University of Nottingham

The landscape and environment of inter-war England - an interdisciplinary approach (network)

Project outline

This network addressed the English Countryside in the inter-war years, and was based on both a period and on a method. The years 1919-1939 were a period in which environmental pressure, agricultural decline and changes in the nature of the rural population created a widespread sensitivity towards the rural landscape. The countryside was seen by many as being under direct threat from urban sprawl, rural poverty, the growth of tourism, agricultural decline and the collapse of traditional social and cultural structures. Yet at the same time for many people the countryside became a site of leisure and escape, and many took up the opportunity to live in a country or at least suburban landscape.

Inter-war England Inter-war England


A series of four seminars brought together scholars from a variety of disciplines and career stages. Each seminar also set 'homework' involving the discussion of a number of interwar texts.Network discussions marked the beginning of a new synthesis in which the cultural and social meanings of the inter-war English countryside can be understood from a variety of perspectives. A number of papers have been published as a direct result of network activities.

Ongoing influence

The influence of the network has been continued through the activities of the Inter-War Rural History Research Group based at the University of Reading. A member of network has also been awarded the Museum of English Rural Life Fellowship to continue research linked to network discussions.

Two network members were also involved in the BBC4 programme 'Mud, Sweat and Tractors', the network directly influencing how they interpreted the historical materials available.


  • Imagining the interwar village
  • Gender and the interwar countryside
  • Landscapes of pleasure between the wars
  • Living in the landscape

Award details

Duration: September 2006 - August 2008 (30 months)

Principal Investigator:
Professor Alun Howkins 

Higher Education Institution:
School of History and Philosophy, University of Sussex

Related links


Landscape and Environment Programme

School of Geography
University Park
University of Nottingham
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 84 66071