Political Pressures and Civic Pride: The Development of Public Green Space in Norwich 1866–1974

Kant Cunneen, Lesley (2019) Political Pressures and Civic Pride: The Development of Public Green Space in Norwich 1866–1974. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

The 1833 Parliamentary Select Committee on Public Walks is generally credited with initiating the nineteenth-century urban movement which led to the development of public parks. Public walks, or parks, were seen as a partial remedy for the disease and early mortality suffered by the working poor and cities and large towns were expected to make generous provision. A number of wealthy areas responded positively to the initiative, but by the close of the nineteenth century public parks in Norwich comprised only three small gardens and a large tract of enclosed heathland. This state of affairs was publicly criticised at the time and the view-point has been reflected in local history research.

This thesis explores the national and local factors that governed the creation of public parks and gardens from 1866 to 1974 and analyses Norwich City Council’s approach to the development of green space over that period. Although urban parks are the most obvious aspect of public green space, other gardened aspects of municipal responsibility are woven into the narrative, such as allotments, cemeteries and churchyards, as well as tree-planting, roundabouts and social housing. These are important aspects of urban living but remain less commonly explored in research terms.

This chronological analysis of public green space, from the high ideals of early Victorian reformers to the legislation which brought about the demise of Norwich as a unitary authority in 1974, examines the interplay between national government and local politics, and the resulting urban recreational landscape. Seen through the prism of Norwich, the East Anglian regional capital, it reveals the local obstacles and national circumstances that undermine the best-laid plans and discloses the critical roles played by the component parts of local government: committees, councillors, officers and the public.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2024 14:29
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2024 14:29
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/94593
DOI:

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