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Utopia Britannica

British Utopian Experiments 1325 - 1945

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Toxteth Park Puritan Colony C1600's
Settlement of puritans from Bolton on the disemparked royal deer park. 25 farms were laid out on land that had the advantage of not coming under Church of England jurisdiction. Built the 'Ancient Chapel' of Toxteth. Remembered in names in the area -Jericho farm, River Jordan & Holyland.
GRID REF: SJ361884
REF: The History of the Royal & Ancient Park of Toxteth. R. Griffiths.

Shaking Quakers 1747-74
FOUNDER/LEADER: Jane & James Wardley (or Warlaw)
Group of Quakers influenced by the mystical ideas of the 'French prophets' or Camisards. Were joined & later lead by 'Mother' Ann Lee. Emigrated to America where they set up a series of 22 highly successful communal villages. Known in USA as the Shakers.
GRID REF: Bolton on the Moors
REF: The People Called Shakers.

Dukinfield Moravian Settlement 1743 - 1779
Started with `choirs' in private houses, reorganised in 1757 when a house for single brethren was obtained, and houses for the single brethren and single sisters were built, then enlarged. A trombone band was formed, a school for girls built in 1760, and another for boys in 1766. Due to lack of space for expansion the community moved to Fairfield.
GRID REF: SJ 943972Manchester
REF: Heavens Below.

Fairfield Moravian Settlement 1779 - Present
Settlement of the Church of the United Brethren, an early Protestant sect from Moravia, now part of Czech Republic. Houses, communal 'choirs for men & women, workshops and farm. Also chapel, school and burial ground. Success of the settlements inspired Robert Owen. Later became known for the quality of their schools.
GRID REF: SJ 895977 Droylsden
REF: Villages of Vision / Heavens Below /






Fairfield Moravian Settlement

Quaker farm colony C1800s
GRID REF: Nr Warrington
REF: Quakerism & Industry before 1800.

Christian Israelites1824-30
Headquarters of the Southcottians, or Christian Israelites, under the leadership of John Wroe. An elaborate sanctuary was built for the sect and, convinced that Ashton was to become the New Jerusalem, they proceeded to build four gateways to the town. Wroe lived in a Doric mansion west of County Bridge on the River Tame. Wroe forced to leave Ashton after a sex scandal went to set up a community in Wakefield. The site of the sanctuary was later the Star Theatre - named after the symbol of the sect. There were Southcottians in Ashton into the 1950s running a co-operative shop called the Israelite Stores.
GRID REF: SJ 940991
REF: England in Ashton-Under-Lyne. W.M.Bowman. Sherrat & Son. 1960

Chat Moss C1827-32
Co-operative smallholding scheme on Chat Moss a large area of drained 'waste' to the west of Manchester.
GRID REF: SJ 702958
REF: William Thompson biog./co-operative msc.May 1830 / Heavens Below.

Additional Information provided by John Langdon
Chat Moss
It has been suggested that a community was formed at Chat Moss in the early 1830s. No such community was in fact established. However, one of the men linked with the suggested community, Elijah Dixon, was later involved with a co-operative farm on the Moss in 1841. This experiment was begun by the Christian Co-operative Joint Stock Community, a society established in Manchester in 1840.

Birkacre 1831-33
Co-operative community set up by the Calico Block Printers Union based at Birkacre Mill, with 54 acres of land, a large house converted into 'apartments' and 11 acres of reservoirs. They had 150 employees & 300 members. The site is now a country park.
GRID REF: SD572149 Nr Chorley
REF: Co-operation & Owenite Socialist Communities.

Barrow Bridge 1831
Model industrial village built around Dean Mills. Cottages with gas lighting, running water & a washhouse at the end of every row. An educational institute was added in 1846. Workplace facilities were well in advance of those in most other mills and factories. A canteen was provided along with daily newspapers. Hot water was available all day for tea and coffee, and hot baths and showers were provided for all. The factory ovens baked 150 loaves a day for the workers and a Sickness & Burial Club was organised. Disraeli's novel Coningsby is thought to be based on Barrowbridge and may have also have inspired Port Sunlight.
GRID REF: SD688115 Bolton
REF Barrow Bridge,Bolton. Deanmills Estate - A Victorian Model Achievement. D.O'Connor.

Social Community Company 1832
The Social Community Company was formed in Manchester in 1832. It aim was to raise funds for a community, by collecting subscriptions towards £10 shares. Its members were prepared to emigrate should they not succeed in Britain, and the society sent twenty-three members to Cincinnati to establish a community in 1834. Its members included many prominent Manchester co-operators, including Elijah Dixon, who later established a community at Chat Moss.
REF: Research by John Langdon

Oldham Spinners Union 1830s
8 acre market garden run by the union for its unemployed members.
GRID REF: Location Unknown
REF: The Peoples Farm.

Calder Vale/Oakenclough 1835
Model village built by Quaker brothers Richard & Jonathan Jackson. Terraced houses built around textile mill in wooded Pennine valley. Also school and village hall.
GRID REF: SD533457
REF: And Sometime Upon the Hills.

Tyldesley Co-operative Society 1838-40
In 1838 a group from the Tyldesley Co-operative Society began a community on Chat Moss, west of Manchester. The community lasted until at least 1840, by which time there were eleven members.
GRID REF: SJ 702958
REF: Research by John Langdon

Self-Help Co-operative Soc. C1838 / 1848 / 1858
A series of attempts by factory workers to set up land based co-operative schemes - first an allotment scheme run by a group of young men, then a 'cow co-operative', whereby a cow was bought direct from a farm , butchered and divided up amongst the group, and finally under the name of The Self-Help Co-operative Society a few people took a nine acre farm with 2 cows, half a dozen pigs, ducks & rabbits and grew wheat & veg, the scheme failed when one of the cows died.
GRID REF: SD892012 Failsworth
REF: The History of Co-operation.

Manchester Central Committee 1839
The Manchester Central Committee was established in 1839 to aid the Manea Fen community. Its role was to assist in recruiting members and raising funds. The committee also published the Social Pioneer periodical to promote and defend Manea Fen. It severed connections with Manea Fen after the scandal of April 1839.
REF: Research by John Langdon

Bank Top 1847- 1945
FOUNDER/LEADER: Ashworth Bros.
Basic cottages and detached house built around mill by the Ashworth Bros. enlightened employers. Library & School provided - 1n 1833 all but 7 out of 532 workers could read. Continued as 'private' village till WW2.
GRID REF: SD729118 Bolton
REF: A Study of Model Villages: Bank Top, Eagley & Egerton. P.J.Smalley.

Pendle Hill Chartists 1842
Following a visit to Burnley by Chartist leader Feargus O'Connor some unemployed went out to Pendle Hill and staked their claims.
GRID REF: SD800414
REF: The History of Burnley.Bennett P292

Egerton 1844
FOUNDER/LEADER: Ashworth Bros.
100 'model' cottages & school built for millworkers.
GRID REF: SD710148 Bolton
REF: A Study of Model Villages: Bank Top,Eagley & Egerton. P.J.Smalley.

Birkdale Park 1848 - 1912
Exclusive seaside suburb developed for the Merseyside 'nouveax riche' by the Birkdale Park Land Co. Private schools became something of a local cottage industry. Working class banished to beyond railway line.Described in retrospect, and somewhat misleadingl,y as a garden suburb,
GRID REF: SD321157 Southport
REF: New Birkdale - The Growth of a Lancashire Seaside Suburb. H.Foster.

Eagley Village 1850-1932
Cottages, school, library, reading room, park, bowling green and cricket field built by James Chadwick & Bros Ltd.
GRID REF: SD717141 Bolton
REF: A Study of Model Villages:

Oldham Freehold Land Soc. C1850-55
52 acre 'Votingham' estate divided into 363 plots. 109 houses were built.
GRID REF: Location unknown
REF: Land Reform & working class experience in Britain and the US 1800/1862. J.L.Bernstein. .Stanford UP 1999.

Freehold Park 1852 -
38 acre 'Votingham' estate promoted by local Liberals to the east of Lancaster consisting of Ullswater, Grasmere, Windermere, Rydal, Dalton & Borrowdale Rds. Plots were just big enough for freeholders to qualify for the vote. Development of the estate was sporadic resulting in a variety of stone terraces all with large gardens.
GRID REF: SD485616 Lancaster
REF: The Story of Freehold. Centre for NW Regional Studies. Bulletin 4 1990.

Dalton Hall 'community' 1876 - 1957
Hall of residence for students of Owens College set up by Manchester Friends. Held up as a pioneer example of student accommodation. Linked to the University Settlement Movement.
GRID REF: Manchester
REF: Dalton Hall

Mulberry Cottage 1884 - 1901
A small community of members of Ruskin's Guild of St George tregularly at Mulberry Cottage-a cottage with a walled garden in Wavertree-from 1884 to 1901. Five families from this community moved to a group of smallholdings owned by the Guild in the Wyre Forest near Bewdley.
GRID REF: Wavertree
REF: Ruskin and Bewdley (1989): Peter Wardle and Cedric Quayle.

Blackburn Brotherhood 1899
Group of about ten Tolstoyan christian anarchists who ran an electrical repair business on `non-commercial' lines. They tried to live their lives based on the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. Connected with the Brotherhood workshop in Leeds.
GRID REF: 35, Victoria St. Blackburn
REF: Slow Burning Fuse / A History of the Brotherhood Church. A.G.Higgins

Daisy Colony C1902
Land colony at Poulton-le-Fylde set up by Bolton socialist Allan Clark.
GRID REF: Location unknown
REF: Getting Back to the Land: The Daisy Colony Experiment. P.Salveson. - In Labour's Turning Point in the North West 1880-1914.NW Labour History Soc. 1984

Vickerstown 1901- 4
'Marine' garden village built by Vickers Shipbuilders on Walney Island for their workers. 900 houses with shops, churches, institute, public house and school modelled on Port Sunlight.
GRID REF: SD182688 Barrow in Furness
REF: Villages of Vision

Blackley Estate 1902
Manchester Corporation estate built on ‘Bournville / Port Sunlight lines’ consisting of 150 houses, co-op store and shops run from houses, 13 acres open space & 30 acres of smallholdings
GRID REF: SD855036
REF: British Town Planning the Formative Years. Leics UP 1981.

Victoria Settlement C1905
Womens University Settlement.
GRID REF: 322 Netherfield Rd Liverpool
REF: Listed in Labour Annual 1905

Lancs. College Settlement C1905
Womens University Settlement.
GRID REF: Embden Rd Hulme Mancs.
REF: Listed in Labour Annual 1905

Hollins Green 1906-13
156 house early garden suburb. Ebenezer Howard came to opening in1909.
GRID REF: SD921027 Oldham
REF: Villages of Vision

Burnage Garden Village 1906-10
136 houses built by Manchester Tenants Ltd as a Co-partnership housing scheme. Designed by J.Horner Hargreaves. Built around recreation area and 'Pavilion’.
GRID REF: SJ 869923
REF: Villages of Vision

Broad Green Garden Suburb C1906
Garden Village development
GRID REF: Liverpool
REF: Heavens Below

Cleveleys C1906
Seaside Garden Village development.
GRID REF: SD317431
REF: Lancaster Library

Alkrington Garden Village
Garden Village development.
GRID REF: SD872041Manchester
REF: A.Taylor

Townley Smallholdings 1909 - 70?
Early land settlement scheme set up by local council for the unemployed known as Townley smallholdings. After WW1 extended to include returning servicemen. Wound up in the early 1970s. Two plant nurseries remain the rest has become part of local park.
GRID REF: SD 865315 Burnley
REF: Heavens Below

Ravenhead Garden Suburb 1909 - 1915
Development by Pilkington Bros Glass works SW of company’s headquarters. Original plans were extensive covering 45 acres inc: 500 'cottages' shops and recreation area. Only a small part of the plan was built.
GRID REF: St Helens
REF:Pilkington Bros Garden Village Ventures

Chorltonville Garden Suburb 1911
Thirty-six acre garden suburb scheme built by private developers.
"....This village is another attempt to solve the housing problem of a great city, and the effect of the winding streets, with their broad grass verges, and the broken outline of the villas, with their prominent black and white gables and expansive bay windows is very pleasing. Light, sunshine, and fresh air have been the main considerations in the erection of the houses."-Manchester Evening Chronicle, Oct. 7, 1911.
GRID REF: South of Chorlton-cum-Hardy.
REF: http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/cba/chorltonville/opening.htm

Fairfield Tenants Ltd 1912
Garden suburb scheme that grew out of successful allotment project on land owned by the Moravian settlement. In 1912 a group of local men made an approach to the Moravians to develop 22acres of land next to the settlement.
GRID REF: SJ895977
REF: British Town Planning the Formative Years. Leics UP 1981.

Eccleston Hall Garden Village 1919-20
A Pilkington Glass development that superceded the scheme at Ravenhead. Advised by Prof Abercrombie plans were drawn up for "a scheme to rival Port Sunlight" covering some 700 acres. Rising costs meant that the scheme was never carried out in full.
GRID REF: St Helens
REF: Pilkington Bros Garden Village Ventures.

The Childrens Garden Village 1920
The Boys and Girls Welfare Society purchased the Belmont Estate in Cheadle, and created 'The Children’s Garden Village'. Two houses Crossley Gaddum and Hayes Shaw were built in 1923 and 1925 respectively, as homes for orphaned and destitute children.
GRID REF: Cheadle, Manchester
REF: http://www.bgws.org.uk/history/two.htm

Wythenshaw C1930's
Large Garden Suburb development built by Manchester City Council. Clear example of evolution of Garden Suburbs into council estate. Lack of community facilities resulted in 'centre' being tacked on later.
GRID REF: SJ 825867 Manchester
REF: A History of Welwyn Garden City. Roger Filler. Phillimore &Co

Fazakerly New Hall 1930s?
Self-sufficient colony built by Poor Law Guardians. Cottages and central dining hall.
GRID REF: SJ365965 Liverpool
REF: Villages of Vision

Wigan & District Subsistence Production Society 1934-39
Smallholding scheme for the unemployed sponsored by a group of Quakers. Originally based on 12 acres at Lawns Farm, UpHolland where 40-50 men worked on a smallholding whilst still living in their own homes. Cobblers’, tailors’ and joiners’ workshops were set up. The men could take home produce from the scheme equal to the time they put in, without it affecting their dole. The scheme was later expanded taking in 300 acres of dairy farm at Parbold Hall, 18 acres at Billinge, 54 acres of poultry, pigs & greenhouses at Stephens Farm, Pemberton, and 60 acres at Ashfield House, Standish, where along with a bakery were joiners’, tailors’, butchers’, jam-makers’ and bacon-curing workshops. The scheme was made redundant by the onset of WW2.
GRID REF: SD512106/SD571095/ SD508039
REF: Heavens Below / Lancashire History Qtrly Vol 2, No 4. Dec98

The Stone Bower Fellowship C1939
FOUNDER/LEADER: Fred Hellowell
Peace Pledge Union sponsored communal scheme for elderly WW2 evacuees supported by Canadian Red Cross and Mennonites at Stone Bower House, Burton in Lonsdale. After the war became independent old peoples home, becoming a housing society in 1949 and moving to the Cove, Silverdale in 1950. Merged with large housing association in 1995.
GRID REF: SD464750
REF: The Stone Bower Fellowship. R.Douglas Young

Yealand Manor C1939
Experiment in communal living for evacuated children set up by the Manchester Friends’ monthly meeting. Up to 50 children lived together in 'an atmosphere of service, love & peace.'
GRID REF: Location unknown
REF: Pacifism in Lancashire. Pat Starky



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