Ash, Maurice Anthony 1917-2003
ASH, Maurice Anthony 1917-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born October 31, 1917, in Hazaribagh, India; died January 27, 2003, in Totnes, Devon, England. Planner, farmer, and author. Ash devoted his life to the creation of communities that would conserve the environment, sustain the local economy and infrastructure, and nurture the spirits of those who dwelled therein. He rejected the notion that town planning should be determined by political or business interests, and his inherited wealth enabled him to pursue an alternative path. Though he described himself as simply a farmer, Ash served for many years as a trustee and later chair of Dartington Hall. This vast restored monastic site in rural Devon allowed him to demonstrate the ideal of a monastery-turned-country estate as a center for the integration of learning, agriculture, industry, the arts, and spiritual growth. Under his tenure Dartington Hall housed or sponsored numerous ventures, including a textile mill, a pottery, a glass-blowing factory, the Schumacher College for ecological studies, and the Beaford Arts Centre. On his own, Ash also founded Sharpham House at another historical site in Devon. Sharpham also reflected his commitment to the concept of "wholeness" as the foundation of a successful community. There he grew grapes and made wine and cheese, raised animals, and housed the Sharpham College for Buddhist Studies and the Robert Owen Foundation for the agricultural training of mentally disabled adults, among other projects. Ash served his profession as a long-time officer of the Town and Country Planning Association. In 1978 he also became the chair of the new Green Alliance environmental interest group. His contributions to the arts included the founding of the Harlow Arts Trust and membership in the Henry Moore Foundation. Ash's writings on planning and the environment include the books Regions of Tomorrow: Toward the Open City, A Guide to the Structure of London, New Renaissance: Essays in Search of Wholeness, Journey into the Eye of a Needle, and Fabric of the World.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Guardian (London, England), February 13, 2002, obituary by Richard Boston, p. 24.
Independent (London, England), January 28, 2003, obituary by Roger Berthoud, p. 18.
Times (London, England), February 6, 2003.