Herbert Collins (1885-1975) was possibly Southampton’s most important residential architect. As a young man he was involved in the Garden City Movement, founded by Ebenezer Howard in 1898. Garden Cities were to be planned self-contained communities with balanced areas of housing, industry and agriculture, ideals which Collins sought to put into practice when designing his estates in Southampton and elsewhere. The housing estates designed by him are a distinctive feature of Southampton. Most were built in the 1920s and 1930s; they were highly acclaimed at the time and still are.

His first development in Southampton was the Uplands estate in Highfield (images 2 and 4). It featured ‘Georgian Cottage’ style houses set around open spaces with grass borders and trees. Other similar developments followed in Bassett Green (image 3), Coxford and Thornhill. Collins himself lived in one of his houses at 38 Brookvale Road in Highfield (image 2). An English Heritage plaque has been placed on this house.

He helped form the Swaythling Housing Society in 1924, the first of its type to be set up in Southampton. The society built Pilgrim’s Place, Capon Close and Howard’s Close in Swaything in the later part of the 1920s.

He died in 1975 and is commemorated by a memorial gate in Highfield and a blue plaque at his home, 38 Brookvale Road.

1. Herbert Collins

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undated photograph.

2. 38 Brookvale Road

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Photograph, c.2000

3. Ethelburt Avenue, Bassett Green

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Photograph, c.2000

4. Orchards Way, Highfield

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Photograph, c.2000

see also

Further reading:
Southampton People, by John Edgar Mann, p32-33. (HS/t)
Herbert Collins 1885-1975: Architect and Worker for Peace, by Robert Williams. (HS/i)
Familiar and Forgotten, by Southampton Art Gallery. (HS/t)


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