Social and architectural historian Ken Worpole reflects on the lessons to be learnt from a pacifist back-to-the-land movement in wartime and post-war rural Essex.
Ken Worpole is a writer and social historian, whose work includes many books on architecture, landscape and public policy. In recent years he has focused on recovering the social history of communitarian experiments in both town and country, drawing lessons for the creation of new residential and environmentally sustainable forms of settlement. He has written extensively about the East Anglian landscape and its 20th century social history, in such books as 350 Miles: An Essex Journey, and The New English Landscape. His most recent book, No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen (2021), is a study of a wartime Christian pacifist community in Frating, Essex.
Ken’s childhood years were spent in Leytonstone, on Canvey Island, and in Southend, where he attended Southend High School for Boys. He and his wife Larraine have lived and worked in Hackney since 1969, co-operating on a number of community and international documentary projects. Ken was a founder member of the Demos think-tank and of Opendemocracy. In the New Statesman, editor Jason Cowley recently wrote that, ‘Worpole is a literary original, a social and architectural historian whose books combine the Orwellian ideal of common decency with an understated erudition’.
New book: https://www.littletoller.co.uk/shop/books/little-toller/no-matter-how-many-skies-have-fallen-by-ken-worpole/
New film: 'Unfamiliar Territories': Ken Worpole in conversation with Patrick Wright https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppBm44KLwos