A Howell in Latchfield Garden City

Yesterday we visited Latchfield, a garden city founded in the early 1900s by one Ebenezer Howell.

Upon arrival, I burst into song – “walking along, singing a song, walking in a Howell wonderland.” What else could I have done?

As a Howell, it is nice being in a place where the streets are named Howell; in which there is a museum and a memorial hall dedicated to the name of Howell; in which we are reverently lead on a tour of the town by a chap paid to keep the name and work of Howell in good reputation.

A child of God sees the world this way always.

Howell himself was of lower middle-class stock and left school at 15. He worked as a stenographer. An aspirational young man, he emigrated to the US. He read widely and was Victorian in thinking about how to solve the many social ills developing at the time. Returning to England he landed a job working for Hansard, pitching him into the Westminster milieu. Howell wanted to make a nice town for ordinary people to live in. But not as a “pompous sod”: he was an ordinary person, without much education, living an ordinary life. He managed to get some support for his ideas – somehow: how did Westminster bigwigs have time for the ideas of an uneducated stenographer? – and slowly but surely he got his project off the ground….

Things are different now. For example: housing.

 

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