Raymond Unwin: The Education of an Urbanist

  • Mark Swenarton


The notion that Ruskin and Morris provided Raymond Unwin (1863-1940) with much of his intellectual inspiration derived from pronouncements made by Unwin himself in his later years. In his inaugural presidential address to the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1931 Unwin stated that

my early days were influenced by the musical voice of John Ruskin, vainly striving to stem the flood of a materialism which seemed to be overwhelming the arts, and much else; and later by the more robust and constructive personality of William Morris, and his crusade for the restoration of beauty to daily life.1


Trade Union Labour Movement Garden City Town Planning Communal Unit 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    ‘The Architect’s Contribution. The Inaugural Address by the President, Dr Raymond Unwin, read before the RIBA on Monday 2 November 1931’, RIBA Journal, 3rd ser., 39, 1 (November 1931) p. 9. On Unwin see M. K. Miller, ‘To Speak of Planning is to Speak of Unwin. The Contribution of Sir Raymond Unwin (1863–1940) to the Evolution of British Town Planning’ (University of Birmingham PhD, 1981), which largely supersedes the published studies: W. Creese, The Search for Environment. The Garden City: Before and After (1966); M. G. Day, ‘The Contribution of Sir Raymond Unwin (1863–1940) and R. Barry Parker (1867–1947) to the development of site planning theory and practice, c. 1890–1918’, in A. Sutcliffe (ed.), British Town Planning: the formative years (Leicester, 1981) pp. 156–99; and F. Jackson, Sir Raymond Unwin. Architect, Planner, Visionary (1985).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Architectural Review, 163, 976 (June 1978), ‘The Garden City Idea’ (special issue); M. Swenarton, ‘Rationality and Rationalism: the theory and practice of site planning in modern architecture, 1905–1933’, AA Files, 4 (1983) pp. 49–59.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    ‘Edward Carpenter and “Towards Democracy”’, in G. Beith (ed.), Edward Carpenter. In Appreciation (1931) p. 234.Google Scholar
  4. 17.
    E. Carpenter, My Days and Dreams (1916; 3rd edn 1921) pp. 139–40 and p. 114.Google Scholar
  5. 27.
    Commonweal, 2, 44 (13 November 1886) p. 264; E. P. Thompson, William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary (1955; revised edn, 1977) p. 414.Google Scholar
  6. 34.
    C. Tsuzuki, Edward Carpenter 1844–1929. Prophet of Human Fellowship (Cambridge, 1980) p. 66.Google Scholar
  7. 59.
    Labour Prophet, 6, 74 (February 1898) p. 159; B. Parker, ‘Memoir of Sir Raymond Unwin’, RIBA Journal, 3rd ser., 47, 9 (15 July 1940) p. 209.Google Scholar
  8. 78.
    Labour Prophet and Labour Church Record, 6, 63 (March 1897) p. 46. See also W. H. G. Armytage, Heavens Below. Utopian Experiments in England 1560–1960 (1961) ch. 6 andGoogle Scholar
  9. S. Pierson, Marxism and the Origins of British Socialism. The Struggle for a New Consciousness (1973) p. 221.Google Scholar
  10. 79.
    C. Lee, ‘From a Letchworth Diary’, Town and Country Planning, 21, 113 (September 1953) pp. 435–6. For Unwin’s appointment as architect at Letchworth Garden City, see Miller, ‘Unwin’, pp. 232–42.Google Scholar
  11. 94.
    Ibid., p. 2. On Unwin and post-war housing see M. Swenarton, Homes fit for Heroes. The Politics and Architecture of Early State Housing in Britain (1981) pp. 94–5.Google Scholar
  12. 101.
    FGCHM, (with B. Parker) ‘Cottages near a Town’ (offprint, Nortnern Art Workers Guild, 1903) p. 12.Google Scholar
  13. 115.
    ‘Looking Back and Forth. An Address to Students by the President, Dr Raymond Unwin’, RIBA Journal, 39, 6 (January 1932) pp. 205–6.Google Scholar
  14. 118.
    ‘W. R. Lethaby: An Impression and a Tribute’, RIBA Journal, 3rd ser., 39, 8 (20 February 1932) p. 304.Google Scholar

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© Mark Swenarton 1989

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  • Mark Swenarton

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