Podcast of Radio 4 - Enclosures (In Our Time)

Gerrard Winstanley office at evnuk.org.uk
Tue Aug 12 22:28:44 BST 2008

The nasty old BBC don't like people having copies of their shows and
as such the version of Melvyn Bragg's Enclosures show you can listen
to on that page but you can't save it to your hard drive.

Since they will probably take it offline at some point here it is as
an mp3 file.

The full programme has been uploaded in good quality (50mb) as a Radio
For All podcast

And I've also added a low quality version of it to the files section
of this email list


--- In diggers350 at yahoogroups.com, "Gerrard Winstanley" <tony at ...> wrote:
> It's actually still on line here from May this year
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/inourtime_20080501.shtml
> In the early 19th century, the Northamptonshire poet John Clare took a
> good look at the countryside and didn't like what he saw. He wrote:
> "Fence meeting fence in owners little bounds
> Of field and meadow, large as garden-grounds,
> In little parcels little minds to please,
> With men and flocks imprisoned, ill at ease."
> He was referring to the effects of the Enclosures – literally the
> fencing in of land to stop others from using it. This apparently
> simple act has been hugely controversial. For some Enclosure
> underpinned the economic and agricultural development of Modern
> Britain. For others it was an act of theft – the turning of common
> land into private property that impoverished the many for the sake of
> the few.
> But what really happened during the era of 18th and 19th century
> enclosures? Who gained, who lost and what role did Enclosures play in
> the agricultural and industrial transformation of this country?
> Contributors
> Rosemary Sweet, Director of the Centre for Urban History at the
> University of Leicester
> Murray Pittock, Bradley Professor of English Literature at the
> University of Glasgow
> Mark Overton, Professor of Economic and Social History at the
> University of Exeter
> Audience reactions to this edition
> mark- enclosure
> It would have been interesting to briefly contrast the English
> experience with the French, where the open field system, subsistence
> agriculture, and healthy small peasant land holdings persisted into
> the 20th century. Productivity of English farms was clearly far higher
> than in France post enclosure, but perhaps the French system allowed a
> relatively vital and diverse local artisanal agriculture to survive
> and develop in the countryside while the English rural economy became
> increasingly a mixture of manorial farms and playgrounds for the rich?
> William Brown, on "Enclosures"
> This was an excellent program, and a nicely balanced look at a
> sometimes very heated subject (even among academics). If I could
> greedily wish for more, it would have been to expand the subject
> outside of the period of Parliamentary Enclosures to discuss earlier
> enclosures, particularly as it has been estimated (by Professor
> Overton, and others) that just about as high a proportion of land in
> England was enclosed in the seventeenth century as in both the
> eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I, too, would like to know more
> about enclosure by agreement, and the structures by which they were
> confirmed and reinforced. Were the central courts, such as that of the
> Chancery or the Exchequer used?
> Christopher Draper, "Enclosures"
> As the author of, "Llandudno Before the Hotels" I think today's
> otherwise excellent discussion overlooked examples where Parliament
> promoted enclosure schemes designed to achieve the exact opposite of
> the scheme's professed rationale of increasing agricultural
> production. Llandudno's 1843 Enclosure Act, for exanple, was
> progressed through Parliament by Edward Mostyn Lloyd Mostyn M.P. whose
> family consequently acquired freehold rights over much of the old
> village of Llandudno. Smallholders were then evicted, their fields
> paved over and an ancient agricultural settlement transformed into a
> fashionable bathing resort. A century and a half later Mostyn Estates
> still own and control most of our town. Fortunately nowadays we can we
> can rely on our Parliament to never again enact the transfer of
> resources away from the poor to enrich better off members of society!
> Peter Household - Enclosure Acts
> I hoped Melvyn would press for a fuller reply to his question as to
> why Acts of Parliament were felt to be necessary in the 18th century.
> Rosemary Sweet explained that they were petitioned for by landowners,
> as legal authority was required. But why had this not been felt to be
> an issue with previous enclosures? I think Rosemary said that in
> earlier centuries enclosure was achieved by agreement with the
> peasantry, but this sounds implausible to me, therefore I fear I
> misheard. Can anyone shed light? And what about the dissolution of the
> monasteries? Did this not have a part to play in the story?
> Jane - The Enclosures
> George Bernard Shaw once said something on the lines of "reasonable
> people accept life the way it, unreasonable people do not accept life
> the way it is. Therefore all change is brought about by unreasonable
> people". There are two sides to the unreasonable sword. Our greatest
> thinkers are often considered unreasonable people in their
> anachronistic perspectives. Larger in number are those who dominate
> and distort life for others. The Enclosures was another story of the
> unreasonable use of power and 'creaming off the top' and although it
> wasn't totally disastrous in its effect it wasn't exactly great.
> Knowing what being human is about is a bit of a 'piece of string'
> situation and if we are evolving, the most important thing about
> history is that we learn from it.Our self-made history is one of
> domination and much suffering which has presently culminated in
> (amongst other things) a growingly capitalist world that continues to
> reduce and restrict the lives of most people. The counter argument
> simply won't do any more. Much of the media are hugely complicit in
> this and they're doing quite nicely out of it too. If we take an
> Emperor's New clothes perspective on capitalism, whose beginnings were
> mooted at this morning, surely we can see that it is a catastrophe for
> the majority of people. A few do well, granted, but not enough.
> Also,whatever sits on the back of capitalism is corrupted by it - look
> at our own country and it's evident at every turn. When our health
> care is about money more than people - the finest modalities are often
> at best overlooked and at worst deliberately overridden. (Post office,
> water, trains etc.) As humans we are born into a strange situation of
> inner and outer realities - both of which are incredibly tortuous as
> well as vivid in nature and both of which are, fundamentally, a
> complete mystery. All we can do is take up the situation and get on
> with it in our own way. I was brought up to be egalitarian in my
> outlook and it stays with me. On this earth I find the the unclear
> thinking with its consequences quite unbelievable but thinking is only
> part of our function. Recently, whilst pondering the nature of
> conditioning - (from atavism through to recent) and questioning good
> and cruel tendencies in myself I put on the second movement of
> Mozart's 23rd piano concerto and in my imagination conjured up
> pictures of grief and suffering in as many countries as I could think
> of (a bit like they do in films). My tears flowed readily and I found
> my compassion to be fundamentally present. I don't know unequivocally
> how we are to measure ourselves or how we can change things when
> globalization and centralization have disenfranchised us so profoundly
> and compassion is so often relegated to picking up the pieces which a
> wiser world would have avoided. Imagine, as well as you can, the
> entire planet at this minute sitting on it's little known but
> seemingly difficult history and maybe enjoy the fact that the
> programme we listened to this morning is like a beacon - a clue. Its
> power is of a different nature. Also, why is it that the rich are
> remembered for philanthropy but rarely for their wealth much as it is
> prized in the moment.Posterity is often, perhaps, another clue to a
> truer picture. So - to the 'In Our Time' team - thank you, once again,
> in our troubled times, for that beacon.
> Christopher Hall - Enclosures
> I fully expected this to be quoted:'The law locks up the man or
> womanWho steals the goose from off the common;But lets the greater
> villain looseWho steals the common from the goose.'
> John Calton: enclosures
> Excellent discussion of a very complex topic. Many thanks, not least
> for the wry(rye?) and, some might argue sly, apportioning of examples,
> ditching (Dissing?) of some iconic reputations and fielding of
> expertise.To take my immediate and local context, I am constantly
> fascinated by claims that the Finnish word 'kylä' bears only a
> tangential relationship to the word 'village', and the programme
> helped shed (oops, sorry) some light on that lexical anomaly. Will
> recommend the programme to students of British cultural studies with
> enthusiasm, and meanwhile go out and pick up more litter from the
> ditches with renewed interest and commitment. Happy Labour/May Day (in
> Finnish: 'Hauskaa Vappua!')Best wishes,John Caltonlecturer in
> EnglishUniversity of Helsinki
> davidmurray-Bragg and class
> Bragg mentioned E P Thompson's best-known work as 'The Making of the
> English Working Classes'- in fact it was 'The Making of the English
> Working Class'. Bragg may find it hard to conceive that someone taken
> seriously on his programme should advance any kind of marxist view,
> rather than a banal social-stratificationist one, but Thompson did, of
> a kind.

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