Arthur Penty

Arthur Joseph Penty (17 March 1875 – 1937) was an English architect and writer on Guild socialism and distributism. He was first a Fabian socialist, and follower of Victorian thinkers William Morris and John Ruskin.[1] He is generally credited with the formulation of a Christian socialist form of the medieval guild, as an alternative basis for economic life.

From: Edwardian Architecture: A Biographical Dictionary - Page 283

A. Stuart Gray - 1986

Penty was the elder of the two architect sons of Walter Green Penty of York, designer of the York Institute of Art, Science and Literature. While a pupil and assistant with his father, Penty absorbed the spirit of the Arts and Crafts Movement and the progressive movement in Glasgow. In York and its environs from 1896 to 1898 A.J. Penty did Aldersyde (his first important work), the Four Alls Inn, Malton Road, Dringhouses, York, and for the fish and ...

Early life

Arthur Penty was born at 16 Elmwood Street, in the parish of St Lawrence, York, the second son of Walter Green Penty (1852–1902), architect, and his wife, Emma Seller. After attending St Peter's School in York he was apprenticed in 1888 to his father.

Architect in York

When, in the 1890s, Penty joined his father's architectural practice, now renamed as Penty & Penty, "a marked improvement in the quality and originality of the firm's work" ensued.[2] Among surviving buildings by Walter and Arthur Penty are:

  • 1894: The Bay Horse, a public house in Marygate.
  • 1895-6: Rowntree Wharf on the River Foss, originally a flour warehouse for Leetham's Mill, which burnt down in 1931, now flats and offices.
  • 1899: Terry Memorial almshouses in Skeldergate.
  • 1900–02: Buildings in River Street, Colenso Street and Lower Darnborough Street in the Clementhorpe area south of the River Ouse.

He attracted national and even international attention, including favourable notice in Herman Muthesius's Das englische Haus (1904).

His younger brother, Frederick T. Penty (1879–1943) took over the business after their father died. Arthur's other younger brother, George Victor Penty (1885–1967), emigrated to Australia to pursue a career in the wool industry.

Move to London

Around 1900 Penty had met A. R. Orage; together with Holbrook Jackson they founded the Leeds Arts Club. Penty left his father's office in 1901, and moved to London in 1902 to pursue his interest in the arts and crafts movement. Orage and Jackson followed in 1905 and 1906; Penty in fact led the way, and Orage lodged with him in his first attempts to live by writing.


For a time, from 1906, Penty's ideas were widely influential. Orage, as editor of The New Age, was a convert to guild socialism. After World War I guild socialism dropped back as a factor in the thinking of the British Labour movement, in general; the idea of post-industrialism, on which Penty wrote, attributing the term to A. K. Coomaraswamy, receded in importance in the face of the economic conditions. Several of Penty's books were translated into German in the early 1920s. Penty was an acknowledged influence on the writings of Spain's Ramiro de Maeztu (1875–1936), who was murdered by Communists in the early days of the Spanish Civil War.

Penty the distributist

The somewhat complex British development of distributism emerged as a conjuncture of ideas of Penty, Hilaire Belloc and the Chestertons, Cecil and Gilbert. It reflected in part a first split from the Fabian socialists of the whole New Age group, in the form of the Fabian Arts Group of 1907.

Orage was a believer in Guild socialism for a period. After C. H. Douglas met Orage in 1918, and Orage invented the term Social Credit for the Douglas theories, there was in effect a further split into 'left' (Social Crediters) and 'right' (distributist) thinkers. This is, though, fairly misleading as a classification; it was also to some extent a split between theosophist and Catholic camps. Penty associated with the Catholic Ditchling Community.

By a curious coincidence the arrival of Douglas reproduced for a moment the old trio of Jackson, Orage and Penty, who ten years before had come from Leeds to London to launch the Fabian Arts Group. Jackson soon dropped away after introducing Douglas to Orage; but Penty [...] engaged in a long struggle with this rival, Douglas, to recapture the interest of Orage.[...] The hold of Penty over Orage was finally broken, and the architect was left to ponder his theories alone, ending in the thirties as Pound was to end in forties, an admirer of Mussolini.[3]

Penty went with the distributists. Distributism in the 1920s took its own direction, as Belloc wrote his version of it in the period 1920 to 1925 and connected it with his political theories. The British Labour Party declared against Social Credit in 1922.



  • Kiernan, Edward J. Arthur J. Penty: his Contribution to Social Thought, The Catholic University of America Press, 1941.
  • Matthews, Frank. "The Ladder of Becoming: A.R.Orage, A.J. Penty and the Origins of Guild Socialism in England," in David E. Martin and David Rubenstein (editors), Ideology and Labour Movement, 1979.
  • Thistlewood, David. "A. J. Penty (1875–1937) and the Legacy of 19th-Century English Domestic Architecture," The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 46, No. 4, Dec. 1987.
  • Sokolow, Asa Daniel. "The Political Theory of Arthur J. Penty," The Yale Literary Magazine, 1940.


  1. ^ Stephen Dorril, Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism, p. 73, calls Penty a disciple of Morris.
  2. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Neave, David (1995) [1972]. Yorkshire: York and the East Riding (2nd ed.). London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-071061-2.
  3. ^ J. P. Carswell, Lives and Letters (1978), p. 148.

Arthur Penty in libraries (WorldCat catalog)

Alfred Richard Orage

Alfred Richard Orage[p] (22 January 1873 – 6 November 1934) was a British intellectual, now best known for editing the magazine The New Age. While he was working as a schoolteacher in Leeds he pursued various interests, including Plato, the Independent Labour Party and theosophy. In 1900 he met Holbrook Jackson and three years later they co-founded the Leeds Arts Club, which became a centre of modernist culture in Britain. In 1905 Orage resigned his teaching position and moved to London. There, in 1907, he bought and began editing the weekly The New Age, at first with Holbrook Jackson, and became an influential figure in socialist politics and modernist culture, especially at the height of the magazine's fame before the First World War.In 1924 Orage sold The New Age and went to France to work with George Gurdjieff, the spiritual teacher whom P. D. Ouspensky had recommended to him. After spending some time on preliminary training in the Gurdjieff System Orage was sent to America by Gurdjieff himself to raise funds and lecture on the new system of self-development, which emphasised the harmonious work of intellectual, emotional and moving functions. Orage also worked with Gurdjieff in translating the first version of Gurdjieff's All and Everything as well as Meetings with Remarkable Men from Russian to English, but neither book was ever published in their lifetimes.

In 1927 Orage's first wife, Jean, granted him a divorce and in September he married Jessie Richards Dwight (1901–1985), the co-owner of the Sunwise Turn bookshop where Orage first lectured on the Gurdjieff System. Orage and Jessie had two children, Richard and Ann. While they were in New York Orage and Jessie often catered to celebrities such as Paul Robeson, fresh from his London tour. In 1930 Orage returned to England and in 1931 he began publishing the New English Weekly. He remained in London until his death on 6 November 1934.

Cecil Chesterton

Cecil Edward Chesterton (12 November 1879 – 6 December 1918) was an English journalist and political commentator, known particularly for his role as editor of The New Witness from 1912 to 1916, and in relation to its coverage of the Marconi scandal.


Distributism is an economic ideology asserting that the world's productive assets should be widely owned rather than concentrated. It was developed in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries based upon the principles of Catholic social teaching, especially the teachings of Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Rerum novarum (1891) and Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo anno (1931). It views both capitalism and socialism as equally flawed and exploitative, and it favors economic mechanisms such as small-scale cooperatives and family businesses, and large-scale anti-trust regulations.

Some Christian Democratic political parties have advocated distributism in their economic policies.


England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world. The English language, the Anglican Church, and English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, and the country's parliamentary system of government has been widely adopted by other nations. The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation.England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the north (for example, the Lake District and Pennines) and in the west (for example, Dartmoor and the Shropshire Hills). The capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom, largely concentrated around London, the South East, and conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, and Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century.The Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland (through another Act of Union) to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

G. K.'s Weekly

G. K.'s Weekly was a British publication founded in 1925 (with its pilot edition surfacing in late 1924) by seminal writer G. K. Chesterton, continuing until his death in 1936. Its articles typically discussed topical cultural, political, and socio-economic issues yet the publication also ran poems, cartoons, and other such material that piqued Chesterton's interest. It contained much of his journalistic work done in the latter part of his life, and extracts from it were published as the book The Outline of Sanity. Precursor publications existed by the names of The Eye-Witness and The New Witness, the former being a weekly newspaper started by Hilaire Belloc in 1911, the latter Belloc took over from Cecil Chesterton, Gilbert's brother, who died in World War I: and a revamped version of G. K.'s Weekly continued some years after Chesterton's death by the name of The Weekly Review.As an alternative publication outside of the mainstream press of the time, G. K.'s Weekly never attained a particularly large readership, with its highest circulation being some eight thousand. However, it attracted significant support from several benefactors, which included notables such as the internationally famous conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. Individuals whose work appeared in G. K.'s Weekly include public figures such as E. C. Bentley, Alfred Noyes, Ezra Pound, and George Bernard Shaw as well as (at the very beginning of his career) George Orwell. The relationship between the Distributist League and G. K.'s Weekly being a very close one, the publication advocated the philosophy of distributism in contrast to both the centre-right and centre-left attitudes of the time regarding socialism and industrialism.In terms of criticism, the publication has garnered condemnation for alleged anti-Semitic prejudice to be found in the views of Gilbert and Cecil Chesterton as well as of Hilaire Belloc. The controversy has involved sorting out the distinct differences in the opinions of the three men versus that of others within the publication, as essentially everyone featured had their own nuances to their viewpoints and would disagree among themselves. Critics have alleged that the writers often featured false stereotypes and made ignorant arguments about British capitalistic society while defenders have viewed the accusations as biased and misleading.

Guild socialism

Guild socialism is a political movement advocating workers' control of industry through the medium of trade-related guilds "in an implied contractual relationship with the public". It originated in the United Kingdom and was at its most influential in the first quarter of the 20th century. It was strongly associated with G. D. H. Cole and influenced by the ideas of William Morris.

Hilaire Belloc

Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (; French: [ilɛʁ bɛlɔk]; 27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953) was an Anglo-French writer and historian. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. He was known as a writer, orator, poet, sailor, satirist, man of letters, soldier and political activist. His Catholic faith had a strong impact on his works. He was President of the Oxford Union and later MP for Salford from 1906 to 1910. He was a noted disputant, with a number of long-running feuds, but also widely regarded as a humane and sympathetic man. Belloc became a naturalised British subject in 1902, while retaining his French citizenship.

His poetry encompassed comic verses for children and religious poetry. His widely sold Cautionary Tales for Children included "Jim, who ran away from his nurse, and was eaten by a lion" and "Matilda, who told lies and was burnt to death". He also collaborated with G. K. Chesterton on a number of works.

IHS Press

IHS Press is a publishing house based in Virginia whose mission is to promote the social teaching of the Catholic Church. The name "IHS" is a truncation of the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus Christ. IHS Press has been particularly concerned with the promotion of the social teaching as laid down by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Rerum novarum. IHS Press has thus been primarily focused on reprinting the rarer works of authors who promote a third way between capitalism and socialism such as G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, along with those of such older guild theorists as Arthur Penty and Heinrich Pesch.

IHS Press is currently chaired by John Sharpe.

In 2005, IHS Press launched a new imprint, Light in the Darkness Publications (LID), to print more miscellany works for a more general audience but still serving the larger goal of promoting the social teaching. LID will also be particularly dedicated to bringing about a well defined perspective on contemporary politics which might also serve as a basis for serious organization. LID's first publication has been Neo-Conned!, a two volume compendium of essays opposing the Iraq War containing a vast array of authors from Noam Chomsky and Alexander Cockburn on the left to Pat Buchanan and the late Samuel T. Francis on the right. Neo-Conned! contains the last original published work of both Francis and Jude Wanniski.

IHS Press is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.


Isleworth ( EYE-zəl-wərth) is a small town of Saxon origin sited within the London Borough of Hounslow in west London, England. It lies immediately east of the town of Hounslow and west of the River Thames and its tributary the River Crane. Isleworth's original area of settlement, alongside the Thames, is known as 'Old Isleworth'. The north-west corner of the town, bordering on Osterley to the north and Lampton to the west, is known as 'Spring Grove'.

Isleworth's former Thames frontage of approximately one mile, excluding that of the Syon estate, was reduced to little over half a mile in 1994 when a borough boundary realignment was effected in order to unite the district of St Margaret's wholly within London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. As a result, most of Isleworth's riverside is that part overlooking the 8.6-acre (3.5 ha) islet of Isleworth Ait: the short-length River Crane flows into the Thames south of the Ait, and its artificial distributary the Duke of Northumberland's River west of the Ait, one of two Colne distributaries constructed for aesthetic reasons in the 1600–1750 period.

Justin Barrett

Justin Barrett (born 13 April 1971) is an Irish politician who has served as the leader of the far-right National Party since 2016. A nationalist, he initially began activism in the 1990s/2000s leading the pro-life campaign group Youth Defence. He campaigned against the Treaty of Nice in 2002, and founded the National Party in 2016.

Barrett founded the Abortion Never campaign in 2018 to advocate for a No vote in the abortion referendum. Abortion Never presents itself as "an Irish nationalist anti-abortion campaign."His early activism focused mostly on far-right nationalism, pro-life and anti-immigration activism.

Libertarian socialism

Libertarian socialism (or socialist libertarianism) is a group of anti-authoritarian political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects the conception of socialism as centralized state ownership and control of the economy.Libertarian socialism is close to and overlaps with left-libertarianism, and criticizes wage labour relationships within the workplace, instead emphasizing workers' self-management of the workplace and decentralized structures of political organization.It often rejects the state itself, and asserts that a society based on freedom and justice can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to an owning class or political and economic elite. Libertarian socialists advocate for decentralized structures based on direct democracy and federal or confederal associations such as libertarian municipalism, citizens' assemblies, trade unions, and workers' councils.All of this is generally done within a general call for libertarian and voluntary human relationships through the identification, criticism, and practical dismantling of illegitimate authority in all aspects of human life. As such, libertarian socialism seeks to distinguish itself from both Leninism/Bolshevism and social democracy.Past and present political philosophies and movements commonly described as libertarian socialist include anarchism as well as autonomism, Communalism, participism, guild socialism, revolutionary syndicalism, and libertarian Marxist philosophies such as council communism as well as some versions of utopian socialism and individualist anarchism.

Penty (surname)

Penty is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Arthur Penty (1875–1937), British architect

Diana Penty, Indian actress

Richard Penty (born 1964), British engineer

Toby Penty (born 1992), British badminton player

Walter Green Penty (1852–1902), British architect

Peter Maurin

Peter Maurin (French: [moʁɛ̃]; May 9, 1877 – May 15, 1949) was a French Catholic social activist, theologian, and De La Salle Brother who founded the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933 with Dorothy Day.

Maurin expressed his philosophy through short pieces of verse that became known as Easy Essays.

Walter Green Penty

Walter Green Penty (19 June 1852 – 23 January 1902) was an architect working in York, England, and the father of Arthur Penty (1875–1937) and Frederick Thomas Penty (born 1879), both architects. He was born in Gate Fulford.Penty's first commission was the Burnholme Social Club in Heworth, York. He also designed the new Lighthorseman pub at the junction of Fulford Road and New Walk Terrace in the 1870s. A previous pub with that name on that site appears on the 1852 Ordnance Survey map of York. He designed Botterill's Horse Repository in Tanner's Moat (of which two arches survive) around 1880. This was a sort of 'garage' for horses of gentlemen who had ridden into the city to stay, possibly to go on the railway. In the 1890s, Arthur joined his father to form the firm of Penty & Penty. Among other works, they built the Terry Memorial almshouses in Skeldergate in 1899, and a number of streets in the Clementhorpe area of York, before Arthur left the city to work in London.

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