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Memorial stone laying ceremony

On the 11th July 1908 a memorial stone was laid at the first pair of cottages to be built on the estate.

Click here for pictures of the event and the original article.

This was reported in the Leicester Mercury the following day, quoted below.

From the Leicester Mercury Monday July 13th 1908

Anchor Tenants Garden Suburb Stone laying ceremony

On Saturday afternoon Dr. C. Killick Millard, Medical Officer of Health for Leicester, laid a memorial stone in the first cottages built on the estate of the Leicester Anchor Tenants Limited, at Humberstone, the occasion marking another advance in the laying out of of Leicester's garden suburb. A large number gathered to witness the ceremony and the proceedings commenced with a meeting in a specially erected marquee.

Mr. J. Tudor Walters MP, presided and called upon Mr J. S. Wilford, secretary of the society, who gave an interesting account of the history of the co-partnership housing schemes, and the progress made since the Anchor Tenants Society was started 14 years ago. He pointed out the advantages of the system in reducing surveying and legal expenses and securing the pecuniary advantages to be gained by building on a wholesale scale. He claimed that the methods of the society overcame the disadvantages of individual purchase of house property and also minimised the the risk. The Anchor Tenants Society had secured 48 acres, on which they on which they proposed to build 400 houses. They had fixed their rules to provide that they should not build more that ten houses on an acre, and the first development would not wok out at more than eight houses to the acre. (Applause.) They were developing just 15 acres and the rest would be developed by ten acres at a time. With regard to membership, they felt very pleased that, with their limited resources, they had been able to enlist the sympathy and support of so many. They had 80 members, 60 of whom had taken their plots of land and might be regarded as tenant members and 20 were loan stock holders, holding an amount of something like £1,000. The 80 members had taken 350 shares, representing £3,500 in share capital and out of that something like £1,200 had been spent. Most of the capital was invested in real property, only about 100 being withheld for floating the estate and providing for expenses. They felt justified in asking for further capital, because they believed this was a good work, and was one of the ways of solving the housing problem. (Applause.)

Mr. J. T. Walters, M.P., said he had not had much to do with the co-partnership movement, but he had had a great deal to do with laying out land. He was glad to find that a great change was coming over the public mind in these matters. He could remember when the great object in laying out land was to make the streets as narrow as possible, and put as many houses on it as they possibly could. Of late years, however, owners, surveyors, and tenants had discovered that it paid better from every standpoint to lay out the land on more enlightened principles. What they wanted to do was to spread out the population (Applause.) The Anchor tenants were in the van of the right kind of progressive movement, and were working on the right lines in regard to the tenancy of houses. It was a judicious combination of Individualism and Socialism which was the salt of life. (hear, hear.) They had arranged for enough individual personal interest to make a man exert himself to the utmost, and that individual interest was not antagonistic to his fellows. In this scheme they had, he thought, almost an ideal arrangement, and he ventured to predict that the system by which owner and tenant were combined in one association would posses the field in future housing arrangements of the country. (Applause.) He had visited most of the different garden city colonies, and his opinion was that the most perfect system ever devised was that of the co-partnership housing schemes where they acquired estates direct from large owners and laid them out themselves, and where they were all the delightful associations of interests which combined scheme brought; all that inspiration, public service,and comradeship in its highest and best form which did so much to develop human nature, and to get the atmosphere and surrounding that fostered domestic life in its most ideal form. (Applause.)

They were associated with the infancy of a movement which had great possibilities, and which might effect a revolution having an immense effect, not only on the material, but the moral and ethical, well being of the people. (Applause.)

Dr. Millard said he esteemed it a high honour to be permitted to take such a prominent part in those proceedings, which mark a new era in housing in and around Leicester. He had been called upon because the promoters of the scheme realised the bearing such an important scheme as that had upon the public health. It had two distinct aspects. In the first place there was the co-partnership aspect, which he need not touch upon, for everyone now approved of the co-operative movement, and was glad to see the progress it had made. But this was also a garden suburb, and as such he had not the slightest doubt it had an important bearing on the health of those who had the good fortune to live in the houses to be erected. One of the great causes of the evils associated with modern city life was the excessive aggregation of houses on a given area. It originated in the days of walled cities, when it was necessary for every house to be within the walls. It had been fostered by the industrial system, and, he was afraid, by the development of the speculative builder. He believed it lay in the development of garden cities and suburbs to show a better way than had hitherto been practiced. One could not but regret that such a scheme was not put in force before or that the last 20 years building in Leicester could not be done over again. However, they must see that they did not repeat the mistakes of the past. They could not expect a man to really love his home and spend his spare time there unless it had a garden attached. Only an enthusiast would go some distance to cultivate an allotment, but if he had a garden he would soon learn to take a pride in it. It was much better for the health and true happiness of the people to live amid cheerful surroundings, with green trees and grass, than to be shut up in one of the rows of brick boxes which constituted the streets of a modern town. There was no reason now, with such improved facilities for communication, why the population should not be spread out, and he wished the people of Leicester were spread over three or four times the area they at present occupied. From the point of view of the children, it was infinitely better to live in such a situation as that than in some of the soulless streets they were accustomed to in Leicester. They had all the advantages of Leicester water, Leicester gas, and Leicester sewage disposal: at present they were outside the borough boundary, but that was a disadvantage that could be reminded by-and-by. (Laughter and hear, hear). He was sure from the history of other co-partnership schemes that this venture was going to be a success. It would be an object lesson to the people of Leicester and they would see the effect of the scheme in the development of other estates in the near future. (Applause)

Mr. E. T. Groome proposed, and Councilor Mann seconded, a vote of thanks to Dr. Millard, and after it had been supported by Mr. R. Halstead (secretary of the Productive Federation), it was carried by acclamation, Dr. Millard returning thanks.

A vote of thanks was also accorded the chairman. The company then proceeded to the buildings where Dr. Millard, having been presented with a suitably inscribed trowel by Mr. Geo. Hern (manager of the works), laid the stone, which bore the following inscription, “This stone was laid by G. Killick Millard, M.D., D.Sec., medical officer of health for the borough of Leicester, July 11th, 1908.”

Tea was subsequently partaken of by a large company, and an enjoyable concert followed.

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