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(Specially;.- "Written-.foe: "Auckland- Star."l PORT SUNLIGHT. AND PROSPERITY SHARING. MODERN TOWN' PIiANNING. . (By Charles , G. Beade;) i The banks of the Mersey presents one of the. most remarkable contrasts in human habitations that, exists in. the world to-day.. Nowhere are r the differences , of environment,. with all its-at-tendant' influences- on mankind, more strikingly demonstrated. Here are two: pictures. Down in. the- vaVey, wedged- in: between the walls of great, factories-, are rows and rows of three and four storied"' houses, blackened' with dirt and smoke, and endless chimney pots straggling desperately above the slatexl : roofs. There aTe neither gardens nor , yards—only houses, back to back, gazing gloomily into .narrow courtyards, or winding through, cramped and crooked streets where washing hangs night.and day—drab splashes- of : colour that mock the dinginess. The courts and streets are filled with children and children's voices Tevelling round the- one tap , that probably supplies forty householders. The voices, sometimes shrill, sometimes husky, sound far into the night; for the call of , sleep in'i the slum comes late. There is neither" sentiment nor joy in the scene. The , night' of' poverty, the squalor of the.surroundings, transfix the thoughts with other things. But where are the parents'? Down at the street corner there is a low building.: conspicuous by its tawdry lights and the voices within. The state of the-'atmos-phere is shown by the moisture that rune down the window pane. All signs are within save for a seedy figure •■ that scrapes outside on a cracked and. broken hearted fiddle. You may go- in if you choose. It is- not wise to do so, not that the people within are not good-hearted and hilarious enough—heaven knows. It is just a question whether you can stand the atmosphere, the hot thick atmosphere that nobody inside seems , to mind. But just a-moment—there! The swing doors open and a figure lurches out on to the pavement. The scene in ; side is visible for a few moments. Beneath the dim and smoky lamps, men I and women—women with babies wrapt in shawls and children clinging , , totheir draggled skirts—are packed against a .counter four or five deep. There is a glitter of bottles behind them. Mugs of foaming beer nre lifted on high and glasses are handed back to those in rear; The scene is charged with animation. There are shouts, laughter and snatches , of Kong, but there is a note of overpowering disorder, of human madnes&in that congested mass of , men and women drinking—drinking life and soul to the reeling, swaying dark of stupor. That is a picture of a Liverpool slum. A woodland dell banked with flowers winds into one of the daintiest of. open ; spaces. The foliage seems to float through the trees in the sunlight. On all sides at odd intervals peering into' the depths of" this sylvan loveliness are houses, quaint early English houses; with picturesque gable and lattice, red tiles and panelled just as Shakespeare knew the charming old town of Strat-ford-on-Avon. But here we are in a ! modern village, built but a few years; taking all the best elements out of at picturesque past and applying them, with the science of modern town planning to the home , beautiful. There are: children in white- and coloured pinnies: romping under the trees and- in , the sunlight. Each; house' rises" out of a bed-of> flowers; Nature- and architecture' go; hand in hand;, and everywhere' i» tt-vietitf of a glimpse of beauty. Twelve o'clock: whistles from a factory somewhere be-: yond the glade and presently- the' tree lined road* is full of. mciV and women,;, youths and girls. They troop by to> Hipir homes smiling and- talking. Everybody is clean, and bright faced. There; is a vitality in each step-that: makes-its; own grace. They roam" with the housesthrough parks and gardens and radiant thoroughfares. Their' village is a dream of woodland splendour where life and labour move amid beauty and' contentment. That is a picture of Port Sunlight, one of England's model villages planned; by Messrs Lever Bros , , on the opposite side of the Mersey a few miles from Liverpool and the blatant reality of its slums. The Port Sunlight estate , , comprising some 200 i acres, consists of. a series of well planned fact-ones docks, railways, and workers' dwellings, besides- a- large number of buildings-devoted- to the rehgiousi educational and social well being of its inhabitants. It is, laid out. on the best principles: of* modern town planning. The housing , conditions are almost ideal. Each' building is well, constructed, picturesque, well situated and- let at a rent that averages about five ' shillings' a week. In every case , there is a , patch with' trees- in' front of the- house-, and at the back are extensive allotment' gardens. It is the , realisation of the back-to-the-la"nd cry' in England; Water. is laid on and supplied free of charge-; Tuition is given; by a practical gardener, and for flowers , and; vegetables grown: in. the village , prizes are? awarded- anaually aii the- horticultural' shows organised by the ccmt-Mlirig; firm: 111 the' village itself there is a theatre, a public - library, technical and elementary schools-, a lecture hall, & museum, boys' and: girls*' institutes, an employees , provident society, scientific, literary and mutual'- improvement societies, a telephone system, 'fire brigade, ambulance society, bowling and tennis greens, -swimming baths, football grounds, rifle range, gymnasium, hospital and church. In all this there is to be seen nothing of the monotonous and depressing rows of brick and mortar; the hard distressing regularity of design that is so common to so many English and Colonial cities. Port Sunlight, in fact, sets a standard above the modem suburban area as well as providing; healthy homes and refining influences- in the environment of its- four thousand workers. The enterprise is described' by Mr. Lever himself- as "pros-perity-sharing" -«■ the- best means hi* can find , , of. sharing profits with hi work people;. He has recently stated that the firm gets a. return, from the money invested in the better health and consequent increased- industrial efficiency of the workers. Mr. Lever it short has given practical recognition, of the relation of housing to industry. In order to- Tealise how far a private firm can, side by side with its commercial success, make, enlightened provision for its workers, the institutions of Fort Sunlight; are well worth, studying. The village is no Utopian project any more than the other model communities in England like Letchworth, Hampstead, Baling, Bourneville, Leicester and Hull are. It is a commercial'project designed" to secure and develop industrial, . eflfc ciency. Port Sunlignt pfdvee tlisi-b. menand women working eight hour* a day «a iura-flutinora and better work than

those; .labouring: ten.,- or eleven- hours in; otter* concerns and; living" Under poor housing; conditions: Prominent among , advantages enjoyed is. that: oflthel Employers' Benefit Eund, which is provided entirely by the. company. To every employee retiring after at least 20 years' service at .the age of 65, and 60 if; a is paid' a. yearly allowance. The , basis: is such that, if: an ■ employee is receiving:'3Bs> per.-week; he will on retiring- after* 40 years' service receive an allowance of £50 per. year. Similar provisions are made~ for those retiring through ill-health or to the.widow and children of a deceased worker. A Holiday Club' is- in. operation by which a fund is automatically created for workers .when thetime for relaxation arrives. Faithful.service is acknowledged by thepresentation of a gold" watch together with a- long- service badge. The Port Sunlight order- of" Conspicuous Merit; is ' awarded' in- cases of personal bravery. The male workers labour 48 hours and the female 45' hours per week. Free tram, and train. tickets are provided to those who come from a; distance. " Cash prizes are awarded in the soap works itself for the bestr suggestions for labour saving devices and increased comfort of the workers. These are a few of the more interesting and suggestive phases of life at Port Sunlight. The, spirit of the workers is said" to be very appreciative, although there are times when a more restless spirit than the mass : is l -" apt rebel against what has been termed "the benevolent-autocracy" of. the firm. The drawback to the scheme is that many of its advantages which the workers receive cannot be translated into terms of pounds, shillings, , and pence—-at least not at present. That is what seems, to be in the future between labour and capital. The prosperity-sharing scheme as it works at present is no • guarantee that the .demand of; laibour, for a. full share- in. the- wealth that it creates, is being fulfilled. But compared with, what exists , for the majority of British workersr ta-day, Port,. Sunlight is a guarantee that a, considerable share of; its prosper ity is going.into the health, the happiness and surroundings, of its. workers-. It is the half-way house to an absolute scheme of , co-operation or co-partnership between the labourer and the employer* which seems to be a" powerful alternative to state control;, ibut- that, has yet to develope and be given practical demon? stration. Judging by the opposition of the trade unions and. labour . generally to Sir Christopher Furneas' scheme of co>. partnership, that realisation is a long way off. But there is a more immediate and an essentially- practical side ■ to Port Sunlight. tha(. is-. °* ,ST eat importance to young communities. That is- the principles upon which, it has been laid, out, designed and. beautified. Tho3e- principles are'the foundation of the modern town planning movement in England, which takes its cue from what has ready, been accomplished in.Germany.. In ■British, cities to-day there are compare tively. few good, houses,, and a mass of slums. There are" a few wide main arteries for through traffic and a network of unordered or undirected streets —a few. large parks* but no smaller open spaces" or playgrounds for the children of the gutter. Most .of the towns are being extended by private speculation and individual owners, on lines that are neither, healthy,, attractive,, or even economical. What'the congestion 'of city: life represents is' shown in the remarkable figures:, that 12 millions of Engr land's people. , -are .housed.. on. 152,000! acres—-any average of 7ft to the acre. It 'is. mainly towards. the prevention, andi of the evils associated with this .'sort of thing, that, town planning is directed., tinder the model by-laws of the Local. Government Board it is- possible to build.fifty-six. houses to the acre. Health experts .say that there should i>e : not more: than. , twelve;, which on town' 'planning lines is economically feasible. The movement is briefly to do for a town'; what an architect does. for. a- house. Everything is planned out and estimated, according to the resources available. The geometrical design of most of our colonial cities, with streets running at right angles l to- each, other, is abandoned, for the reason that no thoroughfare can, on those lines* -present much: symmetry or grace;- The streets aTe laid: out, on- the other hand, in ! a-- series of curves, and straight lines, of varying' widths, - and planned so as to~ give' the greatest convenience to traffic, to<demarcate areas of businesßi manufacture, and residence with every provision for open- spaces, sunlight, and beauty. 'Am important provision ir to' reduce the cost of estate, development by allowing roads, in. strictly residential ; areas to her of considerably less- width than- an arbitrary sixty-six feet, but securing' the desired- open: space iby insisting that the houses shall , be built several feet back horn the roadway.. ..P.rovision, is made to ensure that the- architecture of:a>. particular: thoroughfare is designed and placed in such a way as ,tt>: secure , a harmonius perspective. Tree-lined avenues and the preservation of all existing, natural features are also secured:" Town-planning aspires to be a safe' permanent four per- cent investment. Its aims may be'summarised as follow:— 1. Reduction in. the cost of estate development.. 2. The bringing into the market of more' land *Sr housing purposes.. 3. <3b-opera;tion 'between local authors I ties- and- landowners, and' landowners jamongst themselves. ', 4. The- pooling; and; the fte-distribution of small plots of land. i 5. Harmony between, buildings: located >,on adjacent sites. ■ 6. Prevention of overcrowding evils injstead of ratepayers having to pay heavy compensation for their- cure later • on. 7. The assistance of thoroughly qualified, men in town planning, with business experience. . ' The Garden City idea, such, as is; embodied in Port Sunlight, has undoubtedly captured, the. imagination, of. the British people; It comprises' in one enterprise the advantage of Town and Country. The existence of building societies, co-operative housing bodies, and private companies; Have made it finanxsially a. sound investment to the residents and the shareholders. The- advantage that is at once apparent is the provision of open: spaces where the c&ildrenv and the young- people can play,' whilst the- older people rest and enjoy themselves -in a natural manner. There are also all' tiie influences of environment associated with nature, beauty, art, and health, as opposed to those exerted by ugly houses and streets, by "artificial brick, boxes with lids of slate," and absence of air space. To. have captured the imagination of the Britieh people, unimaginative as undoubtedly- they are, is a recommendation in.itself. Town planning, in short, is considered, to be the solution of the housing problem. Letchworth, the first Garden City, Limited, situated thirty-four miles, from: Condon, amid beautiful surroundings, is tlie. materialisation, ofc the. town planning dream. The Oaaden. City Company wag registered in 1003, with, a capital of £300,000, divided into charts dt i£j&

eacfi, for-the- purpose' of; 1 Letchworth estate on the lines ml?. If ed by air. Ebenezer, Howard in 1 entitled, "Garden Cities of *"«££* I So far the project is a- decided I The estate has nearly doubled in vri* I since the company. acquired. it, «**-*" M is desired on such a baeis-tKat ■ in time will become the individual, householders. Letcfcw** 1 has drawn thousands of vitdto"rs^rfm^ ; B parts of its,piciuresoteiSlil charming surroundings-;. . ; Thfe^ %{*& ' : m which is six miles- square in' area..^ , ' ■ ries on its town.area- (pne-tffird of W^ IB average) a population .of "5,000 ig tants, 1,000 houses,; besides factoiSr ■IE workshops, shops; hotels, chnrchesiiSV B 200 , acres of parks and; open epactTv I%i ■ area, is quite independent! ofi: acres of rural land:comprising;a|,gClcultural belt round the town;.wK&.j££' 1 intended' shall not-be?-'built on. ' TkJ B Garden Gity has its own gas,' Vst I sewerage and electric supply. . ThaiheiiiV H statistics for 1906 show-a- death- latel* I 2:75.; per thousand;. Compare'; thw extensive areas- in , EeedSj- for. instim^'- 1| where the average is 26.2. p er . taoosSj: II There is not a note or m whole place' that is: not in Wnite: M with nature or art. X; is 11 to the 6lum, a-ural. fantile mortality and physical degenerj IE tion. It is exerting a. remarkaHe-ii,. fftuence upon the >■ whom, the realisation, grows" that powers are absolutely ne'eessary to bring: thi principles of town planning ;, withieeect,ii their own rapidly developing;.euburbni areas. ■'■-.--; -.' : ,;,.-ij...-.T^'|S The. decentralisation of the crowded areas of the modern city, the limitatioii of the number of houses' W the- \H% and' the people that shall live therein, the creation of air. spaces,, of picrturaMmE environment and the kind to a- higher-plane of thoughfeUnjf' considerations for.his habitation are "iflS one with this remarkable movement of the twentieth century. Their ; are crystallised into' the' principles'of the% town planning, thafr made , Port Sunlight to arise ia beauty >n4 H scorn with loathing; thet , hideonis ■ •pietitrii¥ X that etaTes- from- across the" fortunately, that picture cannot alwa.3l H :be entirely disassociated -ivith our. GMbn. B 'ial cities.- (Es it. therefore,- a-good wise policy, that-they should: go , . ott ; 4e<B veloping as they aTe. doing 'without:, soma B regard or s'bme- appreciatiorrof tEe laipw. H ledge and the experience that liee.h*|lß jyond'the sea: in modern. England; tn"-SyJ B

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THE FUTURE CITY., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 88, 14 April 1909

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THE FUTURE CITY. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 88, 14 April 1909