Last edited 19 Feb 2021

Barlow Report

The Barlow Report, Royal Commission on the Distribution of the Industrial Population (referred to as the Barlow Commission) was commissioned by Royal Warrant on 8 July 1937 to investigate the distribution of industry and to propose remedies to the perceived disadvantages of a concentrated population. It was chaired by Sir Montague Barlow.

The Barlow Commission followed the Third Report of the Commissioner for ‘Special Areas’ published in 1936, relating to the imbalance in the distribution of industry and industrial populations due to the decline of some heavy industrial areas and the concentration of light industry and distributive trades around London.

The Barlow Commission Report, published in 1940, proposed the decentralisation of industry and its populations and recommended the creation of a board for industrial location.

The war prevented its immediate implementation but the report had a significant influence on post-war reconstruction and set the foundations for a formal new towns programme, culminating in the New Towns Act 1946 and triggering a major shift towards the building of new towns.


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