Ebenezer Howard

Ebenezer Howard

Ebenezer Howard, the third child and only son of Ebenezer Howard, was born at 62 Fore Street in London on 29th January 1850. Four of the nine Howard children died in infancy. His father owned several shops in the city. According to one source: "Ebenezer senior was a healthy, energetic and hard-working man whose day's labour began at 3.00 a.m. and lasted into the evening. His vitality was matched by a strong constitution and it was his proud boast that he had never suffered from a headache in over seventy years."

Howard was educated at private boarding-schools, first at Sudbury, then at Cheshunt and finally at Ipswich. He had a moderate academic career and was much more interested in his hobbies that included drawing, swimming, cricket, stamp collecting and photography. His reading appears to have been limited to the Boys' Own Magazine.

In 1865 Ebenezer Howard left school and found work in Greaves and Son, stockbrokers, of Warnford Court, London. His duties were mainly to copy out letters into a book using a quill pen. This was followed by employment as a junior clerk. During this period he taught himself Pitman's shorthand. This gave him the skills needed to work in solicitors' offices, first with E. Kimber of Winchester Buildings, and then Pawle, Livesey and Fearon whose offices were near Temple Bar. This was followed by becoming the private secretary to the preacher, Joseph Parker.

Ebenezer Howard in the USA

At the age of twenty-one Ebenezer Howard decided to emigrate to the United States. After a failed attempt to become a farmer in Nebraska, he became a stenographer in Chicago. Howard also became interested in political issues. He read the works of Tom Paine and began calling himself a "freethinker". Howard later commented: "I am, indeed, as my friends know, a man of some faith; but I am also - perhaps the combination is somewhat rare - a terrible sceptic." Alonzo Griffin, a Quaker, introduced him to the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman and James Russell Lowell.

Ebenezer Howard also became concerned with the subject of social reform. He was especially impressed with the experiments being carried out by Frederick Law Olmsted. He had designed the town of Riverside. As John Moss-Eccardt has pointed out: "Planned by Frederick Law Olmsted, this town had 700 of its 16,000 acres devoted to green roads, borders, parks and other features which produced a pleasing blend of town and country. Within this environment the Riverside citizen could pursue rural activities in congenial surroundings which combined the benefits of both worlds."

House of Commons

In 1876 Howard returned to London where he found work as a stenographer working in the House of Commons. Eventually he established his own business in Carey Street and in 1879 he married Elizabeth Ann Bills of Nuneaton. Over the next seven years she had four children, Cecil, Edith, Kathleen and Margery. A fifth died in infancy. According to the author of Ebenezer Howard (1973): "Their home life was very happy and Mrs Howard managed the family finances expertly... The couple were never irritable or annoyed with the children and the shortage of money seems to have made no difference at all to their enjoyment of life."

Ebenezer Howard
Elizabeth Ann Howard

Howard became very interested in social reform. In 1879 Howard joined the Zetetical Society, a philosophical and sociological debating group, which met weekly in the rooms of the Women's Protective & Provident League in Long Acre and got to know fellow members, George Bernard Shaw and Sidney Webb. He was also influenced by the work of William Blake, Thomas Spence, Henry George, William Morris, John Ruskin and Peter Kropotkin. He was especially impressed with George's Progress and Poverty and Kropotkin's Fields, Factories and Workshops.

Edward Bellemy

In 1889 Howard read Looking Backward, a novel by Edward Bellemy. Set in Boston, the book's hero, Julian West, falls into a hypnotic sleep and wakes in the year 2000, to find he is living in a socialist utopia where people co-operate rather than compete. Edward W. Younkins has argued: "This novel of social reform was published in 1888, a time when Americans were frightened by working class violence and disgusted by the conspicuous consumption of the privileged minority. Bitter strikes occurred as labor unions were just beginning to appear and large trusts dominated the nation’s economy. The author thus employs projections of the year 2000 to put 1887 society under scrutiny. Bellamy presents Americans with portraits of a desirable future and of their present day. He defines his perfect society as the antithesis of his current society. Looking Backward embodies his suspicion of free markets and his admiration for centralized planning and deliberate design."

Ebenezer Howard
Ebenezer Howard

Howard later commented: "This I read at a sitting, not at all critically, and was fairly carried away by the eloquence and evidently strong convictions of the author. This book graphically pictured the whole American nation organised on co-operative principles-this mighty change coming about with marvellous celerity-the necessary mental and ethical changes having previously occurred with equal rapidity. The next morning as I went up to the City from Stamford Hill I realised, as never before, the splendid possibilities of a new civilisation based on service to the community and not on self-interest, at present the dominant motive. Then I determined to take such part as I could, however small it might be, in helping to bring a new civilisation into being."

As a first step he persuaded William Reeves, a radical Fleet Street publisher, to bring out an English edition, but only by offering to take the first 100 copies. Howard also began thinking of what his utopia would look like. As Mervyn Miller, the author of English Garden Cities: An Introduction (2010) has pointed out: "Howard's objective was to find a remedy for overcrowded and unhealthy conditions in the fast-growing industrial cities, and the accompanying rural depopulation and agricultural depression. He believed access to the countryside to be necessary for the complete physical and social development of humankind. It was no longer acceptable for urban development to be left to the minimally regulated private enterprise of landowners and industrialists. In taking evidence for royal commissions, Howard had been impressed by the unanimity of opinion of labour and capital over the failure of the city to provide decent housing and working conditions. Howard's solution was to provide a new form of settlement as a vehicle for radical social and environmental reform. He proposed the development of new towns, not for individual or corporate profit, but for the benefit of the whole community. These, the garden cities, were to be both residential and industrial, well planned, of limited size and population, and surrounded by a permanent rural belt, integrating the best aspects of town and country. Each garden city was to be self-contained, and built on land purchased by trustees, and used as an asset, against which the cost of development would be raised. The value of the land would increase, and periodic revaluation of the plots leased to individuals would reap the benefit for the community, with dividends to shareholders in the enterprise limited to 5 per cent."

Over the next ten years Howard worked on producing the blueprint of his "path to peaceful reform". John Moss-Eccardt has argued: "The work was done at odd times gleaned from the hours spent in the very necessary business of making a living. He wrote on the dining table, often during meals, at Kyverdale Road, Stoke Newington, and copies were typed by a cousin because he couldn't afford to pay a professional typist. As the work grew he circulated the typescript to friends both in local government and in the church. In spite of great interest in his ideas from various sections of his circle, the book remained in typescript form as no one would risk its publication; but fate seemed to take a hand when help came from a friend known to Howard and his wife through a common interest in religion."

George Dickman, a friend of the family, gave Howard £50 so that he could get the finished manuscript published. Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform was published in October 1898. Howard later admitted, "my friends and supporters never regarded this book, any more than I did, as more than a sketch or outline of what we hoped to accomplish". The Times praised his ideas but dismissed them as impractical: "The only difficulty is to create such a City, but that is a small matter to Utopians".

Ebenezer Howard and the Garden City Movement

Howard argues in Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform that he hopes to build what he calls a Garden City: "The objects of this land purchase may be stated in various ways, but it is sufficient here to say that some of the chief objects are these: To find for our industrial population work at wages of higher purchasing power, and to secure healthier surroundings and more regular employment. To enterprising manufacturers, co-operative societies, architects, engineers, builders, and mechanicians of all kinds, as well as to many engaged in various professions, it is intended to offer a means of securing new and better employment for their capital and talents, while to the agriculturists at present on the estate as well as to those who may migrate thither, it is designed to open a new market for their produce close to their doors. Its object is, in short, to raise the standard of health and comfort of all true workers of whatever grade - the means by which these objects are to be achieved being a healthy, natural, and economic combination of town and country life, and this on land owned by the municipality."

Howard then went on to claim that the "Garden City, which is to be built near the centre of the 6,000 acres, covers an area of 1,000 acres, or a sixth part of the 6,000 acres, and might be of circular form, 1,240 yards (or nearly three-quarters of a mile) from centre to circumference.... Six magnificent boulevards-each 120 feet wide-traverse the city from centre to circumference, dividing it into six equal parts or wards. In the centre is a circular space containing about five and a half acres, laid out as a beautiful and well-watered garden; and, surrounding this garden, each standing in its own ample grounds, are the larger public buildings - town hall, principal concert and lecture hall, theatre, library, museum, picture-gallery, and hospital."

George Dickman, a friend of the family, gave Howard £50 so that he could get the finished manuscript published. Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform was published in October 1898. Howard later admitted, "my friends and supporters never regarded this book, any more than I did, as more than a sketch or outline of what we hoped to accomplish". The Times praised his ideas but dismissed them as impractical: "The only difficulty is to create such a City, but that is a small matter to Utopians".

The Fabian Society and Ebenezer Howard

Ebenezer Howard's friend, George Bernard Shaw, described him as an amazing man who deserved a knighthood and supported his efforts. Walter Crane was another socialist who fully supported his proposals. However, other members of the Fabian Society were much more critical. They disliked the way that Howard criticised socialist views on the role of the state in town planning. Howard admitted that he approved of some of the values of the left: "Communism is a most excellent principle, and all of us are Communists in some degree, even those who would shudder at being told so. For we all believe in communistic roads, communistic parks, and communistic libraries. But though Communism is an excellent principle. Individualism is no less excellent. A great orchestra which enraptures us with its delightful music is composed of men and women who are accustomed not only to play together, but to practise separately, and to delight themselves and their friends by their own, it may be comparatively, feeble efforts. Nay, more: isolated and individual thought and action are as essential, if the best results of combination are to be secured, as combination and co-operation are essential, if the best results of isolated effort are to be gained. It is by isolated thought that new combinations are worked out; it is through the lessons learned in associated effort that the best individual work is accomplished; and that society will prove the most healthy and vigorous where the freest and fullest opportunities are afforded alike for individual and for combined effort."

Ebenezer Howard went on to argue: "Men love combined effort, but they love individual effort, too, and they will not be content with such few opportunities for personal effort as they would be allowed to make in a rigid socialistic community. Men do not object to being organized under competent leadership, but some also want to be leaders, and to have a share in the work of organizing; they like to lead as well as to be led. Besides, one can easily imagine men filled with a desire to serve the community in some way which the community as a whole did not at the moment appreciate the advantage of, and who would be precluded by the very constitution of the socialistic state from carrying their proposals into effect."

Socialists tended to want to reform existing towns and cities. The Fabian News commented: "His plans would have been in time if they had been submitted to the Romans when they conquered Britain. They set about laying out cities, and our forefathers have dwelt in them to this day. Now Mr Howard proposes to pull them down and substitute garden cities, each duly built according to pretty coloured plans, nicely designed with a ruler and compass. The author has read many learned and interesting writers, and the extracts he makes from their books are like plums in the unpalatable dough of his Utopian scheming. We have got to make the best of our existing cities, and proposals for building new ones are about as useful as would be arrangements for protection against visits from Mr Wells's Martians."

Garden City Association

On 10th June 1899, Ebenezer Howard and his friends established the Garden City Association. The Association organised lectures on "garden cities as a solution of the housing problem" which were addressed "to educational, social, political, co-operative, municipal, religious and temperance societies and institutions". Important members included Edward Grey, William Lever, Edward Cadbury, Ralph Neville, Thomas Howell Idris and Aneurin Williams.

In 1900 the Garden City Limited was established with share capital of £50,000. The following year a conference was held at Bournville which three hundred delegates attended. Over a thousand attended the national conference at Port Sunlight in June 1902. Howard's book was now reissued as Garden Cities of Tomorrow. By 1903 the Garden City Association had over 2,500 members. The Garden City Pioneer Company was constituted, with Howard as managing director, to find a suitable site for the first garden city. In 1903 Howard purchased 3,818 acres in Letchworth for £155,587.

Ebenezer Howard and Letchworth Garden City

Ebenezer Howard employed Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker as the architects responsible for building Letchworth Garden City. Both men were greatly interested in social reform and had been greatly influenced by John Ruskin and William Morris. They had previously been employed by Joseph Rowntree to establish an estate for his workers in New Earswick. As John Moss-Eccardt pointed out: "Both young men wanted to express their convictions, which were greatly influenced by Ruskin and Morris, in visual architecture... This was an important part of the social reform movement, more than a mere alleviation of poor housing and environmental conditions in industrial towns. It ranked as a forerunner of garden cities in that it paid attention deliberately to creating an environment which promoted health and happiness in its inhabitants."

Unwin explained: "The successful setting out of such a work as a new city will only be accomplished by the frank acceptance of the natural conditions of the site; and, humbly bowing to these, by the fearless following out of some definite and orderly design based on them ... such natural features should be taken as the keynote of the composition; but beyond this there must be no meandering in a false imitation of so-called natural lines."

Parker held strong views on creating a beautiful environment. He believed that the destruction of a single tree should be avoided, unless absolutely necessary. It was decided that it was important to make full "use of the undulating nature of the terrain to provide vistas and prospects. By grouping numbers of houses together it was possible to have large gaps between the groups, thus providing views of gardens, countryside or buildings beyond."

Andrew Saint has argued: "The concept of the self-sufficient garden city promoted by Howard in Garden Cities of Tomorrow (1898–1902) having been entirely diagrammatic, Unwin was in effect asked to endow Letchworth with an image and identity. This raised issues of industrial and civic planning, phasing, and investment on a scale that no British architect had hitherto faced. The plan was revised in 1905–6, when work at Letchworth commenced. The housing areas got the earliest attention, Unwin tackling road layout, grouping, plot size, style, and supervision with originality and a remarkable perception of the complex issues. But Letchworth's civic centre, which was allotted an axial approach perhaps derived from Wren's plan for rebuilding London, grew too slowly for the ideas of Parker and Unwin to be carried through, and remains a grave disappointment. Despite Unwin's critical role at Letchworth, where he lived between 1904 and 1906, he never identified wholly with Howard's obsession with autonomous garden cities on virgin sites detached from metropolitan influence, and indeed left further work at Letchworth to Parker after 1914."

Elizabeth Howard died in the late autumn of 1904. Howard moved to a house in Norton Way South in Letchworth Garden City. On 25th March 1907 he remarried; his second wife, Edith Hayward, a 42-year-old spinster. During these years Letchworth continued to grow. Howard did what he could to develop a community spirit. Activities ranged from Arbor Days (a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees), May Day festivities, amateur dramatics and poetry readings.

Ebenezer Howard
Ebenezer Howard and his second wife at the May Day Festival at Letchworth in 1913.

The aftermath of the First World War brought government involvement with the provision of working-class housing, through grants made to local authorities under the 1919 Housing Act. However, Howard was disappointed by the lack of commitment to the building of new self-contained communities by state or private enterprise and decided to look for a place to build a second Garden City. Eventually, Howard purchased 1,458 acres in Hertfordshire.

Welwyn Garden City

On 29th April 1920 a company, Welwyn Garden City Limited, was formed to plan and build the garden city. Louis de Soissons was appointed as architect and town planner and the first house was occupied just before Christmas 1920. To support it in its early years, Howard moved to 5 Guessens Road on the estate. In twelve years Welwyn Garden became a flourishing town of nearly 10,000 residents.

Death of Ebenezer Howard

According to his biographer, Mervyn Miller: "Howard remained a poor man all his life, receiving little monetary return from his directorships at Letchworth and Welwyn. He was devoid of personal ambition, but had a remarkable gift of inspiring other people. Being absolutely convinced of the rightness of his ideas, he was driven by an ardent enthusiasm. Neither a professional town planner nor a financier, he convinced town planners and financiers of the practical soundness of his ideas, but readily accepted their expertise in carrying his concepts into practice... Public recognition came late in life: he was appointed OBE in 1924 and knighted in 1927." George Bernard Shaw described him as "one of those heroic simpletons who do big things whilst our prominent worldlings are explaining why they are Utopian and impossible. And of course it is they who will make money out of his work".

Ebenezer Howard died on 1st May, 1928.


Primary Sources

(1) John Moss-Eccardt, Ebenezer Howard (1973)

It has often been said that Howard invented garden cities and attention has been drawn to the similarity between the methods of the inventor of mechanical devices and the way in which the garden city idea came about. There can be no disagreement concerning the pre-eminently practical approach which he adopted towards the problems which interested him. Coupled with this was an apparent lack of self-interest which enabled him to see his objectives clearly and uncluttered by the impaired judgement that self-seeking produces.

Living in an age where social stratigraphy was more rigid than in our own, he seems to have been untroubled by social pretensions or aspirations, being more concerned with the lot of the less fortunate than for himself. This attitude must surely have stemmed from his religious convictions which were strong but not sectarian, his liberal political views, and an idealism strongly tinged with a pinch of scepticism.... Finally, we might add the lack of a sophisticated higher education to the advantages enjoyed by this observer of the chaos and squalor of late nineteenth-century industrial England. In contrast, many of his contemporaries had allowed their minds to become filled to bursting with the copious outpourings of the reformers of this and previous centuries.

Through his church connections and his professional contacts Howard became conversant with leading questions of the day and their protagonists. Subjects ranged over religion and science, politics, poverty and riches, economics, urban congestion, and the decline of the countryside. He became involved in discussions on these topics but was especially interested in questions of social significance. He went to the heart of the matter when he wrote in his book: "Religious and political questions too often divide us into hostile camps- and so in the very realms where calm, dispassionate thought and pure emotions are the essentials of all advance towards right beliefs and sound principles of action, the din of battle and the struggles of contending hosts are more forcibly suggested to the onlooker than the really sincere love of truth and love of country which, one may yet be sure, animate nearly all breasts."

By temperament Ebenezer Howard was as capable of championing a cause as those with whom he debated but he was able to stand a little apart and assess the value of what he had learnt, just as the inventor must prove his various modifications before adapting them. Thus, little by little, a recipe was concocted from the various ideas which he heard and tested against his common sense. One may imagine him like a small boat steering his way through the shoals of opinions always holding to his course until he reaches harbour.


(2) Ebenezer Howard, Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform (1898)

The reader is asked to imagine an estate embracing an area of 6,000 acres... The purchase money is supposed to have been raised on mortgage debentures, bearing interest at an average rate not exceeding £4 per cent. The estate is legally vested in the names of four gentlemen of responsible position and of undoubted probity and honour, who hold it in trust, first, as a security for the debenture-holders, and, secondly, in trust for the people of Garden City, the Town-country magnet, which it is intended to build thereon. One essential feature of the plan is that all ground rents, which are to be based upon the annual value of the land, shall be paid to the trustees, who, after providing for interest and sinking fund, will hand the balance to the Central Council of the new municipality, to be employed by such Council in the creation and maintenance of all necessary public works-roads, schools, parks, etc.

The objects of this land purchase may be stated in various ways, but it is sufficient here to say that some of the chief objects are these: To find for our industrial population work at wages of higher purchasing power, and to secure healthier surroundings and more regular employment. To enterprising manufacturers, co-operative societies, architects, engineers, builders, and mechanicians of all kinds, as well as to many engaged in various professions, it is intended to offer a means of securing new and better employment for their capital and talents, while to the agriculturists at present on the estate as well as to those who may migrate thither, it is designed to open a new market for their produce close to their doors. Its object is, in short, to raise the standard of health and comfort of all true workers of whatever grade-the means by which these objects are to be achieved being a healthy, natural, and economic combination of town and country life, and this on land owned by the municipality.

Garden City, which is to be built near the centre of the 6,000 acres, covers an area of 1,000 acres, or a sixth part of the 6,000 acres, and might be of circular form, 1,240 yards (or nearly three-quarters of a mile) from centre to circumference.... Six magnificent boulevards-each 120 feet wide-traverse the city from centre to circumference, dividing it into six equal parts or wards. In the centre is a circular space containing about five and a half acres, laid out as a beautiful and well-watered garden; and, surrounding this garden, each standing in its own ample grounds, are the larger public buildings - town hall, principal concert and lecture hall, theatre, library, museum, picture-gallery, and hospital.

(3) The Daily Chronicle (2nd July, 1894)

'The difficulty felt about Communism, or even about any fairly complete Socialism, is that it interferes with man's freedom to make demands for his many-sided nature, and to endeavour to satisfy those demands. It secures bread to all, perhaps, but it ignores the doctrine that man shall not live by bread alone. The future probably lies with those who, instead of pitting against one another, Socialism and Individualism, will seek to realize a true, vital, organic conception of Society and of the State in which both Individualism and Socialism will have their proper share. The bark which carries civilized man with his fortunes will thus steer an even course between the Scylla of anarchy and the Charybdis of despotism.

(4) Ebenezer Howard, Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform (1898)

Probably the chief cause of failure in former social experiments has been a misconception of the principal element in the problem - human nature itself. The degree of strain which average human nature will bear in an altruistic direction has not been duly considered by those who have essayed the task of suggesting new forms of social organization. A kindred mistake has arisen from regarding one principle of action to the exclusion of others. Take Communism, for instance. Communism is a most excellent principle, and all of us are Communists in some degree, even those who would shudder at being told so. For we all believe in communistic roads, communistic parks, and communistic libraries. But though Communism is an excellent principle. Individualism is no less excellent. A great orchestra which enraptures us with its delightful music is composed of men and women who are accustomed not only to play together, but to practise separately, and to delight themselves and their friends by their own, it may be comparatively, feeble efforts. Nay, more: isolated and individual thought and action are as essential, if the best results of combination are to be secured, as combination and co-operation are essential, if the best results of isolated effort are to be gained. It is by isolated thought that new combinations are worked out; it is through the lessons learned in associated effort that the best individual work is accomplished; and that society will prove the most healthy and vigorous where the freest and fullest opportunities are afforded alike for individual and for combined effort.

Now, do not the whole series of communistic experiments owe their failure largely to this-that they have not recognized this duality of principle, but have carried one principle, excellent enough in itself, altogether too far? They have assumed that because common property is good, all property should be common; that because associated effort can produce marvels, individual effort is to be regarded as dangerous, or at least futile, some extremists even seeking to abolish altogether the idea of the family or home. No reader will confuse the experiment here advocated with any experiment in absolute Communism.

Nor is the scheme to be regarded as a socialistic experiment. Socialists, who may be regarded as Communists of a more moderate type, advocate common property in land and in all the instruments of production, distribution, and exchange-railways, machinery, factories, docks, banks, and the like; but they would preserve the principle of private ownership in all such things as have passed in the form of wages to the servants of the community, with the proviso, however, that these wages shall not be employed in organized creative effort, involving the employment of more than one person; for all forms of employment with a view to remuneration should, as the Socialists contend, be under the direction of some recognized department of the Government, which is to claim a rigid monopoly. But it is very doubtful whether this principle of the Socialist, in which there is a certain measure of recognition of the individual side of man's nature as well as of his social side, represents a basis on which an experiment can fairly proceed with the hope of permanent success. Two chief difficulties appear to present themselves. First, the self-seeking side of man-his too frequent desire to produce, with a view to possessing for his own personal use and enjoyment; and, secondly, his love of independence and of initiative, his personal ambition, and his consequent unwillingness to put himself under the guidance of others for the whole of his working day, with little opportunity of striking out some independent line of action, or of taking a leading part in the creation of new forms of enterprise.

Now, even if we pass over the first difficulty - that of human self-seeking - even if we assume that we have a body of men and women who have realized the truth that concerted social effort will achieve far better results in enjoyable commodities for each member of the community than can possibly be achieved by ordinary competitive methods-each struggling for himself-we have still the other difficulty, arising out of the higher and not the lower nature of the men and women who are to be organized-their love of independence and of initiative. Men love combined effort, but they love individual effort, too, and they will not be content with such few opportunities for personal effort as they would be allowed to make in a rigid socialistic community. Men do not object to being organized under competent leadership, but some also want to be leaders, and to have a share in the work of organizing; they like to lead as well as to be led. Besides, one can easily imagine men filled with a desire to serve the community in some way which the community as a whole did not at the moment appreciate the advantage of, and who would be precluded by the very constitution of the socialistic state from carrying their proposals into effect.

(5) The Fabian News (October, 1898)

His plans would have been in time if they had been submitted to the Romans when they conquered Britain. They set about laying out cities, and our forefathers have dwelt in them to this day. Now Mr Howard proposes to pull them down and substitute garden cities, each duly built according to pretty coloured plans, nicely designed with a ruler and compass. The author has read many learned and interesting writers, and the extracts he makes from their books are like plums in the unpalatable dough of his Utopian scheming. We have got to make the best of our existing cities, and proposals for building new ones are about as useful as would be arrangements for protection against visits from Mr Wells's Martians.

(6) John Moss-Eccardt, Ebenezer Howard (1973)

The Fabian comment was more than unkind: it was unfair and showed a complete inability to understand the plan. The book was the mere beginning of a campaign and a practical means of working out his ideas. For mechanical working parts he substituted words and from these emerged a scheme as real as any of his mechanical concepts. Before the book appeared many people were already won over to the garden city idea and after publication Howard and his followers embarked on a series of lectures to further his project, for it was his aim to bring a garden city into being. It must be admitted, however, that the book did not become a best-seller, nor did its author receive any recognition by those who specialised in political, economic or sociological matters. Those very factors which enabled him to see clearly with eyes unbiased by preconceptions, in particular his lack of academic background, kept him out of the charmed circle of the Establishment. Once the garden city became a physical reality, it could not be ignored-it was a social phenomenon.