lockdown

George Monbiot has written about the lockdown and the longer history of controls over public spaces in The Guardian, with a quote from me.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/22/lockdown-coronavirus-crisis-right-to-roam

I was grateful to have a long conversation with him, much of which just couldn’t be fitted into his short piece. We discussed in particular the long history of private streets, particularly those developed in the mid Victorian period by speculators and investors, with lodges and gatehouses to keep people out. There is a brief article on this topic by Sarah Blandy, ‘Gated communities in England: historical perspectives and current developments’, GeoJournal, Vol. 66, No. 1/2, Gated Communities: An Emerging Global Urban
Landscape
(2006), pp. 15-26.

We also discussed the debates over public meeting places on street corners (Monbiot briefly mentions the Salvation Army in this respect – although it was more the case that the ‘Skeleton Army’ of publicans instigated the violence against them rather than the other way around), including the Socialist Democratic Federation’s battles over Dod Street Corner in Limehouse, East End of London, in the 1880s. See also Constance Bantman, ‘Anarchists, authorities and the battle for public space, 1880-1914’, in Sarah Pickard, ed., Anti-Social Behaviour in Britain: Victorian and Contemporary Perspectives (Palgrave, 2016) for similar issues regarding the anarchists.

We also discussed more recent and contemporary lockdowns on public space, notably the Cutteslowe Walls and other divisions between council and private housing, and playgrounds in new developments that children in social housing were prohibited from using.

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