The Trustees of Berkhamsted Tenants Limited were a roll call of the great and the good of contemporary local society, including A A Dorrien-Smith, G H Whybrow and C H Greene (headmaster of Berkhamsted School and father of Graham Greene). In a well-attended lantern lecture where, after remarking that the attendance showed what an interest was being taken in the two rows of houses which were being built in Cross Oak Road, the Chairman announced the inauguration of a co-partnership housing scheme.
Berkhamsted’s Greenway Suburb initiative was no one-off: it was related to a much wider movement and needs to be seen in that context. The objective was to offer an alternative to random housing development by the open market. The chosen means was to end urban sprawl by the inhibition of land speculation thanks to the land being held in trust.
Sadly, the high hopes and enthusiasm of the founding trustees were not matched by their success at raising the capital needed to complete their ambitious scheme. Already, before 1912 had come to an end, Berkhamsted Tenants Ltd was obliged to go into liquidation.
Berkhamsted’s co-partnership housing scheme was no more. But the memorial to those community minded pioneers remains to this day in the beautifully designed and solidly built family homes that are occupied by grateful owners over 100 years later.
Brian Shepherd, Chronicle v.XVI (Mar 2019).