The view from the land, 1947-1968: 'modernity' in British agriculture, farm, and nation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter argues that agricultural land and buildings, as elements of the British landscape, became significant components in the representation of Britain as Modern nation state after the Second World War. It focuses on the acres of Britain that were tasked (after the Agriculture Act of 1947) with increasing food production. It argues that far from being in tension, as has often been thought, improved conservation of the countryside and improved agricultural production 1947-1968 (represented as ‘modernisation’) were intimately woven together. With agriculture harnessed to the idea of Britain as a science-led, technological world power in 1947, Agricultural modernity was one expression of Britain’s post-war national identity. Grants, advice, and policy harmonised vernacular structures, new farming processes, wildlife management, and the amenities of a countryside celebrated as the epitome of a natural ’England’, enriching and feeding the literal body politic. By the time of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the British countryside was being represented as a rich palimpsest of modernised agricultural practice, tradition, and natural resource alive to emerging European environmental policy and global questions of sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew lives, new landscapes revisited:
Subtitle of host publicationrural modernity in Britain
EditorsMatthew Kelly, Linda M Ross, Katrina Navickas, Ben Anderson
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9780197267455, 0197267459
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2023
EventNew Lives, New Landscapes: : Rural Modernism in C20th Britain - Northumbria University, Newcastle, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Aug 20192 Aug 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the British Academy
PublisherOxford University Press

Academic conference

Academic conferenceNew Lives, New Landscapes:
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Agricultural production
  • farms
  • landscape
  • modernity
  • twentieth century
  • advice
  • advertising


Dive into the research topics of 'The view from the land, 1947-1968: 'modernity' in British agriculture, farm, and nation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this