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Wednesday, 16 November 2011, 6:00PM
Museum of London

A Lark Arising: The Rural Past and Urban Histories, 1881 - 2011

Professor Alun Howkins

The Census of April 1881 revealed an England which was a firmly urban and industrial nation. Although the number of ‘urban’ dwellers had exceeded the rural for the first time thirty years earlier it was not until the 1870s and 1880s that the population was firmly urban and living in large and mostly ‘modern’ towns. We do not know in any detail what the Census of  April 2011 will reveal but what is certain is the England remains an urban, although  no longer an  industrial nation. However the proportion of the population living in rural areas is now greater than at any time since 1911. These simple facts chart the great demographic changes in England in the last 150 years. However, as many observers have noted, the English imagination has never lost its enthusiasm for the rural. This lecture will look at that enthusiasm not as one simple unchanging set of ideas but as a complex web of the popular and the elite; the political right and left and the culturally the progressive and the reactionary.  By bringing some of these aspects into relationship with one another the lecture will explore the continuing fascination with the rural  as a central part of the popular ideas of the past.

 

This is the 2011 Joint Royal Historical Society/Gresham College Annual Lecture. The other joint lectures can be accessed here:

       2012 - Why the Enlightenment still matters today by Professor Justin Chapman
       2010 - What did eighteenth-century men want? by Professor Amanda Vickery
       2009 - The Institutionalisation of the Arts in Early Victorian England
                 by Charles Saumarez Smith
       2008 - History, Science and Religion by Dr Allan Chapman
       2007 - The fabrication of medieval history by Dr Simon Thurley
       2006 - The Curse of the Poke Bonnet: Television's Version by Joan Bakewell
       2005 - Travels in Time: History and identity in today's world by Michael Wood
       2004 - Presenting unwanted histories by Dr Gareth Griffith

professor-alun-howkins

Professor Alun Howkins is a social historian based at the University of Sussex with particular interest in the rural poor. However, he has written on a wide range of topics from Turner to the politics of the Communist party.

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16 November 2011

A Lark Arising: The Rural Past and Urban Histories, 1881 - 2011
Professor Alun Howkins

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