In this exercise, we had to read a small section entitled “Landscape for Everyone” from “A Dream of England: Landscape, Photography and the Tourist’s Imagination” by John Taylor. While reading we had to make notes on the key points and our own observations/reflections.
- When people think of the English landscape, they often long for the landscapes of yesteryear or as described by people like Chaucer or Shakespeare.
- Masterman wanted to show his readers a “magical England” that centred on “the village, the squire and the sense of community” ideal. Throughout his book, he looks at the history of Britain in a romantic sense but when it comes to the industrial revolution, he describes it as “black blots in the landscape”.
- The general feeling about the English landscape was that this sense of community etc would help England to defeat Nazi Germany.
- During WW2, the ideal English landscape was to be preserved. This was achieved by removing directional signs to said beauty spots and ceasing pleasurable travel (this was mainly due to military restrictions and shortages in fuel)
- In an attempt to help people to remember the “pastoral beauty” of England, Batsford reissued topographic books between 1941 and 1942. These books allowed people to look back on an England that was free to travel at their leisure and reconfirmed the idea that this would help England to win the war.
- Before 1939, very little had changed within the English landscape so writers and photographers struggled with new things to report. However this all changed in the summer of 1939, when the problem became how to reconcile between the old familiar landscapes and the new “cut off” and diminished landscapes.
- One way they could do this was by using the established documentary style. By doing this, they were able to confirm the social norms of the time as opposed to trying to find the extraordinary in the ordinary or in other words show the changing landscape as it happened
- The papers also began to show contrasting images of England and Germany. England was shown with beautiful countryside and quaint villages whereas Germany was shown to be regimented and dictatorial.
- While reading the book, I noticed that tourism in Britain was/is about creating an illusion and masking over the parts that were less desirable.
- I also found it amazing to hear of the extreme lengths that people went to, to disguise the well-loved English countryside i.e. hiding directional signs etc