Villages of Vision: A Study of Strange Utopias

The planned villages of Britain were built for a variety of reasons – ‘a delicious stew of crankiness, utopian thinking, architectural purity, philanthropic impulse and enlightened expediency’ in Gillian Darley’s words. Some of them – Port Sunlight, New Lanark, Bournville – are well known, and remain major tourist attractions. Others languished in near-total obscurity until Darley’s pioneering study was published in the 1970s. Now available again in a revised edition, Villages of Vision describes and illustrates many of the planned villages that can be seen around the country, as well as several that were never built or no longer exist. Of particular value in the new edition is a much expanded gazetteer giving county-by-county details of over 400 such planned communities. Gillian Darley’s grasp of the full history of her subject, and a good eye for the telling detail, make her the ideal companion for anyone wanting to explore these fascinating places, and learn about the extraordinary array of eccentrics, dreamers and revolutionaries who built and lived in them.

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