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What is public space?

Has it always been public?

What is private space?

Who has the right to use it?

How has it been contested?

This website is the project of Dr Katrina Navickas, exploring the history of public space in England from 1700 to today.

stevenage town centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From enclosure and improvement acts in the 18th century, through planned settlements in the 19th century, to slum clearance, new towns and Business Improvement Districts, and private-public initiatives in the 20th and 21st centuries, public space has been contested and privatised.

I am exploring the history of contested public spaces in particularly resonant sites in England, including north Manchester terraces and squares used for demonstrations, disputed rights of way and common rights on Pennine moors, landownership in Croydon, planning in Stevenage and other towns.

I am also conducting a survey of commons and footpath disputes as part of my Open Spaces Society fellowship at the Museum of English Rural Life. Go to: https://historyofpublicspace.uk/my-oss-fellowship-at-merl-2021/ 

I’m particularly interested in planning disputes and protests that have resonance to the present day. Contact me.

thoughts in progress

Registration of footpaths

Here’s a notice registering footpaths on Buckhurst Park on the Withyham estate of the 11th Earl de la Warr, Ashdown Forest, East Sussex, for the definitive map under the 2006 Commons Act. All footpaths need to be registered by 2026 or they will be ‘lost’ and will lost their right of way status. https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1000230 Map …

Open Spaces Society lantern slides project update 5

I’ve now categorised and geo-located the majority of the c.1000 lantern slides in the Open Spaces Society collection at MERL. NB not all the slides are represented on this map because some can’t be geo-located Here are some statistics: Some headlines: Urban commons and rivers are the two most common types of landscape represented in …

contact

Contact Dr Katrina Navickas,

Reader in History, University of Hertfordshire:  link to staff page

email: k.navickas@herts.ac.uk

I am currently Open Spaces Society Fellow at the Museum of English Rural Life.

This project is in part funded by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, 2018-19.

I also tweet via @katrinanavickas and Rural Modernism: @RuralModernism

My books

book cover
book cover 2

Recent press

Watch me on BBC One’s The One Show, 1 March 2021, interviewed by Bill Bailey on the Ramblers’ Association’s campaign to save lost footpaths. With Jack Cornish of the Ramblers.

BBC Newsnight, August 2019, on the Peterloo 2019 commemorations:

‘Croydon’, in The Alternative Guide to the Boroughs of London, edited by Owen Hatherley for Open House London: https://open-city.org.uk/blog/the-alternative-guide-to-the-boroughs-of-london

open house guide to London

Essay on Peterloo for the LRB, 20 Dec 2018: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n24/katrina-navickas/opprobrious-epithets

Essay on E. P. Thompson, Karl Polanyi and R. H. Tawney for the LRB, 11 Oct 2018: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n19/katrina-navickas/whats-missing

Essay in Protest: Stories of Resistance, edited by Ra Page (Comma Press): https://www.thelondonmagazine.org/interview-ra-page-on-stories-of-uprising-and-protest-in-the-age-of-coronavirus/

Protest cover