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PLANNING THE URBAN FUTURE IN 1960s BRITAIN*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 May 2011

GUY ORTOLANO*
Affiliation:
New York University
*
Department of History, New York University, 53 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012, USAortolano@nyu.edu

Abstract

This article recovers Buckinghamshire county council's proposal to build a monorail city for 250,000 residents during the 1960s. The project was eventually taken over by Whitehall, which proceeded to establish Britain's largest new town of Milton Keynes instead, but from 1962 to 1968 local officials pursued their monorail metropolis. By telling the story of ‘North Bucks New City’, the article develops a series of claims. First, the proposal should be understood not as the eccentric creation of a single British county, but rather as one iteration of larger state efforts to manage the densities and distributions of growing populations. Second, while the 1960s witnessed the automobile's decisive triumph as a means of personal mobility in Britain, that very triumph ironically generated critiques of the car and quests for alternatives. Third, the monorail was part of a complex social vision that anticipated – and, in part through the facilitation of recreational shopping, sought to alleviate – a crisis of delinquency expected to result from a world of automation and affluence. Fourth, despite its ‘futuristic’ monorail, the plan ultimately represented an effort by experts and the state to manage social change along congenial lines. Fifth, the proposal advanced a nationalist urbanism, promising renewed global stature for post-imperial Britain by building upon its long urban history. Finally, the article concludes by arguing that this unrealized vision points to the limitations of ‘modernism’ in the history of urban planning, and to the problems of teleology in the history of the 1960s.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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Footnotes

*

I am grateful to Clare Jackson and the anonymous reviewers for the Historical Journal for their comments and suggestions. This article has also benefited from the responses of James Cronin and the British Study Group at Harvard, Peter Mandler and the Modern Cultural History Seminar at Cambridge, and Richard Williams and the North American Conference on British Studies in Baltimore. Special thanks to those who commented upon written drafts: Ken Alder, Herrick Chapman, Greg Downs, Simon Gunn, Jenny C. Mann, and Kirk Willis, as well as to my interlocutors on monorails and futurism, Michelle Standley and Larry Wolff. I would also like to thank the staff of the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies in Aylesbury, especially Roger Bettridge, Chris Low, and Sally Mason. All quotations from papers produced by county officers are reproduced by permission of the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies.

References

1 ‘Prof. Parkinson wants a “British Brasília”’, Daily Telegraph, clipping held with the papers of Frederick B. Pooley at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies (CBS), AR 178/1981, NC/14. Parkinson was neither an architect nor a planner, but a naval historian, as well as the author of the humorous and bestselling Parkinson's law (Harmondsworth, 1957); see C. M. Turnbull, ‘Parkinson, Cyril Northcote (1909–1993)’, Oxford dictionary of national biography (ODNB), online edn, Oct. 2007, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/53127.

2 Pooley to Parkinson, 3 June 1965, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/14. The remainder of this paragraph draws from R. Sharpe, ‘A city for the 70s’, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/18A; the plan is also outlined in Pooley, North Bucks New City (Aylesbury, 1966).

3 R. J. Eaton, ‘Public transport system study’, 1 Mar. 1965, CBS, AR 103/87, box 5, item 23, pp. 12–13.

4 Eaton, ‘North Bucks New City monorail: a feasibility study’, Mar. 1965, CBS, AR 103/87, box 5, item 24, pp. 1–2.

5 See, for example, G. A. Jellicoe, Motopia: a study in the evolution of urban landscape (New York, NY, 1961); Ivor de Wolfe, Civilia: the end of sub urban man (London, 1971), discussed in Mark Clapson, A social history of Milton Keynes: middle England/edge city (London, 2004), pp. 73–4, and Richard J. Williams, The anxious city: English urbanism in the late twentieth century (London, 2004), pp. 76–81. See also John R. Gold, ‘The city of the future and the future of the city’, in Russell King, ed., Geographical futures (Sheffield, 1985), pp. 92–101; idem, The experience of modernism: modern architects and the future city, 1928–1953 (London, 1997); idem, The practice of modernism: modern architects and urban transformation, 1954–1972 (New York, NY, 2007); Volker M. Welter, ‘Everywhere at any time: post-Second World War genealogies of the city of the future’, in Iain Boyd Whyte, ed., Man-made future: planning, education, and design in mid-twentieth century Britain (London, 2007), pp. 59–77; Donna Goodman, A history of the future (New York, NY, 2008); Hyde, Timothy, ‘Architecture in the sixties and the sixties in architecture’, The Sixties, 2, (2009), pp. 97105CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6 Ebenezer Howard, To-morrow: a peaceful path to real reform (London, 1898), subsequently published as Garden cities of to-morrow (London, 1902); Le Corbusier, Vers une architecture (Paris, 1923), published in English as Towards a new architecture (New York, NY, 1927); Wright, Frank Lloyd, ‘Broadacre City: an architect's vision’, New York Times Magazine, 20 March 1932, pp. 89Google Scholar; Fritz Lang, dir., Metropolis (1927). Gold, The experience of modernism, ch. 2, discusses most of these examples; for a general intellectual history, see Peter Hall, Cities of tomorrow: an intellectual history of urban planning and design in the twentieth century (Oxford, 2002); Howard's programme and legacy are the subject of Peter Hall and Colin Ward, Sociable cities: the legacy of Ebenezer Howard (New York, NY, 1998); for a single treatment of Howard, Wright, and Corbusier, see Robert Fishman, Urban utopias in the twentieth century: Ebenezer Howard, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Le Corbusier (New York, NY, 1977); on the MARS ‘Plan for London’, see William Whyte, ‘MARS group (act. 1933–1957)’, ODNB, online edn., Sept. 2009, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/theme/96308.

7 Gold, The experience of modernism, pp. 194–200.

8 Hall and Ward, Sociable cities, pp. 52–67; see also Gold, The practice of modernism, ch. 7, especially p. 146. The information about Washington's hovercraft service comes from Dominic Sandbrook, White heat: a history of Britain in the swinging sixties (London, 2006), p. 179; on British architecture generally during this period, see Nicholas Bullock, Building the post-war world: modern architecture and reconstruction in Britain (New York, NY, 2002); for an indication of the sheer extent of post-war planning, see Peter J. Larkham and Keith D. Lilley, Planning the ‘city of tomorrow’: British reconstruction planning, 1939–1952: an annotated bibliography (Pickering, 2001); for an analysis of those plans, see Larkham, ‘Selling the future city: images in UK post-war reconstruction plans’, in Boyd Whyte, ed., Man-made future, pp. 99–120.

9 These are the criteria, for instance, in Robert H. Kargon and Arthur P. Molella, Invented edens: techno-cities of the twentieth century (Cambridge, MA, 2008).

10 According to Williams, ‘Milton Keynes amounts to the most comprehensive and thorough attempt to reimagine the English city of the late-twentieth century.’ Williams, The anxious city, p. 55. The claim regarding the growth of Milton Keynes comes from Clapson, A social history of Milton Keynes, p. 1; Colin Ward calls Milton Keynes the ‘last and largest’ new town in New town, home town: the lessons of experience (London, 1993), pp. 18, 47. During the 1970s, only Aberdeen – in the midst of its oil boom – generated more jobs: Andy Beckett, When the lights went out: Britain in the seventies (London, 2009), p. 427.

11 Frank Markham, A history of Milton Keynes and district (2 vols., Luton, 1973–5).

12 Clapson, A social history of Milton Keynes, pp. 33–5, 71–2, 79.

13 Terence Bendixson and John Platt, Milton Keynes: image and reality (Cambridge, 1992), p. 21. Platt researched the book, and Bendixson wrote it; I follow Bendixson's example by naming him as the author.

14 Beckett, When the lights went out, p. 424.

15 See the discussion between Walter Bor, John de Monchaux, David Donnison, Peter Waterman, and David Lock in The best laid plans: Milton Keynes since 1967, ed. Mark Clapson, Mervyn Dobbin, and Peter Waterman (Luton, 1998), pp. 8–11, at pp. 9–10.

16 Peter Mandler, discussing the redevelopment of town centres, notes that the ministry considered fifteen such schemes in 1959 and seventy in 1963, whereas by 1965 more than five hundred were in the works; he explains that these plans were increasingly ‘characterised by gigantism and a belief in the technological quick-fix’. Mandler, ‘New towns for old: the fate of the town centre’, in Becky Conekin, Frank Mort, and Chris Waters, eds., Moments of modernity: reconstructing Britain, 1945–1964 (New York, NY, 1999), pp. 208–27, at p. 220.

17 Gold, The practice of modernism, p. 108.

18 CBS, AR 178/1981. This collection consists of forty-six files of the county planning office, covering the years 1963–8; most (if not all) of the boxes give no indication of having been opened since being deposited in 1981.

19 Joe Moran, On roads: a hidden history (London, 2009), pp. 26–9; David Rydz, L., ‘The formation of the Great Ouse water authority: part II’, Public Administration, 49, (1971), pp. 245–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

20 Ward, New town, home town, p. 47. See also Helen Meller, Towns, plans, and society in modern Britain (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 71–3.

21 Neil Brenner, New state spaces: urban governance and the rescaling of statehood (New York, NY, 2004), ch. 4, especially pp. 154–7; E. Y. Galantay, A. K. Constandse, and T. Ohba, eds., New towns world-wide (The Hague, 1985); Jane Hobson, ‘New towns, the modernist planning project, and social justice: the cases of Milton Keynes, UK and 6th October, Egypt’, UCL urban development and planning working paper no. 108 (London, 1999).

22 Ward, New town, home town, p. 38; Gold, The practice of modernism, pp. 151–5. Manchester and Birmingham also considered building satellite communities, but relented in the late 1950s after public inquiries: Hall and Ward, Sociable cities, p. 56. Bendixson rightly remarks of Pooley's plan, ‘No county council had before done anything like it – and none has since.’ Bendixson and Platt, Milton Keynes, p. 21.

23 Pooley, North Bucks New City; Bendixson and Platt, Milton Keynes, pp. 22–32.

24 Unless otherwise noted, this paragraph draws from Paul Finch, ‘Fred Pooley – quiet-voiced pragmatist – dies aged 81’, Architects' Journal (online edn), 26 Mar. 1998.

25 Unidentified clipping held at the CBS: ‘Chiltern life’, Mar./Apr. 1975, p. 9.

26 Ibid.; Smith, Margaret, ‘County offices architect dies’, Bucks Herald, 18 Mar. 1998Google Scholar; Tresilian, Liz, ‘The preservationists’, Bucks Life, Oct. 1966, pp. 811Google Scholar at p. 10.

27 The information that Nairn authored the well-known appellation ‘Fred's fort’ comes from ‘Mutual enterprise at Aylesbury’, Design, 1 May 1971, pp. 58–65, at p. 65. Three decades later, ungenerous obituarists preferred ‘Pooley's folly’: Smith, , ‘County offices architect dies’; ‘Death of former county architect’, Bucks Advertiser, 20 Mar. 1998Google Scholar.

28 Tresilian, ‘The preservationists’, p. 10; Bendixson and Platt, Milton Keynes, p. 21.

29 Ikki Suge writes, ‘Reforms in Britain after 1945 were in large part post-war answers to pre-war questions; the new towns policy was the post-war British government's answer to the inter-war expansion of London.’ Suge, , ‘The nature of decision-making in the post-war new towns policy: the case of Basildon, c. 1945–70’, Twentieth Century British History, 16, (2005), pp. 146–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at p. 146.

30 Report of the royal commission on the distribution of the industrial population, cmnd. 6153 (London, 1940), discussed in Ward, New town, home town, pp. 31–2.

31 These economic concerns, and the belief that they could be managed by the state, were part of the post-war ‘spatial Keynesianism’ discussed by Brenner, New state spaces, ch. 4, especially p. 115.

32 Patrick Abercrombie, Greater London plan (London, 1945).

33 Meller, Towns, plans, and society in modern Britain, ch. 5; Jules Lubbock, ‘1947 and all that: why has the act lasted so long?’, in Boyd Whyte, ed., Man-made future, pp. 1–15.

34 Meller, Towns, plans, and society in modern Britain, p. 72.

35 Brian Harrison, Seeking a role: the United Kingdom, 1951–1970 (Oxford, 2009), p. 146; Mandler, ‘New towns for old’, p. 213. See also Bendixson and Platt, Milton Keynes, chs. 2–3, which in turn draws from P. L. Mortimer, ‘Urban development in north Buckinghamshire, 1930–1970’ (M.Phil. thesis, Open University, 1984).

36 Wise, M. J., ‘The future of the south-east’, Geographical Journal, 130, (1964), pp. 270–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bendixson and Platt, Milton Keynes, pp. 23–5; Gold, The practice of modernism, p. 247.

37 Tony Judt, Postwar: a history of Europe since 1945 (New York, NY, 2005), pp. 385–6.

38 This discussion is based upon the accompanying white paper, South East England, cmnd. 2308 (London, 1964), a copy of which is held in CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/1.

39 Ian Nairn, ‘The best in Britain’, Observer, 22 Nov. 1964.

40 ‘The overspill problem in Bucks: a new city?’ (1962), discussed in Pooley, North Bucks New City, pp. 1–2; reprinted in 1964, and held in CBS, AR 178/1981, ‘New city in North Bucks’ (uncatalogued).

41 On the water troubles, see Markham, A history of Milton Keynes and district, ii, pp. 307–8.

42 ‘North Bucks New City: CDA and designation: 2. report’ (Aylesbury, 1964), p. 2, a copy of which is available in the Milton Keynes library, R L060:71.

43 B. R. Mitchell, British historical statistics (Cambridge, 1988), p. 558, cited in Simon Gunn, ‘The Buchanan report, environment, and the problem of traffic in 1960s Britain’, Twentieth Century British History (forthcoming).

44 Colin G. Pooley, ‘Mobility in the twentieth century: substituting commuting for migration?’, in David Gilbert, David Matless, and Brian Short, eds., Geographies of British modernity: space and society in the twentieth century (Oxford, 2003), pp. 80–96, at p. 88.

45 Moran, On roads, pp. 72–3.

46 Gunn, ‘The Buchanan report’.

47 Ministry of transport, Traffic in towns: a study of the long term problems of traffic in urban areas (London, 1963), p. 28; the reference to ‘general thrombosis’ comes from paragraph 8 of the steering group's unpaginated preface, co-written by Geoffrey Crowther.

48 Ibid., paragraphs 15–19.

49 Ibid., paragraph 35.

50 Ibid., paragraph 40.

51 Ibid., paragraph 39, p. 32.

52 Ibid., p. 32.

53 The connections between Buchanan's findings and Pooley's thinking were explicit, for instance in the epigraphs adorning a pamphlet the latter's office produced: ‘The case for the monorail’ (1965), CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/12A.

54 Smith, ‘County offices architect dies’.

55 ‘Review of development plan’ (1963), CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/7.

56 Reyner Banham, Los Angeles: the architecture of four ecologies (New York, NY, 1971).

57 ‘Interview with Fred Pooley’ (c. Nov./Dec. 1964), CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/18A.

58 Sharpe, ‘A city for the 70s’.

59 Discussing public transportation in Chicago at the turn of the twentieth century, Blair Ruble adds welcome texture to the conventional narrative of the automobile's triumph: Second metropolis: pragmatic pluralism in gilded age Chicago, Silver Age Moscow, and Meiji Osaka (Washington DC, 2001), ch. 5.

60 Undated interview with Bill Berrett, included on a CD-ROM produced by IDOX Information Services: Anthony Burton and Joyce Hartly, eds., The new towns record, 1946–2002 (London, n.d.).

61 Pooley, North Bucks New City, pp. 2–3.

62 Ibid., p. 4.

63 ‘North Bucks New City: CDA and designation: 2. report’, p. 6.

64 Eaton, ‘Public transport system study’, pp. 11, 9; the precise estimate was 7,127,000 miles annually.

65 Gold, The practice of modernism, ch. 11.

66 Chapman, Priscilla, ‘The plug-in city’, Sunday Times, 20 Sept. 1964Google Scholar; Larry Busbea, Topologies: the urban utopia in France, 1960–1970 (Cambridge, MA, 2007); Hyde, ‘Architecture in the sixties and the sixties in architecture’.

67 Williams, The anxious city, ch. 2; Whyte, William, ‘The Englishness of English architecture: modernism and the making of a national international style, 1927–1957’, Journal of British Studies, 48, (2009), pp. 441–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

68 Eaton, ‘Public transport system study’, p. 11.

69 Sandbrook, White heat, p. 55; ‘County architect talks to Haddenham on Milton Keynes’, Bucks Herald, 18 Jan. 1968.

70 W. K. Smigielski, Leicester traffic plan: report on traffic and urban policy (Leicester, 1964); Ministry of transport, Traffic in towns, pp. 24–5.

71 Brian Richards, New movement in cities (London, 1966), pp. 26, 28–9.

72 Eaton, ‘Public transport system study’, pp. 6, 15–16.

73 Richards, New movement in cities, p. 41.

74 ‘County of Buckingham [sic] development plan review’, discussed in Pooley, North Bucks New City, p. 6.

75 Unidentified newspaper clipping by Terence Bendixson, ‘UK news’ (c. 1965), CBS, AR 178/1981, NC12A. Smigielski's interest in novel transport possibilities, which included electric rickshaws and moving pavements in addition to the monorail, was not shared by his colleagues on Leicester's planning committee – especially its Conservative chair, Kenneth Bowder, who derided the monorail as a ‘laughline’. See Simon Gunn, ‘Between modernism and conservation: Konrad Smigielski and the planning of postwar Leicester’, in Richard Rodger, ed., A history of modern Leicester (Lancaster, forthcoming).

76 A parallel that similarly placed a transit system at the centre of a broader social vision may be seen in Frank Pick's designs for the London underground: see Michael T. Saler, The avant-garde in interwar England: medieval modernism and the London underground (New York, NY, 1999), pp. 92–3, 106–7; on related developments in housing and shopping in the United States, see Lizabeth Cohen, A consumers' republic: the politics of mass consumption in postwar America (New York, NY, 2003).

77 For the broader planning context, which helps to explain the ground shifting beneath Pooley's feet, see Glen O'Hara, From dreams to disillusionment: economic and social planning in 1960s Britain (New York, NY, 2007).

78 The reference to ‘soul-destroying monotony’ comes from a draft article by Pooley, ‘The future metropolis: a new conception’ (c. Dec. 1969), paragraph 3, CBS, AR 103/87, 1/11 (MK 11).

79 Pooley to J. R. James, 3 June 1964, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/8. The remainder of this paragraph draws from the ‘Interview with Fred Pooley’.

80 Appendix to ‘North Bucks New City: CDA and designation: 2. report’, p. 1. The discussion of ‘mental mobility’ comes from the pamphlet ‘Monorails – gimmick or reality?’, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/12A.

81 For criticisms along these lines, see Clapson et al., The best laid plans, p. 10; Beckett, When the lights went out, p. 424.

82 Pooley, ‘The “monorail city” explained’, Cubitt Magazine (c. 1965), CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/18A. This is also the theme of the pamphlet Planning for leisure [c. 1962–4], CBS, AR 178/1981, file ‘New city in north Bucks’ (uncatalogued). Others were even more optimistic, for instance the local journalist who foresaw a twenty-hour week: ‘Teaching in the robot age’, Wolverton Express, 9 Apr. 1965.

83 Dolly Wilson, Smith, ‘A new look at the affluent worker: the good working mother in post-war Britain’, Twentieth Century British History, 17, (2006), pp. 206–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at p. 217; Wilson notes that, during the three decades after 1945, real household earnings increased 35 per cent, televisions and vacuums entered 90 per cent of British homes, homeownership doubled, and car ownership quadrupled. On the concept of a ‘minimum’ in architecture, see Dana Simmons, ‘Minimal Frenchmen: science and standards of living, 1840–1960’ (Ph.D. thesis, Chicago, 2004), ch. 5.

84 Harrison, Seeking a role, pp. 314, 323–4.

85 On planning for a world of automation and leisure, see Gold, ‘The city of the future and the future of the city’, p. 96.

86 Collini, Stefan, ‘Blahspeak’, London Review of Books, 8 Apr. 2010, pp. 2934Google Scholar, at p. 34.

87 K. Lightfoot (ministry of housing) to M. Z. Terry (colonial office), 21 Jan. 1960, The National Archives, CO1031/3927.

88 For instance, in the discussion of ‘immigration’ in the report ‘North Bucks New City: CDA and designation: 2. report’, p. 2. For the social history of immigration and cities, see Mark Clapson, Suburban century: social change and urban growth in England and the United States (New York, NY, 2003).

89 ‘Review of development plan’ (1963), appendix 1: ‘A city for the 70s’, p. 4, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/7. On shifting ideas about the ‘ordinary’ English person, see Peter Mandler, The English national character: the history of an idea from Edmund Burke to Tony Blair (New Haven, CT, 2006), especially pp. 201–5, 217–18; on the ideological nature of the imagined ‘ordinary’ person, see Amy Whipple, ‘“Ordinary people”: the cultural origins of popular Thatcherism in Britain, 1964–1979’ (Ph.D. thesis, Northwestern University, 2004).

90 Evidence of the concrete blocks comes from ‘A new city: report number two’ (Sept. 1962), and ‘A new city: report number three’ (Dec. 1962), both of which are held at CBS, AR 178/1981, file ‘New city in North Bucks’ (uncatalogued). On the ‘mother-in-law’ problem, see Pooley, North Bucks New City, p. 101.

91 ‘The overspill problem in Bucks: a new city?’ (Jan. 1962), CBS, AR 178/1981, file ‘New city in north Bucks’ (uncatalogued).

92 This paragraph draws from Pooley's letter to Marcella FitzGerald (of Woman's Mirror magazine), 14 July 1966, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/18A; on gender roles during this period, and the pressures that emerged to challenge them, see Sandbrook, White heat, pp. 648–64; on women, gender, and the shopping centre in the United States at the same time, see Cohen, A consumers' republic, ch. 6.

93 The precise figure was 45.4 per cent: Wilson, ‘The good working mother’, p. 209.

94 Ibid., pp. 226–7. On the longer history of women as consumers and shoppers, see Erika Rappaport, Shopping for pleasure: women in the making of London's west end (Princeton, NJ, 2000); on the dependence of the post-war domestic ideal upon immigrant women, and on the relationship between affluence, consumption, and the home more generally, see Wendy Webster, Imagining home: gender, ‘race’, and national identity, 1945–1964 (London, 1998); on the less-remarked relationship between masculinity and consumption from the 1950s, see Frank Mort, Cultures of consumption: masculinities and social space in late twentieth-century Britain (New York, NY, 1996); and on consumer politics more generally, see Matthew Hilton, Consumerism in twentieth-century Britain: the search for a historical movement (Cambridge, 2003).

95 Labour-saving devices that could not come too soon, in the context of broader concerns about over-worked housewives: Joe Moran, Queuing for beginners: the story of daily life from breakfast to bedtime (London, 2007), pp. 205–6.

96 Gold writes that the ‘urban problems of the 1960s somehow seem to have been left out of the equation. Poverty, pollution, social inequality and maldistribution of resources rarely figured, apparently abolished by the beneficent powers of technology.’ Gold, ‘The city of the future and the future of the city’, p. 96.

97 Gold, The experience of modernism, pp. 46–7.

98 Planning for leisure; Pooley to H. R. Mallalieu, 15 June 1964, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/3.

99 Jonathon Green, All dressed up: the sixties and the counterculture (London, 1999), pp. 2–3.

100 Ellis, Catherine, ‘The younger generation: the Labour party and the 1959 youth commission’, Journal of British Studies, 41, (2002), pp. 199231CrossRefGoogle Scholar; idem, No hammock for the idle: the Conservative party, “youth”, and the welfare state in the 1960s’, Twentieth Century British History, 16, (2005), pp. 441–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Black, Lawrence, ‘The lost world of young conservatism’, Historical Journal, 51, (2008), pp. 9911024CrossRefGoogle Scholar, all of which are discussed in Jordanna Bailkin, The afterlife of empire (Berkeley, CA, forthcoming), ch. 2.

101 Nairn, Your England revisited (London, 1964), p. 77, quoted in David Matless, Landscape and Englishness (London, 1998), p. 246. See also Judt, Postwar, p. 388.

102 Planning for leisure.

103 Ibid.; Pooley, ‘The “monorail city” explained’.

104 Cohen, A consumers' republic, pp. 265, 267; Corbusier similarly explored the possibilities of social control through consumerism, as Chris Ealham notes in Class, conflict, and culture in Barcelona, 1898–1937 (New York, NY, 2005), p. 81.

105 Planning for leisure.

106 Ibid.

107 Pooley, ‘The future metropolis: a new conception’, paragraph 14.

108 Gold, ‘The city of the future and the future of the city’, p. 94; idem, The practice of modernism, pp. 248–56.

109 Pooley, North Bucks New City, pp. 6, 10. Eleven councils responded favourably, three registered concerns, and two submitted no response: ‘Observations received on draft policy statement’, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/1.

110 Sharpe, ‘A city for the 70s’.

111 Nairn, ‘The best in Britain’. On ‘subtopia’, see Nairn, Ian, ‘Counter-attack against subtopia’, Architectural Review 120 (1956Google Scholar), republished as Ian Nairn, ed., Counter-attack against subtopia (London, 1957).

112 Neal's Stores to Pooley, 22 Feb. 1965, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/20.

113 United Counties Omnibus Company to Pooley, 10 Feb. 1964, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/12A; ‘Votes cast for the anti-city man’, Wolverton Express, 9 Apr. 1965.

114 Concerns about the National Farmers Union are evident in the county's internal correspondence, for instance R. C. Horwood to Stanley A. Comben, 24 Jan. 1964, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/3.

115 CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/8.

116 Crossman further explained that Sharp treasured the ‘completely autocratic constitution of the corporations, which we finance and whose members we appoint’. Richard Crossman, The diaries of a cabinet minister, i:1964–1966 (New York, NY, 1975), p. 127. See also Suge, ‘The nature of decision-making in the post-war new towns policy’.

117 Pooley to Millard, 27 Apr. 1965, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/8.

118 ‘Notes of a meeting held at the ministry of housing and local government on 11th May, 1965’, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/8.

119 Pooley, North Bucks New City, p. 10.

120 ‘Notes on meeting with minister of housing and local government (Mr. R. Crossman, M. P.) at Whitehall – 20th May 1965’, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/8.

121 CBS, AR 178/1981, box ‘Planning dept files’, file ‘Milton Keynes: reports of consultants’.

122 Pendlebury, John, ‘Alas Smith and Burns? conservation in Newcastle upon Tyne city centre, 1959–1968’, Planning Perspectives, 16, (2001), pp. 115–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar, especially pp. 116, 119–22. On the discursive legacy of Brasília after its inauguration, see Williams, , ‘Brasília after Brasília’, Progress in Planning, 67, (2007), pp. 301–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

123 The ‘filing cabinets’ reference comes from an unidentified clipping by Reg Trotter, ‘People and cities’ (Jan. 1964), CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/14; an infinitely more nuanced, though still ultimately critical, portrait of Brasília is James Holston, The modernist city: an anthropological critique of Brasília (Chicago, IL, 1989).

124 For discussions of other such projects, see David L. A. Gordon, ed., Planning twentieth-century capital cities (London, 2006). If contemporaries made the initial connection between Brasília and North Bucks New City, scholars continue to find the parallel illuminating: for instance, Williams, The anxious city, p. 58.

125 As Whyte neatly puts it, ‘England, it was clear, could [by 1957] claim to possess a genuinely national International Style.’ Whyte, ‘The Englishness of English architecture’, p. 465.

126 Pooley to the Coventry Society of Architects, February 1966, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/20/ii.

127 CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/12A; CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/27.

128 CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/19.

129 CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/1.

130 John-Han Kirnig to Pooley, 1 Nov. 1965, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/18A; Emilio Tempia to Pooley, 4 Nov. 1965, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/18A; M. A. Aggett to Pooley, 4 Nov. 1966, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/11.

131 S. K. Basu to Pooley, 22 Dec. 1964, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/21; J. D. Tetlow to Pooley, 18 Mar. 1965, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/12B.

132 Pooley, ‘A city for the 1970s’ (Oct. 1964), CBS, AR 178/1981, file ‘New city in north Bucks’ (uncatalogued); CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/12A.

133 Anna Jackson, Expo: international expositions, 1851–2010 (London, 2008), pp. 51, 102–3.

134 Ibid., p. 112.

135 John R. Gold and Margaret M. Gold, Cities of culture: staging international festivals and the urban agenda, 1851–2000 (Burlington, 2005), pp. 108–11, 133.

136 Ibid., p. 106.

137 Ibid., p. 119.

138 ‘The overspill problem in Bucks: a new city?’; Pooley to Burgi, n.d., CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/12A.

139 D. L. Turner, ‘The “never stop” and all that – a fresh approach to city transport’ (c. 1965), CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/12B.

140 Pooley to L. R. Blake, 14 Feb. 1966, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/12B.

141 Marking the transcript of the ‘Interview with Fred Pooley’, Pooley crossed through two references to ‘townships’, replacing them with ‘parish’ and ‘large villages’.

142 Pooley to C. McGlashan, 4 June 1965, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/18A; Pooley to Robert Sommerville, 7 June 1966, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/12B.

143 Trotter, ‘People and cities’, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/14; William Holford, ‘The built environment: its creation, motivations, and control’, 24 Nov. 1964, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/19.

144 ‘County architect talks to Haddenham on Milton Keynes’.

145 Pooley to Kirnig, 24 Feb. 1967, CBS, AR 103/87 1/12 (MK12).

146 Pooley to George Lothian, 11 Dec. 1964, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/14.

147 Pooley to Parkinson, 3 June 1965, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/14; Pooley to H. R. Mallalieu, 2 Nov. 1965, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/12A.

148 ‘Interview with Fred Pooley’.

149 Sharpe, ‘A city for the 70s’.

150 Alec Forrest to Pooley, 15 Dec. 1969, CBS, AR 103/87 1/11 (MK11); Pooley obliged with ‘The future city: a new conception’, which considered (but ultimately, on grounds of cost, rejected) the possibility of an underground as well as the monorail.

151 Ministry of transport, Traffic in towns, p. 201.

152 Mandler remarks upon the re-ordering of ideas about British modernity around its urban history in ‘New towns for old’, p. 221.

153 ‘Notes of a meeting held at the ministry of housing and local government on 27th July, 1965’, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/8.

154 Pooley to Blake, 28 July 1966, CBS, AR 178/1981, NC/12B.

155 ‘Report of the inquiry into the draft of the north Buckinghamshire new town’ (Aug. 1966), Milton Keynes library, L 060:71.

156 Interview with Lord Campbell of Eskan (1985), The new towns record.

157 Ibid.

158 Bendixson and Platt, Milton Keynes, p. 65.

159 On Pooley's reluctance to replicate ‘a typical American city’, see Bendixson and Platt, Milton Keynes, p. 63.

160 On Milton Keynes and Los Angeles, see Clapson, A social history of Milton Keynes, pp. 2, 19, 40; on Milton Keynes and the avant-garde, see Derek Walker, The architecture and planning of Milton Keynes (London, 1982); for a brief, but rich, discussion of ideas about mobility and freedom in Los Angeles, see Patrick Joyce, The rule of freedom: liberalism and the modern city (New York, NY, 2003), pp. 242–4, as well as Gold on ‘non-plan’ in The practice of modernism, pp. 254–6. With The architecture of four ecologies, Banham emerged as the most significant theorist of Los Angeles: see Dimendberg, Edward, ‘The kinetic icon: Reyner Banham on Los Angeles as mobile metropolis’, Urban History, 33, (2006), pp. 106–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

161 For a critical analysis of the term ‘modernity’ and its variants, see Frederick Cooper, Colonialism in question: theory, knowledge, history (Berkeley, CA, 2005), pp. 113–49; for an argument against the uncritical adoption of historical actors' categories, see Guy Ortolano, The two cultures controversy: science, literature, and cultural politics in postwar Britain (Cambridge, 2009), pp. 8–9.

162 Harrison, Seeking a role, pp. 146–64; Judt, Postwar, pp. 385–9; Sandbrook, White heat, pp. 585–604.

163 As Sarah Williams Goldhagen shows with respect to modernism in architecture, these refinements themselves now boast a half-century of history; but by seeking to recast modernism as a discourse rather than a style, Goldhagen's article ultimately offers yet another instalment in that tradition;Goldhagen, A;, ‘Something to talk about: modernism, discourse, style’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 64, (2005), pp. 144–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

164 Sandbrook frames the debate in these terms in Never had it so good: a history of Britain from Suez to the Beatles (London, 2005), in which he contrasts his approach with Arthur Marwick's emphasis on rupture: The sixties: cultural revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, c. 1958 – c. 1974 (New York, NY, 1998).

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