Muscat Daily - - BREAK -

Start­ing from the late 18th cen­tury, many English landown­ers and in­dus­tri­al­ists be­gan build­ing vil­lages to pro­vide hous­ing for their work­ers and their fam­i­lies close to their work­place. Else­where, such type of set­tle­ments are known as ‘com­pany towns’. In Bri­tain they are called ‘model vil­lages’.

While com­pany towns are usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with the min­ing in­dus­try, in Bri­tain, model vil­lages are cen­tered around all sorts of in­dus­tries rang­ing from soap to choco­late. When they be­gan pop­ping up all over Bri­tain in the 18th and 19th cen­turies, they sharply con­trasted the over­crowded liv­ing con­di­tions of Bri­tish work­ing-class districts of the time.

Model vil­lages had higher stan­dards of liv­ing with high qual­ity hous­ing, in­te­grated com­mu­nity ameni­ties, open spa­ces and other at­trac­tive phys­i­cal en­vi­ron­ments that Bri­tish work­ers sel­dom had ac­cess to. They be­came ex­am­ples for oth­ers to fol­low.

Some of the first model vil­lages were built by landown­ers driven mainly by aes­thetic rea­sons. Old cot­tages be­long­ing to the poor of­ten blot­ted the coun­try­side and spoiled the fine vista of­fered from their coun­try house.

So, landown­ers had these cot­tages de­mol­ished and the peo­ple re­lo­cated to a new land­scape cre­at­ing the first model vil­lage. Later, as the In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion took hold, many in­dus­tri­al­ists who built fac­to­ries in ru­ral lo­ca­tions pro­vided hous­ing for work­ers clus­tered around the work­place.

Some of these in­dus­tri­al­ists were gen­uinely con­cerned for the wel­fare of their work­ers. Oth­ers recog­nised that keep­ing work­ers happy was the key to in­creased pro­duc­tiv­ity.

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