Saturday, 9 January 2010

And Another Thing

Another visual delight, again courtesy of the new job. This is 'New Towns', a book published by HMSO for the Department of the Environment in 1973 to commemorate the UN seminar on new towns, which the UK hosted. And not only is it a nice book with a lovely cover, but it was donated to the University of Northampton library in 1994 (when it was still Nene College) by a Mrs H. Redfern in memory of her husband, the one and only Gordon Redfern, architect responsible for much of the housing design in Northampton's Eastern District, the original 'overspill' expansion area.

Redfern cut a pretty eccentric figure in his days in Northampton according to press cuttings from the time, sporting as he did a huge Banham-esque beard. It helped him stand out from the rest of the Development Corporation crowd somewhat, and I can't help wondering how the swift rotting of the houses on the Thorplands estate in the mid-1970's might have affected him perhaps a little differently from the rest. Here's an early article of his on planning & Socialism from a 1958 edition of the Universities & Left Review.

"I think the eastern district will be a pretty fine place to live" he said as he announced his departure from the NDC in October 1973. "We have established sympathetic relationships with many people in the town so that while many may not like what we are doing, they accept the honesty of our intentions."

Anyway, Happy New Year.