The fifteen New Towns illustrated in this exhibition
are all being constructed under the New Towns Act, 1946. Twelve of them, in England and Wales, are being constructed by New
Town Development Corporations appointed by the Minister of Housing and Local Government,
and the other three, in Scotland by similiar Corporations appointed by the Secretary of State
for Scotland. Most of the capital required is provided by the Government by loans repayable
over a long period, but some of the factories and commercial buildings and individual houses
are financed from private sources.
All the New Towns have been carefully planned in advance as self-contained towns not
suburbs, but communities in which people have their occupations as well as their homes within
easy reach of each other, and separated from other towns by surrounding green belts. They vary
considerably, since they are being developed by autonomous Corporations, each of which has its
separate team of qualified experts. But all are designed to have the qualities of healthfulness,
convenience and spaciousness, good living conditions, and beauty in architecture and landscaping,
and to be efficient locations for modern industry and business.
The eight towns first
described - Basildon, Bracknell, Crawley, Harlow, Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City - are between twenty and thirty
miles from London, and are intended to provide a better alternative to the congestion and
continuous outward growth of the capital. Thus they avoid for most of their inhabitants both
the crowded conditions of central London, and the long daily work-journeys involved in suburban
sprawl. They have been outstandingly successful in obtaining the industries need to provide
The other four New Towns in England and Wales - Newton Aycliffe, Peterlee, Corby and
Cwmbran - meet somewhat different local needs.
Of the three New Towns in Scotland,
two - East Kilbride and Cumbernauld - have the same relation to the overcrowded city of Glasgow as the first eight new
towns named have to the city of London.
The other, Glenrothes, is being built to meet
the needs of the new coalfield of Fife.
Most of the towns are being developed on sites
almost open or having originally only small populations. Hemel Hempstead, however, was already an ancient borough with
a population of just over 20,000. Welwyn Garden City has a special position in that it was well advanced and famous as a
new planned town before being taken over for completion under the New Towns Act.
them the fifteen towns have already provided new houses for nearly 300,000 people, with work places, schools, shops, many
other kinds of buildings, and public services. Ultimately they will cater for about 560,000 in addition to their original
populations of about 134,000.
The movement for New Towns owes much to the lead given by
the pioneer private-enterprise industrial villages of Bourneville, Port Sunlight and New Earswick, and the examples of the
first Garden City (Letchworth) and its successor Welwyn
Title: New Towns Exhibition 1959
Credit: No credited author. Exhibition book produced by Hazel Evans & published by the
Town and Country Planning Association.
Comments: Harold Macmillan foreword reproduced in its entirety,
unedited and unabridged.