THE old-fashioned way of building houses for the people was to put up long rows of little box-like shelters until the countryside was scored by line upon line of monotonous and dingy dwellings. Front doors opened straight upon the roadways, while an occasional covered entrance between blocks of anything from eight houses upwards, little backyards, paved or mud-covered, were the usual environment of the houses in our industrial areas. In the villages, cottages were dumped down with equally little thought for the grouped appearance of them all, or for securing the general amenities of life by attention to their surroundings. The great aim was to put up as many cottages as possible with the least expenditure of ground space, so that, with the least possible expenditure of money on the buying or the leasing of the land, the greatest amount of profit might be reaped from the rent of the houses. The first definite legislative recognition of the evils of this system is to be found in the early Housing Acts towards the end of the nineteenth century, when it became necessary to clear some of the worst slums in the towns, and powers were given to Local Authorities to do this work and build decent dwellings in their place. Some thought was given to the planning of these areas in order to get sufficient air and light. A new note was struck when the Housing, Town Planning, &c. Act of 1909 was passed, for in Part 2 of this a large number of sections were devoted to the work of town planning, and permission was given to a Local Authority with the authorisation of the Local Government Board to prepare town planning schemes for areas ‘likely to be used for building purposes with the general object of securing proper sanitary conditions, amenity, and convenience in connection with the laying out and the use of the land, and of any neighbouring lands.’ It was, however, necessary for the authority first to show reason to the Local Government Board before making a town planning scheme, and there was a long and tedious procedure before such schemes could be made operative. The Housing, Town Planning, &c. Act of 1919 carries these proposals very much further. It is now no longer necessary to obtain the consent of the Ministry of Health before proceeding with a town planning scheme; now any Local Authority may draw up and submit a scheme without first obtaining the sanction of the Ministry. Moreover, every Borough and Urban District with a population over 20,000 must prepare such a scheme before January 1926, and may be compelled by the Ministry before that date to do so if the Ministry consider it urgent.