“Within a stone’s throw of the baby Thames”*

*Letter written from Kelmscott Manor by William Morris to Charles Eliot Norton.

Fiona MacCarthy: William Morris (1994) Chapter Ten: Kelmscott Manor 1871-75:

“At Kelmscott Morris came to see himself as living at the mystic centre of a country of immense beauty and complex interconnections. He looked beyond the manor to the village…to the north-east Minster Lovell, in the valley of the Windrush…It was now that one of his most influential concepts, the ideal of the network of small ruralist communities, began to surface. Here are the origins of garden cities. Morris wrote in those early Kelmscott years: “but look, suppose people lived in little communities among gardens and green fields, so that you could be in the country in 5 minutes walk, and had few wants; almost no furniture for instance, and no servants, and studied (the difficult) arts of enjoying life, and finding out what they really wanted: then I think one might hope civilisation had really begun.” It is wonderfully ironic that this communistic vision of the future was addressed to Louisa Baldwin, Georgie’s sister, who had married an ironmaster and whose young son **Stanley, then six, grew up to be prime minister of England three times, trading on the instinctive conservatism of the shires.”

Fiona MacCarthy: William Morris (1994) Chapter Eleven: Leek 1875-78:

“…What he never truly tackles is how to prevent these imagined garden cities becoming, like Lichfield, towns of lassitude.”

Fiona MacCarthy: William Morris (1994) Chapter Sixteen: Farringdon Road, Two: 1887-90:

“…(In News From Nowhere (1890) )…Morris’s visionary landscape is both decorous and lavish, mysterious and homely, an extraordinary and deeply imagined image of urban possibility. We can see its effect as the Garden Cities burgeoned early on in the next century and other writers worked their own transforming visions of the landscape, D.H. Lawrence envisaging his mining village transformed into a New Jerusalem.”

From BBC History page:

“**Stanley Baldwin, Conservative, 1923

During his very brief first term as prime minister, Stanley Baldwin bumped into an old school friend on a train. Asked what he was doing these days, Baldwin replied: ‘I am the prime minister.’ Having come to power following Andrew Bonar Law’s resignation, he called an election in the hope of gaining his own mandate (election by popular vote), but lost.”

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