore they start’ (Osborn, 1970, p.8). Against all the odds, Welwyn took shape, as Letchworth had done,largely as a product of private capital and dedicated effort. Also like Letchworth, it attracted a great deal of
POSTSCRIPT 177The Food Reform Restaurant and ‘Simple Life Hotel’ and the Central Hotel were further examples of Letchworth’stemperance and vegetarianism.publicity and interest; for a while it was known as the Daily Mail town because of the decision of thatnewspaper to feature Welwyn in its annual Ideal Home Exhibitions.
178 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMEbenezer Howard speaking at the Coronation Pageant for George V at Letchworth in 1911. Welwyn had its radical elements, and visitors were always keen to see examples of what was sometimeserroneously described as communal ownership. They visited the Welwyn Garden City Stores (commentarypage 99) and the Cherry Tree Restaurant, and read the Welwyn Garden City News; and they mused overcontradictory criticisms that Welwyn was either a socialist Utopia or, conversely, a company town. But ifthey had doubts on the political front they could hardly miss the evidence of good quality housing and theadvantages of a properly planned environment. Howard’s ideas were even more watered down than they wereat Letchworth, but Welwyn was still recognizably a garden city. Planned by the architect, Louis de Soissons,the layout combined (to a greater extent than at Letchworth) a mix of modern and traditional features, muchliked by the early residents and certainly very much better than what was commonplace in newdevelopment at the time elsewhere in Britain (Osborn, 1970). The second garden city, though, grew slowly in its formative years and was to be the last of its kind. Anattempt in 1925 to build a third on a site near Glasgow foundered because of a lack of capital; and in the1930s an ambitious proposal for a scheme at Wythenshawe, to the south of Manchester, led to housingdevelopment but not by a long way a balanced community of the sort Howard had advocated (Deakin,1989). The fact is that the fashionable trend in planning was moving, increasingly, in favour of greaterinvolvement by the State. Even within the Garden Cities and Town Planning Association (which was,again, in 1939, to change its name to reflect new developments, this time to the Town and Country PlanningAssociation), there was a growing acceptance that the future of planning lay in this direction. Meanwhile, in other parts of the world the publication of To-Morrow led to parallel histories of gardencity development (Ward, 1992). From the outset, partly as a result of successful campaigning by the Garden
POSTSCRIPT 179Parkway, Welwyn Garden City. This early photo appeared on the jacket of Green Belt Cities by Frederic Osborn whichwas published in 1946.City Association, Howard’s ideas attracted widespread interest in Continental Europe and beyond. Aregular stream of visitors made their way to the Association’s offices and then to Letchworth itself. Theyreturned to their own countries sufficiently enthused to encourage experiments suited to their particularcircumstances. An International Garden City Congress was convened and in 1904 held its first conventionin London. The main delegations came from Germany and France (each with their own Garden CityAssociation) and the United States, but letters of support were also received from Budapest, Brussels andStockholm. And there was contact too with enthusiasts in Japan, Australia and Switzerland. Several years later,in 1913, the Association’s Chairman observed that ‘the extent to which this idea has spread outside thelimits of our own country is certainly astonishing…we have had enquiries from Russia, Poland and Spain—countries which, in our ignorance, we looked upon as somewhat behindhand in social matters—and we findnow they are coming to the front of the Garden City Movement’ (Hardy, 1991a, p. 94). International interest was matched by experiments on the ground. In France, for instance, a number ofcités jardins were built in the environs of Paris—small settlements such as Les Lilas and Drancy, and largerones like Châtenay-Malabry and Plessis-Robinson—but these were all only partial experiments. The laterdevelopments, especially, contained apartment blocks as well as more traditional cottage-style housing. JeanPierre Gaudin has shown how such experiments (which between the wars were extended to other parts ofFrance), and a wider interest in Howard’s idea of the garden city, appealed both to bourgeois philanthropistsand to socialist reformers (in fact, precisely as Howard had intended). Although the cité jardin sometimesbore less resemblance to Letchworth or Welwyn than to a well-ordered industrial suburb, Gaudin points outthat the real significance of the experiments was sometimes that of a more far reaching reformist project forcitizenship and the urban polity (Gaudin, in Ward, 1992, pp. 52–68). Howard would have approved of that. Likewise, in northern Europe, there were also applications of the garden city. Germany, for instance, wherethe idea of social housing had strong roots, was, in fact, a pioneer of garden city development and, indeed, asource of inspiration to some British reformers, if not to Howard himself. The German Garden City Societywas formed in 1902 and encouraged a variety of housing experiments gathered loosely under the garden
180 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMParkway, Welwyn more than sixty years later.city, or Gartenstadt, umbrella. Amongst these, Hellerau, on the outskirts of Dresden, attracted particularinterest (commentary page 127). Although it was more correctly a garden suburb, visitors noted thecomprehensiveness of its planning and the quality of the Arts and Crafts architecture. Even more than that,just a few years after its formation in 1908, it contained a community of no less than eight hundred artists,craft workers and intellectuals, as well as a notable progressive school experiment (Buder, 1990, p. 137). Itwas, in its way, more Letchworth than Letchworth itself. Another renowned scheme was the development of Margarethenhöhe, on the edge of Essen. Garden Cityenthusiasts praised the quality of the architecture and the neatly planned appearance of the settlement, but inother respects it finds its lineage more in that of model industrial villages such as Port Sunlight andBournville. Despite examples like this, and the country’s earlier reputation for housing reform, Garden Cityhistory in Germany took a decidedly different turn during the Third Reich. Nazi planners in that era latchedon to the idea of the rationality of spatial order that they extracted from Howard’s wider vision, and devisedan aggressive plan to re-settle the conquered eastern territories of Poland. Garden cities, they conjectured,would offer true German peoples an ideal setting to ‘Germanize’ this alien land (Fehl, in Ward, 1992, pp.88–106). The Nazi misuse of the Garden City idea was, however, an exception, and in all other cases Howard’sideals were applied with social betterment in mind. Such experiments were by no means confined to Europe.Japanese planners, for instance, visited Letchworth in its pioneering years, returning with the idea of den-entoshi, loosely translated as pastoral cities. In practice, the idea led to a number of garden suburbs rather thanself-contained settlements, typified by the development from 1911 of a number of sites close to Osaka.Promoted by the Mino Electric Railway Company as a way of creating for itself a customer base for thefuture, the outcomes were no more than conventional garden suburbs in the guise of den-en toshi. This patternwas repeated around Tokyo from 1913, most brazenly by a company which traded under the name, Den-en
POSTSCRIPT 181Life in Welwyn, 1930s.Toshi, yet which in practice produced further examples of the garden suburb (Watanabe, in Ward, 1992, pp.69–87). The garden suburb was also the main variant in Australia, where numerous schemes were built in the1920s. Three important projects were Daceyville in Sydney, Colonel Light Gardens in Adelaide, andGarden City in Melbourne. Australia’s capital, Canberra, also shows on a larger scale the extent of GardenCity influence (Freestone, in Ward, 1992, pp. 107–126). From the outset, the Garden City Association showeda special interest in promoting Howard’s ideas across the British Empire. Extensive tours were made withlantern slides and copies of Howard’s book to spread the gospel of the Garden City. One of theAssociation’s stalwarts, William Davidge, returned from such a tour to Australia, with the news that‘throughout the whole tour the utmost enthusiasm was experienced, and the reports and statements receivedindicated that a good deal of permanent good work has been done’ (Hardy, 1991a, p. 100). Likewise, in the United States, the Garden City idea was an influence on the extensive programme ofsettlement building in that nation in the early twentieth century, although never in its purest form. Variousschemes purporting to be based on Garden City principles were built between 1910 and 1916, including theattractive Forest Hills Gardens, New York City, in 1912 (Buder, 1988, p. 161). In the event, however, insuch schemes the proclaimed garden city was more likely to be a garden suburb or a model industrialsettlement (commentary page 63).
182 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMGarden Cities and Town Planning Association members on a visit to Stuttgart before the First World War. An important turning point was the formation in 1923 of the Regional Planning Association of America,an advocacy group that set its sights on promoting in a purer form the idea of the Garden City (Schaffer, inWard, 1992, pp. 127-145). A number of experiments followed, encouraged if not actually initiated by thearchitect, Clarence Stein, described by Lewis Mumford as the groups decisive leader (Buder, 1988, p. 166).It was Stein who attracted private capital in New York to support the formation of the City HousingCorporation, a limited dividend company designed to build schemes on Garden City lines. SunnysideGardens, dating from 1924, was one such experiment, even though it took shape within the city boundariesand resembled, at best, a garden suburb rather than a garden city. A few years later, Stein and fellowarchitect, Henry Wright, were responsible for a bolder experiment, in the form of an intended garden city atRadburn, New Jersey. In their innovative design, the two architects effectively married some of Howardsideas to the new demands of a motor-borne population. They managed, at least on a small scale, to achieveboth a town for the motor age and also a place that exemplified the balance and self-containment thatHoward had originally sought (Fishman, in Ward, 1992, p. 149). In practice, however, Radburn nevermaterialized as a fully-fledged garden city, as envisaged on the drawing board. In the following decade, there was a fresh impetus for the Garden City idea in the United States throughthe greenbelt towns that were part of President Roosevelts New Deal. Greenbelt towns were promoted byan economist, Rexford Tugwell, who wasted few words in re-stating Howards essential ideas: My idea is togo just outside centers of population, pick up cheap land, build a whole community, and entice people intoit. Then go back into the cities and tear down whole slums and make parks of them (Buder, 1990, p. 76).Tugwell had in mind the creation of fifty greenbelt communities but had to settle for a total of three:Greenbelt, Maryland; Greenhills, north of Cincinnatti; and Greendale, near Milwaukee. In spite of some progress with the Garden City idea at home and overseas, the practical achievement wasstill, in the general scheme of things, marginal in the extreme. Most new development in the first half of thetwentieth century was a product of commercial expediency rather than socially based principles. If a furtherstep were to be taken in building planned settlements on Garden City lines, it was increasingly evident thatvoluntary effort alone would not be enough. And towards that end, even some of Howard’s own supporters
POSTSCRIPT 183Clarence Stein and Henry Wright’s plan for Radburn, New Jersey.saw that the original concept of the Garden City might have to be jettisoned for something with a moremodern ring. The term ‘new towns’ fitted the bill. Frederic Osborn, who started his career as a rent collector at Letchworth and who subsequently devotedmost of his life to the cause, realized as early as the time of the First Wo rld War that new towns on the
184 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMGreenbelt, Maryland: most visited and most celebrated of the Greenbelt Cities launched by FDR early in the New Deal:modernist architecture in a sylvan Garden City environment, but Congress killed the programme.scale needed could only be brought about with State support. In a book, New Towns after the War(published in 1918 under the pseudonym of New Townsmen), he argued the case for 100 new towns (NewTownsmen, 1918). In certain respects his book amounted to a reaffirmation and updating of To-Morrow,but with the important proviso that State involvement was becoming inevitable. Although such support was not immediately forthcoming, in the 1920s and 1930s Osborn pursued arelentless campaign to win friends in high places. Two future Prime Ministers, Neville Chamberlain andRamsay Macdonald, at different times showed a keen interest in developments at Welwyn and in theGarden City movement generally. Later, in the 1930s, Osborn lobbied politicians of all hues in an attempt toconvince them of the merits of planning. He was also instrumental in rallying support amongst theprofessions, and was delighted when a former critic of garden cities, the architect, Trystan Edwards,contributed in his own way to the cause. Edwards had previously faulted the original Garden City idea ontwo grounds. One was that the housing densities advocated by Howard were too low, which made itdifficult to create neighbourliness, led to longer journeys because of dispersal, and was a greater threat tofarmland than more concentrated development. The other concern was for a style of architecture that wasneither urban nor rural, but a sham hybrid of both. Yet Edwards was not averse to the idea of newsettlements per se and in 1933, under the pseudonym, Ex-Service man J47485, he launched his ownpublication, A Hundred New Towns for Britain (Edwards, 1933). In this he set out the case for a ten-yearplan for a hundred new towns, each with a population of 50,000 and at a higher density than that favouredby the Garden City movement. There are important variations from the latter but the essential idea of aplanned programme of new towns was not so very dissimilar from that advocated by Osborn. By one meansor another, growing pressure was being exerted on the State from different quarters to take an active role inbuilding planned settlements.
POSTSCRIPT 185Frederic Osborn (‘FJO’) photographed in 1956. Osborn worked tirelessly in the inter-war years to get planning onto the political agenda, and then duringthe war itself to ensure that newly-won promises would not be lost. In the event, the 1945 LabourAdministration, as well as introducing a comprehensive system of town and country planning, broughtforward early legislation (the New Towns Act, 1946) specifically to enable the building of new towns.These were to be ‘balanced and self-contained communities for working and living’ (Aldridge, 1979, p. 48).For a generation of campaigners this was a major milestone. The cause of Garden Cities, albeit now with anew name, had been advanced from its origins in a cheap book with a readership of late-Victorian ‘cranks’,to the status of an Act of Parliament with the prospect of a programme for the immediate implementation ofnew towns in various parts of the country.Reflecting the urgency of the housing situation at the time, the first new town, Stevenage, was designated inthe same year, 1946. This was a seminal moment in the history of the Garden City movement, and Osbornhimself, as the most persistent of campaigners, could rightly take pride in his personal contribution. He hadso ably taken the baton from Howard and run with it: ‘I think that I personally have been a decisive factor inthe evolution of the new towns policy and that this evolution is extremely important historically. I mean noless than without my fanatical conviction and persistent work in writing, lecturing and especially lobbying,the New Towns Act of 1946 would not have come about, at any rate in that period’ (Mumford and Osborn,1971, p. 327).
186 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMNew housing in Stevenage. In fact, the new towns that were formed in this period proved to be distant cousins of the original GardenCity idea: larger than the ideal size that Howard had favoured, more driven by housing need than choice ofwho would settle there, with a greater commercial (at the expense of civic) element, and with financial andother controls firmly in the hands of government agencies. But successive generations of new towns werebuilt in the post-war period and, while they were very different from garden cities, they could at least boastthe achievement of providing an alternative to living in crowded cities. In their first fifty years some 1.3million people found new homes and jobs in the Britain’s twenty-eight new towns (Hall and Ward, 1998, p.53). If one takes into account the numbers of people already living within the designated areas the new townpopulation rises to some 2 million. The first phase of new towns marked the most concentrated development, with no less than fourteenstarted by the Labour Administration between 1946 and 1950. Of these, eight were located in a ring aroundLondon to serve the immediate needs of the capital. The rest were divided between those within reach ofother major conurbations, serving a similar purpose in providing opportunities for planned overspill (as EastKilbride did for Glasgow); and those such as Peterlee that were intended primarily to attract new industry todepressed areas, or the example of Corby that was selected to support the location of new steelworks. Thesewere all bold experiments in the brave new world of the post-war Labour Government, but from the outsetthey attracted their critics. When the first Minister of Town and Country Planning, Lewis Silkin, visited thesite of Stevenage in April 1946 the name of the railway station was changed by demonstrators to Silkingradand angry voices shouted that he was a dictator. For all its possibilities there was also a deep suspicion aboutthe motives of planning.
POSTSCRIPT 187Peterlee under construction in 1951. In fact, while some were unhappy about the idea and others pointed to the shortcomings of the first newtowns (especially in comparison with Howards ideals), the record shows that on the ground in the firstgeneration of new towns some solid achievements were realized. David Lock, for instance, has shown howHarlow, another of the pioneer new towns close to London, was remarkably popular with its residents. Heattributes much of its success to the consistent influence and commitment of its principal designer, SirFrederick Gibberd, who (rather like Unwin and Parker did at Letchworth) succeeded to a marked degree inmarrying the design of the town to the undulating landscape. There is a coherence about the design, with itsprominent town centre visible from many parts of the town and its pronounced neighbourhood structure, thatmakes it easy to ‘read’ by local inhabitants and visitors alike. But it is in the finely grained detail of thehousing and access to facilities that there are the highest levels of satisfaction: ‘people like it very muchindeed’ (Lock, 1983, p. 214). During the 1950s, for all but one year under a Conservative Administration, there was less enthusiasm forthe new towns programme and only Cumbernauld was added to the list. This was designed deliberately witha more concentrated urban form in mind, offering familiarity to the settlers relocated from nearby Glasgow.In its early phases, when the first residents could compare their new surroundings with the dire conditionsthey had known in Glasgow, there was a high level of satisfaction with the town. Perhaps inevitably, oncethe town achieved maturity it came to be criticized on the same grounds as any other urban setting inmodern Britain (Middleton, 1983, pp. 218–231). In the following decade, particularly following the return of a Labour Administration in 1964, a thirdphase of new towns saw the addition of a further thirteen designations. A few, such as Skelmersdale,
188 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMMilton Keynes from the air in 1979. Here the city is under construction, but the the grid-like structure is clearly visible.designed to accommodate overspill from Liverpool, were initiated by the outgoing ConservativeAdministration. Later designations reflected a wider variety of aims and also a larger scale of operation.Included in these was the iconic Milton Keynes, designated in 1967 with a planned population of a quarterof a million. Perhaps more than any other new town, Milton Keynes came to represent a new approach toplanning, responding to the challenges of a motor age yet also seeking to retain the neighbourliness that hadcharacterized new towns from the outset. Milton Keynes is the place that everyone loves to hate—everyone,that is, except those who live there. It spreads over a large area, its grid-iron road system keeps the trafficmoving but loses its car-borne visitors, and in seeking to promote itself it is sometimes seen by outsiders asbeing too gimmicky by half. Critics have been quick to find fault but in most respects it is an outstandingsuccess. It has managed effectively to iron out most of the problems experienced in earlier new towns andits very scale enables it to offer an exceptionally high level of facilities. ‘Planning in Milton Keynes’,claims Ray Thomas, ‘represents the acme of professionalism’ (Thomas, 1983, p. 249). But in spite of itssuccess, there was already a sharp policy change in the offing. The designation in 1973 of Stonehouse, near Glasgow, was soon to be revoked as a result of a policy U-turn. Against long-held expectations that the new towns would progressively reduce the traditionalproblems of the conurbations, politicians in the 1970s were increasingly forced to face the fact that this hadnot come about. Problems of what was now termed the ‘inner city’ could not be ignored; moreover, this wasnot simply a question of inadequate housing but of a whole nest of issues embodying high rates of crime,above average unemployment, threats of racial conflict, and what was later to be called social exclusion.The time had come to concentrate all available resources on the failing inner cities, a decision confirmed in
POSTSCRIPT 1891977 by the then Secretary of State with the urban portfolio, Peter Shore: there would be no further newtowns in Britain. Some three decades had elapsed since the New Towns Act of 1946, and in that period much was achievedin building new towns not only in Britain but also overseas. Ever since the first Garden City experiment,planners and architects had acknowledged the pioneering role of Britain, and other countries for a variety ofreasons have looked to new towns to meet their own settlement needs. The Netherlands and Israel, HongKong and Japan, France and Finland, are just a few of the many countries where new towns have found aplace. Paradoxically, although Britain has now long abandoned new towns as a working policy, the ideacontinues to attract a lively and continuing interest elsewhere. To-Morrow TodayGarden cities and new towns are now legitimate subjects for historians, and fashionable planning punditsargue they should be assigned to the history books. Can a text written by a shorthand clerk and erstwhileinventor in the dying years of the Victorian era still have something to say in a totally different age? Somuch of what we now take for granted would be largely unrecognizable to Howard. Yet, remarkably, for aset of ideas out of their time the Garden City panacea has a resilience that makes it no less attractive in its waytoday than when it was first prescribed more than a century ago. It was designed for a specific culturalmilieu and has an old-fashioned eccentricity about it, but certain elements have proved both enduring andapplicable in widely different settings. The human scale of settlements favoured by Howard, the integrationof town and country, the unique way in which garden cities were to be administered, and the inherentsimplicity of the idea all lend themselves to contemporary review. The fact is that no sooner was the new towns policy abandoned than a fresh attempt was made to reviveHoward’s advocacy of the garden city. In a 1975 paper, ‘The do-it-yourself new town’, Colin Ward arguedfor a new concept of building communities, in which the residents themselves would be involved directly inplanning, designing and building their own homes and neighbourhoods. With the encouragement of theTown and Country Planning Association, his ideas were widely discussed, and in 1979 it was that body(returning to its roots) that issued an outline prospectus for ‘A Third Garden City’. The brief was for a newsettlement: ‘on a human scale; a basically co-operative economy; a marriage of town and country; control by the community of its own development and of the land value it creates; and the importance of a social environment in which the individual can develop his own ideas and manage his own affairs in co- operation with his neighbours.’ (TCPA, 1979)During the subsequent decade there were three attempts to breathe life into this updated version of To-Morrow. One was known as Greentown, located on some undeveloped land within the designated area ofMilton Keynes itself. The second, Lightmoor, was also within the boundaries of a new town, this time atTelford. In contrast, Conway, in Birkenhead, was really an attempt to invigorate an existing community.None of these experiments came anywhere near the realization of sponsors’ aspirations, perhaps less as aresult of the efforts of their advocates and more because of wider political and bureaucratic constraints(Hardy, 19916, pp. 173– 192). In a way, though, these unsuccessful attempts to revive the essential ideas ofHoward in Garden City form were precursors to a new twist in urban planning that was to become distinctlymainstream.
190 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMXscape, Milton Keynes at night. Completed in 2000 the building includes a shopping mall, restaurants, multiscreencinemas, tenpin bowling and three 175-metre real snow ski and snowboarding slopes. In particular, two elements derived from To-Morrow were to have a particular resonance for modern cityplanners: one is the idea of creating cities that are sustainable, and the other is to ensure that such cities arefairly and effectively governed. Every modern planner has taken on board the essential idea of sustainability,which Howard himself would have warmed to. Sustainability in this context means little more than creatingand managing cities so that what is done today does not harm the interests of those who will live in themtomorrow. This is precisely what garden cities were intended to do at the time, and for this reason alone theoriginal idea is more than a period piece. Currently, we seem to be a world away from creating sustainable cities but the concept is remarkablysimple. For a start, it would make sense to plan cities on a human scale so that most of the population canhave access for basic transactions either by walking or cycling, through a good public transport network orthrough modern telecommunications. Howard did not have to tackle the problem of the private car, but hadhe done so it is unlikely that he would have seen a need to change the basic pattern of his garden cities. Theproblem he would have faced then to restrict the use of the car, as now, has less to do with urban design andmore with political will and social behaviour—and even that was dealt with in To-Morrow through his ideasfor community governance.
POSTSCRIPT 191Lightmoor: the TPCA-influenced self-build community in Telford New Town, with its progenitor Tony Gibson. Howard also favoured small settlements, and it might be argued that a settlement with a population ofabout 30,000 was all very well at that time but hardly appropriate for the modern world. Architects andplanners have wasted a great deal of time contesting the ideal city size, and there is little merit in adding tothat. The important thing is that, for all the changes that have taken place in the past hundred years or so,people are still people and what was a human scale then is not so very different now. If anything, smallerplaces are valued more in the face of the ever larger scale of other aspects of modern society; localcommunity has an added meaning in the context of global networks. What is different now is that there aremore options to create small settlements, either in relative isolation or by combining them like buildingblocks so that they are part of something much bigger. To some extent, the latter is what new towns havedone, with neighbourhoods or urban villages coupled with the opportunity of access to higher orderservices; while modern telecommunications add to the possibilities. Likewise, the emphasis that Howard laid on the need to integrate town and country remains a timelessideal—a key element is a modern understanding of sustainability, which, like the original garden city, isnothing if not holistic. The garden city itself was, of course, to offer its people the best of town and the bestof country, and (as explained in the commentary) these combined qualities are listed in his famous ‘threemagnets’ diagram. Howard devised a number of ways to achieve this, including the location of anagricultural belt (precursor of the green belts that now encircle many modern cities) around the built-uparea, marking the limits of the settlement but also providing readily accessible farm produce. Not that itwould be easy to replicate now, so deeply distorted is the pattern of modern agricultural production, consumerpreferences and international trade. But at least a start could be made, and the growing popularity offarmers’ markets offers an encouraging sign of what might yet be done on a larger scale.
192 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORM The aim of creating places that are meaningful at different levels, and of recognizing the integrity of townand country, remains an attractive ideal—one that can be seen in a contemporary context in a variety of
POSTSCRIPT 193Michael Breheny and Ralph Rookwoods idea for a rail-connected sustainable cluster of garden cities was published inBritain by the TCPA in 1993, the same year as Peter Calthorpe published his diagram of Transit Oriented Communities(TODs) in California. Produced independently, they show remarkable similarities. Peter Hall and Colin Ward drew onthem in 1998 to produce their concept of three city clusters on rail corridors 50–90 miles (80–140 km) from London;one, the City of Mercia (opposite) seems to have influenced the UK government’s 2003 proposal for ‘sustainablecommunities’ in this corridor.ways. Fittingly, the Town and Country Planning Association has made its own contribution to this ongoingdebate, initially through a report, Planning for a Sustainable Environment (Blowers, 1993). In this, fivegoals are identified for sustainable development: conservation designed to safeguard land and other non-renewable resources; built development that is in harmony with Nature; the avoidance of pollution andother aspects of an unhealthy environment; social equality to ensure that the goals of richer countries arenot achieved at the expense of the poor; and a revival of community and effective political participation.These are all contemporary goals yet each has a resonance with Howard’s own ‘peaceful path to real reform’.To make the point, Andrew Blowers acknowledges in the report that the ‘more balanced and self-servicing
194 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMurban areas which sustainability requires are already to be seen to some extent in Ebenezer Howard’sGarden Cities and the later New Towns’ (Blowers, 1993, p. 174). In their commentary and their book Sociable Cities, Peter Hall and Colin Ward have described a modernversion of ‘the Social City’. They assert that ‘Howard’s century-old prescription remains extraordinarilyuseful’ (Hall and Ward, 1998, p. 209). Especially so, they argue, is the diagram of the town-country magnetand the concept of social cities, which they see as being capable of modern application. In the context ofmeeting present housing needs of the south-east of England, they propose a number of developmentcorridors, along which would be clusters of settlement, each served by high-speed rail and other transportlinks, and with protected tracts of landscape in between. Howard’s ideas also surface in other, sometimes unexpected, places. At a practical level, thecontemporary movement known as new urbanism is one such source. The new urbanists are not uncriticalof aspects of the Garden City legacy, particularly the excessively low densities of some of its hybrid
POSTSCRIPT 195versions (Garvin, 1998), but in other respects there are commonalities. With its origins in the United States,new urbanism has arisen in response to the sprawl that is endemic in American urbanization and to therigidities imposed by zoning ordinances. Its advocates describe it as ‘the creation and restoration of diverse,walkable, compact, vibrant, mixed-use communities…[containing] housing, work places, shops,entertainment, schools, parks and civic facilities essential to the daily lives of the residents, all within easywalking distance of each other’ (www.newurbanism.org). If Letchworth was to become the jewel in thecrown of the Garden City movement, new urbanists can point to their own exemplary creation, Seaside, onthe Florida coast. Designed in the 1980s by architects, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Seasideis an attempt to recapture old-fashioned values of town living. Perhaps, though, in reviewing what is most relevant today, it is all too easy to focus unduly on thephysical attractions and subsequent applications of the Garden City. These are important, but surely theessential genius of Howard is to be found in the pages of To-Morrow that deal with land values andcommunal governance. In short, through the Garden City successive generations of residents were offeredthe opportunity to enjoy the fruits of increasing land values that would remain in their shared ownership. Bythat means, the communal aspects of their society would for all time be well endowed; effectively, eachgarden city could be its own self-providing welfare state. It is little wonder that Howard works throughthese ideas in considerable detail, for these were the truly revolutionary pages of To-Morrow. For all the erosion of the original concept, a visit to modern Letchworth can still illustrate just howpowerful this simple concept can be. Although Howard’s own plan for a total profit-sharing scheme wasdismissed at the outset by the founders, something of a compromise was reached, with a balance struckbetween moderate profits for the Garden City company’s shareholders and a proportion to be returned to thecommunity. The only problem in the long term was that the very success of the garden city company laid itopen to the interests of property speculators and development companies, culminating in the 1960s in aturbulent episode involving a hostile takeover. It took a lengthy political and legal wrangle to wrest it back,
196 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMin the form of Letchworth Garden City Corporation. This, in turn, was changed in 1995 to the LetchworthGarden City Heritage Foundation, an Industrial and Provident Society with charitable status (Hardy, 2002). The Foundation is, effectively, the landlord of the 5300 acre Letchworth estate, with assets of some £90m.Although many individual properties are now held in freehold, under a special Scheme of Management theFoundation retains a direct hold over what can be done. Such is the Foundation’s influence that it works intandem with the local authority, North Hertfordshire District Council. While the latter is the local planningauthority, to which applications are submitted, nothing is likely to be approved without the prior agreementof the Foundation. Through effective design guidelines, the Foundation ensures that all that is best about thegarden city is sensibly conserved. More than that, each year the Foundation returns to the community ashare of the proceeds from its holdings that far exceed what any local authority for a town of this size wouldnormally be able to afford. Although Letchworth fell short of Howard’s original vision, it still offers a better environment for livingand working than most (if not all) other places of a comparable size. And this distinction can be attributableto the care which went into the original scheme and, above all, to the inspired thought about communalownership and cumulative wealth. There was nothing complicated about the idea of a Trust for the town;the sad thing is that it has not been widely adopted elsewhere. To make the point, a visit to just about any other modern city tells a story of opportunities lost. Even inBritain’s landmark programme of new towns, the reality proved to be a world away from Howard’s simpleblueprint. In particular, the State proved reluctant to share power effectively with the people who lived inthem or to ensure that rising values were shared. Indeed, the more it became apparent that the assets of thenew towns (as Howard had anticipated with garden cities) were rising in value, the less it became likely thatthe cumulative wealth would be returned to the communities. Thus, in 1959 the Commission for the NewTowns was formed to handle the assets when the original Development Corporations were duly wound up,
POSTSCRIPT 197Letchworth housing and High Street today.and some twenty years later the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, instructed the Commission to sellthe remaining assets to private buyers with most of the proceeds being returned to the Exchequer. Elsewhere in Britain, the story is even more dispiriting. Local government has been emasculated over theyears by successive governments that have become ever more centralist in their exercise of power. Even therecent creation by New Labour of a system of city mayors was undermined at the outset by anunwillingness to allow realistic budgets or discretionary powers to make decisions that really matter at thelocal level. The result of weak local government is that communities are ill served: there is neither strongsub-regional nor regional leadership, nor an ability effectively to provide essential services at a truly locallevel. The situation in London and in other cities when Howard was writing To-Morrow was, of course, onmost if not all counts far worse than it is now; decades of rapid growth in the nineteenth century had notbeen matched by the provision of adequate housing and other services. That is not the point: the fact is thatHoward presented his ideas to address problems at that time and also to ensure that the future would bebrighter for everyone. He was an eternal optimist but also a realist. ‘One should never be excessivelyrealistic in humane plans’, claimed Howard, but, in spite of criticisms that his book was too Utopian the factremains that it was, in fact, wholly practical (Howard, in Beevers, 1988, p. 184). His plans were hard-headed, not outlandish. Where they have been applied, no matter how partially, the gains are there to see.The tragedy is that perfectly sensible, highly accessible ideas have been so widely dismissed, not only at thetime of the publication of To-Morrow but in the years since then. Something of this sense of exasperation was expressed in 1917 in the words of another garden citycampaigner, C.B.Purdom, a contemporary of Frederic Osborn: ‘Think what it would mean to England if,instead of haphazard building and the increase of great towns, the new building were made the occasion ofestablishing fifty or more towns of 50,000 people [larger than Howard’s ideal], centres of civic
198 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMconsciousness and pride, reconstructing local life and custom, and contributing to the richness and varietyof our national life’ (Purdom, 1917, p. 17). Think what it would mean at the start of the twenty-first century, not just in Howard’s England but still morein nations grappling with city-building worldwide, if they could somehow appropriate and build on thequalities Howard so brilliantly brought to the task: a Utopian vision of an altogether better way of livingtogether in cities, coupled with the practical common sense that would make it achievable. Perhaps the reallegacy of To-Morrow is to tell us that if we think that way, combining breadth of vision with hardpracticality on mundane details, we can truly build a urban world almost beyond our present imaginations.
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INDEXNote: Figures (and their captions) are indicated by italic page numbers; ‘H’= ‘Ebenezer Howard’Adams, Thomas 198 Chambers’s Book of Days 117Adelaide (South Australia) 4, 5, 131 Charterville (Oxfordshire) 121administration 87–119 colonization schemes 4, 131agricultural depression 2, 21 communism 123 reaction to 49 cooperative enterprises 115agricultural estate 43–53 cooperative movement 103, 109altruism 169 co-partnerships 103, 109, 111anarchist basis (of H’s vision) 4, 8 cost-benefit analysis 185Australia, garden city/suburb developments 204 cross-subsidization 57, 59avenues and boulevards 37 Crystal Palace 35, 101 Cumbernauld New Town 208Baker, (Sir) Benjamin 51Balfour, Arthur James 113 Darwin, Charles 3, 117Bellamy, Edward 4 Davidge, William 204Binnie, (Sir) Alexander 51 Davidson, Thomas 4, 137Birmingham 89, 181 Davies, Emily 95, 129Blake, William 2, 31 de Soissons, Louis 37, 202Blatchford, Robert 149 development land costs 21, 67Booth, Charles 71 development rights, nationalization of 63Boundary Estate (London) 19 Dickens, Charles 75Bournville (near Birmingham) 4, 6, 39, 69, 133 difficulties considered 121–127Breheny, Michael 157, 212Brentham garden suburb (Ealing, London) 109 economics, H’s grasp of 23, 99, 111, 113, 145British New Towns 207–209, 216 Edwards, Trystan 206 financing of 31, 45, 47, 59, 63, 216 electricity generation systems 85 and legislation 167 Emerson, Ralph Waldo 155, 183 locations 67, 93, 159, 208, 209 environmental thinking (of H) 151, 185Buckingham, James Silk 4, 111, 139, 141 Evans, George Ewart 27Burnham, Daniel 35, 37 expenditure considerations 61–85Cadbury, George 4, 39, 133 Fabian Society 4, 21, 45, 137Calthorpe, Peter 157, 212 factory belt/zone 7, 39Cawston, Arthur 181 ‘Fairman, Frank’ (pseudonym) 145Central Park (in Garden City) 35 farmers’ markets 97, 101Chamberlain, Joseph 3, 89, 181 ‘Farningham, Marianne’ (Mary Anne Hearn) 133 203
204 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMFarrar, Frederick William (Dean of Canterbury) 19 and economics 23, 99, 111, 113, 145financial calculations 7, 33, 65 mistrust of State 63, 157food, long-distance transport of 51 Osborn’s comments about 1, 2, 63, 131Forest Hills Gardens (New York) 63, 205 portrait(s) 1, 11, 201France, garden city/suburb developments 203 Howard, Elizabeth (H’s first wife) 29 Hugo, Victor, Les Misérables 43Garden Cities and Town Planning Association 109, 200, Humphry Ward, Mary Augusta 121 202 Hyndman, Henry M. 2, 3, 137, 147, 153, 173Garden City administration of 87–119 industrial villages 4–5, 7, 39, 69, 133, 203 commercial changes made to concept 33, 89, 147, 198– inventions 2, 69, 143, 155 199 interest rates 83 conflict between Trustees and Board of Management 89 Japan, garden city/suburb developments 204 financing of 7, 45, 113 John Lewis Partnership 103 international developments 202–205 land prices affected by 7, 33, 45 Kelvin, Lord (William Thomson) 185 origin of name 2 Keynes, John Maynard 111 population limit 7, 211 Kidd, Benjamin 145 purchase of land for 21, 45 Kropotkin, (Prince) Peter 2, 4, 8, 25, 49 residential density 33 size 7, 33 Labour Party 21 term misused 200 land municipalization 3, 69, 137Garden City Association 3, 197, 198, 200 Land Nationalization Society 3, 5garden suburbs 37, 63, 71, 109, 143, 200, 203–204 land reform discussions 2–3, 5, 149, 153Garrett, Elizabeth 95, 129 land taxation 3Geddes, Patrick 175 land value, retention by community 7, 31, 33, 45, 69George, Henry 2, 153 Lane, William 125Germany, garden city/suburb developments 1, 127, 203– L’Enfant, Pierre-Charles 37, 39 204 Letchworth Garden City 1, 57, 81, 99, 105, 107, 159, 171,Gibberd, (Sir) Frederick 208 198, 199–200, 201, 214, 215Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 143 Central (Urban District) Council members 119Gorst, (Sir) John Eldon 19 directors’ decision on rents 33, 89, 147Green, John Richard 17 factories 29, 145, 147Greenbelt, Maryland 205 purchase of land for 21, 45 Skittles Inn 105, 200Hall, Peter, ‘social cities’ concept 212, 213 Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation 215Hampstead Garden Suburb 200 Lever, William Hesketh 4, 39, 133Hardie, James Keir 21, 137 libraries 81Harlow New Town 208 Light, (Colonel) William 4, 5, 131Hawthorne, Nathaniel 155, 183 local authoritiesHearn, Mary Anne 133 and central government 177, 216Hellerau Garden City (Germany) 1, 127, 203 conflicts with New Town Development CorporationsHobson, John Atkinson 111 93‘home colonies’ 4, 137 see also municipal administrationhousing cooperatives/communities 111, 210, 211 local food production 51Howard, Ebenezer local welfare provision 7, 33, 45, 215 as Congregationalist lay preacher 29 locational considerations 4, 23, 67 early life 2 London 173–181
205 growth of 3, 167 Paraguay, socialist colony 125 Kingsway development 71 Parker, Barry 5, 37, 133, 198, 199 planning of 61 parks 35, 81 slums 19, 71, 75 parkway concept 37 suburbs 71, 77, 175 Peabody Trust 19London County Council 3, 19, 61, 71, 85, 181 Peacehaven (East Sussex) 200London School Board Perry, Clarence 37, 63 buildings 79 philanthropic institutions 41 members 95 Pointe Gourde principle 63Lowell, James Russell 13, 27 polycentric clusters 7, 157, 163, 211 Port Sunlight (near Liverpool) 4–5, 6, 39, 69, 133Mann, Tom 21, 31, 147 printing history of To-Morrow 1, 197, 198Margarethenhöhe (Germany) 203 pro-municipal undertakings 107–115, 119‘marriage’ of town and country 6, 29, 210 public services, ownership of 85, 87, 91Marshall, Alfred 4, 5, 23, 55, 97, 129, 133 public-houses 105Marshall, Mary Paley 97 Purdom, C.B. 216Marx, Karl 2, 123, 127, 147Metropolitan Board of Works 51, 73, 181 Radburn (New Jersey, US A) 204, 205migration 4, 5, 151 railways 39, 163, 165, 179Mill, John Stuart 2, 3, 129, 135, 173 rates 53Milton Keynes 57, 59, 63, 67, 209, 210 rent 53model-city plans 4, 5, 139, 141 regular rises in 7, 33, 89, 147Morley, john 19, 107 residential density 33, 43Morris, William 2, 5, 127, 147 retail shops 59, 99, 101motor cars, effects of 37, 165, 211 revenue considerations 43–59municipal administration 87–95, 115, 117–119 Richardson, Benjamin W. 43, 67municipal markets 97 road works, avoidance of 73municipal ownership 3, 5, 69, 137 Roberts-Austen, William Chandler 25museums 81 Robson, Edward Robert 79mutual aid societies 107 Robson, William 181 Rookwood, Ralph 157, 212neighbourhood units 37, 59, 63 Rosebery, Lord 19Neville, Charles 200 Ruskin, John 5, 31, 33, 173Neville, Ralph 198New Earswick (near York) 69, 133 sanitation, in rural areas 27New Lanark 69, 133 schools 79, 81New River (Hertfordshire/London) 185 Schumpeter, Joseph 145New Town Development Corporations 59, 93 Scott, Walter 129New Towns Act (1946) 167, 207, 209 Seaside (Florida, USA) 215New Urbanism 213 self-build housing 111, 210, 211New Zealand, colonization of 131 semi-municipal undertakings 97–105, 115 settlement size 7, 157, 211Olmsted, Frederick Law 37, 39 sewage disposal 39, 43, 51Osborn, Frederic 206–207 Shaw, Albert 87 portrait(s) 2, 206 Shaw, George Bernard 2, 17, 45 quoted 1, 2, 63, 131, 207 Shaw-Lefevre, George John 61Ouseley, Gideon Jasper 159, 161 shopping malls 35, 37Owen, Albert Kimsey 125 shorthand writer, H as 2, 19Owens, Susan 157 sinking fund 53, 83
206 TO-MORROW: A PEACEFUL PATH TO REAL REFORMsocial capital 119 Webb, Beatrice 45, 103social cities 155–171 Webb, Sidney 2, 45Social City welfare provision, local 7, 33, 45, 215 modern realization(s) 159, 212, 213 Wells, H.G. 25, 45, 165 origin of concept 4 Welwyn Garden City 37, 107, 159, 201–202 population limit 7, 157 Welwyn Garden City Stores 99, 202Social Democratic Federation 3, 137, 147, 173 Westgarth, William 181socialist experiments 4, 123, 125 windmills 151, 185socio-economic system, Garden City as 8 women’s suffrage 95, 121, 129South Australia, colonization of 4, 131 Wright, Henry 204, 205Spence, Thomas 3, 5, 45, 135, 137 Wythenshawe (Manchester) garden suburb 37, 202Spencer, Henry 2, 3, 5, 135State, H’s views on 63, 157Stein, Clarence 37, 204, 205Stevenage New Town 159, 207suburbs, spread of 71, 107, 175, 179sustainable urban development 7, 157, 211technological advances 149, 151Thatcher, Margaret 59, 63, 215Thomas, Ray 31, 163, 209Three Magnets diagram 6, 23, 25, 143, 212Tillett, Ben 21, 31, 147Tolstoyan community 129Topolobampo Bay colony (Mexico) 125Town and Country Planning Act (1947) 33, 63, 167Town and Country Planning Association 202, 210town estate 55–59town planning, comprehensive 69trams 71, 85, 163Transcendentalist movement 155, 183transport considerations 37, 39, 71, 163, 179Tugwell, Rexford 205unemployment, relief of 113, 171United States, garden city/suburb developments 204–205Unwin, Raymond 5, 29, 61, 109, 133, 198, 199urban densities, factors affecting 19, 67urban land values, fall in 169, 177utilities access to services 73 provision of 41, 85, 91‘utopian’ communes/communities 129, 155Wakefield, Edward Gibbon 3, 4, 5, 131walking-scale communities 7, 157, 211, 215Wallace, Alfred Russel 3Ward, Colin, ‘social cities’ concept 212, 213water supply 27, 85, 161, 183, 185