I The origins The rise o f modern town planning in Britain must be seen against the backdrop o f the first emergence o f urban industrial society. This was a complex and long drawn out process during which there was a growth o f towns and cities on a scale never before experienced, with many major industrial cities doubling in the first twenty or thirty years o f the nineteenth century. Urban growth was o f course a very old phenomenon, but prior to the ‘industrial revolution’ it was gradual and small. It was now placed on an altogether different scale by the dispossession o f agricultural popu lations, including Highland and Irish crofters and peasants, who were driven by want to seek their fortunes in towns. The trans formation from an agricultural to an urban society was on such vast temporal and spatial scales that the term ‘industrial revolution’ seems inappropriately abrupt. But it was a revolution in the profoundest sense o f the word: in customs, personal relationships, values and world pictures.