Urban Adventures

Suburban growth - 1909

Close-up of a proposed design for a suburban development in Withington
Close-up of a proposed design for a suburban development in Withington, Lancashire, 1909
Drawing
Artist and designer: Edgar Wood
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections

Manchester-based architect Edgar Wood, renowned for his Arts and Crafts homes and churches, worked at a time when British domestic architecture was popular throughout Europe. Alongside colleagues in the Manchester Society of Architects, Wood worked with garden city principles to design a suburb of radiating circular roads populated by low-rise, semi-detached cottages among large gardens.

This retreat from the polluted and cramped industrial city was suited for undeveloped land; however, the pressing problems of the inner city remained unaddressed by both architects and legislation. Wood's proposal provided respite from urban problems for those who could buy land and afford to commute into the city, forming a dormitory town for the middle class. It was not until after World War II and the 1947 Town Planning Act that issues of mass public housing for all classes were addressed.

Top of page