The Countryside of East Anglia

October 2008
6 colour, 21 black and white, 12 line illustrations
264 pages
24.4x17.2 cm
ISBN: 9781843834175
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press

The Countryside of East Anglia

Changing Landscapes, 1870-1950

Susanna Wade Martins, Tom Williamson

First detailed study of the landscape history of the early twentieth century.
The countryside we enjoy today has a very long history, but many of its key features were created in the relatively recent past - as this book shows. It investigates how the landscape of a particular area of England, East Anglia, developed in the period of the so-called great depression, beginning in 1870, and the phase of wartime intensification which succeeded it after 1930. It considers how fields, farms and villages developed in this period of dramatic agricultural change; examines the fate of country houses, gardens, and landed estates; and looks in some detail at the character of habitat change - at the development of hedges, woods, wetlands and heaths. It also considers how new kinds of landscape, ranging from vast conifer plantations to holiday resorts, came into existence. The period of the 'great depression' was not simply one of stasis and decay. It was instead a time in which there were fundamental changes in the rural environment, changes which were not always beneficial to wildlife and biodiversity.

This book will be essential reading for all those interested in the history of the countryside [in East Anglia and beyond], landscape history, agricultural history, and historical ecology.

Table of Contents

Farming in Depression
Alternative Agriculture
Estate Landscapes
New Landscapes
The Changing Countryside
Change in the Village
Imagining the Countryside
Postscript: The Second World War and its Aftermath


This detailed, very interesting, and well-written account provides an informative critique of the changing countryside of East Anglia. [It] provides an invaluable contribution to the historiography of agrarian development in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. As a regional pioneering case study it provides a benchmark to which other historians might aspire. AGRICULTURAL HISTORY
In summary, this is a stimulating, informative book, beautifully produced and illustrated. It contributes to, extends and complicates an emerging view, raising important questions for further research. For once, the publisher's claim that this is essential reading for everyone interested in the rural and landscape history of the period is justified. LANDSCAPE HISTORY
Makes a huge contribution to our knowledge of this period and region, both in its rich detail and in its conceptual treatment of landscape themes. [...] The overall result is a skillfully written book, well-produced and with useful illustrations. THE LOCAL HISTORIAN
[A] compelling and exhaustive study which should be required reading for anyone keen to understand the region's recent social and landscape history. EASTERN DAILY PRESS.

Shortlisted for and winner of the "History and Tradition" category in the EDP-Jarrold East Anglian Book Awards 2009.

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