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Utopia Britannica

British Utopian Experiments 1325 - 1945

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Birmingham Co-op.Soc. 1828
Owenite society set up with the aim of `mutual protection against poverty' and `independence through growth of common capital' by means of weekly subscriptions, trading and manufacturing operations, and community settlement.
GRID REF: Location Unknown
REF: Co-operation & Owenite Socialist Communities.

'Community Cottage' C1830
The `inmates' of Community Cottage sent narcissus bulbs, trees and seeds as gifts to Harmony Hall. Possibly the home of William Pare.
GRID REF: Vauxhall Rd. Birmingham.
REF: Co-operation & Owenite Socialist Communities.

Student Community C1830s
Whilst a student at Birmingham Mechanics Institute Holyoake discovered Owenism and set up a small community house with three fellow students. Holyoake went on to become a radical journalist, champion of the co-operative movement and founding father of the secular movement.
GRID REF: Location Unknown (poss. Community Cottage. See above.)
REF: Robert Owen & the Owenites in Britain & America.

Social United Interest Colonization Society 1839
Formed in Birmingham in 1839, the Social United Interest Colonization Society drew its members from the Rational Society. Its aim was to establish a community in the United States, where it believed lower land prices offered a better chance of success.
REF: Research by John Langdon

Cottage Factories 1857 - 60
Steam-powered cottage industries with a shared steam engine placed at the end of a row of independent ribbon-weavers’ cottages with a drive shaft running through the party wall of each house along the whole row. 48 cottages out of a planned 100 were built surrounded by vegetable plots by the Quaker Cash Bros.
GRID REF: Radford Coventry
REF: Taming the Tiger/ Villages of Vision.

Cottage Factories 1858 - 60
67 ribbon-workers 'steam powered' cottages. (see above) built by benevolent manufacturer.
GRID REF: Location Unknown Coventry
REF: Taming the Tiger

The Coventry Labourers & Artisans Co-operative Soc. C1840-60
Ribbon manufacturer Charles Bray was a leading light in the Coventry intelligentsia. A friend of George Elliot & Ralph Waldo Emerson. He helped to found a co-operative society which provide gardens for working men and a co-op store. Inspired by the cottage factories in Coventry he drew up a plan for a small community based on the same system - squares of 3-400 houses, each with their own steam engine to provide power would be surrounded by enough land for each house to have its own allotment. The scheme was never realised.
GRID REF: Location Unknown
REF: Robert Owen & the Owenites in Britian & America. / The Industrial Revolution in Coventry. J Prest 1960

Bournville Village Trust 1879 - Present
Influential model village founded by the Quaker Cadbury Brothers after moving their Cocoa & Chocolate factory to a site just south of Birmingham. Started with a few cottages provided alongside the factory, it grew into a whole planned village that was turned into a charitable trust in 1900 at which time it consisted of 330acres and 313 dwellings. Became a model for the Garden City & Suburbs movement with the First Garden City conference being held there in 1901 and George Cadbury was one of the first vice-presidents of the Garden City Association. The village is laid out with ample open space, shops, public buildings and each house has a large garden attached. Tenancies were open to anybody, not just Cadbury employees. During the 1930s the trust developed what were known as 'Ten shilling houses. The trust has continued to managed the village and be involved in housing development up to the present day. In the 1930s the trust acquired a series of farms as a 'greenbelt' on the southern side of Birmingham and now manage some 2770 acres of open or farm land.
GRID REF: SP046809 Birmingham
REF: Villages of Vision / Ninety Years On. http://www.cadbury.co.uk/CTB/AboutCadbury/HistoryandStoryofCadbury/BournvilleVillage/Default.htm

Birmingham Womens Settlement C1905
Womens university settlement.
GRID REF: 318 Sumer Lane
REF: Listed in Labour Annual 1905

Bournville Tenants Ltd1906
Co-partnership scheme that developed part of the Bournville village.
GRID REF: SP046809 Birmingham
REF: Ninety Years On.

St Georges Court 1923/4
FOUNDER/LEADER: Elizabeth Cadbury.
Block of 32 flats for single professional women developed by Residential Flats Ltd at Bournville model village along Co-operative Housekeeping lines.The flats were arranged as an open quadrangle.Communal facilities included a communal dining room, kitchen and 'shared servants', with groups of flats sharing bathrooms and living rooms. The communal facilities declined and were wound up in 1957.
GRID REF: SP046809 Bournville
REF: The Architectural & Social History of Co-operative Living.

St Georges Court Bournville

Handsworth Group 1937
"A Christian Community Group founded in 1937 and operating on a income sharing basis. Some dozen members share a home, but follow thier daily vocations, pooling resources and using thier house as a centre for communal worhip and social service." Residents included 2 teachers, 2 clerks, a lawyer and an older couple. In 1938 the group merged with the Cotwold Bruderhof and the Handsworth house was used as an outreach centre under the name Bruderhof House.
GRID REF: 11 Handsworth New Rd. Winson Green. Birmingham
REF: Community In Britian.

Dudley 1950
Dudley council estate based on modified 'Reilly Green' lines.
(See 'Birkenhead' for details)
REF: The Architectural & Social History of Co-operative Living. L.F.Pearson

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Site last updated 3.1.2007