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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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Beyond Portmeirion: The Architecture, Planning and Protests of Clough Williams-Ellis

Beyond Portmeirion: The Architecture, Planning and Protests of Clough Williams-Ellis

(p.187) Chapter 11 Beyond Portmeirion: The Architecture, Planning and Protests of Clough Williams-Ellis
Rural Modernity in Britain

Nigel Harrison

Iain Robertson

Edinburgh University Press

Clough Williams-Ellis is famous (or infamous) for his preservationist activities, leading the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Design and Industries Association and writing that most famous of protests against interwar development, England and the Octopus (1928). This chapter argues that Williams-Ellis’s preservationist campaigning was not the expression of backward-looking nostalgia, but of a progressive, modernizing quest to convert the nation to orderly planning. In pursuit of this quest, he advocated adoption of new towns, national parks, motorways, and town and country planning; the culmination of all this work was the comprehensive planning legislation of the Labour government formed in 1945. Nigel Harrison and Iain Robertson seek to move beyond Williams-Ellis’s best known creation, the village of Portmeirion, typically dismissed as an unfortunate experiment in retrograde rural vernacular, to consider Clough Williams-Ellis’s activities in their totality and to position him as a key theorist of rural modernity.

Keywords:   Clough Williams-Ellis, Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Design and Industries Association, Planning, Nostalgia, Rural modernization, Portmeirion

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