Saturday 9 November 2019

Reginald Dart's Town Plan for Turton 1947

In 1947, Turton Urban District Council published "A Town Plan for the Urban District of Turton", which was the work of the Council's Engineer and Surveyor, Reginald Dart.  It had taken him two years to produce, and contained detailed information about the physical structure of the district at the time, including photographs of many buildings and areas of interest. It showcased Dart's vision of what Turton could look like, with a new town centre, complete with civic buildings, cinemas, shops and offices.  In the introduction to the book, Reginald Dart set out his reasons for creating the plan:
'As the dark clouds of war roll away, we enter into an era of building and rebuilding.  It would be a sad thing indeed if we should again become so zealous and engrossed in the task of building mills and worker's dwellings as in any sense to repeat the mistakes of the industrial revolution when our cities and towns were left unregulated to build themselves, and the face of the countryside in what are now industrial areas, become despoiled for generations to come.'

Turton Civic Centre

Dart's plan envisaged the civic centre at the front of Turton High School, on the area which was subsequently used for housing on Bromley Cross Road and Birtenshaw Crescent.  The school can be seen on the right hand side of the picture, one third of the way down, behind the civic buildings.  At the time the plan was drawn up the school was part built, construction having been halted during the war, and being completed in the early 1950s.

Turton's New Civic Centre
Turton's New Civic Centre as proposed in 1946
Drawing by S. Kershaw, plate 84

The plan below includes a number buildings shown in purple, as follows; Library (L), Public Hall (PH),  Municipal Offices (MO), Post Office (PO), Police Station and Court (PC), Shops (S), Infants & Junior School (IJS).  It is also interesting to note the cinema which would have been across the road from what is now Sainsbury's Local store (previously The Volunteer public house).

Turton's new town centre as envisaged in 1946

Modern map of the area of the 1947 proposed centre

Zoning Proposals

The book A Town Plan for the Urban District of Turton is available in the local libraries at Bromley Cross, Harwood, Bolton Westhoughton, Horwich and Farnworth, and can sometimes be found available for sale second hand.