Shaw had good reason to be sceptical as to the capacity of many of those who had attached themselves to the garden city movement to undertake any activity requiring hard-headed realism, let alone one as massive as the building of a new city. ‘You are surrounded by enthusiastic sectaries and party politicians’, he warned Neville, ‘who will want … to achieve the end of their own sects and societies and parties whether that end be Socialism, Co-operation, Teetotalism, Social Option, Single Tax, or some form of religion.’ By the time Howard’s book was reissued in a revised edition towards the end of 1902 the Garden City Association had gathered a membership of over 1300 of whom no less than 101 were listed as Vice-Presidents. (There was as yet no President.) The list was headed by Frances, Countess of Warwick, whose recent conversion to socialism under the influence of Robert Blatchford had hardly served to obscure the notoriety she had acquired by her association with Edward VII and the Marlborough House set in her younger days. There followed two Peers, three Bishops including the Bishop of London, several other clergy of various denominations, 23 members of parliament, a scatter of academics of whom Alfred Marshall was the most distinguished, and half a dozen industrialists, notably George Cadbury, Joseph Rowntree and W. H. Lever, the soap manufacturer of Port Sunlight.
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