Saltaire, Akroydon and Bedford Park are planned, model urban communities of the nineteenth century - two of them in Yorkshire, the third in west London. All three villages grew from the ideas of developers intent on creating a fine environment for living: Italianate Saltaire was for mill-workers, Gothic Akroydon was an attempt at social engineering and Bedford Park, in the so-called Queen Anne Revival style, was for the aspiring middle-class with artistic sensibilities. Each has a unique aesthetic style, and, like a Victorian painting, has messages embedded in the decorative detail. Famous architects, including Sir George Gilbert Scott and Richard Norman Shaw, played their part in these important developments and the beliefs and motivations of both developers and architects were integral to the designs of the communities. This book explores how these ideals were translated into the villages themselves, reveals the hidden significance of aesthetic details and is a testimony to the creative endeavour of our Victorian forebears.