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Whiteway Colony is a settlement in the Cotswoldsmarker in the parish of Miserdenmarker near Stroudmarker, Gloucestershiremarker, UKmarker. It was set up in 1898 by Tolstoyan anarchists who purchased 40 acres (162,000 m²) of land, then burnt the property deeds on the end of a pitchfork in a symbolic rejection of the notion of property, and then went to court to prove that nobody owned the legal title. The property still exists today. The early settlers built a number of wooden buildings on what was then open fields. Over the years it has housed many people including immigrant anarchists, conscientious objectors and refugees from the Spanish Civil War, as well as co-operative ventures such as Protheroe's Bakery (known in the local area for the quality of its bread), the Cotswold Co-operative Handicraft guild and the Co-operative Gardening Group. For a period the Anarchist newspaper Freedom was produced here by Thomas Keel.

Early life in the colony was spartan and idealistic - piped water did not arrive until 1949 and electricity until 1954. The site was originally open land but is now heavily wooded and home to a collection of mainly wooden buildings - as no one owns the land, mortgages could not be obtained so people had to build their own houses. A communal hall was built by residents in 1924 to house social activities and a school, and a swimming pool was built in 1969. Whiteway Colony is still in existence today and houses, among others, descendants of its original settlers. Though it no longer has an explicitly anarchist character, today's residents are aware, and proud, of its origins. Traces of them run through the community still, the best examples being the continued use and maintenance of communal facilities (hall, swimming pool and playing field). In addition, the governance of the community is still done by a general meeting of its residents.

See also



Further Reading

  • Thacker, J. (1993) Whiteway Colony, the social history of a Tolstoyan community Published by the author ISBN 978 0952176008


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