New Towns: Their Origins, Achievements and Progress (1977)

From ArchiveWiki
ISBN number249 44140 3
Available to view atLondon Metropolitan Archives
Owned byChris5156
TypePublications (see all artefacts)


An odd book, first written in 1963 and revised in 1969 and 1977, covering the topic of New Towns but written in two halves by two separate people. Sir Frederic Osborn wrote the first part, a discussion of the history of the New Town concept and a history of its growth, along with appraisal of New Towns as a concept.

The rest of the book - a good three quarters of it - was the work of Arnold Whittick, and goes through every New Town in the UK, arranged by region, looking at their design philosophy, architecture, aims and ideals. It gives a fascinating insight into a very peculiar modernist phenomenon.

For the road enthusiast, most New Town descriptions have outline plan maps showing the intended road layout, had it been completed (few New Towns were ever finished to their planned size).

This edition of the book is worth comparing with earlier editions, as the first two were incredibly optimistic, whereas this revision is tinged with the unfortunate social lessons that were learned as the first New Towns were populated (viz: that designing ruthlessly modern houses and filling them with poor people did not make the inhabitants middle class).

Contents of note

  • Maps showing intended road layouts for many elusive New Towns, including Cumbernauld, Glenrothes, Redditch, Telford, Warrington, Skelmersdale, etc.
  • Insight into the planning influences and philosophy behind each New Town - most of which helps the half-built reality make sense.