“The Village in the City” book by Nicholas Taylor



Brockley Society is pleased to offer signed copies of this important work on urban housing by esteemed local architectural historian Nicholas Taylor, who during his lengthy career worked for Lewisham Council as a town planner and served as a Councillor.

At Mr Taylor’s request, all proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Lewisham Food Bank. NB: a £3.00 charge will be added to cover standard Royal Mail First Class postage. 

“The cities and villages that have evolved from generations of human living are subtle creations that satisfy all sorts of hidden needs. Even an ordinary suburban home is rich with symbols that matter greatly to the man who lives in it.

The Village in the City does four things. First it traces how the modern small house and garden developed, through a long and surprisingly impressive pedigree. Secondly it shows how well such houses fulfil a large number of the needs of present-day urban life. Thirdly it examines the reasons why conventional architects and planners abandoned the suburban type of layout for lower blocks and ’comprehensive redevelopments’ that fit the needs of building systems and hopelessly misfit the lives of the people forced to live in them. Finally it proposes a new strategy for genuinely consulting the feelings of actual people before determining how they are to be housed.

On the one hand Nicholas Taylor considers the broad problems of nation-wide planning. He finds, for instance, that the generally accepted solutions to the problem of population and density merely concentrate discomfort in poorer areas. At the other end of the scale he generates flashes of insight from considering the psychological and practical meaning of the ordinary doorstep or garden shed.”

‘Very highly recommended . . .deeply felt, iconoclastic and pungently put.’  Hugh Casson, Observer

‘Well worth reading. It is a brilliant defence of those suburbs that everybody has looked down on for so long… a defence in terms of life, not architecture.’  Ian Nairn, Sunday Times

‘A substantial and convincing piece of work, written with great style and wit.’  Chris Eve, Architects’ News

‘Should be compulsory reading for architects, planners, sociologists and others whose decisions dictate how future generations will live.’  Peter Clarke, The Times Educational Supplement

239 pages.

Published by Maurice Temple Smith Ltd, 1973

ISBN 0 8511 7011 0