London 1911 : celebrating the imperial

London 1911 : celebrating the imperial  Susan Finding, MIMMOC, University of Poitiers

Article published in  « Londres: capitale internationale, multiculurelle et olympique »,  Observatoire de la société britannique, 11, décembre 2011, sous la direction de Timothy Whitton.

Unlike many rival capital cities (Paris, Berlin, Washington D.C.),
London combined functions  as the seat of government, major seaport, industrial and commercial centre. London authorities sought to control and improve the living and working conditions within their boundaries. Unlike its rivals however, London was seen to be lacking in monuments and urban layout suitable to its calling.  The local authorities in London sought to remedy the planning side but celebration in stone and pageantry were ensured by official displays and semi-official entertainment heavily underpinned with imperial designs.


British Colonies, Dependencies & Trade Routes 1911

C’est au mois de juillet 2005 que le CIO décide d’attribuer les Jeux Olympiques à la ville de Londres, vingt-quatre heures avant qu’une série d’attentats n’ébranle les certitudes multiculturalistes des Londoniens. Malgré le traumatisme subi, Londres sort la tête haute de cet épisode tragique, portée par sa volonté de défendre sa diversité autant que son statut de ville résolument internationale voire « globale ». Ce numéro explore l’évolution de la capitale britannique, non seulement sur les traces de son passé impérial, mais également en fonction de la manière dont elle s’accomode de sa place au cœur de l’échiquier financier mondial. La distribution et la gestion de son espace urbain sont également des enjeux majeurs dans la trajectoire que Londres cherche à se forger afin de rester dans le peloton de tête des capitales mondiales.

Timothy Whitton
Susan Finding
London 1911: celebrating the imperial
Carine Berbéri
Londres: une ville plus favorable à l’euro que les autres villes du Royaume-Uni ?
Hervé Marchal & Jean-Marc Stébé
Exister ou disparaître dans le jeu économique de la globalisation : un défi pour Londres et Paris
Ian Gordon
London Capital of Boom and Bust?
Martine Drozdz
Marges convoitées: lecture paysagère et géographique de l’extension du quartier d’affaires de la City à Londres.
Manuel Appert
Les nouvelles tours de Londres comme marqueurs des mutations d’une métropole globale
Timothy Whitton
Over to you Boris: the defeat of Ken Livingstone in 2008
Nancy Holman & Andrew Thornley
The reversal of strategic planning in London: the Boris effect with a focus on sustainability.
Nassera Zmihi
Londres 2012, un objectif olympien :zéro sans-abri.
Jeremy Tranmer
London: a capital of protest politics
Corinne Nativel
Mobilisations urbaines et espaces de résistance aux Jeux Olympiques de Londres et de Vancouver

12 euros (prix au numéro, frais de port compris), libellé à l’ordre de l’Agent comptable de l’Université de Toulon, à l’adresse ci-dessous
Gilles Leydier
Directeur de la publication
Revue « L’Observatoire de la société britannique »
UFR Lettres & Sciences Humaines
Université du Sud Toulon-Var
83957 La Garde cédex

Londres à la fin du 19e siècle

Real and imaginary topography in News from Nowhere
Susan Trouvé-Finding, Université de Poitiers

Forget six counties overhung with smoke,
Forget the snorting steam and piston stroke,
Forget the spreading of the hideous town ;
Think rather of London, small, and white, and clean,
The clear Thames bordered by its gardens green

Stanza from the Prologue, The Earthly Paradise, William Morris, 1865

News from Nowhere, written after seven years of intense and pre-eminent political activity (some say overly so (EPT, 572)) in the funding and organising of various permutations of
the nascent socialist movement, can be read as an account of his own personal journey of discovery, a parable of his own life rooted in Morris’s personal and political lieux de mémoire. In the novel, Morris maps out the future, laying an imaginary mappa mundi Morrisi over the topography of the Thames Valley upriver from sea to source, tidal reaches to little; stream. Taking the form of a voyage of discovery in the best utopian tradition, the novel recounts a trip into Terra Cognita, the capital city adventuring into the hinterland beyond. Morris turns certain conventions upside-down, topsy-turvy, reversing the methods of contemporary social investigators such as Andrew Mearns and General Booth, whose footsteps he followed. The reader is translated not into the reality of Outcast London (Mearns 1883), or Darkest England (Booth, 1890) unknown to the well-off middle classes, but into a transformed but known world, where major landmarks serve as signposts and symbols. Despite the fictional pretence of foreignness (p.49), ‘a place very unlike England’ (p.49), everything is done to enable the reader to recognise the setting, from the opening pages where Hammersmith is identifiable from the street names (The Broadway, The Creek, King’s Street), the river (Chiswick Eyot, Putney, Barn Elms, Surrey Banks), the peregrination through London, and upstream past towns and landmarks to the upper reaches of the Thames. This transparent transposition is anchored on the real loci of Morris’s own world from Kelmscott House, Hammersmith to Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire.

To read on:

Paper given at Day Conference organized by François Poirier at the Univeristy of Paris I3 in January 2005 published on line  : and by the William Morris Society in the United States.

Renouveau du parti libéral? Les leçons de l’histoire

The fortunes of the Liberal Party between 1906 and 1924 can be summarized as having gone from the foremost political force with a landslide victory and triumphant government to the third party (which, in a bipartite electoral system, means the loser losses all) with little electoral support and no real influence on either politics or policy. The debate in the historiography has hinged on the reasons for what with hindsight can be termed terminal decline, leading to the disappearance of the great 19th century political force and tradition to a rump of a few dozen MPs (or less) having little impact on the course of affairs in the 20th century.

This decline was so marked that the first books which addressed the issue used the terms ‘death’ (George Dangerfield, The Strange Death of Liberal England 1910-1914, first published in 1935) or ‘downfall’. Trevor Wilson’s book, The Downfall of the Liberal Party, 1914-1935 (1966) provides an alternative timescale for the demise.2

That there was a decline there is no doubt. What caused it, and therefore when to date it back to, gives rise to much discussion. Was the Liberal Party the agent of its own predicament or was it merely a victim of circumstance? Analysts have detected reasons to believe that the internal workings of the Liberal Party either condemned it in advance or, on the contrary, show that the symptoms present in the early period were neither inevitable or irreversible. Alternative external factors are also brought in to explain the phenomenon, the principal ones among these being the rise of the Labour Party and the impact of the First World War.

George Dangerfield situates the beginning of the decline in 1910 : ‘(…) it was in 1910 that the fires long smouldering in the English spirit suddenly flared up, so that by the end of 1913 Liberal England was reduced to ashes.For Dangerfield, the problems that were responsible for the decline of the Liberal Party were the, mainly external, il-liberal attitudes and attacks from several quarters involving labour unrest, the suffragette movement and Irish nationalists. For Cook, on the other hand, the war appeared to have been if not the sole cause, then a catalyst, transforming the Liberal Party, plunging it into decline: ‘the very totality of the First World War had a profound and disastrous impact on the party. For whatever reasons, the Liberal Party was never again to be the same after 1914 as it had been before.’4 This analysis lays the blame for the decline of the Liberal Party on the impact of the war, an external cause hitting a weakened political force.

Kenneth Morgan places the date at 1916, with the internal crisis in the Liberal Party, partly provoked by war contingencies, which led Asquith to hand the premiership over to Lloyd
George .Since December 1916, the Liberals have played an increasingly peripheral role; never since then have they shown any sign of a convincing recovery as a party of power.’5 Others again date the point of reversal to the 1918 ‘coupon’ election and the pact between the Conservative Party and the Lloyd George Liberals. Herbert Gladstone, Chief Whip at the time, concluded: The result of 1918 broke the party not only in the House of Commons but in the country. Local associations perished or maintained a nominal existence. Masses of our best men passed away to Labour. Others gravitated to Conservatism or independence.6Or again, the 1922 elections can be seen to have heralded the dismal future with a Conservative government returned to office and a poor showing by the Liberals.

Half a century after the final throes of Liberal government, in the nineteen-seventies, at a time when Liberal Party fortunes had not recovered, Kenneth Morgan concluded that ‘The Liberal Party in the age of Lloyd George was both the main agent of change and the major victim of some of its consequences.7Was the Party responsible for its own demise? If so, what factors contributed to this? Or was it society that moved on? Are they to be sought in the First World War? In the social make-up and transformations of the times? Thus, on one hand, causes internal to the party – its own evolution, the changes it introduced, and, on the other, external factors over which it had little control – social evolution, other political parties, the war – must be considered. The contributions in this issue of Cahiers du MIMMOC look at reasons which can be adduced to explain this that range through the following explanations : unclear identity (Davis, MacDonald), contradictory and confusing
policies (Singeisen, Sloman), personal antagonism and ambition (Morgan, MacDonald), and failure to move with the times (Morgan, MacDonald).

This paper looks at the different explanations for the unsuccessful attempt by the Liberal Party to renew itself by looking first at the political philosophy and party organisation of the
Liberals, and secondly, the Liberal Party’s response to challenges it encountered between 1906 and 1924, under two main headings: social and political change, and competition from the Left and Right. […]

To read on :

Le parti libéral au Royaume-Uni hier et aujourd’hui : aux marges ou au centre?

Les Cahiers du MIMMOC, No. 7 Etudes réunies et présentées par Susan Finding et Trevor Harris Publiées en ligne le 01 septembre 2011

 Des membres du parti libéral appartiennent au gouvernement britannique à nouveau depuis mai 2010 après en avoir été écartés depuis quatre-vingt cinq ans. Le parti libéral, majoritaire en 1906, devient minoritaire à partir de 1910. Le gouvernement est néanmoins resté aux mains de libéraux, au moins partiellement, jusqu’en 1924. De même, membre de la coalition gouvernementale en 2010, le parti libéral n’a pas été sans influence sous les gouvernements précédents. L’histoire se répète-t-elle? 

Les articles présentés ici ont été majoritairement présentés à une journée d’études tenue le 18 mars 2011 à la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme et de la Société de l’Université de Poitiers, organisée par les groupes de recherche MIMMOC (EA 3812) et GRAAT (EA 2113).  Les communications peuvent être vues en ligne sur UPtv, la chaine internet de l’Université de Poitiers.