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Rural Modernity in BritainA Critical Intervention$
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Kristin Bluemel and Michael McCluskey

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474420952

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474420952.001.0001

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Change in the Village: Filming Rural Britain

Change in the Village: Filming Rural Britain

(p.33) Chapter 2 Change in the Village: Filming Rural Britain
Rural Modernity in Britain

Michael McCluskey

Edinburgh University Press

In this chapter, Michael McCluskey looks at amateur films/home movies about rural Britain, including footage of Sussex, Yorkshire, Cornwall and Kent, in order to understand changes in rural areas and to make new connections between media history and social history. He argues that these films, preserved in the collections of Britain’s regional media archives as well as the British Film Institute and private collections, offer ‘visible evidence’ of the impact of modernization: what was destroyed, what was preserved, who adapted, who did not. They show interest in farming, rural crafts, village traditions, and threats of intruding motorists and the spread of the suburbs, but they also offer access to places and exchanges otherwise absent from these familiar depictions. The films participate in a broader process of what Andrew Causey calls ‘stocktaking’: an interwar interest in documenting what were feared to be disappearing people, places, and patterns of behaviour.

Keywords:   Amateur films, Home movies, English regions, British Film Institute, Interwar modernization, Village England, Documentary, Rural craft, Farming

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