‘Land for military purposes’: The development of the military estate in Britain 1790-1914.

Corbett, Frederick (2024) ‘Land for military purposes’: The development of the military estate in Britain 1790-1914. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The literature on British military landscapes is dominated by geographers whose interest emanates from the massive acquisition of land resulting from the two World Wars. That literature focuses on land management, environmental impact and redesignation. This thesis focuses on land acquired for military purposes in the century and a quarter before the First World War. This gradually became what is known as the military estate or the Defence Estate, one of the largest landowners in Britain.

The most visible monuments to that estate are the numerous barracks that remain extant across Britain and Ireland. The thesis acknowledges the influence of the earlier development and accommodation of a standing army in Ireland. It explains how the distribution and functions of barracks shaped the early military estate. It also shows how some of the largest military sites were developed for training soldiers. The thesis examines how the political, economic environment and technology changed the demand for military land at home from 1790 to 1914. These factors, along with an almost constant fear of invasion helped identify the priorities to be set for the military. The demand for land also responded to concerns about the performance of the army in major conflicts in the nineteenth century and in preparedness for European war. The thesis shows how responses to these concerns meant that eventually the British military required more land to meet new demands to recruit an army of sufficient size, to train it and ensure that it was better prepared for European war and not just colonial expansion and home defence.

Over the course of the nineteenth century, the amount of land controlled by the military at home increased substantially and the infrastructure of the estate itself became more diverse and permanent. This development is mapped and the chronology of legal, military and political actions that led to this position is examined. How this became a managed military estate is explained. The thesis examines this through detailed case studies of northern and eastern England. These were used to map and set out a comprehensive explanation of the origins of the demand for land for military purposes and how these played out in the regions and countries of Britain in different ways.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: James Tweddle
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2024 12:35
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2024 12:35
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/95759


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