LISTEN: Building Milton Keynes

Guy Ortolano teaches urban history at New York University.  His recent book, Thatcher’s Progress: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism through an English New Town (Cambridge, 2019), is the first to draw from the remarkable collection of materials related to the building of Milton Keynes at the Buckinghamshire Archives.  Guy lives with his wife and two children in a thirty-storey concrete tower block in New York City.  For more about his work, visit

Guy’s podcast sees him in conversation with Buckinghamshire Archives’ Chris Low, who first met Guy thirteen years ago when he arrived in Aylesbury to research the proposed, but never constructed, Milton Keynes monorail. What ensued was a years long study of the creation of Buckinghamshire’s new town in the 1970s, and in particular a visit by new Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1979, when she was escorted on a three hour driving tour of Milton Keynes with the corporation’s chairman, Sir Jock Campbell. An insightful, fresh look at a curious moment in our local history.

Guy Ortolano’s website

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