The factory in a garden

A history of corporate landscapes from the industrial to the digital age

Author: Helena Chance

From the 1880s, a new type of designed green space appeared in the industrial landscape in Britain and the USA, the factory pleasure garden and recreation park, and some companies opened allotment gardens for local children. Initially inspired by the landscapes of industrial villages in the UK, progressive American and British industrialists employed landscape and garden architects to improve the advantages and aesthetic of their factories. In the US, these landscapes were created at a time of the USA’s ascendancy as the world’s leading industrial nation. The factory garden and park movement flourished between the Wars, driven by the belief in the value of gardens and parks to employee welfare and to recruitment and retention. Arguably above all, in an age of burgeoning mass media, factory landscaping represented calculated exercises in public relations, materially contributing to advertising and the development of attractive corporate identities.

Following the Second World War the Americans led the way in corporate landscaping as suburban office campuses, estates and parks multiplied. In the twenty-first century a refreshed approach brings designs closer in spirit to pioneering early twentieth century factory landscapes.

This book gives the first comprehensive and comparative account of the contribution of gardens, gardening and sports to the history of responsible capitalism and ethical working practices from multiple critical perspectives and draws together the existing literature with key primary material from some of the most innovative and best documented of the corporate landscapes; Cadbury, the National Cash Register Company, Shredded Wheat and Spirella Corsets.

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‘For those who study garden and labor history, The Factory in a Garden is an interesting book. By documenting the history of these spaces and theorizing about their benefits and the intentions of their creators, Chance has written a wonderful work that will be referenced by garden history and labor history scholars for years to come.'
Esther Jackson
NYBG Plant talk

‘These gardens have not been much studied, so that Helena Chance's The Factory in a Garden: a History of Corporate Landscapes from the Industrial to the Digital Age comes as a welcome addition to the garden library. Chance covers the period from Robert Owen in the early 19th century to the carefully designed office gardens of today but she majors on two sites: Bournville, the landscape and village surrounding the Cadbury chocolate factory near Birmingham in the UK, and the National Cash Register Company's complex in Dayton, Ohio. This a formidable work of scholarship.'
Richard Mawrey
Historic Gardens Review, No 44

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