The term “model village” refers to a self-contained community built near factories back in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. England is home to many of them, at which Ian Brown at Google Sightseeing recently took a look.
The villages consisted of rather nice homes, along with schools, hospitals, stores, recreation and other amenities. The villages were built by factory owners and industrialists to house their workers near the work site, though physically separated from it.
While the villages were quite nice, some saw it as a way for the industrialists to simply maximize their profits:
Detractors counter this with the belief that industrialists were only looking to maximize profits, with happy workers generally being more productive. Improving their housing could therefore be seen as an essential contribution to increasing the success of the business. In some cases the creators of model villages were also looking to impose a significant amount of control over their employees, dictating what they could and couldn’t do in these new communities designed to strictly follow their own beliefs.
The villages themselves are amazing to view, and the combination of Google Earth and Street View allows for a great deal of sightseeing. I encourage you to read Ian’s full post on Google Sightseeing, and then grab their KML file to explore the locations yourself in Google Earth.