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Trouble at the national trust: Post-war recreation, the benson report and the rebuilding of a conservation organization in the 1960s

Nixon, S (2015) 'Trouble at the national trust: Post-war recreation, the benson report and the rebuilding of a conservation organization in the 1960s.' Twentieth Century British History, 26 (4). 529 - 550. ISSN 0955-2359

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Abstract

© The Author [2015]. The growth of conservation organizations like the National Trust for England, Wales and Northern Ireland (NT), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the county wildlife trusts was one of the more striking features of post-war social change. With their roots in late Victorian and Edwardian ideas of preservation and conservation, the membership of these organizations expanded sharply from the 1960s. The success of these groups, however, also brought its own problems. In particular the practical issues associated with their growth forced them to ask what kind of organizations they were and what kind of organizations they might become. The article focuses on the NT and the soul searching that it undertook in the late 1960s. It draws on but partly seeks to revise recent research on environmental and conservation organizations. In doing so, it documents how the transformation of the NT fits the professionalization thesis proposed within the existing historiographical literature, whilst seeking to draw attention to the influence of broader sociological changes associated with mass affluence and the growth of popular recreation. Given its patrician leadership, the NT was challenged by the democratizing effects of affluence and by the wider climate of cultural modernization. It was this set of cultural and social developments, rather than simply the inevitable logic of professionalization, which provided the conditions in which the Trust was impelled to reinvent itself and modernize its ways of working.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Sean Nixon
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2015 16:21
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2019 16:19
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/15459

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