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‘Rural’ rhetoric in 1930s unemployment relief schemes

  • Ronan O’Donnell (a1) and David Petts (a1)

Abstract

This article examines the role of particular ideas of the countryside in unemployment relief schemes. While interwar thinking on the countryside has received attention, it has not been examined in the specific context of unemployment relief. This article uses four case studies from North East England, namely the Team Valley Trading Estate (Gateshead), Hamsterley Forest Instructional Centre (Durham), Swarland model village (Northumberland) and Heartbreak Hill (Cleveland). All four projects took different approaches to the unemployment problem, but all used some form of rural rhetoric. The ways in which the projects deployed images of the countryside creatively recombined a wide range of ideas to suit their needs rather than being rigidly confined by particular schools of thought.

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*Corresponding author. Email: r.p.o’donnell@durham.ac.uk

References

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Notes

1 Howkins, A., The Death of Rural England: a Social History of the Countryside since 1900 (London, 2003), pp. 95112; Jeans, D. N., ‘Planning and the myth of the English countryside in the interwar period’, Rural History, 1:2 (1990), 249–64; Matless, D., Landscape and Englishness (London, 2016); Moore-Colyer, R. J., ‘From Great Wen to Toad Hall: aspects of the urban-rural divide in inter-war Britain’, Rural History, 10:1 (1999), 105–24.

2 Howkins, The Death of Rural England, p. 98; Jeans, ‘Planning and the myth of the English countryside’, 252.

3 Howkins, The Death of Rural England, p. 97; Taylor, H., A Claim on the Countryside: A History of the British Outdoor Movement (Edinburgh, 1997).

4 Matless, Landscape and Englishness; Moore-Colyer, ‘From Great Wen to Toad Hall’.

5 Miller, S., ‘Urban dreams and rural reality: land and landscape in English culture, 1920–45’, Rural History, 6:1 (1995), 89102; Moore-Colyer, ‘From Great Wen to Toad Hall’, 110.

6 Jeans, ‘Planning and the myth of the English countryside’.

7 Matless, Landscape and Englishness.

8 Conford, P., The Origins of the Organic Movement (Edinburgh, 2001), pp. 164–6.

9 Taylor, A Claim on the Countryside, pp. 236–7.

10 Hadfield, A. M., The Chartist Land Company (Newton Abbot, 1970); Marsh, J. Back to the Land: the Pastoral Impulse in Victorian England 1880–1914 (London, 2010), pp. 126.

11 Stevenson, J. and Cook, C., The Slump: Britain in the Great Depression (London, 1977).

12 Special Areas (Development and Improvement) Act 1934; Special Areas (Amendment) Act 1937.

13 Teesside Record Office (hereafter TRO) U/PEN/11/32.

14 Chase, M. and Whyman, M., Heartbreak Hill: A Response to Unemployment in East Cleveland in the 1930s (Boosbeck, 1991).

16 Moore-Colyer, R. J., ‘Back to basics: Rolf Gardiner, H. J. Massingham and “a kinship in husbandry”’, Rural History, 12:1 (2001), 85108; Conford, Origins of the Organic Movement.

17 Chase and Whyman, Heartbreak Hill.

18 TRO U/PEN.

19 Northumberland Record Office (hereafter NRO) T/249.

20 West Yorkshire Archive Service (hereafter WYAS) WYL150/5/10/B1/2.

21 Vaggs, V., ‘The Swarland Settlement 1934–1947’, Tyne to Tweed, 66, 2012, pp. 48–9.

22 Ibid., pp. 50–1.

23 WYAS WYL150.

24 Field, J., Working Men’s Bodies: Work Camps in Britain, 1880–1940 (Manchester, 2013).

25 Ibid., pp. 109–11.

26 Ibid., pp. 2–109.

27 North Eastern Gazette, 21st September 1939.

28 The National Archives (hereafter TNA) LAB2/2035/ET1871/1934/Part1 and Part2.

29 Loebl, H., Government Factories and the Origins of British Regional Policy, 1934–1948: Including a Case Study of North Eastern Trading Estates Ltd (Avebury, 1988), pp. 107–82.

30 Cherry, G. and Penny, L., Holford: A Study in Architecture, Planning and Civic Design (London, 1986).

31 Wade-Martins, S., ‘Smallholdings in Norfolk, 1890–1950: a social and farming experiment’, Agricultural History Review, 54 (2006), 305; Meredith, A., ‘From ideals to reality: the women’s smallholding colony at Lingfield, 1920–39’, Agricultural History Review, 54 (2006), 105–08.

32 Dearlove, P., ‘Fen Drayton, Cambridgeshire: An Estate of the Land Settlement Association’, in Thirsk, J. (ed.), The English Rural Landscape (Oxford, 2000), pp. 324–5.

33 Ryle, G. B., Forest Service: First Forty-Five Years of the Forestry Commission of Great Britain (Newton Abbot, 1969), p. 51.

34 TRO U/PEN/11/7.

35 TRO U/PEN/7/119; TRO U/PEN/11/26.

36 TRO U/PEN/7/119

37 TRO U/PEN/11/26; Scott, J. W., Unemployment: A Suggested Policy (London, 1925).

38 TRO U/PEN/11/26.

39 Chase and Whyman, Heartbreak Hill, p. 37; TRO U/PEN/11/32.

40 Chase and Whyman, Heartbreak Hill, p. 13.

41 TRO U/PEN/11/32.

43 TRO U/PEN/11/28.

44 Moore-Colyer, ‘Back to basics’, 90.

45 Field, J., ‘An anti-urban education? Work camps and ideals of the land in interwar Britain’, Rural History, 23 (2012), 220–4; Conford, Origins of the Organic Movement, p. 127.

46 Conford, Origins of the Organic Movement, p. 127.

47 Moore-Colyer, ‘Back to basics’, 91.

48 Jefferies, M. and Tyldesley, M., ‘Introduction’, in Jefferies, M. and Tyldesley, M., eds, Rolf Gardiner: Folk, Nature and Culture in Interwar Britain (Farnham, 2010), p. 6; Moore-Colyer, R. J., ‘Rolf Gardiner, English patriot and the Council for the Church and Countryside’, Agricultural History Review, 49 (2001), 195; Conford, Origins of the Organic Movement, p. 127.

49 Moore-Colyer, ‘Rolf Gardiner, English patriot and the Council for the Church and Countryside’, 194; Moore-Colyer, ‘Back to basics’, 91–2.

50 TRO U/PEN/11/28.

51 Chase and Whyman, Heartbreak Hill, pp. 13–11; TRO U/PEN/11/28.

52 Marsh, Back to the Land, p. 102.

53 TRO U/PEN/11/26.

54 <https://digimap.edina.ac.uk/roam/map/historic accessed 03/12/2018>; Chase and Whyman, Heartbreak Hill, p. 7.

55 WYAS WYL150/5/10/B1/2; WYAS WYL150/5/10/B1/8.

56 NRO T/249.

57 The Leeds Mercury, 22nd December 1936.

58 The Yorkshire Post, 5th February 1935.

59 WYAS WYL150/5/10/B2/3.

61 The Morpeth Herald and Reporter, 31st July 1936.

62 Marsh, Back to the Land, p. 11.

63 TRO UPEN/11/2; TRO UPEN/11/7.

64 TRO U/PEN(2)/26/4; TRO U/PEN(3)/11/2.

65 Chase and Whyman, Heartbreak Hill, p. 29.

66 TRO U/PEN(3)/11/2.

67 Jefferies and Tyldesley, ‘Introduction’ p. 8; Moore-Colyer, ‘Back to basics’, 95–6.

68 Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums (hereafter TWAM) 1395/3052.

69 TWAM 1395/9.

70 NRO LAR/A1/5.

71 TWAM 1395/2339.

72 TWAM 1395/2332.

73 TWAM 1395/3437.

74 TWAM 1395/2332.

75 Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 25th June 1937.

76 TWAM 1395/1366.

77 TWAM 1395/3437.

78 TWAM 1395/1767.

79 TWAM 1395/2334; TWAM 1395/1770.

80 TWAM 1395/1366.

81https://digimap.edina.ac.uk/roam/map/historic〉 [3rd December 2018].

82 TWAM 1395/3436.

83 TWAM 1395/2344.

84 TWAM 1395/1366; TWAM 1395/3436.

85 Pugh, M., We Danced All Night: A Social History of Britain Between the Wars (London, 2009), pp. 172–3.

86 TWAM 1395/3437.

87 TNA LAB2/2035/ET1871/1934/Part1 and Part2.

88 Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 23rd February 1939.

89 Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 8th June 1937.

90 Field, ‘An anti-urban education?’.

91 Ibid., 215–17.

92 Field, Working Men’s Bodies, pp. 255–6.

93 NRO T/249.

94 TRO U/PEN/11/7.

95 We are grateful to the anonymous reviewer for this suggestion.

96 Matless, Landscape and Englishness.

97 Ibid., pp. 45–146.

98 NRO LAR/G/2/2/2/43.

99 Matless, Landscape and Englishness, p. 76.

100 NRO LAR/G/2/2/2/83; NRO LAR/G/2/2/2/101; NRO LAR/G/2/2/2/136; NRO 00756/D/2/200.

101 Cherry and Penny, Holford.

102 Mairet, P., Pioneer of Sociology: the Life and Letters of Patrick Geddes (London, 1957).

103 TWAM 1395/5.

104 Matless, Landscape and Englishness, p. 82.

105 TWAM 1395/3816.

106 Matless, Landscape and Englishness, pp. 86–7.

107 TWAM 1395/3436.

108 Priestley, J. B., English Journey (London, 1934).

109 North Eastern Trading Estates Ltd, Today’s Industrial City of Tomorrow (Gateshead, 1937).

110 Howkins, The Death of Rural England, pp. 92–4.

111 Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 20th June 1934.

112 Field, Working Men’s Bodies, p. 159; Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 20th June 1934.

113 British Library (BL) C900/01547, TNA LAB2/2041/ET598/5/1937.

114 NRO 00756/D/2/069.

115 NRO 00756/D/2/200.

116 Burchardt, J., ‘State and society in the English countryside: the rural community movement 1918–39’, Rural History, 23 (2012), 85–6.

117 Ibid., 85; Matless, Landscape and Englishness, p. 70.

118 NRO T/249.

119 WYAS WYL150/5/10/B2/3.

120 Ibid.

121 Ibid.

122 WYAS WYL150/5623.

123 Ibid.

124 Ibid.

125 The Alnwick and County Gazette and Guardian, 8th September 1939.

126 WYAS WYL150/5623.

127 NRO 513/2/23.

128 WYAS WYL150/5623.

129 The Alnwick and County Gazette and Guardian, 21st January 1939.

130 The Alnwick and County Gazette and Guardian, 11th February 1939.

131 NRO 4327/47/20.

132 Howkins, A., Reshaping Rural England: A Social History 1850–1925 (London, 1991), p. 287; Thompson, L., ‘The promotion of agricultural education for adults: The Lancashire Federation of Women’s Institutes, 1919–45’, Rural History, 10 (1999), 217–34.

133 WYAS WYL150/5623.

134 NRO T/249.

135 Ibid.

136 Rée, H. A., Educator Extraordinary: The Life and Achievement of Henry Morris, 1889–1961 (London, 1985).

137 WYAS WYL150/5623.

138 NRO CES 204/1/1.

139 Conford, Origins of the Organic Movement, pp. 130–45.

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