And here are some maps from the mid 18th century of some of the organisations land holdings (in red). The first is Clifton in Bristol. The second is the Manor of Locking near Weston Super Mare, the third is the Manor of Beere near Cannington in the Somerset levels. pic.twitter.com/rXLqvKEFt7
— Matthew *wash-your-hands* Taylor 🔶🇪🇺 (@mat8iou) June 8, 2020
I'm intrigued at how often closed groups originating from early modern or 18th century financial or merchant guilds still have an input into council decisions. It's like 19th century incorporation & 20th century administration of governing structures never happened.
Foucault called it heterotopia – a temporary moment during periods of structural dislocation, where the protestors enact a ‘world turned upside down’ using forms of carnivalesque symbolism (such as attacking an effigy).
Doreen Massey theorised this local to global brilliantly. I also recommend Dave Featherstone’s rethinking of Raymond Williams’s concept of ‘militant particularism’ in this respect too. The local matters. We protest locally to join the global movement.
Then it proved impossible to find a wording that everyone accepted. The first plaque that it bore, added when it was erected in 1895, said ‘Erected by citizens of Bristol as a memorial of one of the most virtuous and wise sons of their city’. NO mention of slavery. (2)
There have been some great contributions to the #heritageofprotest tag on Twitter this week. Here’s Dave Steele on the protest sites of Birmingham. I like the materiality of the site being carved out of the sandstone.
#heritageofprotest I have been doing some work on sites of protest in Birmingham and have come up with no less than 18 meetings over 21 years from 1817-1838. Eleven of these were at Newhall Hill a former sandstone quarry on the Colemore Estate which left a perfect amphitheatre pic.twitter.com/h8v2HTMhSD
In the early 20th century, planners and societies like the NPFA were obsessed with a minimum standard acreage per 1000 people (the aim was 4 acres). By the 1960s, the association realised this was too crude a measure that did not take into account the inequalities of access
the general secretary at that time (1960) even mooted that the only solution was legislation governing the price of land and permitting compensation from central government funds to landowners. For why land reform failed, see Michael Tichelar, https://t.co/3w7bG4FpCm
I’m recently reading a lot about the concept of ‘nuisance’ in the Victorian city, and have been really taken by discussions by David Churchill, Christopher Hamlin and Andy Croll about the concept.
Podcast on my initial reflections:
The extract above from a talk given to the Manchester and Salford Sanitary Association urged for the necessity of public playgrounds in easy walking distance of all districts, not least because working-class children had little opportunity to play out. ‘to play in the street is illegal … an infraction of municipal law’.
As far as I am aware, there were no specific byelaws against children playing in the street at that time, but they could be accused of obstructing the highway under the 1835 Highways Act. They would also be picked upon by the legion of sanitary inspectors who began to police ‘nuisance’ and ‘annoyance’ in public spaces, who would (as well as local curtain-twitching property owners and ratepayers) raise grievances to the local police about such activity as snow-ball throwing and play-fighting (Churchill, p. 104; Crook, 373).
I’m drawn to the idea of the ‘urban commons’ as (not the technical definition of a common in the boundaries of a borough, but rather) an ideal of a public realm and being the parallel to the rural commons in this period. Property owners and local government and policing determined what this ideal was, often centred around the right to use the king’s highway, and with similar debates and contests over who had customary right to use it, and who could police and regulate it. As Hamlin discusses, urbanisation and over-crowding stretched the capability of the public realm to cope with the numbers, in effect creating a ‘tragedy of the urban commons’ in its over-use (Hamlin, 374). Regulation was enacted in byelaws and local policing as well as inspection regimes. But this often excluded those deemed to be trespassing or encroaching or taking advantage of the urban commons.
David Churchill, Crime Control and Everyday Life in the Victorian City: the Police and the Public (Oxford University Press, 2017)
Andy Croll, ‘Street Disorder, Surveillance and Shame: regulating behaviour in the public spaces of the late Victorian British Town’, Social History, 24: 3 (1999), 250-68
Christopher Hamlin, ‘Nuisances and Community in Mid-Victorian England: the attractions of inspection’, Social History, 38: 3 (2013), 346-79
Tom Crook, ‘Sanitary Inspection and the Public Sphere in late Victorian and Edwardian Britian: a case study in Liberal Governance’, Social History, 32: 4 (2007), 369-393