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A Study of Woodlands Model Colliery Village 1907-1909

Part 1 Dissertation 1998
Laura Stephenson
Mackintosh School of Architecture | UK
A study of Woodlands model colliery village, Yorkshire to show the influence of garden city ideas in encouraging real reform in housing in the mining industry.

"Art & Coal - an incongruos and unsympathetic marrige one would assume"

Anon. British Coal Mining in Art 1981
It is somewhat strange that an industry characterised as dirty, dangerous and unpredictable should come to be associated with the Garden City Movement . After all the movement stood for a contrasting set of values; it was both anti urban and anti industrial, providing a stable, clean and healthy life in unison with nature at a time of overwhelming social and economic change in Britain. The fact the developments of Woodlands managed successfully to resolve these two paradoxical forces to create a memorable piece of architecture, in itself makes the village unique and worthy of further investigation.
In the formative years of the twentieth century the condition of the housing of the working classes was one of the chief concerns of architects and social reformers alike. In no other industry was the housing of workers of more concern than in the coal industry. In a period of rapid expansion coal had created a new landscape in Britain. This landscape was quite appalling, the grid iron plan dominated miners housing, a utilitarian form that sprawled aimlessly over the rural countryside, with a total disregard for the planning of the environment it was situated in. (Plate 2) It would take a unique set of circumstances and meeting of minds to change this situation. An isolated virgin coalfield, a social reformer, an enlightened architect as well as an industry keen for reform, all interacted to create Woodlands.

Thorns, Robin: Coal: Images of Industry, London: HMSO 1994
Walters, Sir John Tudor. The Building of Twelve Thousand Houses. London: Ernest Benn Ltd, 1927
Houfton, Percy 'The Raw Material of Town Planning.' Garden Cities and Town Planning, Vol. II (1912) 37-39.
Swenarton, Mark 'Rationality and rationalism: The Theory and Practice Of Site Planning In Modern Architecture. 1905-1930.' AA Files, Vol. IV (f1994).
Laura Stephenson

A very conscientious and thorough piece of work involving both research and developing an understanding of the Garden City Movement and of Arts and Crafts Architecture. A valuable contribution to architectural history which was highly commended by our External Examiner.

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