Rural settlement change in East Suffolk, 1850-1939

Macdonald, Peppy (2016) Rural settlement change in East Suffolk, 1850-1939. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The purpose of this thesis is to examine changes in rural settlement in eastern Suffolk over the period of study. England became a largely urban nation in the second half of the nineteenth century, and although east Suffolk remained essentially rural, there was even here a trend towards the urban. In 1851 forty-three percent of the population lived in rural parishes; by 1931 it was nineteen per cent. The population, over the same period, rose from 121,652 to 231,295. Despite the
slow decline in the importance of agriculture as an employer, exacerbated by severe agricultural depression from the late nineteenth century, this was population redistribution rather than depopulation.
A range of influences and their impact on rural settlement are discussed, including the effects of soil type, land ownership patterns (particularly regarding ‘open’ and ‘close’ parishes) and developments in transport infrastructure - the railway in the second half of the nineteenth century, the motor car in the twentieth. Improved
transport, together with other social and economic changes led to a significant expansion of coastal resorts, and, even in this essentially rural area, a degree of suburbanisation on the fringes of towns. Land ownership remained surprisingly important throughout the period, despite the gradual erosion of landowners’ power by increasing state intervention in the management of the rural landscape. The period following the First World War saw major changes in the character of housing provision, and thus in the population and appearance of many villages and hamlets.
While the landscape of rural Suffolk has ancient roots, many of its key features were forged in the period between the mid nineteenth century, and the middle decades of the twentieth. Only by appreciating the complexity of relatively recent developments can the character of rural settlements, here and in other areas, be fully understood.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Users 2593 not found.
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2017 12:36
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2017 12:36


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