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Utopia Britannica

British Utopian Experiments 1325 - 1945

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ESSEX


Greensted
1838 - 1845
Two farms leased by the Dorchester Labourers Farm Tribute for the Tollpuddle Martyrs on their return from transportation. George Loveless, James Brine and the Standfield family farmed New House Farm and a farm at High Laver until they emigrated to Canada. The farms became centres for union and chartist activity in the area.
GRID REF: TL 526031
REF: The Book of the Tollpuddle Martyrs 1834-1934 TUC

Barkingside 1873
Dr Barnardo's 'Village Home'. Cottages and chapel opened in 1873. Hospital added later.
GRID REF: TQ445898
REF: Villages of Vision

Hay Farm 1885-1901
FOUNDER/LEADER: A. Herbert
Part of a multi-site smallholding scheme. Other schemes at Foxham (Wilts), Cottenham(Camb)and for details see Lambourne(Camb).
GRID REF: Location Unknown
REF: Heavens Below p285

Hadleigh Farm Colony 1891- Present.
FOUNDER/LEADER: William Booth
Highly successful scheme for training the poor and destitute and resettling them on the land run by the Salvation Army. Consisted of 3,200 acres with arable, dairy and chicken farms, market gardens, workshops, brickworks, pottery and its own wharf. Resettled over 7'000 colonists up to WW1 when it went into decline, any social aspects ending in the 1960s. The farm is now run on a commercial basis and the rest of the colony either built on, or part of Hadliegh Country Park.
GRID REF: TQ 802862
REF:The Poor & the Land. Ryder Haggard. 1905./ Hadliegh Past.

Co-operative Land Soc. 1892
Organisation set up to promote common ownership home colonies with the involvement of Ebeneezer Howard. Looked at land in Essex but nothing came of it.
REF: Utopian England

Looking Backward 1893
Site chosen for a co-operative colony to be set up on the basis outlined in Edward Bellamy's 'Looking Backward'. Never carried out.
GRID REF: Hockley Nr Southend
REF: The Architectural & Social History of Co-operative Living. L.F.Pearson

Mayland Colony 1896
FOUNDER/LEADER: Thomas Smith Inspired by articles in The Clarion Thomas Smith bought an 11 acre plot for his family and advertised for "socialist settlers" to come and join him. Impressed by Smith’s efforts the soap manufacturer Joseph Fels purchased the neighbouring 600acre Nipsells farm and made it available as smallholdings.
GRID REF: TQ910990 Althorne
REF: Alt Com 19th Cent Eng

Purleigh Colony 1896 - 99
Tolstoyan Anarchist colony that grew out of the Croydon Brotherhood Church. Some members had lived in, or visited Russia and were personally acquainted with Tolstoy. Initially based on a 10-acre plot, as the group grew the colony rented local cottages with land attached. They worked the poor land using intensive methods which impressed visitors;
"Various buildings have been put up - a tool shed, a 100-foot green house (thirty feet fitted with heating apparatus), a workshop with carpenter's bench, a stable to accommodate a horse and pony, some fowl houses, a cow shed large enough to hold six cows, a coal shed and a six-roomed brick cottage. The cottage is occupied by the family and one of the single men, and most of the colonists come in to dinner every day." Hubert Hammond Colonist.
The colony ran a printing press, publishing translations of Tolstoy and for a while The New Order magazine. For a time the colony sheltered some of the Russian Doukhobors, members of the sect forced to leave Russia to avoid political persecution. Some of the colonists went with the Doukhobors to Canada, and a small group went to form the colony at Whiteway after a disagreement with others over membership policy. This exodus seems to have resulted in the closure of the colony.
GRID REF: TL 812046 Cocks Clark.
REF: Alt Com 19th Cent Eng

Longley 'Training Farm'1896
28 acre farm set up as training scheme for the unemployed by printer Walter Hazell. Moved to Chesham in Beccles.
GRID REF: Longley
REF: Heavens Below p324

Ashingdon Colony 1897
Small Tolstoyan Anarchist smallholdings colony started by James Evans.
GRID REF: The Chase, Ashingdon.
REF: Alt Com 19th Cent Eng

Wickford Colony 1898
29 acres divided into plots of 1 to 3 acres by a group of 'socialists' inspired by the writings of Tolstoy. The group had links with the Croydon brotherhood and the colony at Purliegh. Known as the 'Colony for City Men' because of good rail access to London where colonists continued to work.
GRID REF: TQ729958 Downham
REF: Alt Com 19th Cent Eng

Laindon Farm Colony1904-11
FOUNDER/ LEADER : Joseph Fels / George Lansbury
The Poplar Guardians were given 3 years free use of the 100acre Sumpners Farm by soap magnate Joseph Fels. A hundred men from the Poplar workhouse, many of them young ex-soldiers, were housed in corrugated iron huts and set to digging reservoirs and building chicken huts. The plan to turn the site into co-operative smallholdings was not carried out by the Local Government Board.
GRID REF: TQ684884 Laindon
REF: Heavens Below / Utopian England

Boxted 1906 - 1916
Large estate divided into eighty plots, of up to six acres as a Salvation Army Land Colony. A scheme for co-operative distribution of produce was organised through a central grading store. The scheme appeared to be so successful that the Army decided to form a company called 'Land for the People Ltd.' However the smallholders were unhappy with the administration and it was wound up in 1916 with many holdings bought by the County Council to resettle ex-servicemen.
GRID REF: TL 995319 Nr Colchester
REF: A Short History of Boxted.

Rachel Cottage 1918
Outreach of Kinsley Hall Settlement used as a holiday place by families from Bow.
GRID REF:
Loughton
REF: http://www.kingsleyhall.freeuk.com/

Silver End 1926
FOUNDER/ LEADER : F.H.Critall
During expansion in the I920s Crittalls carpet manufacturers commissioned a scheme for a brand-new company village. The employees administered the village themselves through a company set up specially for the purpose. In the early stages the village consisted mostly of flat-roofed International Modern housing. Other housing was plain neo-Georgian. There was also a village hall, hotel, bank, telephone exchange, surgery, dental clinic, shopping arcade, school & playing fields and a public garden. Farms were established which sold produce direct to the villagers.
GRID REF: TL 808196
REF: Villages of Vision

Bata International C1930s
The company, founded by Thomas Bata in 1900 in Czechoslovakia with ten employees, by 1938 claimed to have a workforce of 27,000 through out the world - with model settlements including 7 towns in Czechoslovakia and others in Europe, Canada and India. East Tilbury followed the pattern of the other settlements with the separation of the factory and housing by a green belt and the use of advanced building techniques for its cottages in the International Modern style.
GRID REF: TQ 679705 East Tilbury
REF: Villages of Vision

Adelphi Centre 1934-37
FOUNDER/ LEADER : John M.Murry
Socialist comunitarian ‘training centre’ set up by John Middleton-Murry at ‘The Oaks’. A market garden was set up in the old kitchen garden & paddocks. The house was used during WW2 for East End evacuees.
GRID REF: TM 029316 Langham
REF: Utopian England / www.langham.org.uk

Foxash 1935 - 82
Land Settlement Association smallholding scheme. (See Chawston Beds.)
GRID REF: TM068298
REF: Colin Ward D&D 94/95

Yeldham 1935 - 82?
Land Settlement Association smallholding scheme. (See Chawston Beds.)
GRID REF: Location Unknown
REF : Colin Ward D&D 94/95

Langenhoe ? -1935
FOUNDER/LEADER: John Hawkswell
A group of 30 or so worked a 1500 acre estate bought by a Mrs Judges.
Part of the Catholic Land Movement.
GRID REF: TM009185
REF: Heavens Below


Hawkspur Experiment
1936-40
Hawkspur Camp was sponsored by the Q-Camp Committee,(Q for quest) set up in 1935 with the aim of creating a series of therapeutic camps or communities for young men. Hawkspur was the first of these. Camp Chief was David Wills a Quaker who had worked before in the South Wales Settlement Houses. At Hawkspur disturbed and delinquent young men lived communally in tents and buildings that they constructed themselves. It was one of the earliest intentional therapeutic communities in Britain exploring what became known as Planned Environment Therapy.The camp ended at the outbreak of war.
GRID REF: TL677305 Hill Hall Common, Great Bardfield,
REF: The Hawkspur Experiment. D.Wills.

Southend Community 1939
Wartime community listed in the journal Community Life issued by the British Llano Circle.
GRID REF: 34 Retreat Rd.Westcliffe-on-sea / Oakwood Brook Hill. Wickford.
REF: Heavens Below p415

Moore Place 1939-45
15 acre holding worked by 12 pacifists during WW2.
GRID REF: TQ685819 Stanford le Hope
REF: Andrew Rigby/D&D

 

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Site last updated 3.1.2007