Latest Issue

In praise of the New Towns: what Harlow can teach us about today’s housing crisis

Philip Hammond's budget announcement of five new developments will be rightfully critiqued. But the new towns of the 1940s are worth revisiting—however unglamorous they may seem

By Nick Hilton  

Harlow Town Station in 1999. Photo: Ben Brooksbank/Flickr

There’s a statue in Harlow by Keith Godwin, called ‘The Philosopher’. Commissioned in 1960 to celebrate Harlow’s new technical college, Godwin’s philosopher is built from fiberglass but has a crumbling, classical grandeur in the way he looks over his shoulder, like Orpheus, tempted by the sight of vocational education. Except the technical college is gone now, and the philosopher stares at more non-descript mixed material housing in a manner that Nikolaus Pevsner called forlorn, but which looks rather more like confusion.

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect