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Amenity as educator: geographies of education, citizenship, and the CPRE in 1930s England

Church, F. (2019) Amenity as educator: geographies of education, citizenship, and the CPRE in 1930s England. The Geographical Journal, 185 (3). pp. 258-267. ISSN 1475-4959

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/geoj.12279


This article examines the spaces, materiality, and practices of (in)formal education and citizenship bound up in the educational cultures of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE) in 1930s England. Founded in 1926, the CPRE aimed to preserve rural amenities through concerted action, by working through their constituent societies as a centre for furnishing or obtaining advice and information, and importantly, by educating public opinion. While much work has examined inter‐war preservationism and the CPRE's focus on planning legislation and design, less attention has been paid to the CPRE's cultures of education for children and young people. Drawing on archival research, this paper considers two educational topics, namely, nature study and school design, and makes three key contributions to the geographies of education. First, that the CPRE mobilised the notion of amenity to provide an experiential and intuitive education in preservationism: amenity was both education and educator. Second, that this education was linked to notions of (future) citizenship, hope, and (future) preservationism, becoming an education that would remain with the child throughout their life. Third, this article explores the CPRE's authority, revealing the ways in which it was often complex and precarious, as well as the ways in which the Council drew on other forms of authoritative identities, spaces, and structures. In so doing, this paper contributes to ongoing academic debates on the complex and fluid boundaries of (in)formal education.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:80891
Publisher:Royal Geographical Society


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