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.