More discussions with Ian Henderson


But was there a discrepancy between what art could achieve and what the senior managers wanted to pay for?

Skelmersdale Development Corporation was made of different professional groups and individuals; this was problematic.  A strong team of engineers was responsible for road systems and structures, and it was the architects’ responsibility to create a aesthetic and a workable new environment.  Planners were in charge of the overview.  But they did not follow master planning principle.

Most significant is the work Henderson did to improve the environment for the children and as described, their “boisterous joy of living,  by enabling them, in the middle of the Radburn estates, to have stimulating places to play.  He stressed the Importance of allowing space for exploration and imaginative play encouraging children to congregate in areas of their own choice.  In this he echoed Swedish and Danish schemes that incorporated children’s play areas within housing developments.These early projects were realised in the success of the Lancashire new town. People were happy to bring their families to live in Skelmersdale and it became a social and economic success.

“If rough landscapes, for example old quarries, are made into safe, terraced play areas, sadly the options for children’s imaginative use of landscape are lost and with it that input to their imaginations and growing intelligence.”  


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