Open Spaces Society fellowship at the MERL – penultimate update

My Open Spaces Society fellowship has come to its formal end, but I’m still working on some of the lines of research raised by the collection.

bargate
southampton bargate

We’re also still hoping to get the planned online exhibition of selected lantern slides up and running. Delays because of lockdown meant that there is a backlog of exciting projects and exhibitions, so we’ll wait!

Outputs of the project:

Next steps:

I’m updating the database of lantern slides with landownership details. Who owned and owns the sites shown in the slides? When were they acquired by bodies like the National Trust or the City of London commons? What percentage of the sites are privately owned?

database
box hill 1936
Surrey XXV SE 1936 Box Hill and West Humble

List of archives that can be linked to the OSS collection at the MERL:

Surrey History Centre 

1621 – Sir Robert Hunter papers – e.g. box 3/14, Coulsdon Commons Preservation Committee, 1873

Box 9/2 – Commons Preservation literature

Parliament Archives 

FCP – footpaths and commons preservation society papers

E.g. FCP 2/382-286 – Surrey – Coulsdon and Banstead 1930-3

FCP 1/51 – CPS files on Limpsfield Common, Surrey

> to link with the MERL, SR OSS/C07/8 – Banstead Woods, 1877 R Number 5 High Court Chancery

SR OSS/C07/9/3/4 – OSS Mitcham Common 1885 case. 

FCP 2/809-814 – Annual reports and journals of the CFPS, 1927-40 – the lantern slides may have been used to illustrate talks by Humphrey Baker, Lawrence Chubb and Sir Robert Hunter.

‘The Right of Recreation’, Annual Report, v, 1937, 176-77

‘Commons, what they are and how they are protected’, Annual Report, iii, 1935

London Metropolitan Archives

CL/PK/1/131 – Surrey County Council and London Green Belt Scheme – e.g. Sanderstead and King’s Wood scheme, 1936-7

Linked selected secondary sources:

Marco Amati and Makato Yokohari, ‘The establishment of the London green belt’, Journal of Planning History, 6: 4 (2007), 311-37, has a section on the Surrey proposals, 1937

Paul Readman, Storied Ground: Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity (2018)

Francesca Church, ‘Amenity as educator: Geographies of education, citizenship, and the CPRE in 1930s England’, Geographical Journal, 185: 3 (2018), 258-67. 

David Matless, Landscape and Englishness (1998)

Earlier histories of the CPS, prior to the 20th century:

Elizabeth Baigent, ‘God’s earth will be sacred’: Religion, Theology, and the Open Space Movement in Victorian England’, Rural History, 22: 1 (2011), 31-58

Jeremy Burchardt, Paradise Lost:  Rural Idyll and Social Change Since 1800 (2002)

Ben Cowell on the Berkhamstead Common dispute of 1866 – e.g. ‘The Commons Preservation Society and the Campaign for Berkhamsted Common, 1866–70’, Rural History, 13: 2 (2002)

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