Buckley C (2010) Modernity, tradition and the design of the ‘industrial village’ of Dormanstown 1917–1921, Journal of Design History, vol.23, no.1, pp. 21–41
This article investigates how and why designers, architects, planners and business-leaders planned and designed Dormanstown, a model industrial town in a neo-Georgian style, built for munitions workers in the late 1910s and 1920s on Teesside. The research also explores what this reveals about British housing policy at this particular historical point, when central and local government was beginning to take greater control of house building.
Underpinning the research was Buckley’s ongoing interest in the processes of modernity as they were played out on the geographical margins as opposed to the centre, as well as the importance of tradition and the use of new technologies. The research contributes to the ongoing re-assessment of the design in twentieth-century Britain, and adds to an understanding of the complexities of design processes during a period of transition and modernity.
This article originated in preliminary research undertaken for Buckley’s book Designing Modern Britain in 2007. Due to the nature of the project there was limited opportunity to develop the subject in the book. This article resulted from recognition that there were key archival sources (only available after the book’s publication) that would enable Buckley to explore the themes in greater detail, so as to add complexity and subtlety (particularly the British Steel Archive, local authority records and the papers of Dorman Long and Bell families). The article began life as a conference paper for a Gender and History conference in 2009, and it became apparent that it would contribute well to a special issue of the Journal of Design History on housing.