This book presents an important episode in the twentieth-century history of the United Kingdom: the largest public housing scheme ever undertaken in Britain (and at the time of its planning, in the world). Built between 1921 and 1934, the London County council's Becontree Estate housed over110.000 people in 25,000 dwellings. Andrzej Olechnowicz discusses the early years of the estate, looking in detail at the philosophy behind its construction and management policies, and showing how it eventually came to be denigrated as a social concentration camp exemplifying all the politicaldangers of a mass culture. He investigates life on the estate, both through an appraisal of the facilities provided and , as far as possible, through the eyes of the inhabitants, using interviews with surviving tenants from the inter-war period. Thus he is able to show how high rents excluded manyfamilies in greatest housing need, and how tenants found it difficult to adjust to the costs of suburban living. This is a wide ranging study that deals with both the `nuts and bolts' of mass housing, with ideas on citizenship and the creation of communities.