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Title: Picturesque urban planning : Tunbridge Wells and the suburban ideal : the development of the Calverley Estate, 1825-1855
Author: Jones, Christopher
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This study addresses the development of the English suburb in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Its proposition is that suburbs were where people wanted to live, and not just to avoid the dirt and disease of the city. They had an appeal beyond the practical. Whether it was a feeling of security, independence, oneness with nature, or of living in 'a place apart', there was an emotional, culturally-conditioned attraction. The specific focus is on the development of the Calverley estate in Tunbridge Wells. The point is not that Calverley was typical, but that it represented a suburban 'ideal'. It was created by a London developer, John Ward, to be just such a 'place apart', an idyllic retreat for a wealthy metropolitan middle class. The study starts by considering Ward's 'vision' for Calverley. Ward had been a major investor in Regent's Park. The study suggests that Calverley, with its 'picturesque' landscape setting, mirrored the fantasy world created by John Nash in Regent's Park. In Calverley, though, Ward and his architect, Decimus Burton, built individual houses in gardens, a model for what was later to become 'a universal suburbia'. A second section considers what attracted Ward's customers. It suggests four influences: the notion of the Picturesque; historical associations; idealised visions of the countryside; and the appeal of certain architectural styles. The final part then examines those customers in more detail. They were not drawn from the existing residents of Tunbridge Wells, but were metropolitan/cosmopolitan incomers (70% of them women). They could have lived anywhere. The study uses five themes of suburban historiography: movement, control, separation, withdrawal and identity, to show how they moulded the physical and social space around them to further achieve their ideal; to create, in the words of one advertisement, this 'enviable little English Elysium'.
Supervisor: Smith, Mark ; Hinchcliffe, Tanis Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Suburban homes ; Picturesque