Garden City

The Peaceful Path

Building Garden Cities and New Towns

Stephen V Ward

Hertfordshire Publications


ISBN 978-1-909291-69-0

When I started this web site in 2001 I decided not to concentrate on the period before the latest accessible census - which meant that I did not normally cover developments in any of the Garden Cities and New Towns in Hertfordshire. However time has moved on and I felt it important that I include a book which tells the story of how the Garden Cities came about

This book fills the bill nicely. There is a useful introduction to background of Ebenezer Howard and the social movement that led to the establishment of Letchworth Garden City, although is you want to know more Robert Beevers' biography of Howard, The Garden City Utopia, provides more details.

While my researches into the life of Evacustes Phipson had given me an insight into the socialist movements that had lead to the publication of Howard's book Tomorrow, A Peaceful Path to Real Reform in 1898, I had not previously looked into how the land was acquired and the way it was developed and this book has provided me with a useful understanding of the problems involved.

  1 Ebenezer Howard
2 Letchworth Garden City
3 Welwyn Garden City
4 Finding other Paths
5 Stevenage
6 Hertfordshire's other new towns
7 Wider perspectives
8 Where the path led
  Bibliography & Index

The origins of Welwyn Garden City, which grew up between the war, is interesting, and I was amused to learn the way the Howard bid for the land in an auction.  The chapters on Stevenage and other Hertfordshire New Towns which were established after the 2nd world war really fall outside the scope of this site - but I found them very informative, and accurate in the case of Hemel Hempstead, which is the only New Town where I have actually lived (fro a short time) and which I know well.

Locating Books
At the time this page was created new copies could be ordered online

NOTE: Evacustes Phipson is already mentioned on this web site in a very different context - see Watercolour Paintings of Hertfordshire by E A Phipson. He came from a well-to-do Birmingham factory-owning family, and may have been articled to an architect. He became a socialist and had contacts with William Morris.. He failed in an attempt to found a socialist colony south of Sydney, Australia, in about 1884. He then was the London agent for Topolobampo, an attempt to establish a socialist community in Mexico. In 1893 he was treasurer of the Nationalization of Labour Society at the time when Ebenezer Howard was one of a committee set up to consider the formation of a co-operative land colony in England. Later the same year he was talking about the possibility of setting up a colony at Champions Farm, Woodham Ferris, near Chelmsford, but this came to nothing. He clearly found Howard's plans for Letchworth not socialist enough, but in 1903 he corresponded with Albert Kinsey Owen and urged the American to offer his services in the building of Letchworth and the following year wrote a letter about the Australian plans for a Federal Capital saying "Having studied for many years the subject of ideal cities, and taken part in the founding of several, from Topolobarapo, on the Gulf of California, to the Garden City now building 60 miles from London ..."  In 1907 he wrote in the February Edition of Garden City comparing Letchworth with the English Fairhope. However it was said that he has spent most of his inheritance on the Australian project and his architecturally accurate paintings may well have been to provide additional income starting in 1894.

Over the last few years I have collected a significant amount of information on Evacustes and hope to add it to this site in 2018.

November  2017   Page Created