'Only a Woman', Henrietta Barnett: Social Reformer and Founder of Hampstead Garden Suburb
Henrietta Barnett is best known for her role as the founder of Hampstead Garden Suburb, an innovative and imaginative housing development designed to provide attractive and affordable accommodation for all, regardless of income or social class. This ambitious venture was the pinnacle of a lifetime spent campaigning for housing, educational, and social reform among the grime, squalor, and deprivation of 19th- and 20th-century London. This first-ever biography shows how a brief experience of education inspired a pretty, petulant, and pampered child to develop into a shrewd, irreverent, and energetic woman whose determination to confront social injustice persisted well into old age. It traces Henrietta's earliest work with the street urchins of Dover and the Charity Organization Society in Marylebone through the many years spent in the labyrinthine courts of Whitechapel. Based on a wide range of sources, this book challenges representations of Henrietta as a willful and manipulative tyrant by highlighting the ingenuity with which she negotiated the psychological and social tensions generated by the cultural expectations of middle-class married women in order to realize her most ambitious vision—social housing and harmony for all in a pastoral setting far removed from the vice and violence of the East End of London.
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