Read the short extract from ‘Landscape for Everyone’, published in John Taylor (1994) A Dream of England: Landscape, Photography and the Tourist’s Imagination (see ‘Online learning materials and student-led research’ at the start of this course guide). Summarise the key points in your learning log, along with any other observations or reflections.
The article starts by looking at the British view of the landscape during the second world war. It notes that the British ideal that the countryside is a place to spend recreational time and relax was subverted by the war and its restrictions.
He draws the reader into thinking about a romantic view of the English countryside steeped in history and patriotic with the idea of never being invaded or conquered.
It alludes to the fear people had of the country being overrun by industrialisation giving way to the fear of it being overrun by invasion. These fears led to changes such as the removal f signposts and the obstruction of rural places to a point where people felt that the country was no longer a place for leisure and these ideas were consigned to memory
The war propaganda machine took over and used the landscape as an anchor for everything British and patriotic often drawing a contrast with images of Nazi Germany and playing on the fears as mentioned above of invasion.
Ironically during the war the country became inaccessible and it was only the evacuations that put people into the country where the fear of being bombed was less.
The British propaganda engine used the love of the country and the fear of its loss in a bid to keep the resolve of the people firm and to motivate people into being more British and maintaining a stiff upper lip. It is interesting to note that the precautions of war had the same effect as invasion in that it prevented people from using the countryside.