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Utopia Britannica

British Utopian Experiments 1325 - 1945

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Diggers Colony 1649-50?
One of a series of 'other' Diggers colonies. (See St George's Hill, Surrey for more details)
GRID REF: Possibly on Slimbridge Waste.
REF: World Turned Upside down

Friends Workhouse1696-1720
Quaker poor relief scheme that provided housing and work for unemployed Quakers.
GRID REF: Location Unknown Bristol
REF: Quakerism & Industry before 1800

Warmley 1760's
Cottages, shops & clock tower built by Quaker industrialist. Cottages built of basalt slag. (brass foundry waste). Also built housing at Bitton(Glos.) and Kelston(Somerset).
GRID REF: ST673729
REF: Quakers in Science and Industry

Randwick Experiment 1831-3
FOUNDER/ LEADER : Mary Ann Greaves & James Pierrepont Greaves
'Social service' scheme to relieve distressed weavers set up by the ‘sacred socialist’ & his sister. Food and clothes were given in exchange for 'community work' around the village. Tools were supplied and an overseer and record keeper appointed. Roads were improved by unskilled men, and women taught to make clothes. A local currency was introduced whereby tokens were issued for work and were exchangeable for food, clothes, tools, furniture & books.
GRID REF: SO809076
REF: Search for a New Eden.

Lowbands 1846 - 51
Second Chartist estate consisting of 23 smallholdings with model cottages laid out on a network of lanes around a schoolhouse and 10 acre common water meadow. 22 working horses and rows of fruit trees were provided along with firewood, manure and seeds. Each cottage had its own water supply and privy.
GRID REF: SO 775314
REF: The Chartist Land Company

Snigs End 1847 - 51
81 plot Chartist estate laid out on 268 acres around the village of Staunton with model cottages, schoolhouse, roads and pathways. As on other estates settlers who had won their plots were provided with supplies of manure, firewood and seed. The third National Chartist petition was taken to parliament in 1848 on a cart made at Snigs End & pulled by estate horses.
GRID REF: SO 792288 Staunton
REF: The Chartist Land Company

Kelmscott Manor 1871- 1896
FOUNDER/LEADER : William Morris
Part-time home of William Morris, inspiration for a whole movement in architexcture and final destination of the utopian traveller in News from Nowhere. Morris is buried with his wife & daughters in the graveyard of the small chapel in Kelmscott village.
GRID REF: SU253987
REF: William Morris. Fiona McCarthy

Kelmscott manor
Country home of William Morris - poet, craftsman and socialist. The house contains a collection of Morris’ possessions and works. He is buried in the village nearby.
Open April - Sept. Weds and occasional Saturdays

Contact for details:
Kelmscott Manor. Kelmscott
Nr Lechlade. Glous. GL7 3HJ
Tel: 01367 252486
Website: www.kelmscottmanor.co.uk

Blockley C1878
FOUNDER/LEADER : William Morris
Half-deserted Cotswold village with abandoned silk mill, that William Morris surveyed for an Arts & Crafts based community. Morris regretted being persuaded not to move there by his business partners, setting up at Merton Abbey instead. (Rock Cottage, Blockley was the last home of the Prophetess Joanna Southcott.)
GRID REF: SP165349
REF: Designing Utopia. M.H.Lang.

Chipping Camden 1902-1909
Sleepy Cotswold town that became the home for the Guild of Handicrafts. Some 150 East End craftsmen moved into the town setting up workshops in the old silkmill just off the centre of town and renting accomodation throughout the town. The Guild had a major impact on the town both economically and socially, setting up a band, sports club, drama society and allotment association and building a swimming pool. Cheap mass produced imitations of their work led to the end of the Guild.
GRID REF: SP151388
REF: The Simple Life. Fiona McCarthy

The Guild of Handicraft Trust

Small museum set in the mill used by C.R. Ashbee’s Guild of Handicrafts. Exhibits include work of the Guild and other local craft workers.

For opening times and admission charges Contact : The Silk Mill. Sheep St.
Chipping Campden. Glous. GL55 6DS
Tel: 01386 859135
Email: gofhtrust@ukonline.co.uk

Broad Campden 1908-1914
70 acres bought by soap magnate Joseph Fels as smallholdings for the craftsmen of the Guild of Handicrafts after the Guild had ceased.
GRID REF: SP158378
REF: The Simple Life. Fiona McCarthy

Whiteway 1898 - Present
42acre holding taken by a breakaway from the Tolstoyan colony at Purleigh. Originally a communal group in Whiteway House surrounded by open fields the colony became a thriving anarchist community over the years developing into a patchwork of smallholdings with people living in a variety of homemade sheds, huts, houses and railway carriages etc. In 1924 a colony hall was erected to house social activities and a school house and in 1969 the colony swiming pool was opened. Still operating under their original constitution they are the longest surviving secular community in the country.
GRID REF: S0 919105
REF: Whiteway Colony.Joy Thack

Sapperton Workshops 1901 -
FOUNDER/LEADER : Ernest Gimson / Sidney Barnsley.
Loose Arts & Crafts based community that grew up around workshops of Gimson & Barnsley. Rented Daneway house and built 3 houses.
GRID REF: SO946032
REF:The Arts & Crafts Movement. E.Cumming & W.Kaplan

Snowshil Manor C1920s?
FOUNDER/ LEADER : Charles Wade
Arts & Crafts 'Utopia' set up by Raymond Unwin's assistant.
GRID REF: Location Unknown
REF: Hampstead Garden Suburb

National Homecroft Ass. 1926-37
Public utility company inspired by working-class housing schemes in California. Built ten houses at Cheltenam with smallholdings attached. The families kept poultry & pigs and grew potatoes and fruit. It was hoped to replace individual holding with group homecrofts. As the depression worsened the scheme was used to teach groups of unemployed to grow food. A market was set up where the members could buy and sell their produce using their own local currency. The scheme had close links with Cardiff university from where student came to help. By 1934 The Times reported, in a favourable article, that light handlooms were in use.
GRID REF: Cheltenam
REF:Self-subsistence for the Unemployed. Prof. J.W.Scott / Utopian England

Prinknash Abbey 1928 -
The 20th Earl of Rothes gave Prinknash house and 28 acres to the Benedictine Monks from Caldey Island. The monks converted the building and acquired more land creating a self-contained community that was given abbey status in 1937. Further communities were founded in 1947 at Farnborough & Pluscarden(Scotland).
GRID REF: SO869141
REF: Utopian England

Newent 1935 - 82?
Land Settlement Association smallholding scheme. (See Chawston Beds.)
GRID REF: SO723258
REF : Colin Ward D&D 94/95

Gloucester Land Scheme 1939-45
Land loaned by local Quaker for a pacifist land scheme. Half a dozen or so COs lived in an old sports pavilion whilst growing vegetables and dreaming of self-sufficiency.
GRID REF: SO811169 Nr Hempsted
REF: Andrew Rigby/D&D

Richmond Community C1940
Wartime pacifist land settlement community.
GRID REF: Nr Ross-on-Wye
REF : Utopian England

Bromsash C1941
Small community that took some Bruderhof members when others went to Paraguay.
GRID REF: SO650241 Ross on Wye
REF: Heavens Below /
Bruderhof Museum

Taena Farm 1942-51
FOUNDER/ LEADER :George Ineson
Small pacifist based community on 55 acre wooded farm on sloping rocky site. Intially highly organised with consensus decision making, communal meals and plans for home education. Later became more informal. When the lease ran out they moved to Whitley Court, nr Prinknash Abbey.
GRID REF: Forest of Dean
REF: Utopian England


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Site last updated 3.1.2007