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C. B. Purdom

The Garden City - A Study in the Development of a Modern Town

Author: C. B. Purdom

First published: 1913 by J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd. (Printed in the Garden City at the Temple Press)

Format: Hardback 9¾" by 7¾" with 330 pages*

* My copy of this rare book is on CD-ROM. The entire book can be seen on the American Libraries Internet Archive website by clicking here. I have used that website as a source for the enlarged images below since the reproduction is much better than on my CD-ROM version. My summary below outlines all the main points in the book and includes most of the pictures.



Houses near Norton Common (T. Friedensen)

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Charles Purdom's own words are quoted in red italics

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V

Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X

Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV

Chapter XVI

On the Origins of Garden City - I
On the Origins of Garden City - II
The Growth of Garden City
Garden City Architecture
Some Typical Garden City Houses

Co-operative Housekeeping in Garden City
Garden City Gardens
The Open Spaces and Rural Belt of Garden City
Churches and Inns
Arts and Receration in Garden City

Garden City Industries
Workmen's Cottages in the Garden City
The Children
Health in the Garden City
Some Questions of Garden City Finance

The Future
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Appendix A Land Tenure in Garden City (Aneurin Williams) (click here)
Appendix B The Planning of Garden City (Raymond Unwin) (click here)
Appendix C The Garden City Company (Harold Craske) (click here)
Appendix D The Public Services of Garden City (A. W. E. Bullmore) (click here)
Appendix E
(I) The Building of Workmen's Cottages in Garden City (H. D. Pearsall)
(II) The Cottage Companies of Garden City
(III) A Simple Hot-water System for Cottages
(click here)
Appendix F Agricultural and Small-holdings in Garden City (H. Burr) (click here)
Appendix G The Garden City in Relation to Local Authorities (Herbert Warren) (click here)
Appendix H How Far have the Original Garden City Ideals been Realised ? (Ebenezer Howard) (click here)
Appendix J Garden City and the Town-planning Movement (Cecil Harmsworth) (click here)
Appendix K
(I) The Garden City Building Regulations
(II) The Form of Lease granted at Garden City
(click here)
List of Illustrations (click here)




From the preface:

It is ten years ago this month since the making of the Garden City of Letchworth was begun, and the writing of this book is an endeavour to give an account of the building of the town and to restate the original ideas that brought it into being...

The aim of those who have established the Garden City has been to defeat the evils inherent in all great cities by an attempt to revive the small town under twentieth-century conditions...

C. B. Purdom. Letchworth, October 1, 1913




(go to contents)

Chapter I - On the Origins of Garden City - I

In this chapter, the author discusses the problems caused by the rise of the industrial towns of the nineteenth century.

There had always been a housing problem since men first made houses, but it was not until the building of the industrial towns that it reached dimensions which made it the most serious menace to the vitality of the race that society has known.

He goes on to describe several practical proposals made in the nineteenth century to build a town fit for the altering conditions of the time, some of which were actually attempted.

Robert Owen, in his 1818 Report to the Committee of the Association for the Relief of the Manufacturing and Labouring Poor, proposed the formation of agricultural and manufacturing villages for 1200 people, and one was actually started in Orbiston, near Motherwell, in 1820, but it failed in 1828.

A number of Village Associations were proposed. In 1845, Mr Moffatt, a London architect proposed to form an association which would erect villages around the city some four to ten miles distant, but the idea was not proceeded with. Another scheme was proposed to form an association to build, at Ilford in Essex, a village with "Air and space, wood and water, schools and churches, shrubberies and gardens, around pretty self-contained cottages, in a group neither too large to deprive it of a country character, not too small to diminish the probabilities of social intercourse." (from Tait's Edinburgh Magazine, 1848).

Plan of the proposed village at Ilford, Essex (1848)

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In 1849, reformer and idealist, James Silk Buckingham, wrote the book National Evils and Practical Remedies, which recommended the building of a model town to absorb the unemployed. Buckingham proposed a "Model-Town Association" which would form a private company to purchase 10,000 acres of land on which a town, to be named "Victoria", would be erected. 1,000 acres of the land would be for houses for 10,000 inhabitants, the remaining 9,000 acres being for factories and agriculture, the whole to be owned and managed by the company. The capital of the company was to be £3,000,000. Non-residents could invest in the company but all residents should have at least one share which could be paid for by instalments. Dividends were to be limited to 10%, with the balance of the profits to be divided among the residents.

Buckingham included in his book a plan for the proposed town, which was to have a square layout. The outer square was to be housing; within that were to be workshops; the centre was to be for public buildings and expensive houses. Manufactories were to be located outside but near to the edge where workers could enjoy the open air.

James Silk Buckingham's plan of the Model Town "Victoria" (1849)

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Buckingham's scheme was not proceeded with. CBP says that Howard claimed he had not seen Buckingham's book (which contained elements similar to Howard's own scheme) until "I had got far on with my project".

CBP quotes health reformer Dr Benjamin Ward Richardson, who, at a congress in Brighton, proposed the building of a "City of Health" which he named Hygeia. Richardson supported Edwin Chadwick's assertion that death rates could be reduced from over 50 to under 5 per thousand annually. Chadwick had, in 1842, produced the report The Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population in which he argued that disease was directly related to living conditions and that there was a desperate need for public health reform.

Richardson's Hygeia was to have 20,000 houses for 100,000 inhabitants on 4,000 acres. There would be three main boulevards running east to west, with others running north to south crossing these, and minor roads off them. All streets would be wide and planted with trees. Houses would have gardens at the back.

CBP continues with discussion of examples where industrialists removed their works from the city to the country and built there a new village to house the workers. The first example given is Saltaire, built by Sir Titus Salt, alpaca manufacturer of Bradford, who created the village (opened in 1853) outside the city near Shipley. [Alpaca is cloth made from the wool of the alpaca which is a smaller relative of the llama.] At Saltaire 800 houses were erected for a population of 3000.

Other examples given are Port Sunlight, begun in 1887 by Sir William H. Lever, who purchased 56 acres outside Birkenhead for new works and a model village; and the village of Bournville founded by George Cadbury in 1889, when he removed his cocoa works from Birmingham to the country.




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Chapter II - On the Origins of Garden City - II

In this chapter, the author takes the story from Ebenezer Howard's 1898 book To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, re-issued in 1902 as Garden Cities of To-morrow, up to 1903, when the first garden city had been founded at Letchworth.

In his book, Howard proposed constructing a town of 32,000 people. An area of 6,000 acres of agricultural land was to be purchased at £40 per acre requiring £240,000 capital to be raised. The estate was to be held in trust, first as security for the debenture holders, and second for the people of the Garden City. A circular layout was proposed, with the town for residences and manufacturers at the centre, surrounded by an agricultural belt which would occupy most of the area of 6,000 acres.

The key element in Howard's proposal was a new method of raising revenue which was different from that used previously in any other municipality. The entire revenue would be from rents. The money would pay interest to the investors, would provide a sinking fund for the eventual repayment of the capital, and would pay for the construction and maintenance of the town.

Howard said that his proposal would stem the tide of immigration from country to town and even turn it back. Opportunities would be available for profitable industries. The health and comfort of workers would be raised by the fresh air and beauty of the country. The project would be a marrying of town and country.

Mr Howard, like Buckingham, proposed that his scheme should be carried out, not by the state as a piece of socialism, but by private persons, combining philanthropy with business.

The main difference between Howard's and Buckingham's proposals, was that Buckingham proposed that agriculture and manufacturing was to be controlled by the town authority, whereas Howard's was a scheme based on the freedom of private enterprise for trade and industry by the inhabitants.

Despite criticism from some quarters, Howard's timely and attractive scheme attracted many supporters, and in 1899 the Garden City Association was formed with the object of promoting Howard's project by means of lectures, and ultimately produce a practical project based on it. Committees were appointed to consider aspects of the proposal including a sites committee to consider a possible site for the garden city. However, an early resolution in May 1900 to create a company with £50,000 capital was found to be premature and was put in abeyance. More discussion was needed.

In 1901, Ralph Neville, K. C., became chairman of the council of the Association, and Thomas Adams became its first paid secretary. Two conferences were organised, the first at Port Sunlight at which 300 delegates attended, the second at Bournville where nearly 1000 came. These proved to be decisive as propaganda since people could see in concrete terms what was possible, if on a smaller scale than that proposed, and they were impressed by the support of the wealthy and admired Lever and Cadbury. Neville pushed home the importance of the financial basis of the garden city idea, which was to use the "unearned increment" or increase in land values which was happening due to the growth of the towns, and which had hitherto been for the benefit of private speculators, for the advantage of the citizens themselves.

In December of 1901 the council resumed its resolve to form a company to raise sufficient funds to secure a suitable site.

In June of the following year [1902] a meeting was held at the Crown Room, Holborn Restaurant, with Earl Grey in the chair, when the speakers were Mr Ralph Neville, Mr W. H. Lever, Sir William Richmond, the Bishops of Rochester and Hereford, Mr Aneurin Williams, and others, and approval was given to the creation of a pioneer company for the purpose of securing a site and of preparing a scheme for its development as a Garden City.

On 16th July, 1902, the Garden City Pioneer Company was registered, with a capital of £20,000. The memorandum of association was:

"To promote and further the distribution of the industrial population upon the land upon the lines suggested in Mr Ebenezer Howard's book, entitled Garden Cities of To-morrow (published by Swan, Sonnenschein & Co., Ltd., in 1902), and to examine, test, and obtain information, advice, and assistance with regard to the matters therein contained, with the view of forming in any part of the United Kingdom 'Garden Cities' (that is to say): towns or settlements for agricultural, industrial, commercial, and residential purpose, or any of them, in accordance with Mr Howard's scheme, or any modification thereof."

The directors were:

Ralph Neville K. C. (chairman)
Edward Cadbury, manufacturer
Ebenezer Howard, author of Garden Cities of To-morrow
T. H. W. Idris, J.P., mineral water manufacturer
Howard D. Pearsall, M.Inst.C.E.
Franklin Thomasson, J.P., cotton spinner
Thomas Purvis Ritzema, J.P., newspaper proprietor
Aneurin Williams, ironmaster.

The list of first subscribers included George Cadbury, Alfred Harmsworth, W. H. Lever, and J. P. Thomasson, each of whom invested £1,000.

The prospectus frankly declared that the investors would receive no dividends and that their money may be lost, but that if a company was ultimately formed (to build a Garden City), the original investors would be entitled to shares in that company equal to their investment plus interest at 4%. The prospectus received much interest being advertised for free in many newspapers. By December 1902, the whole £20,000 was fully subscribed.

The company immediately began searching for an estate to purchase. Several were considered, but in April 1903, Herbert Warren brought to their attention an estate near Hitchin, known as the Letchworth Estate. Although only 1,014 acres in size, there were adjoining properties which could be bought bringing the total up to nearly 4,000 acres. This site in Hertfordshire seemed eminently suitable.

In July 1903, contracts were signed for the purchase of 3818 acres of land from 15 different owners for a total cost of £155,587, just over £40 per acre. Secrecy had to be maintained in case one of the owners got wind of the scheme and raised his price. An effort was made to raise £50,000 to complete the purchase, of which £40,000 was subscribed by directors and their friends. The balance of the purchase price was left on mortgage. The directors were those of the Pioneer Company plus

H. B. Harris, solicitor
W. H. Lever, of Port Sunlight.

CBP quotes from the prospectus at length, beginning:

"The company has been formed to develop an estate of about 3,800 acres, between Hitchin and Baldock, on the line suggested by Mr Ebenezer Howard, in his book entitled Garden Cities of To-morrow..."

The prospectus continues by saying the root idea of the book is to deal with overcrowding in towns and depopulation of rural districts. The only satisfactory way to do this is to start afresh with a new town. The site is thirty-five miles from London, close to the GNR London to Cambridge line, the GNR London to the north line, and the MR Bedford to Hitchin line. The population is to be limited to 30,000 most of the land being retained for agricultural purposes. Dividends to shareholders will be limited to 5%. The company will negotiate with manufacturers and prospective tenants, and once plans for laying out the estate have been completed, the remainder of the share capital will be offered to provide for the balance of the purchase money to be paid off and for funds for development.

On 9th October, 1903 Earl Grey presided over the formal opening of the estate attended by 1,000 shareholders and their guests, who met in the midst of the countryside, three miles from any town, to celebrate the beginning of a new movement in English life. The Pioneer Company was wound up at the end of 1903 having completed its purpose.

The Garden City Estate and the Surrounding Country.
The area marked on this map includes that of the additional land,
to the south of Willian Road, purchased in 1912.

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A Plan Showing the Areas of the Original Estates
Purchased by the Garden City Company in 1903.

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First Garden City Ltd was registered at Somerset House on 1st September, 1903 with authorised capital of £300,000. Seven days later a prospectus was issued inviting subscriptions for £80,000 share capital.




(go to contents)

Chapter III - The Growth of Garden City

The author points out that Howard describes the Garden City as a completed entity. Howard does not outline the process or timescale required to achieve that. CBP also makes the point that many have criticised the scheme from the point of view that a newly-created town with perfect formality will have no 'soul' and, therefore, people would not want to live there.

In practice these difficulties did not arise, for the town grew slowly, shaped by the idiosyncrasies of men. A pre-arranged system did not exist apart from a few principles which had to be adhered to: there must be a settled plan; the freehold must be retained; overcrowding must be avoided; the qualities of the country must be preserved; the dividend to shareholders could not exceed 5%.

Parker & Unwin's Original Plan of Garden City
as first published (April 1904)

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Two sets of architects prepared plans, but the main ideas of the one by Messrs Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin were adopted over the other one by Halsey Ricardo and Professor W. R. Lethaby.

The plan is for a town of 30,000 inhabitants on 1,250 acres (5 houses or 24 persons per acre). Hitchin (10,000 inhabitants) is 1½ to the west of the boundary, and Baldock (2,000) immediately to the east. The site is bisected by the Hitchin-Cambridge railway line. The Hitchin-Baldock-Royston-Cambridge road runs through the estate to the south of the railway line, while the Great North Road skirts it to the south-east.

The main road of the town (Broadway), 100 feet wide, will run for about a mile from the Hitchin Road to Letchworth Railway Station, but only part has been constructed. The main highway is Norton Way, constructed in 1905.

A vote of shareholders in 1904 decided the name of the town from a short-list of six which were:

Garden City
Letchworth (Garden City)
Wellworth (derived from the village names Willian, Wilbury and Letchworth)
Alseopolis (from the Greek for 'garden' and 'city')

Letchworth (Garden City) was chosen by a large majority. The name derives from the Saxon lecha weorthig which means "the farm by the rivulet".

In 1904, the first roads, the waterworks, and the first part of the sewerage scheme were built. The laying out of building plots on existing roads and on the parts of the new roads which had been built was started, and in the first summer 50 plots were let and building started. The policy was for early development to be in the outer area where roads already existed. Building regulations based on the Local Government Board model were prepared. Elevations and plans for all buildings had to be approved by the company.

In 1905 the building of the gas works and the private railway sidings were begun. The electricity supply did not come for another three years and only the central business area is as yet connected (1913).

The company needed to retain the agricultural tenants for their revenue, and all but one entered into an agreement that the company would only take one tenth of land in any one year and on three months notice with reasonable compensation.

A memorandum issued to shareholders in 1904 stated:

"The Garden City Company in proposing to found a new town for industrial and residential purposes, is not entering into a land speculation; it does not desire to reap for itself the profit which will accrue from the conversion of agricultural land into building land .....

"...... it [the profit beyond the 5% to shareholders] will go to the tenants in one way or another.

"This can only be accomplished if the company in the first place maintains the full control over the development of the town ...

"As the greater part of this increased value is due to the social activities of the people as a whole (i.e. their collective capacity) it is in this capacity that they should receive the benefit, and not as private individuals.

"In order to secure these ends it is considered preferable to adopt a leasehold system of tenure ...."

In 1905, the Country Gentleman and Spectator newspapers organised the Cheap Cottages Exhibition to prove that a rural labourer's cottage could be built for £150 to help solve the problem of rural depopulation. The directors of the Garden City Company readily offered a site for the exhibition, and 121 cottages were built with various designs and materials on an area north of the station. 80,000 people visited the exhibition during the three months it was open in the summer of 1905.

CBP thinks the exhibition did harm to the town and should be best forgotten. Despite the interest in the town which was generated, he says it gave the town the character of a village of tiny week-end cottages not well built, and a name for cranky buildings. The site was ill-chosen and the cottages badly-arranged.

The first residents of the town were professional and business men with their families who took houses on the existing roads. The working-class had to wait until the industrial area was developed.

These early residents were, for the most part, the enthusiasts who had been looking forward for years to the founding of the town. They came to it in a spirit of adventure, they discovered it as though it were a new land...

They hoped to revise all, or nearly all, social institutions; they discussed, as middle-class people will discuss, the reform of religion, art, and social policy, and the application of what they call the best modern knowledge to education and all the affairs of life...

As practical men they went by the train to town every day and did their business; but at night, and on Sundays, they met together in one another's houses and talked as men talk all over the modern world....

They found themselves set down between three or four little villages in which no new houses had been erected for generations...

The romance of their situation, standing at the beginning of a new movement in English life, was such that they had been men and women of curious stuff if they had not been affected by it...

Lytton Avenue

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Icknield Way

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In 1905, the first industries were established, being the Heatly-Gresham Engineering Company, and the Garden City Press, Ltd., followed by others. In 1907, printers and bookbinders J. M. Dent & Sons, and W. H. Smith came to the town, as well as the Arden Press.

The population was now about 4,300. The many more practical newcomers, tradesmen and artisans, swamped the first-comers with their idealistic notions, but soon entered into the spirit. Social activities became more organised and many committees sprang into existence.

The early residents had created a Residents' Council which communicated with the Garden City Company, but it failed to gain recognition. In 1908, the old three parishes (Letchworth, Norton and Willian) were merged by order of the Local Government Board, creating a new parish of Letchworth with a council of 15 members. The first council was elected in April with chairman the Right Hon. Sir John E. Gorst. A parish council has limited powers, and as the Garden City Company continued to develop the town it assumed many of the duties of a local authority, working harmoniously with the parish, rural district and county councils. The formation of an Urban District Council was not deemed to be necessary at this stage.

A Plan of Garden City, Showing the Town West of Norton Way (1913)

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A Plan of Garden City, Showing the Town East of Norton Way (1913)

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Table showing accumulated totals for numbers and value of new buildings, and for population, by year (1904-1912)
Year ending
Dec 31st
Number of
New Buildings
Estimated Value of
New Buildings
* (including factories and workshops)

Station Place

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Norton Way

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Chapter IV - Garden City Architecture

Hillshott: A Street of Small Houses (T. Friedensen)

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The author states that the idea of the promoters of the Garden City was not to build an artistic town, but was to effect the improvement of individual housing. They were not preoccupied by questions of æsthetics.

Norton Way South

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Norton Way North

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In 1904, before building commenced, the Company issued a pamphlet giving suggestions by which beauty might secured to the buildings of the town. The author quotes directly most of this pamphlet:

"General Suggestions and Instructions Regarding Buildings other than Factories on the Garden City Estate"

"The directors of First Garden City , Ltd., are convinced that the high standard of beauty, which they desire to attain in Garden City, can only result from simple, straightforward building, and from the use of good and harmonious materials. They desire as far as possible to discourage useless ornamentation...

The report goes on to say that a building line will be suggested, but alterations to it will be considered. A sunny aspect for the main rooms is more important than fronting the house to the road. Ample frontage would be provided, and

" is hoped that builders will not think of erecting those common, unsatisfactory rows of narrow houses, with unsightly 'backs' projecting behind to the exclusion of air and sunshine for which the chief reason has been the high cost of frontage in existing towns."

The w.c. should be within the house. One quality of material should be used throughout rather than having a faced front with inferior materials for sides or back. Roofs had to be of red tiles, slate being prohibited, which CBP thinks

. . . . . was one of the chief elements in making whatever beauty the town possesses.

In the early days the consulting architects to the company, Messrs Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin, set out to exert some control over the general design of the houses and to enforce the æsthetic interpretation of the [Company's] building regulations, but that attempt soon weakened as objections came to be raised to it, and for some years it has practically disappeared.

The author quotes a song from the Garden City Pantomime to illustrate his view that the problem in architecture is not the conflict of styles, but deficiency in construction:

"When the lamps are lit and the shadows flit, and a balmy breeze from Norway
Is dodging the screen you've erected between the fireplace and the doorway,
When the rain and the sleet and the hailstones beat through every chink of the casement,
And the plaster falls from the mouldy walls, and the damp wells up from the basement,
Perhaps you reflect that your architect was a bit too Arts-and-Crafty,
And you wish that your lot had been cast in a cot that wasn't quite so drafty."

This was intended to be an exaggeration and is relevant to new building everywhere. The author thinks that the problem is partly due to the parsimonious client, but also due to the modern architect being too much of a drawing-office man out of touch with materials, and content to design the elevation leaving the details to assistants. He quotes from a recent book by Professor W. R. Lethaby who says:

"We have to aim at a standard of ordinary quality; damp, cracked, and leaky 'architecture' must give way to houses as efficient as a bicycle."

Howard Hall and Girls' Club, Norton Way

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Chapter V - Some Typical Garden City Houses

Meadow Way

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This chapter is devoted to the architecture of individual houses which have been built in the town. The author says:

... the buildings show quite plainly that they are not the work of the speculator.

... How delightful it is to find a town in which all the houses are products of individual taste , good, bad, and indifferent, but interesting and alive !

... The houses have all been built by private persons for investment or for their own occupation. Fifty per cent. of the residents live in houses of their own. (This excludes artisans and the working-classes generally. A proportion of them have their own cottages, purchased through building societies or under the Small Dwellings Acquisitions Act, but the majority are housed by cottage building societies.)

The author argues that every man should own his own house. [The Garden City] is making the private ownership of the house normal to the mass of men.

The author dwells on the excitement of having one's own house built to live in - choosing the site, getting plans from the architect, getting estimates from the builder, and watching the building going up.


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A Cottage without a Front Fence, on Icknield Way

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He says that the typical Garden City house is a small one - from six to twelve rooms [!] those building them not being rich. He talks of the mistake of furnishing a small house with over-large and hideous Victorian furniture. A new style of furniture is needed and it is possible to have a good deal of built-in furniture in a house built for oneself.

The author describes briefly one uncompleted Garden City house, the Cloisters, designed by W. H. Cowlishaw, being the largest private house in the town. It is arranged both for public gatherings and as a residence.

The Swimming Bath at the Cloisters

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The remainder of this chapter comprises descriptions, plans and photographs (interiors and exteriors) of sixteen Garden City houses, or groups of houses, chosen by the author to be typical. Most are by architects practising in the town. He mentions other architects with work in the town, namely, M. H. Baillie Scott, Charles Spooner, Halsey Ricardo, Geoffrey Lucas, and C. Harrison Townsend. The author mentions the attention paid, in Garden City houses, to aspect, in order to secure maximum sunlight and the best view for the principal rooms.

(1) A Pair of Cottages on Letchworth Lane

Parker & Unwin, Letchworth

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Among the earliest new buildings erected were those designed by the men who intended to live in them. One is occupied by a man who designs his own furniture. The living room of this cottage is illustrated.

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(2) A Pair of Houses on Baldock Road

H. Clapham Lander, A.R.I.B.A., Letchworth

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These houses, which date from the town's beginning, are for families.

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(3) A Pair of Houses on Norton Way

Allen Foxley, Letchworth

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The houses overlook Norton Common to the west. The view shown has many windows facing west. The pilaster construction was thought necessary for strength and uses purple Hemel Hempstead bricks.

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(4) A House on Spring Road

Aylwin O. Cave, Letchworth

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On the corner of Spring Road and Sellershott, this house is made from hand-made local bricks, with hollow walls, red facings and hung tiles. The garden has a sunken tennis lawn backed by great elms.

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(5) A House on Garth Road

Parker & Unwin, Letchworth

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Sliding doors are used in this house, "Glaed Hame", so that the living room, dining room and hall can be used as one large room. The views to south and south-west are over Letchworth Park to wooded country.

There is no underground drainage; instead earth closets on Dr Poore's system are used. [Dr Poore brought out the second edition of his book Rural Heigene, in 1894. His method involved collecting the poo in a container of garden compost, adding a scoopful on top to keep down flies and smells, then disposing the whole in a trench in the garden over which vegetables were grown.]

Other drain water and rain water was led away by open iron channels to the kitchen garden where movable perforated channels distribute the water.

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(6) A Cottage on Wilbury Road

A. Randall Wells, Westminster, S. W.

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The atmosphere of this little cottage on the Wilbury Road holds the fragrance that comes from old and delicate things. In the garden are the favourite flowers of the cottager growing in fine disorder and in abundance; and in the rooms are old china and simple furniture set off with gay curtains. Who would believe that eight years ago the plough travelled where this cottage stands ? It is difficult to realise that the place is so young , for there is nothing of that harsh bareness which belongs to new buildings and is so hard to cover and wear down. The truth is that where a cottage has the daily presence of its owner, and where there is ceaseless effort to convert the walls of a house into a home and empty land into a fruitful garden, much can be done in little time. It is the personal touch that tells. This cottage is a witness that simple things are all that are needed in making the perfect home.

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(7) Another Cottage on Wilbury Road

Bennett & Bidwell, Letchworth

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This cottage is on the south side of Wilbury Road where the ground slopes away to the common, and the aspects from its windows is at times one of the most delightful to be imagined. The little coppice of fir trees at the bottom of the field where the common begins is a source of constant pleasure, for the trees are always full of colour; in the winter they create a picture of soft tones that would make the house worth living in even if it were less comfortable than it is.

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(8) A House on Croft Lane

C. H. Hignett, Letchworth

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A few Letchworth houses have roofs in thatch. The "garden room" of this house can be opened to the hall in summer.

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(9) A House on South View

Bennet & Bidwell, Letchworth

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(10) A House on Norton Road

Bennett & Bidwell, Letchworth

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(11) A House on Wilbury Road

Parker & Unwin, Letchworth

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(12) A House on Hitchin Road

Smith & Brewer, Gray's Inn Square, W. C.

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(13) A House on Garth Road

C. M. Crickmer, F.R.I.B.A., Letchworth

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(14) A House on Broadway

Allen Foxley, Letchworth

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(15) Four Houses, South View

C. M. Crickmer, F.R.I.B.A., Letchworth

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(16) Another House on Norton Way

H.Clapham Lander, A.R.I.B.A., Letchworth

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A House on Letchworth Lane
From a Drawing by R. P. Gossop

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Chapter VI - Co-operative Housekeeping in Garden City

In this chapter, the author describes a communal living scheme, started by Ebenezer Howard, and set up in co-operative buildings called "Homesgarth". When completed there will be thirty two flats and cottages arranged in a quadrangle, around administrative buildings which include communal dining-hall, tea-room, reading-room, smoking-room, the kitchen, and accommodation for the domestic staff.

Homesgarth: In the Quadrangle

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The units are with one to three bedrooms, and the rents charged includes rates, hot water (from a central source), heating, garden maintenance, window cleaning, use of the common rooms, and staff salaries. The charges for meals, which can be served in the central dining-room or the tenant's own house, are low because the salaries are already taken care of in the rents.

Ground Plan of the Co-operative Houses

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The advantage of the scheme to the mistress is that she does not have to hire or accommodate a domestic servant (maid), and is freed from much of the drudgery of an ordinary house which centres around the kitchen. The services of the staff are available at fixed charges. The maid also benefits from this arrangement, the nature of her work and house being defined, and being able to ...

... associate with others of her own age and calling. Domestic service under these conditions assumes a new interest, and appeals to a better class of girl...

For the complete development of the opportunities provided by the scheme, the tenants need to possess and to cultivate a friendly spirit, and the common rooms should be a centre of common life and pleasant social intercourse. But it is essentially a group of separate homes, and the preservation of the privacy of each of those homes is the very first need... the rules and internal organisation of the scheme are directed towards that end. The personality of the management is, therefore, a very great factor in the success of the undertaking.

Homesgarth: The Dining Room

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Homesgarth: A Private Sitting Room

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Chapter VII - Garden City Gardens

In this chapter, the author waxes lyrical on the merits of gardens in general, quoting such authors as John Evelyn and Virgil. He thinks the gardens in the Garden City reflect the spirit of the town. The only concrete information I can find in the chapter is mundane and is in the next paragraph.

All residential plots in the Garden City had to have sufficient garden space in the plan. Furthermore, the building regulations said "The garden attached to every house shall be dug over, laid out, and planted ... [and kept] in proper and neat order and condition." The regulations also stipulated that the front gardens were not to have high, close fences.

A Garden on Croft Lane

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Chapter VIII - The Open Spaces and Rural Belt of Garden City

Plan Showing the Rural Belt [surrounding the inner town area]

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In this chapter, the author describes the chief open space of the town - Norton Common - which is seventy acres of woodland, once common land awarded to certain cottages of Norton in 1798, but long since lost to their masters. As with the previous chapter, there is much sentiment.

The Rural Belt at Willian

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Chapter IX - Churches and Inns

The author tells us that the three new churches in Garden City are but missions awaiting the time when the growth of the town will enable larger building to be made.

The Catholic church of St Hugh, in Pixmore Way, was designed by Charles H. Spooner, F.R.I.B.A.

The Church of St Hugh in Pixmore Way

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The author describes in detail the interior of this Church, which he thinks is one of the most interesting new buildings in the town from an artistic point of view. It is early Christian or Byzantine in style. He also mentions the priest in charge, Adrian Fortescue, who, with Mr Spooner, designed the vestments and other decoration. The Church was named after St Hugh of Lincoln (1186-1200) in whose diocese Letchworth was. At its opening service in 1908, the holy liturgy was sung by an Arab archimandrite (Greek Church equivalent of an abbot) according to his rite.

St Michael and All Angels' Church, Norton Way, was by architects E. H. Hazell and C. M. Crickmer, of basilica design, and having paintings inside by Emily Ford.

The Church of St Michael and All Angels, Norton Way

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The Free Church, Norton Way, was built by non-conformists in 1905.

The Free Church, Norton Way

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The three old churches on the estate are built of flint and date from the twelfth century. They are (in the north) the Church of St Nicholas, Norton, and (in the south) Letchworth Church and Willian Church. The author describes the history of these three.

The Church of St Nicholas, Norton

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At the time of the purchase of the estate, there were two inns existing - the Fox Inn or Willian Arms at Willian, and the Three Horseshoes at Norton, and also two beer houses at the edge of the estate.

Letchworth Hall is a Jacobean manor house which has been converted into an hotel by the Garden City Company. The original manor was in existence at the time of the Doomsday survey, and the author goes into its history at some length.

Letchworth Hall: a Bit of the Jacobean Building

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There was agitation for the provision of an inn at the town centre, and in 1907 the directors held a poll of householders (with married householders receiving two votes - one for the man and one for the wife) on the question. The result was 544 in favour and 631 against a public house near the railway station. Further polls produced the same result, the latest being in 1912 with an increased majority against. The author deprecates modern public houses (although not inns) and this sentiment was evidently shared by the citizens, especially the women.

The Three Horseshoes Inn, Norton

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The Skittles Inn

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In 1907, an inn without beer, the Skittles Inn, was built by Aneurin Williams and Edward Cadbury and has become popular. Those requiring a drink have to take the walk to Norton or to Willian.

The Billiard Room at the Skittles Inn

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Chapter X - Arts and Recreation in Garden City

The author describes and praises the church music in the Roman church of St Hugh. This is mostly in plainsong but also in four-part unaccompanied polyphony of the baroque Italian or German composers. He mentions that Dr Fortescue (the priest in charge) has also composed for that church.

Next, Mr Purdom describes the Letchworth Dramatic Society, a company of amateur players who hope to establish a theatre in the town. They have put on 26 plays to date, 8 of them original works, mostly in the hall of the Pixmore Institute. Included in these plays were The Garden City Pantomimes of 1909, 1910, and 1911, which were not pantomimes at all, but satires on the ideas of Garden City and local people connected with these ideas. C. B. Purdom himself wrote the words; the music and songs were by Charles Lee. They were a trifle daring and impudent, it is true; but they were none the worse for that.

The author quotes from the statement of objectives of the Society:

... in spite of the popular prejudice that amateur theatricals are usually rather frivolous entertainments designed for the amusement of the friends of the players ....

..... The Letchworth Dramatic Society encourages amateur playing for its own sake, believing that it is a healthy and enjoyable recreation; believing also that in the following by amateurs of the art of playing, for their own entertainment and the entertainment of the town in which they live, work of real value can be done, any loss of technical brilliance being made up for by the sincerity and freshness of their work. ...

The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet (Bernard Shaw)
Letchworth Dramatic Society

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Chapter XI - Garden City Industries

A Garden City factory, Works Road
The Lacre Motor Car Company Limited

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The author says The industrial development of Garden City has kept pace with its residential development, if it has not slightly outstripped it ... The factories are mostly in an area to the east of the town, but with the undesirability of extending too close to Baldock, a new area has been started in the north-west of the town for light trades.

A Plan of the Industrial Area (East of the Town)

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A Plan of the Industrial Area (West of the Town)

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Printing, bookbinding and engineering are the chief industries. The author gives reasons why industry has come to the town. Land, and hence rent, is cheap; services are laid on, transports available, and healthy houses for the workpeople available. This is illustrated by quotations from a speech by C. H. St John Hornby of W. H. Smith Ltd, regarding the relocation of their bookbinding works from London to Garden City.

The author himself carried out a survey asking managers why industries came to Letchworth and what advantages they have found there. The reasons given included nearness to London, room for expansion, moderate rents, health and better life for employees, and desire to participate in the Garden City ideals.

The author goes on to describe briefly some of the industries, including printing and bookbinding (W. H. Smith, Arden Press, J. M. Dent, and others), automotive engineering, seed testing and packing (Country Gentleman's Association, Ltd), Spirella Corsets, St Edmundsbury weaving works, the Iceni Pottery, and others.

The author concludes that the aim of improving the position of the worker has been achieved without infringing on personal liberty.

...there is no interference with his leisure, and there is not the slightest suggestion of paternalism, benevolence, or philanthropy in the atmosphere of the place, such as might exist or might be feared in a smaller scheme or in a town dominated by a single employer.




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Chapter XII - Workmen's Cottages in the Garden City

Quoting from this chapter:

How to build a healthy cottage at a rent the workman could afford to pay was a problem which the directors of the Garden City had early to face. It was a serious problem, for they depended for the success of their enterprise upon a large working population. In meeting it they had to be practical, while putting as high as possible the demands of hygiene. They had no onerous restrictions imposed upon them by the by-laws of the local authority, but they had to recognise a standard which would prevent the possibility of every sort of insanitary condition. They did this by means of their building regulations. These regulations do not hinder cheap building; hut they provide the necessary sanitary minimum (the area of plots, the cubic content of rooms, lighting and ventilation, drainage, and so forth) for sound building.

Workmen's Cottages at Shott Lane
Letchworth Housing Society, Ltd.

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Lytton Avenue

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The standard type of the smallest Garden City cottage may be taken to be one containing living-room, scullery, and three bedrooms, built of the local brick, nine-inch walls covered with cement rough-cast, tiled roof, one of a block of four or six; costing complete, with fencing, drainage, gas, water, paths, concrete yard, and garden, from £150 to £155 ; let at an inclusive rental of 5s. 6d. per week (£14 6s. per annum). With a parlour in addition the extra rent is from 6d. to 1s. per week. This rent shows a net return of 4 per cent, on the cost. These cottages would have a little less than a twelfth of an acre of garden and in most cases allotments are available close at hand for those who desire them.

Following this paragraph is a table showing a breakdown for 189 cottages built by Letchworth Cottages and Buildings, Ltd, showing rents charged and accommodation provided. Only 12 have separate bathrooms according to the table. In 1911, an inspection of the cottages was made and the opinions of tenants invited. The tenants were well satisfied, but criticisms included lack of cupboard space, ill-fitting and draughty doors and windows, and absence of a shed.

The aim of the founders of the Garden City was not to provide for the very poorest class of the community. That is a problem of peculiar and special difficulty which was outside the original scope of the scheme. The problem of industrial housing, to deal with which Garden City was projected, is that of the workman who can afford to pay a fair rent, but is unable to get decent accommodation.

Lowest paid labour was required by industries in the town, and such people have taken cheap, poor quality rented housing in the surrounding towns and villages, particularly in Hitchin and Baldock.

Workmen's Cottages at Ridge Road
Garden City Tenants, Ltd.

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Workmen's Cottages at Rushby Mead
Howard Cottage Society, Ltd.

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Workmen's Cottages at Common View
Letchworth Cottage Buildings, Ltd.

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The author points out that a private individual can obtain a loan from the Public Works Loan Board for not more than two-thirds of the cost and at a minimum of £4 7s. 2½d. per cent over 40 years, the usual terms being at a higher rate and longer period. The local authority can borrow the whole cost over 60 years at 4 per cent. The cheapest housing can only be provided by the local authority. At Garden City, the local authority is Hitchin Rural District Council which built 4 cottages in 1912. The land was leased from the Garden City Company at £5 17s. 10p (for the 4 cottages). The cottages were designed by the council surveyor. The £560 cost was obtained from the Public Works Loan Board. The rent charged was 4s. 6d. per week for each cottage.

Workmen's Cottages Built by Hitchin Rural District on Icknield Way

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At Garden City an attempt was made by one of the cottage companies to secure the good use of the cottages by offering a prize of a weeks rent to the householder's wife who kept the cottage in decent condition, clean, well ventilated with the signs of some care for the property. Lady judges inspected the cottages after notice had been given to the tenants, and marks were awarded under various heads, tenants securing a certain percentage of marks receiving the prize. The attempt was not, on the whole, successful. Many good tenants did nor care to have their homes inspected, and most of the bad ones naturally were reluctant. The inspection, therefore, did not achieve the desired object.

The Rodding-eye System of House drainage

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Chapter XIII - The Children

Norton Road County School: A Geological Lesson on Icknield Way

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The author illustrates the advantageous effect on the health of children living in Garden City as compared with those in cities, by quoting some statistics from Vital Statistics by Dr Arthur Newsholme. Of 872,767 children born in England and Wales in 1912, 82,939 died in their first year. The proportion in Garden City is a little over half the national figure. It is not only the infant mortality rate, but the health and stature of the surviving children which is affected by the better living conditions.

Instead of fifty to eighty houses to the acre, in Garden City we have a maximum of twelve; instead of insanitary, inconvenient, and sunless dwellings we have cottages with gardens; instead of crowded streets to play in, the children have the fields.

The first education committee of Garden City, had ambitions for ideal schools with small class sizes, and changed curriculum, but did not succeed in its objectives due to inadequate funding. However, the Garden City company did give two acres in Norton Way for a County Elementary School. The author describes the layout of this school, where all classrooms had good light and ventilation, where cloisters enabled access to the central hall, and where the central quadrangle was available for breaks in the open air.

The Gardening Class at a Garden City School

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The County School at Norton

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The author continues with an account of private schools which he says were many and excellent. He describes Letchworth School, under its head J. H. N. Stephenson, built in 1909, (but founded in 1905 in temporary premises as a school for all children, which aim failed due to lack of funds). It was co-educational and intended to provide for children from kindergarten through to final preparation for university or professional careers. It has 53 pupils, three-quarters boys, with accommodation for boarders.

Letchworth School

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Chapter XIV - Health in the Garden City

Garden City Pastoral (T. Friedensen)

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The author quotes figures for general death rate of 8.0 for Garden City compared with 13.0 for England and Wales as a whole in 1912. He attributes the national decline in death rate between 1861 and 1912 to the health reforms begun by Edwin Chadwick, mainly improvements to drainage and water supply, but also housing. He points out increases in death rate in times of smoky fog, a problem not encountered in Garden City.

The principles observed in the development of the town, the restriction of its size, the limitation of the number of houses to each acre, and the regulations as to the size of rooms and gardens, are the means by which Garden City brings back health to the town. It abolishes daily travelling for the worker, it increases his leisure, and it gives to him an opportunity to enjoy open-air pursuits. The Garden City brings the country into the town, and makes all the healthful and sweet qualities of country life part of the life of the town.

The author points out the importance of a hygienic milk supply to health. In the case of Garden City, the farms which supply the milk are owned by the Garden City Company, which is in a unique position. Some farms began by distributing their own milk, but distribution of the milk is mainly by dealers. The author argues for a central organisation to supervise production, a central dairy and distribution. He also calls for the establishment of a central slaughterhouse.




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Chapter XV - Some Questions of Garden City Finance

The First Garden City, Ltd., which is the owner of the freehold of the land on which the town is built, as well as the organisation which has developed the place and provided its public services, is a joint-stock company registered under the Companies Acts. It is governed by a memorandum of association, which is practically unalterable, and by articles of association, which may be altered at any time by its members, and contain the regulations for the conduct of the company’s affairs.

All the money has come from private sources - none from government. The authorised share capital is £300,000 in £1 and £5 shares. The company did not propose to undertake the whole of the building itself the capital being inadequate for that. The operations of the company were not speculative. The return was limited to 5 per cent according to the memorandum of association.

The directors of the company, and the great majority of the shareholders, being public-spirited men who had embarked upon the undertaking with the idea of performing a public service, did not wish to secure to themselves or their successors the full advantages to be derived from the scheme. Their intention was to develop the town in the interests of its future inhabitants, and to secure to those inhabitants, after the payment of a reasonable interest on the money expended, the results of the prosperity of the place.

The author attributes the shortcomings of architectural consistency and slowness of development to the inadequacy of the share capital which, in any case, was not quickly taken up. With more money the company could itself have erected housing and even factories.

The fifteen estates which make up the area of the Garden City were purchased in 1903 for £155,587. The existing farm buildings and cottages were in poor repair, and the company has spent money on them. In addition, it has built a few cottages, two factories, and with the construction of highways, sewerage schemes, water and electrical works, it has spent £347,389 (up to September 1912). The nucleus of the town came into being, and the community has erected houses, factories and public buildings.

The growth in population caused an increase in the value of the land in excess of the actual money spent on it - the "unearned increment". An independent valuation in September 1907, showed a net capital profit of £97,047 6s. 3d. This confirmed the belief of the founders that the undertaking was financially sound, and gave proof of valuable security for the shareholders, but because the profit was not realisable, could not be taken into the profit and loss account.

In the author's opinion, the profit figure was actually an underestimate, because the expenditure on water, gas and electricity works (over £37,000) should have been excluded from expenditure, because the valuers were only interested in land values and had themselves excluded it.

The initial rental returns were 2 per cent which did not cover the mortgage payments, and for the first seven years the company showed a loss. A readjustment of the accounts was made, a result of which was to show a subsequent profit reaching a large amount by 1912. The adjustment involved writing off the general development account against the increased value of the land. This was criticised in financial papers at the time, but is justified by the author who points out that the land was leased for 99 years and not sold. He takes advertising charges as an example. If you were buying land and advertising it for sale, the cost of the advertising would go to revenue. Conversely, advertising in Garden City for new lessees contributes to the increased value of the land owned by the company. The author thinks that this new method of accounting will provide a precedent for future undertakings of a similar character. [For more details on this accounting change see Appendix C - below.]

The promoters of the company did not at first go to the ordinary investor, but instead to the social reformer and philanthropist. Now that the town is in being and proving to have a sound economic basis, the author thinks that ordinary investors may be approached - patriotic men and women who support the greater health and prosperity of the people.




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Chapter XVI - The Future

On the Road to Cambridge (T. Friedensen)

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I am quoting some paragraphs and sentences from this chapter being the author's conclusions.

The theory of the town, the pattern or model of what a town should be, is to-day being slowly pieced together out of the chaos left by the nineteenth century. In that ruthless time the towns emerged from their ancient place in the state, and became formless things of mighty power and dreadful horror. They lost all the fine, orderly, and homely qualities they had ever had, and took to themselves every evil weapon which could menace human life. To-day we are seeking to recover the town from what the last century made it and to bring it back to order and beauty. And it is as a contribution to the formation of that ideal that the Garden City and its ideals are of supreme interest. If the new town were but the outcome of a mere æsthetic idea to provide gardens and to force better habits on the people, it might very well be ignored; if it were but an "organised playground" for amiable faddists, vegetarians, and higher-thinking persons, it would be sufficient to regard it with proper amusement; but as it is an attempt to demonstrate the practicability of certain ideal principles of town building in order to reconstruct town life, it becomes of importance to us all, for if we could solve the town, problem we should have solved the most serious problem of our civilisation.....

Those ideals were very simple. They were all summed up in the endeavour to found a healthy, well-organised, and economical town, based on the corporate ownership of land. In that town none of the preventable evils of modern cities were to be admitted; people of all classes were to have decent homes; and industry was to be carried out under wholesome conditions. It has been the object of this book to show how these ideals have been realised. The extent to which they have been realised has depended upon the degree to which they were held as firm principles which were to govern the action of the promoters in developing the town......

That the undertaking should be shown to be financially sound was one of the most essential conditions not only of the success of the first Garden City but of the development of future towns on similar lines.....

No one will deny that the economic success of Garden City is a matter of great importance; but in the building of a town long views must be taken and much patience is required. The degradation of the town to the level of an ordinary building estate, by letting large areas of it for any purpose, by destroying the agricultural belt, and by the disposal of the freehold, might not damage the financial position of the shareholders, but it would be the ruin of every other thing. If profits were the main consideration in connection with Garden City, then all who assisted in its exploitation might soon rejoice in their success. But in seizing the fruits that could be made rapidly to ripen and in neglecting the culture of more precious and permanent things, all that was noble and fine and praiseworthy in the scheme would be sacrificed.....

Garden City is not, except incidentally, a town-planning scheme. The term does not appear in Mr. Howard's book, and it was not used in connection with the initial propaganda which brought the town into being. [It is true that Garden City has a "town-plan," and that in Garden Cities of To-morrow the necessity of a plan was made clear....] .... In spite of that, the town has become entangled with the town-planning agitation of the last few years, and it is possible that it has been prejudiced in the eyes of some people in consequence.

The author credits T. C. Horsfall with the recent vogue in town-panning. Since the eighties, he had made known in England the methods developed in Germany to control their towns, and England was always ready to follow the lead of Germany. Town-planning dawned on the English as a means of social reform. The result were the garden suburbs, and John Burn's Housing and Town Planning Act of 1909. That act set up the machinery for the expansion of towns and was the antithesis of the Garden City movement.

But we do not need to look for salvation to Acts of Parliament. If new life is to come to a people, and a new principle in the making of their towns, they will be found already there and active before Parliament hears of them. The promoters of the Garden City did not wait for Parliament; they went boldly on with their enterprise, initiating a new movement for the succour of English urban life. So far as Garden City is concerned and the movement for which it stands, the Act of 1909 might just as well have never been passed......

What is essential in Garden City is not town-planning. If it were, the town would be of minor interest even as a town-planning scheme. The point of first importance in connection with Garden City is that it is based upon a change in the ownership of land. It is essentially an attempt, not at land nationalisation, or of ownership by the central authority, but of local ownership or municipalisation. Mr. Howard took this idea from a proposal made by Thomas Spence in 1775. This man, who was a well-known character in his day, in a lecture delivered at Newcastle (republished in 1882) advocated the ownership of land by the parishes. "Thus," says he, "are there no more nor other landlords in the whole country than the parishes, and each of them is sovereign landlord of its own territory . . . . Then you may behold the rent which the people have paid into the parish treasuries employed by each parish in paying the government its share of the sum which the Parliament or National Congress at any time grants; in maintaining and relieving its own poor, and people out of work; in paying the necessary officers their salaries; in building, repairing, and adorning its houses, bridges, and other structures; in making and maintaining convenient and delightful streets, highways, and passages both for foot and carriages . . . . There are no tolls or taxes of any kind paid among them by native or foreigner, but the aforesaid rent, which every person pays to the parish, according to the quantity, quality, and conveniences of the land, housing, etc., which he occupies in it."

The Garden City is endeavouring to carry out the idea of Spence. At present, of course, the freehold is not in public ownership, but it is in local ownership, or more correctly, in the ownership of those who are employing it for the benefit of the local community, with provision for more direct local ownership when the town is sufficiently complete.

After the payment of the fixed dividend to the shareholders, the balance of the profits from the land and the public services is available for all kinds of public purposes, and as time goes on and these profits increase, as they undoubtedly will do, the town will have funds not only for defraying expenses usually met out of the rates but for schools, entertainments, and amenities of every description.

It is this attempt to deal first with the problem of the land which adds to the interest of the town. Garden City will provide the first instance in this country of a community holding the entire freehold of its own area.

How the transfer from the company to the public authority will be effected is at present a matter of considerable doubt. More than two years before the foundation of the town, the Garden City Association issued a pamphlet in which the following method was suggested: "At any time after seven years from the formation of the company, the adult inhabitants of Garden City shall be entitled to elect a board of trustees, which board shall purchase the whole of the shares of the company, on pre-arranged terms, and shall henceforth hold the same in trust for the whole of the inhabitants of Garden City; and when such shares have been purchased as aforesaid, then and thereafter for ever, the inhabitants shall elect their board of directors, and have entire control over the affairs of the company."

Difficulties in establishing the town have shown that the seven year period is inadequate. The author suggests three ways in which the transfer may be accomplished: (a) part purchase by the local authority, part gift, so long as the liabilities of the company were covered; (b) act of Parliament to enable loans to be raised to purchase the whole company; (c) conversion of the Garden City Company into a trust (Howard's original idea).

The author turns his attention to the question of the creation of more garden cities. He quotes the chairman of the company, at a shareholder's meeting in 1912, suggesting that the company could eventually become a National Trust for the development of further garden cities.

Looking at the town to-day with its active industries, feeling the charm of its social and residential life, and considering its general air of prosperity, it is hard to realise that so few years ago the name of Garden City was one of which men were sceptical and in which none but a few enthusiasts believed. It is hard to realise that where men now come in increasing numbers to do their business and to set up their homes was but recently a countryside with diminishing population, the life of which had seemingly passed for ever. The change that the Garden City has opened up in North Hertfordshire is only second as a cause for wonder to the success of the town itself. New energy has been brought into the whole district. The people have been aroused out of their fatal sleep; and where land was neglected and buildings decaying, there has come a new life with fresh motives and vigour.




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Appendix A - Land Tenure in Garden City
(Aneurin Williams, Chairman, First Garden City, Ltd.)

Mr Williams reiterates the ideas of Thomas Spence used by Howard and discussed in the last chapter of this book. The system of land tenure would need to ensure that the unearned increment was used for the public good. Mr Howard proposed that, at Letchworth, land tenure should be in the form of a perpetual lease, where the tenant paid rent (to cover the interest on the purchase price, legal expenses and a small amount for redemption of the capital), and also an improvement rate (to pay for services provided by the company). The rent would eventually disappear, but the rate would include provision of schools, libraries, gas, water, electricity, etc and might become costly.

The difficulty was that the share capital raised at first was only about half that needed to cover the mortgage on the original purchase. After consideration of different forms of lease, and an experiment with 999 years leases with rates to be revised upwards periodically as the land increased in value, 99 year fixed rent leases were decided upon, with covenants on value of buildings, building line, nuisance, good order and repair, etc, and a revisable charge for road maintenance and services.

The author argues that this system of tenure retains the greater part of the unearned increment for the benefit of the inhabitants as a whole. Some early fixed rent leases have resulted in some unearned increment falling into private hands.

[The above is only a short summary of Mr Williams's essay.]




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Appendix B - The Planning of Garden City
(Raymond Unwin, F.R.I.B.A., Consulting Architect to First Garden City, Ltd.)

The estate consisted of 3,800 acres of undulating land on the Cambridge branch of the G.N.R. which bisected the land running south-west north-east. Good road communication with main line Hitchin Station was essential to the scheme.

Skeleton Plan of the Garden City Estate, Showing the Original Main Roads

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Parallel to the Cambridge branch line were the Hitchin-Baldock road to the south, the Norton-Wilbury road and the Icknield Way (an ancient pre-Roman track) to the north, which would all need to be part of the road scheme of the town. There is no north-south route east of Dunham Lane.

In Unwin's words:

A little to the east of the estate, however, lies the Great North Road, and a glance at a map of the neighbourhood shows that this important highway takes a considerable detour round the estate to pass through Baldock, and that some reduction in distance would result if a new highway were made across the Garden City area. In view of this possibility and the probable importance to Letchworth of the development of motor traffic, which was taking place at the time when the plan was made, it was felt to be desirable to provide a main highway across the estate connecting the Norton Road with Willian, and to make provision for extending this, if necessary, in the direction of Radwell. Already the acquisition by the Garden City Company of the new territory to the south of William brings Letchworth into touch with the Great North Road; as the importance of road transit is still growing, the value of a link with this ancient highway may some day prove considerable. These considerations, as well as the requirements of internal communication, and the opportunity of passing under the railway afforded by the valley, determined the position and importance of Norton Way and Willian Way in the scheme of roads.

The factory area to the east of the estate was chosen because of level land for sidings, and because of the prevailing wind direction in relation to smoke, smell and noise. The attractive Letchworth end of the estate, closer to Hitchin Station, would be best suited for residences of well-to-do people needing main-line trains, but good-sized plots for larger houses were made in many other places to avoid segregation. The old manor house of Letchworth Hall would be a pleasing spot for a pleasure park, as would Norton Common.

A plateau area to the west of Norton Way was ideal for laying out the town centre on a line between the best place for the passenger railway station in the deepest part of the cutting, and the residential area on the Hitchin Road. The passenger station and goods yard are thus located apart despite the preference of the railway company for them to be together. The position of three old oak trees actually determined the position of the axial line of the town centre.

Plan of the Town Square, Garden City

(click image to enlarge)

A spacious square decorated with trees was thought to be appropriate for the centre, with municipal buildings and the church being dominant.

For housing, the main ideals were that all houses should have a garden and that all rooms should be flooded with light and sunshine, unblocked by other buildings.




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Appendix C - The Garden City Company
(Harold Craske, Secretary to First Garden City, Ltd.)

First Garden City is a joint-stock under companies acts in force at the time of registration (1st September 1903). The following are sections from the memorandum of association of the company:

3. (a) To promote and further the distribution of the industrial population upon the land upon the lines suggested in Mr. Ebenezer Howard's book entitled Garden Cities of To-morrow (published by Swan Sonnerschein & Co., Ltd., in 1902), and to form a Garden City (that is to say) a town or settlement for agricultural, industrial, commercial, and residential purposes or any of them in accordance with Mr. Howard’s scheme or any modification thereof.

(c) To found, lay out, construct, manage, and carry out on any such Garden City as aforesaid, or any section or portion thereof.

(d) To pay upon the ordinary shares or stock of the company a cumulative dividend not exceeding 5 per centum per annum, and to apply any balance of profit after such payment as aforesaid to any purpose which the company or its directors may deem for the benefit directly or indirectly of the town or its inhabitants.

(o) Upon any winding-up or distribution of the assets of the company, except for the purpose of reconstruction, to apply for the benefit of the town or its inhabitants any balance remaining after

1. Repayment of the paid-up capital of the company.
2. Any sum required to make up a cumulative dividend of 5 per centum per annum thereon.
3. Any bonus not exceeding 10 per centum upon the amount paid up on the ordinary shares.

The articles of association contain the following important clause:

139. Subject to the rights of the holders of any debentures or shares entitled to any priority, preference or special privilege, the net profits of the company, after providing for a reserve fund and for depreciation of the company’s properties, shall be divisible by way of dividend among the members in proportion to the amount paid up on the ordinary shares held by them respectively, but so that the dividends upon the ordinary shares for any year shall not exceed the aggregate rate of 5 per centum per annum. The surplus of the net profits of the company, after payment of such dividends and any amount necessary to make up dividends for past years to the rate of 5 per centum per annum, shall be devoted to the provision of traffic facilities, water supply, lighting, drainage, markets, hospitals, libraries, baths, or otherwise for the embellishment of the town, the provision of means of education, recreation, or amusement for the people, or for any other purpose which the company or its directors may deem for the benefit of the town or its inhabitants.

Of the authorised share capital of £300,000, the amount subscribed by 30 September 1913 was £181,026. Shareholders include members of the Commons and Lords, church dignitaries, manufacturers, merchants, newspaper proprietors, academics and professional men.

The initial mortgage of £83,934 has risen to £158,442 following expenditure on gas, water, sewerage, highways, and land improvements. [Tables showing year by year money raised and money spent by the company are given in the book - not reproduced here.] The final table gives yearly profit and loss on the revenue account:

(Extracted from the Audited Accounts.)

Balance on Revenue
Account before charging
Interest on Mortgages
Amount of Interest
paid on Mortgages
and Debentures.
Net Balance on
Revenue Account.


In Craske's words:

In 1907, after taking the highest legal advice, the directors decided to have a valuation made of the estate, and Messrs. Drivers, Jonas & Co., of Pall Mall, and Mr. H. Trustram Eve, of Bedford, were commissioned to make this valuation. After making a careful survey of the whole property, occupying some months, they reported to the directors that, in their opinion, the value of the land and the buildings on it belonging to the company was £379,500. Credit was, therefore, taken for this amount in the company’s accounts. The total amount of capital expenditure on the estate, including the price paid for the property and the cost of the gas works, water works, electric works, highways, sewerage, parks, open spaces, improvements to buildings, etc., was, up to the date of the valuation, £247,806 13s. 11p. The valuation, therefore, showed an appreciation of £131,693 6s. 1d. in the company’s property over and above such capital expenditure. From this the directors wrote off a sum of £34,645 19s. 10d., made up of £12,547 7s. 1d. preliminary and prospecting expenses, £5,476 19s. 4d. general development, and £16,62 13s. 5d. general revenue and expenditure account. This left a balance of £97,047 6s. 3d., representing the net. increment in value of the estate above all that it had cost. To this net increment should be added, as before indicated, an unascertained amount for the value of the timber, gravel pits, and commercial undertakings mentioned above.

The following is from the valuers' report:

To the Directors, First Garden City, Ltd.

GENTLEMEN, In accordance with your instructions, we have made a careful and detailed survey and valuation of your estate at Letchworth, Herts., known as "The Garden City." . . . .

We are much struck with the ingenuity and wisdom which is apparent in the planning. The diverse plans for grouping cottages - the wide roads - and the general scheme for plenty of fresh air for each house are quite unique and on unconventional lines, and are evidently the conception of an original and broad mind. We were very pleased with the progress of development, which cannot have been equalled in any other building estate in England, and the whole scheme has been carried out with a persistent effort that has mainly assured the success of the undertaking.

The building and town areas have been raised from agricultural value to building value by the earliest development - this building value has further been increased by the rapid accretion of the varied population and factories brought here, and as these increase they must further enhance the value of the undeveloped land.

In our valuation we have in no case taken future increase of value into consideration, but by deferring present values have arrived at figures which are more likely to be increased than diminished as development proceeds.

The zone of agricultural land known as “The Agricultural Belt" must gradually acquire an accommodational value as the population of the central area increases. Every opportunity has been taken of splitting up large farms into smallholdings as they have fallen in hand, and the map of the estate coloured in holdings shows that as much as possible has been done in this direction. This policy can easily be continued as opportunity offers, but it cannot be forced.

Since the estate was purchased, we are informed that the copyholds have been enfranchised, the land tax redeemed, and the whole estate is freehold. Some fourteen acres have been sold to the railway company for a goods yard, two acres have been made over to the county council for educational purposes, but with these exceptions the development has proceeded by the creation of ground rents for 99 years, and in a few cases for 999 years at revisable rents, freeholds only being sold to representatives of religious bodies, and this method will continue. Ground rents vary from £10 per acre to £120 per acre, and in one case of £150 per acre, while £30, £40, and £60 per acre is obtained in large numbers of cases, the rent varying according to position.

We were surprised to find that 815 buildings have actually been erected in the short space of three years on ground leases . . . .

The company owns the gas works, water works, and electricity works, the capital expenditure on which amounts to £38,321. Although these are in excess of present requirements, we have added nothing in respect of these, but they represent a valuable asset and their future value will be very large. The town of Baldock is to be supplied with water by the Garden City Company, and here again we have omitted this asset in our valuation.

Nothing has been included for timber on the estate, the value of which is considerable.

There are also valuable beds of sand and gravel, which have already produced a handsome revenue, but we have omitted these from our valuation.

The outgoings of tithe (£631 17s. 3d. computed value) and rent charges (£11 1s. 2d.) have been deducted at the sum for which they could be redeemed.

We have, in making our valuation, accepted throughout the plans and schedules handed us by the estate office as being correct.

We are of opinion that the value of the estate, made up of ground rents on developed land together with the present value of the undeveloped land and the agricultural belt and including the buildings which are the property of the company, is THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-NINE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS (£379,500). We are, gentlemen, your obedient servants,

Chartered Surveyor,
45, Parliament Street, Westminster,
Bedford, and Hitchin.

Chartered Surveyors,
23, Pall Mall, S.W.

November 26, 1907.

Quoting Craske:

At September 30, 1911 this valuation was confirmed, and the directors wrote off against the increased value certain expenses, including the adverse balance on the general revenue and expenditure account to date, amounting altogether to £20,452 19s. 9d.

The manner in which the company dealt with its expenses was considerably revised in the accounts to September 30, 1912. The paragraphs in the directors' report (dated January 21, 1913) in which this revision is explained are sufficiently interesting to be quoted at some length:

Extract from the Directors' report:

The directors beg to submit herewith the audited accounts of the company for the year ending September 30, 1912. It will be seen that the net profit of the company for the year is given as £3,086 12s. 2d.; for the year previous a net profit of £174 14s. was shown. It is, however, only right at once to point out that the two figures do not correspond, inasmuch as there has been this year a very important change in the presentation of the company's accounts. Shareholders will remember that, in the first seven of the nine years of the company's operation, the accounts showed net losses on revenue account; but the directors always maintained that these losses were only apparent, inasmuch as they were far more than counterbalanced by the increased value of the estate. This year the directors, with the concurrence of the auditors, and fortified by the legal opinion of Sir Francis Palmer, the eminent authority on company law, have written to development account certain considerable expenditure, amounting to £2,354 2s. 10d., which, according to the system of accounts followed in previous years, would have been charged against revenue. These items were not incurred for the purpose of carrying on the estate as a going concern, but with the view to its future development. In the early years of the estate it was probably wise to charge such items to revenue account, but now that the future of the estate is beyond doubt, it would be an excess of caution to continue to do so, and would only give a false view of the result of the company's operations. It would, in fact, be robbing the revenue account each year, in order to build up an ever-increasing surplus of assets over liabilities. That surplus, it will be remembered, is already £76,594 as shown by the valuations of 1907 and 1911.

It is, however, the intention of the board, before paying any dividend, to have a re-valuation of the company's property made, and if that re-valuation - as they confidently expect - shows a further increment of value produced by their operations, in addition to the increment shown in 1907 and confirmed in 1911, they will write off the development account against part of such new increment, and then proceed to pay a dividend out of the accumulated profits of revenue account. The directors hope to be able to fulfil the expectation held out in their last report by paying a dividend of 2½ per cent, on shares in two years from the present time, possibly even sooner.

In an ordinary trading company it is comparatively easy to keep expenditure on capital account distinct from expenditure on revenue account; in the development of a new town the problem is more complicated. Besides expenditure represented by bricks and mortar, and other tangible things, there is much expenditure necessary for development, which, while yielding an increase in capital value, is not represented by additions such as buildings. This kind of expenditure is properly dealt with by putting it to a development account, and writing it off when it has been proved by a re-valuation that it was wisely and profitably made. The company has, of course, always had such a development account; the only difference is that the point has now been reached when the caution shown in the past would be unnecessary and undesirable. The directors have contemplated some such change as the above for several years, and they are satisfied that the net profit now shown does not in any way overstate the actual profit of the company during the year, but, on the contrary, is well within the facts, seeing that they have still charged to revenue account considerable sums which have been expended for the purpose of developing the estate and which, therefore, they might have charged to development account, according to the legal advice they have received.

The directors of the company are:

Aneurin Williams, J.P. (chairman)
F. S. Bowring (Col.), C.B., R.E.
Edward Cadbury. J.P.
John E Champney, J.P.
Henry B. Harris
Ebenezer Howard, J.P.
T. H. W. Idris, J.P.
L. R. King
R. Neville
Howard D. Pearsall, M.Inst.C.E.
Edward T. Sturdy
Franklin Thomasson, J.P.

In addition to the above. the following gentlemen have at different times acted as directors:

The Hon. Mr Justice Neville (first chairman 1903 to 1906)
Sir William Lever, Bart.
The Right Hon. Earl Brassey
T. P. Ritzema, J.P.
R. A. Yarborough, M.P.
R. P. Cory.




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Appendix D - The Public Services of Garden City
(A. W. E. Bullmore, A.M.Inst.C.E., A.M.Inst.M.E., M.R.San.I., Engineer to First Garden City, Ltd.)

The writer of this article stresses the importance of surveying of contours which was carried out at 5-foot levels. The subsoil on the sate is mainly chalk, with deposits of boulder clay, gravel and sand.

In 1904, G. R. Strachan, M.Inst.C.E., was instructed to prepare a water-supply scheme. A 16-inch foot borehole was sunk 220 feet deep, on the north of the Baldock Road, and a suction gas type pump installed 150 feet below ground. A 250,000 gallon reservoir was constructed on the Weston Hills requiring a further 165 feet of lift. Consumption increased and a supply to Baldock laid on, requiring a second duplicate borehole in 1907, this time with electric pump now that power was available. Consumption was 85 million gallons in 1912, by which time 25 miles of main had been laid. A third borehole (24 inches, 210 feet) was sunk, all three being within 60 feet of each other. A second, 500,000 gallon reservoir has been built, with a reinforced concrete roof, and designed with a strong wall along one side so that a second one can be built adjoining with the capability of either being emptied while the other remains full. Expenditure on the water supply to September 1912 was £26,183 with a further £7,000 being spent on No. 3 well and further mains.

Quoting Bullmore:

In considering the supply of light and heat for the town the relative advantages of gas and electricity were carefully debated, and owing to the fact that it was impossible, on a scattered development, to establish both services on a paying basis, and that electrical cooking and heating was at that time at any rate, in its infancy, the company decided first to install gas works to provide light, heat, and power for the houses and factories.

Charles Hunt, M.Inst.C.E., was instructed to design a gas works. It was thought 6,000,000 cubic feet per annum would suffice for the near future. The new works was producing gas by September 1905. There were 8 retorts and a gasholder, 52 feet diameter, 27,000 cubic feet capacity, with provision for telescoping in the future. 9 miles of main were laid. Demand rose rapidly, and consumption by industry in the day meant the holder could not be filled sufficiently to cope with the night load in the housing. 12 more retorts, and a second holder, 62 feet diameter, 100,000 cubic feet in 2 lifts, was added in 1908. Demand continued to rise, and the first holder was telescoped and a third one of 300,000 cubic feet built, while 24 more retorts were added. In 1912 consumption was 50,000,000 cubic feet, 63% being consumed in daylight hours. Consumers are supplied with a meter and gas stove free of charge. The streets of Letchworth are lit by gas. Up to September 1912, £38,644 had been spent on the gas supply, with a further £6,000 being spent since.

A Plan of the Gas Works

(click image to enlarge)

Messrs. O'Gorman & Cozens (now Messrs. Baillie & Dolbree) were instructed in 1907 to prepare plans for a power station. The first plant comprised two 100-horse power horizontal gas suction engines, with dynamos, batteries and switchboard. The engines can be driven by town or producer gas. The supply produced 130 kW three-phase at 250/500 volts. A battery of 260 cells stored 600 ampere hours. Underground, lead-sheathed steel-armoured cables supply the factories, shopping streets and public buildings, but not, so far, the scattered housing. In 1910, a 200 hp diesel engine supplying a 135 kW dynamo was added, and in 1911, a further 420 hp diesel engine supplying a 280 kW dynamo. In 1912, 460,070 B.T.U's were generated. The total spent on electricity supply to September 1912 was £20,983.

The late G. R. Strachan designed the sewerage scheme being constructed. The separate system has been employed where foul-water and rainwater drainage are kept apart in separate pipe work. A temporary drainage area of 30 acres is used to deal with the foul-water before the main works are ready. The main outfall is 24 inches. The total cost so far is £18,000 with a further £5,000 to be spent on trunk sewers.

About 14 miles of roads have been constructed. The need for future widening of carriageways has had to be taken into account. Norton Way has a 16-foot carriageway, 12-foot greenswards adjacent to the carriageway, and 10-foot paths, the total being 60 feet between boundaries. Leys Avenue (in the shopping area) has a 24-foot carriage way, 16-foot adjacent greenswards, and 5-foot paths. The appearance is better where the greenswards (rather than the paths) are adjacent to the carriageway, but this arrangement results in the grass being down-trodden where the foot traffic is heavy (shopping areas) or children play in the streets (in the working class areas). In the shopping areas the greenswards have been planted with shrubs and protected with low fences, but elsewhere the alternative arrangement (paths next to carriageway) has now been adopted.




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Appendix E

(I) The Building of Workmen's Cottages in Garden City
(H. D. Pearsall, M.Inst.C.E., Chairman, Howard Cottage Society, Ltd.)

Pearsall states that the most important class of any population is its artisans and labourers. At Letchworth, housing for these people is unlike that in almost any other industrial town, being varied and pleasant to look at, in pleasant streets, with pleasing views.

What reason have we for thinking that "working men" are so differently constituted from their fellows that, while these things are reckoned of first importance by all "well-to-do" people, they are nothing to artisans and labourers ? It is true that from long habit they do not expect them and have not learned to want them, but there is good evidence that when they get them they value them, and that they increase the pleasure of their lives in exactly the same way as they do those of other people.....

All the cottages have gardens. Some are larger than others, to provide both for the enthusiastic gardeners (who are many) and for the few who dislike gardening. But the average size is one-twelfth of an acre, and in the large majority of cases they are well cultivated and filled with flowers and vegetables, often yielding all the vegetables for the need of the family. There are also several playgrounds for young children attached to various groups of cottages and managed by the tenants.....

Speaking broadly we may say that nearly all the cottages in Letchworth are planned to admit the maximum of sunlight and to be surrounded with plenty of fresh air, whereas the usual streets of small houses have either the minimum of these or, at least, they are matters the builder has not troubled about. But they are not difficult to secure, and are attainable by a few simple rules of construction such as the following:


The usual deep back projection, shutting out what sun might otherwise reach the back rooms, is entirely absent from Letchworth houses.

The back, instead of being a narrow, dismal, sunless yard, which is all that is visible from the house even when there is a garden behind it, is a pleasant terrace.

Each street has open spaces between every four or six houses, instead of the houses forming a solid wall or barrack. This contributes to the healthiness of the houses, and is also used to give access to the backs of the cottages.

One house is not so near others as to be in their shade.

We do not build on the same plan whether the house faces north, south, east, or west, but suit the plan to the aspect, so that as far as possible every room shall have sun and the rooms most used shall have most sun. This is not always an easy task, and it is not, therefore, surprising that it is so usually neglected. Indeed, in this respect, our cottages are superior to many houses of many times their cost.

Some types of Garden City Workmen's Cottages

(click image to enlarge)

The large majority of cottages are occupied by families, and must, therefore, be such as to make it possible to bring up a family in health and comfort and wholesome family ways, and this includes, as an important factor, sufficient room for reasonable privacy. The standards adopted are:


(1) A minimum living-room of at least 144 square feet area, and containing the range and a dresser; a scullery in which the washing-up and the laundry-work can be done and containing a gas stove, sink, copper, and coal place; a larder on the least sunny side, with window to the open air; and a w.c. of good modern pattern, opening usually on a lobby; and three bedrooms. There is also a full-sized bath in the scullery. For newly-married people or small families a few of the houses have only two bedrooms.

(2) Cottages very similar, but with the addition of a very small parlour.

(3) Cottages with rather larger rooms including a parlour and with a separate bathroom.

All of these and several of the other cottages have also a hot-water supply from a boiler behind the kitchen range. They have also a space for cycles and garden tools, and this is being provided also for many of the smaller cottages.

The remainder of part (I.) of this appendix is a discussion of rents.

(II) The Cottage Companies of Garden City

[It is not clear if parts II and III of Appendix E are by Pearsall or Purdom.]

This section comprises a table giving financial information about four companies which have built cottages in Letchworth. These are (with number of cottages built) Garden City Tenants, Ltd (326), Letchworth Cottages and Buildings, Ltd (197), Howard Cottage Society, Ltd (268), Letchworth Housing Society, Ltd (58). The author mentions that workmen's cottages have also been built by Hitchin Rural District Council, First Garden City, Ltd, Messrs J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd, and many private persons.

(III) A Simple Hot-water System for Cottages

This section mentions two improvements to building methods - the "rodding eye" system of drainage, and a simple hot water system specially designed for cottages by S. H. Donnelly, A.M.I.M.E., Chief Assistant Engineer to the Garden City Company. This incorporates a three-way-valve which enables a bath to be located on the ground or upstairs floor, and does not need a cold water tank and associated pipe work vulnerable to frost damage.

Diagram Showing a Simple Hot-water System for
Workmen's Cottages in use at Garden City

(click image to enlarge)




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Appendix F - Agriculture and Small-holdings in Garden City
(H. Burr, F.S.I., Surveyor to First Garden City, Ltd.)

The author states that the estate comprising 3818 acres was in the hands of 15 absentee landowners, who rented it to tenants for between 8s. 6d. to 25s. per acre. Most was under arable steam cultivation (being cheaper than horse labour) producing corn, with a little pastoral at Letchworth Park and by the River Ivel. Much of the land was neglected and two of the farm-houses were uninhabitable. This reflected the hard times through which agriculture had passed.

A difficult task for the company was taking in land for building by agreement with tenants and mortgagees. Satisfactory arrangements were made for all but one tenant who claimed damages by visitors. About 1000 acres of the land has been brought in hand and either developed or let at short tenancies. The original tenants are gone and the undeveloped land now worked pastorally being more convenient for access by surveyors and others.

The company desired to make small-holdings but had no capital for cottages or buildings. The offer to would-be small-holders had to be as follows:

You must build a cottage for yourself, for which purpose we offer you a quarter-of-an-acre site, or more, with road frontage and water main, on a building lease of 99 years at a fixed ground rent. Adjacent to this site we will let you what area of agricultural land you require on an agricultural lease of 21 years.

Some 300 acres have been taken up under this system of letting, but have not had great success, most being taken by townsmen lacking knowledge of the business.

A society was let 150 acres on 21 years lease at Norton in 1905. Ten cottages were built and holdings of up to 20 acres created. Despite the enthusiasm of the management, the land is reverting to larger occupations. The author thinks that 100 to 300 acres is required for a viable farm, and that small-holdings should only be available to those working on farms and wanting a stepping-stone to a better position.




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Appendix G - The Garden City in Relation to Local Authorities
(Herbert Warren, Solicitor to First Garden City, Ltd.)

The author outlines the situation regarding authority boundaries as it was when the estate was purchased and how this has developed since. The estate was mainly in the three parishes of Norton, Letchworth and Willian. In 1807 the company applied to Hertfordshire County Council, under the Local Government Act of 1888, for the creation of a new parish, comprising practically the whole estate, and this was granted by the Local Government Board, after an enquiry. The new parish of Letchworth came into being on 1 April 1908 with a council of fifteen members. The parts of Willian not in the estate remained a separate parish. Small parts of the estate were not in the new parish, but remained in the Hertfordshire parishes of Radwell and Great Wymondley, and the Bedfordshire parish of Stotfield. The recent purchase of 748 acres of the Roxley Estate brought more of Willian parish into the estate.

The new Letchworth parish, and the parishes of Radwell and Willian, are within the rural district of Hitchin, which is within Hertfordshire County Council. The parish of Stotfield is within the rural district of Biggleswade, which is within Bedfordshire County Council.

Apart from railway land, school sites, and a few other small exceptions, all the land in the estate is owned by First Garden City Ltd. The new roads in the estate were laid out and built at the company's expense. Some have been taken over by Hertfordshire County Council, but most are maintained by the company using charges made under covenants to lessees whose land abuts the roads. The sewerage system, street lighting, and water, gas, electricity supply systems are all provided by the company.

Quoting Warren:

The forming of the Letchworth Garden City was a new venture. Its aim was to create a model estate on a virgin area, untrammelled by pre-existing conditions, and to do this it required to have all the agencies governing the proposed scheme in one hand. Experience has shown that the aims of the promoters have been justified. The company has been able to plan the estate just as it thought fit, to place its roads where it thought best, to arrange from the start a sewerage system, water, gas, and electric supplies, the situations of the factory, cottage, and residential areas, the position of the parks, open spaces, recreation grounds, and golf links, the schools, churches, and public buildings, and all this untrammelled by conflicting claims of local authorities, statutory companies, or the interests of local owners. An enormous amount of friction, correspondence, and communication has thus been avoided. It may safely be said that without this centralisation the scheme would have been sadly hampered and complicated. Great praise is due to the local authorities, county, rural district, and parochial, in having trusted the company to do its work to the best of its ability in the interest of the community and in not hampering or interfering with it. They have shown a restraint from petty tyrannies which might seriously have hindered the company in carrying out the scheme in its entirety.

The author goes on the say that in the fullness of time the authorities will have increased powers and take over the roads and services, the charges being transferred from the lessees to the rates.

This, however, can only take place when the scheme has been substantially carried through. The company, which has initiated the scheme, created the machinery for its construction and maintenance, must continue its control until it has finished its work.




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Appendix H - How Far have the Original Garden City Ideals been Realised ?
(Ebenezer Howard, Author of "Garden Cities of To-morrow.")

Quoting Howard's words from this article:

BRIEFLY my reply to this question is: My ideals have as yet been realised only to a small degree, but I plainly see time and its evolutionary processes fighting ever on my side.

The object of my book, Garden Cities of To-morrow, was, first, to urge that a body of public-spirited persons should build a new town away in the open country as a practical step towards an extensive "back-to-the-land" movement. The building of the first Garden City was to be followed by the building of a group of towns, each town to be permanently surrounded by open country: the whole group to be so planned and administered as to form in the aggregate a city more healthy and truly prosperous than any city in the whole world, and this because that city would represent the highest form of combined human skill and endeavour, urged forward by a deep desire for justice and a true regard of man for man; and also because the enterprise being carried out on a relatively clear field, wise efforts would be but little hampered by the follies, mistakes and injustices of the past.....

A distinguished English philosopher, still living, to whom I sent my book soon after its publication (1898), replied solemnly, "The days of Alexander the Great and Philip II are over, and men no longer build cities", and many other writers expressed themselves in this fashion, "Cities grow : they are not created" - the general impression being that I was a fantastic dreamer, and that deliberate city-building was quite beyond the skill of man, at least in an old-settled country.....

That state of mind with regard to the planning of towns is hardly possible now, partly because of Mr. T. C. Horsfall’s insistence on our following "the example of Germany"; partly because of pioneer work done at the villages of Bournville and Port Sunlight; partly because of the yet more comprehensive work done at Letchworth. And at last the timid and narrow notion that the man of the twentieth century is to be for ever hampered, baffled, and controlled by the follies and injustices of our forefathers, when expressed in our towns and cities, is gradually giving way to larger conceptions and to more statesman-like enterprises.

Howard goes on to express his disappointment at the confounding, in the public mind and in the press, of the Garden City idea of building new towns, with that of the building of garden suburbs as extensions to existing towns.

He goes on to point out that in his book he described a completed town, avoiding discussion of difficulties in the initial stages. What such difficulties would be he could not entirely foresee. An early difficulty was the financial one. The company went to allotment when only £75,000 of the authorised capital of £300,000 had been raised.

The system of rent-rates as he described in his book had not been achieved at Letchworth. His system involved rents being revised from time to time as land values increased. Lawyers advised intending leaseholders against signing up for such options because such leases would be difficult to sell.

Another disappointment was the shopping arrangements which have developed on conventional lines. Howard urged the Co-operative Wholesale Society to participate but they joined the general scepticism, regarding the experiment as hopeless. He thinks that in a future second garden city, a subsidiary company or society should be formed at the outset to provide everything the townspeople should need at a little over cost price.

Howard was also disappointed that not more of workers' cooperative ventures had arisen.

I cannot conclude these few observations without expressing my heart-felt thanks to all those who have in so many ways, and so untiringly, helped forward the Garden City ideal. In doing this they have helped us all to see with clearer vision than we could have seen but for work well begun, work which I am sure will be better continued, work to which one can see no final end, for whatever realms man conquers there are illimitable fields beyond.




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Appendix J - Garden City and the Town-planning Movement
(Cecil Harmsworth, Chairman of the Council, Garden Cities and Town Planning Association)

Quoting from this article:

So far there exists but one Garden City established on the full lines of Mr. Ebenezer Howard’s noble plan. The notes of Mr. Howard's policy, as they are exemplified at Letchworth, are that a Garden City proper should be a new settlement designed to solve at once the twin problems of urban congestion and rural depopulation. A large agricultural estate is acquired and it is laid out on lines suited to the needs of its fullest ultimate development. Suitable areas are set aside for industrial and residential purposes and for purposes of recreation, and a great belt of land is reserved for ever for the farmer, market gardener, and small-holder. Here it is not a case of the orderly planning of the suburbs of an already existing town. It is the creation of an entirely new centre of population in close association with an agricultural population, largely dependent, it may be, on the Garden City itself as a market for its produce.

The author goes on to say that the first fruits of the foundation of the First Garden City are the development in Great Britain of more than forty garden suburbs and industrial garden villages. He goes on to praise Hampstead Garden Suburb - the limitation of houses to the acre, grouping of principal buildings round a central area, generous provision of open spaces and playgrounds, preservation of natural features, lay-out of the roads, architecture of the houses - all show that sympathetic minds have been at work rather than those of the speculative builder.

The author goes on to describe the work of the Garden Cities and Town Planning Association, founded to promote garden city schemes with advice, lectures and conferences. He praises John Burn's Housing and Town Planning Act of 1909 and summarises its achievements.




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Appendix K

(I) The Garden City Building Regulations

Purdom points out that the Garden City company has no special statutory powers not possessed by any landlord under the ordinary law of the land. The company has drawn up building regulations which must be complied with by all who build upon the estate. The regulations are not by-laws and are only enforceable under the terms of the leases and agreements granted by the company. The regulations include the local authority by-laws but go much further and contains some novel and interesting clauses.

Parts of the regulation are reprinted in the text (not reproduced here) under the headings: Plans, Building Areas, Designs, Temporary Structures, Gardens, Fences, Signs, Walls, Roofs (materials), Sufficiency of Space around Buildings for free Circulation of Air, Ventilation of Public Buildings, Drainage, Materials, Plastering, Timber, Floors, Roofs (designs).

(II) The Form of Lease granted at Garden City

The lease issued by the Garden City company has a simple form. Some clauses are printed in the text (not reproduced here).




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List of Illustrations

*reproduced above

Colour Plates (by T. Friedensen)

*Houses near Norton Common
*Hillshott: A Street of Small Houses
*Garden City Pastoral
*On the Road to Cambridge

Half-Tone Plates

*Lytton Avenue
*Icknield Way
Station Road
Pixmore Hall and Institute
*Station Place
Leys Avenue
Norton Way and Station Road
*Norton Way
On Norton Way
*Norton Way South
*Norton Way North
*Howard Hall and Girls' Club, Norton Way
Howgills (Society of Friends' Meeting House), South View
Sollershott, East
*Meadow Way
On Spring Road
*A Cottage without a Front Fence, on Icknield Way
On the Baldock Road
*The Swimming Bath at the Cloisters
*A Pair of Cottages on Letchworth Lane
*A Pair of Houses on Baldock Road
*A Pair of Houses on Norton Way
*A House on Spring Road
*A House on Garth Road
*A Cottage on Wilbury Road
*Another Cottage on Wilbury Road
*A House on Croft Lane
*A House on South View
*A House on Norton Way
*A House on Wilbury Road
*A House on Hitchin Road
*A House on Garth Road
*A House on Broadway
*Four Houses at South View
*Another House on Norton Way
*Homesgarth: In the Quadrangle
*Homesgarth: The Dining Room
*Homesgarth: A Private Sitting Room
*A Garden on Croft Lane
In a Garden City Garden
On Norton Common
On the Norton Road
On the Footpath to Radwell
The Manor farm, Norton
Fruit Farm at Willian
*The Rural Belt at Willian
*The Church of St Hugh in Pixmore Way
*The Church of St Michael and All Angels, Norton Way
*The Free Church, Norton Way
*The Church of St Nicholas, Norton
*Letchworth Hall: a Bit of the Jacobean Building
Old Letchworth Church
*The Three Horseshoes Inn, Norton
*The Skittles Inn
*The Billiard Room at the Skittles Inn
"Much Ado About Nothing" by the Letchworth Dramatic Society
*"The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet" by the Letchworth Dramatic Society
The Golf Course: The Water Hazard at the Seventeenth Hole
The Open-air Swimming Bath
*A Garden City Factory: Works Road
Garden City factory: Works Road and Pixmore Avenue
The Entrance to a Garden City Factory (Country Gentlemen's Association Ltd.)
The Binding and Printing Works of J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.
Interior of Binding Works of J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.
Examples of Work done at the Factory of J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.
Examples of Binding done at W. H. Smith & Son's Factory
The Machine Room at the Arden Press
Factories at Pixmore Avenue
The Machine Shop, Phoenix Motor Works
Old Cottages at Norton Village
*Workmen's Cottages at Shott Lane (Letchworth Housing Society, Ltd.)
*Lytton Avenue
*Workmen's Cottages at Common View (Letchworth Cottage Buildings, Ltd.)
*The Rural District Council's Cottages on Icknield Way
*Workmen's Cottages at Ridge Road (Garden City Tenants, Ltd.)
*Workmen's Cottages at Rushby Mead (Howard Cottage Society, Ltd.)
*The Rodding-eye System of House drainage
*Norton Road County School: A Geological Lesson on Icknield Way
Norton Road County School: A Lesson at the Roman Camp
*The Gardening Class at a Garden City School
The Quadrangle of the Garden City County Elementary School
*Letchworth School
At the May festival

In the text

Robert Owen's Plan of the Agricultural and Manufacturing Villages of "Unity" and "Mutual Co-operation" (1818)
*Plan of the Proposed Village at Ilford, Essex (1848)
*James Silk Buckingham's Plan of the Model Town "Victoria" (1849)
Ebenezer Howard's Plan of Garden City (1898)
Ebenezer Howard's Plan of a Section of Garden City
Diagram of the "Three Magnets"
*The Garden City Estate and the Surrounding Country
*A Plan Showing the Areas of the Original Estates Purchased by the Garden City Company in 1903
*Parker & Unwin's Original Plan of Garden City (April 1904)
*A Plan of Garden City, Showing the Town West of Norton Way (1913)
*A Plan of Garden City, Showing the Town East of Norton Way (1913)
*A Pair of Cottages on Letchworth Lane
*A Pair of Houses on Baldock Road
*A Pair of Houses on Norton Way
*A House on Spring road
*A House on Garth Road
*A Cottage on Wilbury Road
*Another Cottage on Wilbury Road
*A House on Croft Lane
*A House on South View
*A House on Norton Road
*A House on Wilbury Road
*A House on Hitchin Road
*A House on Garth Road
*A House on Broadway
*Four Houses on South View
*Another House on Norton Way
*A House on Letchworth Lane
*Ground Plan of the Co-operative Houses
*A Plan Showing the Rural Belt
*A Plan of the Industrial Area (East of the Town)
*A Plan of the Industrial Area (West of the Town)
*The County School at Norton
*Skeleton Plan of the Garden City Estate, Showing the Original Main Roads
*A Plan of the Town Square
A Plan Showing the Geological Formation of the Garden City Estate
A Contour Map of the Garden City Estate
A Section of One of the Garden City Water Reservoirs
*A Plan of the Gasworks
The Sewer Plan of the Estate
A Plan of Road Sections
*Some types of Garden City Workmen's Cottages
*Diagram Showing a Simple Hot-water System for Workmen's Cottages in use at Garden City
A Plan Showing the Original Agricultural Tenancies in 1903
A Plan Showing the Agricultural Tenancies in 1913
Diagram Showing the Rodding-eye System of House Drainage