Joseph Michael Gandy: Architectural Solutions to the Political Crisis of the Early Nineteenth-century Britain

By Tessa Morrison.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 14, 2016 $US5.00

In Thomas More’s “Utopia,” published in 1516, the adventurer Hythloday claimed that sheep that are ordinarily so meek and require so little to maintain now “stop the course of agriculture, destroying houses and towns, reserving only the churches and enclosing grounds that they would lodge the sheep in them.” Nobleman, gentlemen, and even some abbots were enclosing fields for the production of wool. The inhabitants of the villages not only lost their houses but also their livelihoods. They migrated to the city with the hope of employment. By 1710, 47 percent of the commons in England had been enclosed and as a result the numbers of urban dwellers increased dramatically into the eighteenth century and in the process major social problems including urban slums were created. Although the enclosures were denounced by the church and leading political figures they continued. Eventually the Enclosure Consolidation Act of 1801 saw the end of the process. However, by this time there was virtually no common land left. This article examines the work of architect Joseph Michael Gandy who attempted to address this national crisis of unstructured urbanisation in a realistic and practical manner through architectural solutions, and in accordance with the architectural theory and social reform literature of his day.

Keywords: Joseph Michael Gandy, Industrial Revolution, Architectural Pattern Books

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 14, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.29-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 14, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 689.037KB)).

Dr. Tessa Morrison

Research Fellow, The School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia