Last night BBC1 showed the first episode of the new series of WDYTYA (Who Do You Think You Are) and featured Una Stubbs whose grandfather, it turned out, was Ebenezer Howard, the founder of the Garden City movement. I can now add to that information, and they didn’t mention this in the programme, that I am distantly related to a member of the movement.
Ewart Gladstone Culpin, my second cousin three times removed, was born on 3 December 1877 in Stevenage, Herts, the son of Benjamin, a currier, and Eliza (nee Matthews). In 1881 the family was in Stevenage and moved to Hitchin by 1891. Having been schooled at Alleyns School & Hitchin Grammar, Ewart next appears on the 1901 census in Newport, Monmouthshire, aged 23, a journalist/author. In 1903 he married Nora Driver in Royston, Herts. Living in Letchworth Garden City in 1909, they had moved to Ilford by 1911 – where they gave their house the name “Letchworth". After the Great War he founded The Culpin Partnership, an architectural company. He died on 1 December 1946 in London.
“Who’s Who” filled in a few more details: JP, FRIBA; Officier de l'Ordre de la Couronne de la Belgique; Grand Officer of the Crown of Roumania; Commander of Order of the Black Star of Benin; Trustee, Official Czech Refugee Trust Fund. Work: Sec. Garden City Association 1905; Founded International Garden Cities and Town Planning Association 1907; President Societe Belge pour la reconstruction de la Belgique; Chairman, Standing Conference on London Regional Planning, 1926 -1946. Labour candidate North Islington, 1924; Alderman, LCC,; Vice-Chm, LCC, 1934-1937; Chairman, 1938-1939; Pres. Incorporated Assoc of Architects and Surveyors, 1930; Pres. TPI, 1937-1938. Publications: A number of booklets on Housing and Town Planning.
And, finally, Ewart wrote the following letter which appeared in The Times on 7 August 1908:
The Town Planning Bill
I should be obliged if you would give publicity to the fact that the Garden City Association is prepared to arrange for speakers at meetings and conferences on the subject of town planning during the autumn and winter months.
The entire services of Mr Ebenezer Howard, well known throughout the country as the founder of the premier example of town planning, Letchworth Garden City, have been secured for this purpose and I shall be glad to receive applications from any societies, institutions or individuals interested in the matter.
It is felt that it is urgently necessary to educate the public of the country as to the importance of town planning, and so prepare the way for useful work being undertaken when the present Bill becomes law.
Ewart G Culpin
Secretary, Garden City Planning Assocation
602 Birkbeck Bank Chambers, Holborn, WC”
Looking forward to next week’s episode…….