Exploring Ebenezer Howard’s Legacy: The Ebenezer Howard Memorial Medal Recipients 

In this blog, Charlotte Llewellyn highlights the individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of Garden City movement

Following Ebenezer Howard’s death in May 1928, the International Ebenezer Howard National Memorial Committee was formed and through a range of initiatives sought to pay fitting tribute to the founder of the Garden City idea.

The Ebenezer Howard Memorial Medal was created as a tribute to Howard and seeks to recognise and celebrate individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion and public understanding of the Garden City Principles. The medal was first awarded in 1938 and has been awarded 14 times, most recently in 2023.

The recipients of the Ebenezer Howard Memorial medal represent the titans of the Garden City Movement and the planning sector more broadly. However, the medal has only been awarded to two women: Elizabeth Mitchell in 1955 and Pam Warhurst CBE in 2023. The contribution of other women pivotal to the Garden City Movement has been explore in the TCPA’s Forgotten Pioneers work and will be explored further in an upcoming blog. 

Ebenezer Howard Memorial Medal Recipients 

L-R: Sir Raymond Unwin, Barry Parker, Sir Patrick Abercrombie, Dr Norman Macfadyen, Lewis Mumford.
  1. Sir Raymond Unwin (1938) 

The first recipient, Sir Raymond Unwin, was awarded the Medal in 1938 in recognition of his service to Town and Country Planning and the Garden City Movement. Unwin played a pivotal role in the founding of the Garden City Movement. His work led to a transformation in how we think about the design and delivery of social housing. Unwin’s work with his business partner, Barry Parker, including their book “The Art of Building a Home”, shaped our ideal for healthy and aesthetic places and were later exemplified in their designs for New Earswick, Hampstead Garden Suburb, and Letchworth Garden City.  Sir Raymond Unwin undertook a plethora of important roles in the planning industry from Chief Officer for Housing and Town Planning in the Ministry of Health to President of the RTPI (1915-16). He was subsequently knighted in 1932. Unwin has left an extensive legacy, and his vision of place can be seen around the world, especially in Europe and North America.    

From our archive: Memories of Raymond Unwin from the November 1963 edition of Town and Country Planning  

  1. Barry Parker (1941) 

Barry Parker was awarded the Medal in recognition for his service to the Garden City Movement and Town Planning. Parker was a passionate advocate for the role architecture and thoughtful planning of community spaces could play in changing lives. Parker’s work with Sir Raymond Unwin, including their book “The Art of Building a Home” shaped our idea of healthy and aesthetic places. These ideals were exemplified in their design of New Earswick, Hampstead Garden Suburb, and Letchworth Garden City, where Barry Parker held the position of consulting architect for 40 years.  Parker’s legacy and influence can be found internationally, including in Oporto (Portugal), Sao Paolu (Brazil), and Wythenshawe (England).  

From our archive: The work of Barry Parker from the Spring 1947 edition of Town and Country Planning   

  1. Sir Patrick Abercrombie (1943) 

Sir Patrick Abercrombie was awarded the Medal in recognition of his service to town planning. A champion of regional planning, in the 1920s and 30s, Abercrombie helped prepared plans for places across England, including Sheffield, Bristol and Bath, and Cumbria. Sir Patrick Abercrombie was instrumental in the planning of post-war England. He served as a member of the Barlow Commission and played a pivotal role in the creation of the County of London Plan (1943) and the Greater London Plan (1944). He also worked to support the redevelopment of English towns impacted by the war, such as Plymouth and Hull. Abercrombie was knighted in 1945 and like other Ebenezer Howard Memorial Medal recipients, Sir Patrick Abercrombie’s influence was global, and examples of his work can be found from Hong Kong to Addis Ababa.  

From our archive: Plan for Kingston Upon Hull by Professor Sir Patrick Abercrombie and Sir Edwin Lutyens from the Winter 1946/7 edition of Town and Country Planning  

  1. Dr Norman Macfadyen MB, DPH (1945) 

Dr Norman Macfadyen was awarded the Medal in 1945 in honour of work at Letchworth Garden City and his support of the wider Garden City Movement. A keen advocate for healthy places, Macfadyen’s experience as a doctor in London convinced him of the negative effects of bad environment on health and well-being. This passion for healthy places influenced his support of the Garden City Movement and in 1905 Macfadyen moved to Letchworth and became an active member of the community. Throughout his time at Letchworth, Macfadyen occupied many important roles within the town including as the Director of First Garden City Limited (1927-57) and as a Medical Officer of Health for a significant swathe of North Hertfordshire. Macfadyen was also an important member of the TCPA, where he served in numerous positions including as Chairman from 1932-1946.  

From our archive: A copy of Dr Norman Macfadyen’s article on Health and Garden Cities can be found in Tomorrow Series Paper 14: Health and Garden Cities.  

  1. Lewis Mumford (1946) 

Lewis Mumford was awarded the Medal in 1946 in recognition of his service to town planning and the Garden City movement. As an influential scholar and critic, Mumford’s work touched upon an extensive array of topics from planning to politics to religion and art. Throughout his life, Mumford wrote extensively including several notable works: Sticks and Stones (1924), The Culture of Cities (1938) and the City in History (1961). Influenced by the work of Ebenezer Howard, Mumford became a supporter of the TCPA and the new towns programme and close friends with Sir Frederic Osborn. Mumford’s work earned him several honours including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 and in 1974 he was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.  

From our archive: Farewell to a Promethean Thinker (Lewis Mumford Obituary) in April 1990 edition of Town and Country Planning  

L-R: Richard Reiss, Sir Anderson Montague-Barlow, Elizabeth Mitchell, Clarence Stein, Sir Frederic Osborn.
  1. Richard Reiss (1948) 

Richard Reiss was awarded the Medal in 1948 for his contribution to town planning and the Garden City movement in particular. After being injured in the First World War, Reiss was seconded to the Ministry of Health, where he was introduced to the garden city movement. Reiss was one of the founders of Welwyn Garden City and his connection with the town remained throughout his life. Additionally, Reiss held several positions across the garden cities, including as the Director of the Welwyn Garden City Company, Director of Hampstead Garden Suburb, as well as at the TCPA as Chairman of the Executive Committee. Reiss also served on a number of important committees including the Ministry of Health’s Unhealthy Areas Committee (1919-20), the L.C.C. Housing Committee (1930-38), as well as on the TCPA’s Country Towns committee, where he contributed to research on towns suitable for expansion.   

From our archive: Richard Leopold Reiss (Obituary) in the Nov-Dec 1959 edition of Town and Country Planning  

  1. Sir Anderson Montague-Barlow (1951) 

Sir Anderson Montague-Barlow was posthumously awarded the Medal in 1951, in honour of his service to the Garden City movement and the New Towns Programme. Barlow had an extensive and varied career in law, education and then in politics, where he served as an MP and Minister of Labour. Sir Anderson Montague-Barlow is most well-known for his work as Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Distribution of the Population. The output from this commission, the Barlow Report, is considered by many to be the turning point in the acceptance of New Towns in national government policy.  

From our archive: The Report and Industry by Sir Anderson Montague-Barlow from the April 1940 edition of Town and Country Planning  

  1. Elizabeth Mitchell (1955) 

Elizabeth Mitchel was the first female recipient of the Ebenezer Howard Memorial Medal in 1995. Mitchell was awarded the Medal in recognition of her dedication and contribution to the Garden City movement. With an interest in Garden Cities from a young age, Mitchell established the Scottish section of the Garden City and Town Planning Association (GCTPA) and served as its Chair of the Executive.  A passionate advocate of the New Towns Programme, especially in Scotland, Mitchell served on the Board of the Development Corporation for East Kilbride and campaigned for the designation of Cumbernauld as a New Town.  

From our archive: New Towns have a part to play by Elizabeth Mitchell from the September 1954 edition of Town and Country Planning  

  1. Clarence Stein (1960) 

Clarence Stein was awarded the Medal for his advocacy of the Garden City and New Town principles in the United States. In 1923, Clarence Stein established the Regional Planning Association of America (effectively the US equivalent of the TCPA) alongside Henry Wright and Lewis Mumford. Stein served in several other prominent roles including as Chairman of the Commission on Housing and Regional Planning for the State of New York (1923-26) and Vice President of the International Federation of Housing and Planning (1924). Stein is most well-known for his work designing Radburn (New Jersey), Sunnyside (New York), and the four Greenbelt Towns across the USA. His book, Towards New Towns in America (1951), set out these schemes and advocated for a policy position similar to that of the TCPA. At the TCPA Luncheon where he was awarded the medal, Stein concluded his remarks by saying: “I should just like to say how proud I am to be honoured with the medal dedicated to ‘Our Boss!’”. 

From our archive: TCPA Luncheon For Clarence Stein in the April-May 1960 edition of Town and Country Planning  

  1. Sir Fredric Osborn (1968)  

Sir Frederic Osborn was awarded the Medal for his outstanding work for the advocacy and advancement of the Garden City Principles. In 1912, Osborn became a Secretary of the Howard College Society in Letchworth, igniting a lifetime passion for the Garden City Movement. From 1919, Sir Fredric Osborn was involved in work at Welwyn Garden City and in 1936, he joined the TCPA, where he worked for 42 years. During his time at the TCPA, Sir Frederic Osborn served in various roles from secretary, chair of the Executive, to Chairman and President of the organisation. For 16 years of his years at the TCPA, Osborn served as editor for Town and Country Planning. It was at the TCPA, that Osborn used his position and access to government to become one of the most influential proponents of the New Towns Programme, playing a significant role in the programme’s development and implementation. 

From the archive: Explore FJO’s Correspondence   

L-R: Colin Ward, Sir Peter Hall, David Lock CBE, Pam Warhurst CBE.
  1. Colin Ward (1999) 

Colin Ward was awarded the Ebenezer Howard Memorial Medal for his contributions to the work of the Town and Country Planning Association and to the planning sector more broadly. Colin Ward joined the TCPA in 1971 as the Education Officer, where he helped established the organization’s Education Unit and its beloved publication “The Bulletin of Environmental Education”. During his time at the TCPA, Colin Ward wrote extensively for Town & Country Planning Journal, including a regular column titled People & Ideas that ran from 1979 to 2006.  Over the course of his career, Colin Ward published 30 major titles, along with edited volumes, lectures, and articles, covering an array of topics from New Towns to children’s use of urban spaces. At the heart of Ward’s work was his passionate anarchist perspective and his desire to shine a light on unfairly overlooked issues. 

From our archive: A last look around by Colin Ward in the July-August 2006 edition of Town and Country Planning  

  1. Sir Peter Hall (1999) 

Sir Peter Hall was awarded the Ebenezer Howard Memorial Medal for his outstanding contributions to the Town and Country Planning Association and the planning system more broadly. Sir Peter Hall was a Professor of Planning at The Barlett, University College London, and the President of the Town and Country Planning Association. He worked with politicians across the political spectrum to influence the UK’s planning policy acting as Special Advisor on Strategic Planning to Lord Heseltine as well as contributing to John Prescot Urban Task Force. Hall wrote extensively on the topic of planning with notable works including Urban and Regional Planning (1975), Cities of Tomorrow (1988) and Cities in Civilisation (1998). In recognition of his service to the Town and Country Planning Association, Sir Peter Hall was knighted in 1998, and in 2003 was named a “Pioneer in the Life of a Nation” by Queen Elizabeth II.  

From our archive: 1946-1996 – from new town to Sustainable Social City by Sir Peter Hall from the November 1996 edition of Town and Country Planning 

  1. David Lock CBE (2023)  

David Lock was awarded the Medal for his outstanding contributions to the Town and Country Planning Association, the Garden City Movement, and the planning sector more broadly. David Lock is a long-standing member of the TCPA, working with previous Howard Medal recipients Fredrick Osborn and Colin Ward, and now serves the charity as a Vice-President. In 1988, David founded David Lock Associates, which would become one of the nation’s leading planning consultancies. David was appointed Chief Planning Adviser to the Department of the Environment when John Gummer was Secretary of State. Throughout his career, David has made many powerful written contributions outlining the importance of the Garden City Movement for our collective future, but his work extends into the practical implementation of new communities, from his involvement in the New Towns Programme to his more recent role as a board member at the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation. 

From our archive: The social cost of not planning by David Lock from the February 1999 edition of Town and Country Planning 

  1. Pam Warhurst CBE (2023) 

Pam Warhurst received the Medal for her commitment to implementing the Garden City Principles in practice, as well as her role enabling bottom-up change in communities across the United Kingdom and internationally. With an illustrious career in national and local government, Pam Warhurst was primarily awarded the Howard Medal for her founding role in the Incredible Edible Movement, which aims to use food growing as a catalyst for social transformation. Incredible Edible is a global movement, with 150 groups in the UK and over 1000 worldwide. To accompany her work with Incredible Edible, Pam has given lectures all over the world, wrote a book called Incredible Edible Seeds to Solution, and her TED talks have over several thousand views.  

From our archive: Seeds to Solutions by Pam Warhurst from the March-April 2022 edition of Town and Country Planning  

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