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SEQUENCES BEGIN LOWER DOWN THE PAGE - THE MOST RECENT ARE AT THE TOP.
Postings are original to the date shown. Those previously placed on www.westwood232.blogspot.com are identified.
The next posting can be read on the new Idealog -January 2007 - page
Image: Background reading
Towards Theory - Writers on Landscape
People have been trying to make sense of their surroundings forever. The first concern of early communities must have been for their immediate survival, with basic needs of food, drink, shelter and the availability of useful material resources. Later they would have longer-term, utilitarian, plans for future food and materials either extracted or grown as they learned the successful husbandry of the land. These concerns will have led them to explore for resources and to reconnoitre the land for its benefits and threats. Exploration had to lead to some kind of understanding, which would require some form of knowledge framework in its turn dependent on some kind, however, rudimentary, of philosophical perspective.
The writer on geography and anthropology, Yi-Fu Tuan (1974, 1977) examined ways in which peoples around the globe in both primitive and developed societies have tried to make sense of their surroundings. In Britain, W G Hoskins (1955) investigated the historical geography of England at around the same time that J B Jackson was doing the same for the American landscape. Their work followed in the tradition of other geographers who had, from the time of Humboldt and Ritter at the turn of the nineteenth century onwards been working out the principles by which the physical, natural and above all, human, patterns upon the Earths surface were related (see Holt-Jensen, 1999). Hoskins and Jackson studied human beings within local landscapes. Their approaches were similar, clear and accessible, not driven by a need to produce theories and paradigms for other academics, but explanations for the generally interested public. W G Hoskins was a well known broadcaster on his subject with a popular touch based on his ability to communicate. Environmental psychologists were developing theoretical ideas about people and places (Ittelson et al 1974, Lee 1976) which would have an important influence of landscape studies. Other geographers analysed the relationships between landscapes and societies further in the 1990s, such as Denis Cosgrove 1984, Gollege and Stimson 1997, Bryan Lawson 2001, Winchester, Kong and Dunn 2003: see also the collection of papers in Cosgrove and Daniels, 1998).
Cosgroves Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape (1984) examines the ways in which landscapes of Europe and North America have been perceived at different historical periods, mainly by opinion makers from artists and writers to political leaders. The depiction of places landscapes, buildings, the events within the places has a long and wide-ranging literature discussing numerous theories concerned with history, creativity and techniques. The phrase reading the landscape has been used many times to describe how people perceive and interpret their surroundings. There is therefore a suggestion that the landscape is like a book to be read, a form of communication medium. John Urry has memorably drawn attention to what he terms the tourist gaze (Urry, 1990) of the visitor upon the place they have visited. He refers back to Daniel Boorstins (1964) argument that tourists want to see views of places, but are often presented with pseudo-events or, in other, inauthentic views produced as part of a tourist industry. Urry reviews commentators like Barthes, Baudrillard and Bourdieu on such image-creation.
Recorded images are the production of artists and photographers. The designs that they produce can be studied in terms of visual language complete with a system of grammar. Kress and van Leeuwen (1996) are among a number of authors who have written on the subject. Architects have done so for much longer: Sir John Summersons Classical Language of Architecture (1980) details the work of the Greeks and Romans in terms of the ways in which their buildings deliberately communicated ideas of beauty and power to those who viewed them. Gordon Cullen wrote an influential book in 1961 that introduced his ideas on urban design as storytelling, or at least, the planned revelation of a sequence of vistas to the people who moved through townscapes. It is an idea that has been fostered under the title of landscape narratives to communicate messages about aspects of places (see Potteiger and Purinton, 1998).
The spectrum of writing can appear bewildering since it is not only considerable but comes from a wide range of disciplines, on top of which there are the cross-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary works. To reflect the whole picture would be well beyond the scope of an on-line posting with the style of this one. The next posting will attempt to start from scratch, as it were, in proposing some ideas about landscapes, the information they contain, and they ways in which people receive that information. Continuing the train of thought started in that discussion must lead towards the notion that environments can be designed and managed in order to communicate messages in the way that Cullen, Summerson, and Potteiger and Purinton have described.
Boorstin, D (1964) The Image, Harmondsworth, Penguin Books
Cosgrove, D (1984/1998 pbk) Social formation and Symbolic Landscape, Madison Wisconsin, The University of Wisconsin Press
Cosgrove, D & Daniels, S (eds)(1998) The Iconography of Landscape, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
Cullen, G (1961) Townscape, London, architectural Press
Gollege, R & Stimson, R (1997) Spatial Behaviour: A Geographic Perspective, New York, The Guilford Press
Holt-Jensen, A (1999) Geography: History and Concepts, London, Sage
Hoskins, W (1955) The Making of the English Landscape, London, Hodder & Stoughton
Ittelson, W et al (1974) An Introduction to Environmental Psychology, New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston
Lawson, B (2001) The Language of Space, Oxford, The Architectural Press
Lee, T (1976) Psychology and the Environment, London, Methuen
Potteiger M & Purinton, J (1998) Landscape Narratives: Design Practices for Telling Stories, New York, John Wiley and Sons
Tuan, Y (1974/1990 pbk) Topophilia: A Study of Environmental Perception, Attitudes and Values
Tuan, Y (1977) Space and Place, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press
Urry, J (1990) The Tourist Gaze, London, Sage
Winchester, H, Kong, L & Dunn, K (2003) Landscapes: Ways of Imagining the World, Harlow, Pearson Educational
Zube, E (ed)(1970) Landscapes: Selected Writings of J B Jackson, Boston, Mass
Image: Garry Hogg books
Travel Inspirations from Story Books - Garry Hogg
Whole segments of the tourist industry owe much to the authors of fiction. Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe' sparked off interest in desert islands and survival, Zane Gray's 'Riders of the Purple Sage' fired up enthusiasm for travel in the western USA and Rudyard Kipling's stories of India raised awareness of the fascination of that sub-continent. At a younger level, Arthur Ransome's 'Swallows and Amazons' is credited with creating adventure holidays spent sailing in the Lake District.
The prolific travel author Garry Hogg is still read for his non-fiction works on the British Isles, its history and places of interest. In the late 1930s and 1940s he also wrote holiday adventure stories. There were three in the 'Explorers' series - Explorers Awheel, Afloat and On The Wall, the last about Hadrian's Wall across the north of England. Later in the 'forties Garry Hogg wrote 'Sealed Orders', and signed off that story with a hint of a similar adventure abroad, but I have not been able to trace whether he ever published it.
Explorers Awheel came first, in 1938. It established the main characters in the mini-series, two pairs of twins (very common in children's literature at one time) and an uncle, as well as parents who were conveniently sent off out of the way. Getting parents out of the picture by fair means or foul was pretty much a prerequisite before proper adventures could begin - in real life they imposed too many restraints on their offspring.
The pattern of all three stories is that uncle Guy is around to give some kind of direction without obstructing the excitement. In Explorers Awheel the twins plus their uncle go off on a cycling holiday in the west country. The twins ride on tandems for the first time, uncle G on a bike. Their travels take in villages and small towns, moorlands and the coast - where they happened to rescue their history teacher from drowning and found out that he was not such a bad chap after all.
Explorers on the Wall takes them to Northumberland where they rescue a man held captive by a mysteriously wild figure with the appearance of an ancient Briton, and spend a while boating on the River Tyne. The third book becomes a complete boating holiday using a naroow boat on the Grand Union Canal and the River Thames, encountering not only the challenges of other boats and the locks but a number of interesting landmarks along the route.
Garry Hogg's book 'Sealed Orders' is about different youngsters on a cycling treasure hunt. It employs the device still used as a leisure pursuit of a series of clues which have to be solved in order, each one leading the hunters to a location where the next clue awaits. This book has elements of each of the Explorers series - cycling, crime and police, canal boating and of course the English landscape.
Between the two world wars and the period afterwards, people were becoming explorers. Camping, trekking, boating and then caravan touring were becoming prominent. The YHA gave the chance of cheap accommodation to those who didn't have tents, caravan or boat to use to sleep, and did not want to have to rely on finding friendly farmers with barns to spare. It also happened to be the time when scouting and guiding, Outward Bound and, later, the work of commercial operators like PGL holidays were all opening up the vista of the landscape to old and young alike. Garry Hogg's books are a little dated (middle class, in a world where domestic staff turn out breakfasts set out on the sideboard buffet fashion, and cream teas with lashings of jam on scones) but so are all the early novels which helped bring the adventure of travel into common usage. With a bag of buns and a puncture kit the world was yours.
(Centre photos, top down: Hadrian's Wall on the Whin Sill; canal boats; Wool Bridge across the River Frome in Dorset)
Image: The Deep, Hull
A Day Out - The Deep, Hull
The sharp prow of "The Deep" juts out into the Humber Estuary with the muddy water of the River Hull flowing alongside. This is the self-described iconic attraction for the city, built as part of its regeneration campaign at a cost of around £56m.
"The Deep" calls itself "the world's first submarium", though it is not immediately clear what that is, or how this attraction is different from the dozens of sea-creature centres which have sprung up everywhere from Scarborough to Sydney. It's bigger than its near neighbour in Scarborough and appears to be around the same size as the National Aquarium in Plymouth. It follows the latter's visitor route which starts once you leave a lift on the next-to-the-top floor and walk down sloping ramps into the deep bowels of the building. Like Baltimore's Aquarium it tells its story with interactive displays and smaller tanks along the way, but unlike that city it does not have anything like a dolphinarium alongside for a spot of theatrical entertainment.
These comparisons might be provoked by claims about some unique statement, but the average visitor isn't bothered. The Deep does its job well and is worth its entry fee - quite steep at £8.00 for adults, £6 for children, under 4s free. The value delivered is in the spectacular building, the excellent design standards and the beautiful displays. It might also be that if the aquarium is as successful as its seems to be, there is an element of pricing to keep visitor numbers down: the city centre is but a short walk away and preventing huge inflows of people not quite over-inspired by Hull itself would be a tricky business.
The aquarium was opened in March 2002. Since when over two million visitors have plunged in amongst the sharks, rays, jacks and cod. Yes - there are cod, real fish swimming round in the huge sea tanks, looking quite unlke the little freed productions lying alongside a plate of chips. And there are plaice, another favourite fried food which started real life as a proper fish albeit looking like a steamrollered cod perhaps and usually content to lie on the sandy sea floor more like the plate than the fish we eat off it.
On a rough, wet day's visit - today, in fact - the car parks at The Deep were full and struggling to find more spaces. The building was comfortable, however, although there were small queues for the best viewing points next to the great tanks that house the stars of the show. It's quite dark inside, but carefully positioned lighting makes the route through perfectly clear. A huge tank forms the vertical core of the building and at intervals giant windows give views inside at different levels and angles from the surface down to the very abyss.
As would be expected a restaurant is available, at the top of the wedge-shaped building, with a small, partly open platform right in the high, sharp point of the structure, giving views across the wide Humber Estuary. The ship-shape design (by Sir Terry Farrell and Partners) is a little similar to that of the Amsterdam science centre, but this one looks even more like the prow of a ship able to slice through the waves. The Amsterdam centre looks out onto docks, The Deep onto a broad span of turbulant open water.
Next to the entrance is the Deep-artment Store, heavy on toys, gifts and those peculiar CDs of shapeless mood music under titles like 'Twilight' and 'Sounds of the Jungle'. The shop looks like a straight souvenir centre rather than an educational resource facility - most of the books are picture books of varying kinds. Car drivers find that they pay £3.00 for parking, of which they get two squid back in the form of a voucher to spend in the shop or restaurant. Having forgotten to use ours at lunch time we looked forward to using it in the shop, but found ourselves wanting nothing there but some postcards, so the aquarium was squids in (OK, that's two puns at the hands of the attraction and none from me, so don't complain).
It was a good day out, to the tuna twenty pounds for two people - a really great plaice to see and it all went swimmingly.
Image: Activities at Fountains Abbey
Tourism As Education - Flour Power and the Archers
With the approaching New Year the travel supplements herald another tourist season. English Heritage and the National Trust care between them for attractions as diverse as nuclear bunkers and medieval abbeys. Both organisations look after Fountains Abbey and the parkland connected to it of Studley Royal near Ripon, North Yorkshire. While the government agency owns the site it is the Trust that operates the facilities to its usual high standard. Fountains and Studley Royal are a very special world and popular as a place just to walk and enjoy for their atmosphere: the woodlands, lakes, lawns and temples form a gentle, enclosed world with the Abbey nestling within.
The former corn mill has displays for visitors. Videos show life as practised by the monks in their daily round. A simple meal is set out on a bench. In one room of the building is a set of working grindstones that can be turned by handles to show how corn was turned into flour. The river water now drives an electricity generator rather than heavy stones - itelf an illustration of self-sufficiency. In another space there are soft building 'stones' that children can place together to make an arch and see how the Abbey builders formed its lofty spaces or the solid shape of the bridges over the river. This is discovery by seeing, by watching and listening, reading - and doing.
Image: Chronology - The Gunnery Camp
Tourism As Education - The Gunnery Camps
In nineteenth century Britain there was nowhere really that was unknown to people. The exploration mode was already moving towards that of ordinary individuals setting out for themselves to see what others had already discovered. Thomas de Quincey camped for nine nights in a tent he had made himself in order to walk from Manchester to North Wales in 1802. John Wilson used a tent on a walking tour in 1815.
In North America, on the other hand, in the great plains and northern wastes of Canada and the western USA there was much still be be seen, at least by settlers of European origin if not for native Americans. They knew their country and they lived with it intimately in a relationship that would not be known or understood by the white man for many decades to come.
The European settlers were moving north towards the Arctic Circle and west towards the Pacific, besides progressing further up the Pacific coast from Mexico and along the sea routes. Driven by reports of adventure and wonders to be seen, even the longer-established communities of the Atlantic coast harboured aspirations of exploration and desires to meet the challenges of the open spaces.
When the United States Civil War broke out in 1861 the news was greeted with an upswelling of patriotic feeling on both sides. As the years went by and the dreadfulness of the war machine ground onwards these feelings became less intense. At the start, however, the boys of a school in Connecticut were keen to march and camp just like the soldiers. Frederick William Gunn and his wife ran what they called the Gunnery School in Washington in that state. They seized the chance to introduce activities that would develop the boys physically and morally. In August of 1861 they took the whole school on a two-day, 40-mile trip to Welch's Point on Long Island Sound. A horse-drawn wagon carried tents and two donkeys were on hand for younger children less able to walk the whole way. On arrival they swam and fished and at night stories were told and songs enjoyed by the light of camp fires. Accounts of the expedition suggest that the Gunns probably held discussions about the causes of the war and the likely outcomes for the country. Similar events were held in 1863 and 1865 and then camps were switched to a site on Lake Waramaug seven miles from the school. Academic subjects were introduced at Lake Waramaug. The camps were finally discontinued in the 1870s, but for some years afterwards, alumni from the school held reunion holidays at the spot. The Gunnery School still thrives, and each year a commemorative hike is made to the Steep Rock Reservation near to Washington, Connecticut.
William Gunn is considered to be the originator of leisure camping in America. Other people developed their own camps of different kinds during the century. One of these was founded by Ernest Balch and some friends on Burnt Island, Squam Lake in New Hampshire. Called Camp Chocorua, it did not have a ready-assembled group of users of the sort the Gunnery School had, but it attracted boys whose parents spent their own holidays in resorts which Balch considered socially less desirable for children. Again, the aim was to develop healthy activities in a well-ordered community. Camp Chocorua lasted only eight years but had a long-lasting influence on many other pioneers of education in the open air, and it and the Gunnery camps sparked off what would become a very active part of the merican tourist industry.
Eells, E (1986) Eleanor Eell's History of Organised Camping: The First Hundred Years, Martinsville, Indiana
Image: Cabinets of Curiosities
Showcase 9: Cabinets and Collections
With journeys of exploration came collections of the unusual, curious and beautiful objects that were found. Picked up, purchased or plundered, these formed interesting and instructive show pieces that prosperous home owners could use to impress their guests. Some of the artefacts would be considered appropriate for museums today (and that is where many of them are now kept) but others were just curiosities, such as an animal killed by lightning. A number of them were fakes, often quite openly presented as such: Charles Waterton used the taxidermist's art to create strange concoctions at his house near Wakefield. Yet even some of those survive as examples of a former practice.
The great collector of the seventeenth century, John Tradescant, had his Closet of Curiosities, which became known also as Tradescant's Ark. It became the main collection in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, where the first catalogue issued, in 1656, showed that anything and everything was collected by the enthusiastic amateur curator. The Ashmolean moved into a special building in 1683. The collection was then reorganised to be useful to the Oxford college tutors in their teaching. It was also regularly opened to the public.
Three important collectors of the following century gave their treasures to the British Museum, which was created by Act of Parliament in 1753. They were Sir Hans Sloane, Sir Robert Cotton and the Earl of Oxford, Robert Harley. Cotton and Harley had amassed manuscripts, Sloane a varied hoard of objects. At first the British Museum was run on the proceeds of a lottery and allowed in only a maximum of 60 visitors a day. Kenneth Hudson in his book 'Museums of Inlfluence' has recounted how the porter who looked after the building was the centre of power and able to decide who could get in and who could not. At least by 1810 on three days a week "any person of decent appearance" was admitted. Britain's great museum tourism had begun.
Hudson, K (1987) Museums of Influence, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
Image: Piece Hall, Halifax, UK
Showcase 8: Halifax Piece Hall
As the commercial life of Britain grew stronger in the eighteenth century the availability of finance allowed for more investment in building. Some of it was connected with the industrial revolution, but other construction served the older systems. It is an interesting coincidence that the year 1779 saw the building of the iron bridge in Shropshire as one of the first great symbols of the new economic order at the same time that one of the most magnificent architectural productions of the old was being completed, in Halifax. Tourism played a part in the story of both of them.
The Halifax Piece Hall was simply a market for the sale of pieces of cloth, each traditionally 30 yards long, as much as a handloom weaver working along the valley of the River Calder could produce in a week while at the same time having to look after a small farm. Cloth was taken there on a Saturday and sold to visiting merchants during a two-hour trading period on that day. The goods were then transported across Britain and often into Europe for buyers to turn into clothing. Apart from space for merchants to trade with the weavers the building was for hardly any other purpose than to store cloth which might have to wait for the next market session. Small rooms were used by the traders, but with 315 of them ranged around the galleries of the hall the building had to be big.
More than that, it had to advertise the prosperity and wisdom of those who used it. Like many another trading hall or exchange building, the Piece Hall had to impress. What better to do the job than a refined, classically-inspired edifice which proved what worldy-wise men these were? They might be two hundred miles away from the capital and situated in the Pennine hills, but they knew a thing or two about culture as well as about commerce.
Their cloth hall was built around a giant, rectangular space upon which all the rooms and galleries looked out. Only three great gateways made openings through the high walls so that when closed the whole building was secure. The carefully-proportioned galleries giving access to the store rooms were punctuated by dozens of columns in different styles, strongly arched at the lower level, sturdily squared above them, and gracefully rounded and tapered above those. A cupola above the main entrance contained a bell which marked out the start and finish of the trading periods.
This commercial showcase of the eighteenth century was produced from the mould given by the Grand Tour and its partakers. It is not known for sure who the architect of the Hall was - a Thomas Bradley or one or other of the Hope brothers, Samuael and John. It is clear that whoever designed it was working from information given in architectural books of the day which communicated the secrets of the buildings seen by travellers from Britain in Italy and Greece. Writers such as Batty Langley and William Pain had published books with descriptions and drawings of the principles laid down by classicist architects like Palladio and Alberti. In Halifax there was a very well known bookseller and published named Edwards. It might not have been from his shop that the Piece Hall architect obtained whatever pattern books he was using, but it is highly likely that the local merchants who employed that architect were familiar with Italian and Greek desings through books bought there.
The flow of knowledge from Europe, and the Mediterranean region in particular, into Britain, was through three main communication channels: the published work in books and engravings, the fine art of the painter, and the memory and notebooks of the tourist. And it was only the tourist who was able to see for himself the stupendous effect of the great buildings of Athens and Rome upon those cities, an effect that they wanted to bring to bear upon their own communities back home.
Image: The Architecture of the Halifax Piece Hall, 1775-1779
The 94-page book on the design of the Halifax building is by a practising architect who was born in the town. It was a private publication and should still be available through bookshops or web-site dealers.
Smithies, P (1988) The Architecture of the Halifax Piece Hall, 1775-1779; Halifax, Philip Smithies. ISBN 0 9513935 0 2
Pictures above: The hall glimpsed within the modern town and seen from Beacon Hill; an illustration from George Walker's 'Costumes of Yorkshire, 1814' showing merchants at the Leeds Mixed or Coloured Cloth Hall; some suppliers of the raw material; and part of the inside of the Hall in 2006.
Image: Legacies of the Grand Tour
Showcase 7: Grand Tour
The tour of European cities undertaken by the sons of properous landowners (see 03.12.06) was the earliest form of educational tourism. Although the pilgrimage was earlier, and undoubtedly had an educational effect, it was not embarked upon in order to learn new things but to strengthen pre-existing religious beliefs. Grand Tours could last two or three years. Young men learnt about the culture of France and Italy and occasionally Greece: about architecture, history, government, representational and performing arts. They were often accompanied by an older man who acted as a tutor and tried to keep them in order, away from the mischief of bars and bordellos. And yet a certain degree of licence was accepted in the male's behaviour: it was a way of sowing a few wild oats before returning home to cultivate more respectable habits.
Returning Grand Tourists usually brought back works of art, a few books and their own journals of the time abroad. Once home it was time to impress the neighbours and other visitors to their houses. As prosperity increased during the late 17th and 18th centuries so landowners rebuilt their houses and redesigned their estates. In towns and countryside the pediments, columns and decorative features copied from Italy and Greece became common sights. These were showcases set up to impress visitors with the culture and wealth of the established upper classes.
In the illustrations above are Queens Square, Bath; an engraving of a classical figure, a statue in the grounds of Chatsworth House and an engraving from a book of architectural styles.
Image: Indicator strip
Image: Chronology - Geological Rides
It was often a case of 'excursions as education' in the case of 'geological rides'.
In the early years of the nineteenth century the public was becoming interested in geology. Being able to find, or to buy, fossils and minerals must have been rather like treasure hunting. In the late eighteenth century collections such as those of Sir Ashton Lever which, with over 1,000 fossiles and many other itenms had gone on show to the public in London's Leicester House. Some decades later, in 1829, the Rotunda was opened in Scarborough as a purpose-designed museum devoted to geology and arranged in a systematic way to help explain the story of the Yorkshire coast and its rocks and fossils.
The first, formal field classes in geology in Britain were set up by Robert Jameson, Professor of Natural History at Edinburgh, in 1804. He led excursions onto Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags in the city, and longer visits to the Western Isles of Scotland. William McGillivray would copy the idea in Aberdeen in 1941.
Elsewhere, in 1832 William Buckland, the Reader in Geology at Oxford, started Geological Rides. People joined on horseback or in carriages on the London Road and went out to Shotover Hill to hear Buckland lecture. They could buy fossils from local labourers, and refreshments were provided in tents erected for the purpose.
Adam Sedgwick began his Geological Rides in 1835, setting out from Cambridge into the Fens. He gave five lectures during the day, the last being given on the roof of Ely Cathedral on the subject of fen drainage.
Image: 'Alternately' title
19 December 06
Why is this blog a blend of bits?
The reason is that it's trying to do something different. It is trying to develop a collection of postings firmly connected with teaching but drawing on related research, and making the results available to anyone who finds them interesting. I have a personal opinion that much academic research doesn't actually serve teaching as well as it should, since busy researchers tend to be less available to students. They sometimes forget that students are at a much lower academic level than themselves and need a less academic mode of teaching.
In addition, developing research ideas, especially theory, can get stuck in the grooves of particular disciplines. Subjects like tourism management and tourism studies are extremely broad. The more academic teachers refer to 'cross-disciplinary' and 'multi-disciplinary' approaches as they build ideas in small steps based on their own theoretical views. But they are still based on relatively narrow, academic perspectives.
Managing an industry, or indeed, an incredibly varied range of human activities such as found in tourism, demands a very broad perspective. It also needs a very pragmatic approach which can be weakened by attempts to impose theories where what is actually driving activity is human unpredictability.
So 'idealog' is attempting to develop interesting ideas for anyone interested and to present them in a lively, readable kind of way.
Bit by bit.
Image: CTC sign - Ulster Folk Museum
Tourist Traces - The Cyclists' Touring Club
This sign is a museum piece - literally. it is preserved in the Ulster Folk Museum near Belfast. The Cyclists' Touring Club began life in Harrogate, UK, in 1878 as the Bicycle Touring Club, taking on its present title five years later. Within a few years of its inception the Club was issuing route guides to members and joining with the National cyclist's Union to place 'Danger' signs on steep hills.
It was in 1887 that they began placing this kind of sign on hotels and pubs that were recommended as friendly and of good quality for touring cyclists. Different designs were adopted. Many of them still exist, although the CTC web site reports a continuing number of losses. They are reminders of the importance of cycle touring, especially in the days before motor cars became common on the roads - which was very recent compared with the history of the CTC.
Image: Wuppertal suspension railway
They Don't Make Them Like That Any More
This is the Wuppertal Suspension Railway (Shwebebahn Wuppertal) in Germany. It is not quite unique as there is another, fairly similar but much shorter in Dresden and a tiny version in Memphis, Tennessee. The railway was opened in 1901 and still operates today on a 13.3 km track running above the river Wupper. It was designed by Eugen Langen, who was inspired by a design by Henry Palmer in England built in 1824 and using horse-drawn carriages. [Photo: Pat Machin]
Image: Travel motivations
Towards Theory: Typologies and travellers
Tourism has been defined in different ways since just before the second World War to the present (Holloway, 2006). These have ranged from the League of Nations definition of 1937 which talked about travellers spending at least 24 hours in a country other than their own up to that of the World Tourism Organisation, adopted by the United Nationas Statistical Commission in 1993, which reads:
"Tourism comprises the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business or other purpose" (quoted in Holloway, 2006:6).
These are definitions of tourism. In the more recent the idea of purpose or motivation is introduced. This points towards ideas of a typology of the tourist, of which there have been several over almost forty years.
Eric Cohen (1972) wrote of a four-fold division:
1 The organised mass tourist who takes a package holiday to a popular destination
2 The individual mass tourist who buys a travel package which allows them more individual travel but still tends to stay within the popular tourist environment
3 The explorer who uses the comfort of hotels and quality tourist transport, but who then branches out to spend time amongst the host community
4 The drifter who travels and explores using whatever transport and accommodation they can find, avoiding the formal tourism industry.
Five years later, Stanley Plog (1977) used personality descriptions to classify tourists on a continuous scale, and linked this directly with destinations. At one end of the scale were the 'psychocentrics' who were less adventurous and inward-looking, and who chose well established resorts. At the other were the 'allocentrics' who were adventurous and willing to take risks in travelling and overnighting further away from the mass tourist services. In between the two most extreme examples of each of these were a range of variations on them, usually classified overall into five divisions with 'mid-centrics' half way along the scale. There were parallels in Plog's scale with Cohen's divisions.
Other typologies have been proposed, such as that of Smith in 1989 who included explorers, elite tourists, off-beat tourists, unusual tourists, incipient mass tourists, mass tourists and charter tourists. These labels are reasonably easy to decode as they also fit in with Cohen and Plog in describing a spectrum from those people who like to be organised and managed by others with little contact with the life of the destination outside their resort (Smith's charter tourists being the extreme) to the traveller who is often, and deliberately, not-a-tourist - Smith and Cohen's explorers, Plog's extreme allocentrics.
The problem with these kinds of typologies is that they relate largely to leisure travel and perhaps 'mainstream' business travel. There are many other forms of travel and all of them can be highly influential when it comes to finding out about the world, its people and its places. More attention is now paid to business travel as well as leisure travel, which is just as well since business travel is much older and has usually been much more important economically, at least in urban centres. Business travellers are not just people employed by companies and who are engaged in commerce, but those working in public sector and community affairs. Even this is rather limited a definition: what about the ordinary family shopper who makes an excursion to a city centre - perhaps staying overnight. Are they the same as a leisure visitor? If they are, is the difference with the business traveller a matter of individual as opposed to organisational motivations?
To understand tourism as education it is really necessary to take a step backwards. Tourism is still generally equated in the popular mind with leisure travel, even though as the WTO definition adopted in 1993 points out, it should relate to business "or other purposes". Just how broad should this "other purposes" be? Does it include soldiers invading another country?
It would be surprising if it were taken as such: a mechanised army is difficult to imagine as a party of tourists, much as some cynics might feel the effects are sometimes the same. Yet the recorded experiences of former military personnel show how influential their foreign excursions often were, especially if they spent some time away. It is often stated that only a small proportion of the citizens of the United States make leisure journeys to a foreign country. The importance therefore of the numbers of soldiers, sailors and air force personnel who have spent time in serving abroad becomes relatively greater in terms of shaping the perceptions of that country to non-American environments and cultures.
Other points might be made: when Cohen and Smith write about explorers as a distinctive group of people who travel independently and spend their time in studying new places, they miss the importance to even the mass traveller, or Smith's 'charter traveller', of their discoveries made, perhaps, incidentally to lying on the beach or dancing the night away. Even the most resort-bound tourist experiences, and remembers the hot, sunny weather day upon day (or occasionally the tropical storm or hurricane), the hotel employee of a different complexion, language or behaviour; perhaps some imported cultural entertainment, variation of food and architecture of the building. Most visitors will venture a little way from the hotel in most destinations, to experience local street scenes with their shops and people. These people are, in however small and haphazard a way, exploring.
Another point is that in cultural terms the visitors not only encounter and to some degree absorb new experiences, they bring them in turn to the host community. Historically, this helped produce the 'demonstration effect' by which local people were introduced to the culture and life style brought in by the visitor. Young people in particular often viewed the fashions, behaviour and accessories of the traveller with interest and perhaps envy, and then demanded that they be able to enjoy a similar kind of life style. Others presumably saw, considered, and rejected the ways of the foreigner in their midst and made haste to enphasise their own cultural norms. Some blend of these extremes was probably what usually occurred, changing in time in one direction or the other according to evolving circumstances.
It might even be important to consider other ways by which travellers have deliberately attempted to impose their own values and cultures. The soldier is one example. Another is the political or religious activist, ranging from the travelling evangelist in eighteenth century England, through to the Mormon of our own time; or the political campaigner during elections and the street demonstrators and political insurgents of the middle east. They are not tourists, but they use the same infrastructure, often spend many nights away and have at least as important an effect. These people are, in varying ways, often informally and in low-key fashion, engaged in conquest - the deliberate attempt to change other people's ways of life, politically, religiously, economically or culturally. It can be done by a rock group or a choir as well as by someone with a gun or a religious text.
A suggestion, therefore, is to consider those people who travel away from their usual place of living as travellers, and that tourists be defined as those motivated by travelling for leisure purposes. The over-arching term travel then be subdivided in four travel motivations: exploration, conquest, business and leisure travel. The illustration above indicates that each took one form years ago and often a different one today. People almost certainly travel and are motivated by every one of the modern forms at some point or other in their travels. They also change with age and the accumulated experience of travelling, a point sometimes ommitted by the pigeon-holing classifications suggested by some commentators. Travellers might have to start as package tourists but can grow into seasoned individual veterans of the open road, seas and skies.
The ability and practice of humans being able to move around the globe is a complex, ever-developing phenomenon for individuals and communities alike.
Cohen, E (1972) Towards a Sociology of International Tourism, in 'Social Research' volume 39 pp64-82
Cohen, E (1979) A Phenomenology of Tourist Experience, in 'Sociology' volume 13 pp179-201
Holloway, C (2006) The Business of Tourism, 7th edtion, Harlow, Prentice Hall
Plog, S (1977) Why Destinations Rise and Fall in Popularity, in Kelly, E (ed) Domestic and International Tourism, Wellsbury, Ma, Institute of Certified Travel Agents
Smith, V (1989) Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism, 2nd ed, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press
Image: Three 18th century books
Promoting the Outdoors: Three 18th century books
Inspiration for a wider set of people to head out into the world came through the printed page. A growing literacy rate moved closely with an increasing publishing trade as one stimulated the other. Three books which appeared between 1719 and 1789 would have an effect on very different, yet related, areas of interest.
"Robinson Crusoe" was the first, written by Daniel Defoe and appearing in 1719. This story of an Englishman marooned on a desert island not only helped pioneer the novel but set going an abiding fascination with islands - usually tropical but not always. It had a strong central character - for a lot of the novel the only character - and a compelling theme, that of survival against the odds. But it was also escapist, as the reader, comfortable at home, could enjoy the exotic location without the problem of having to fight its privations. Defoe's work was followed by others at almost every age: Ballantyne's "Coral Island" and Stevenson's "Treasure Island"; "The Admirable Crichton" by J M Barrie and "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding. There was even a science fiction version called "No Man Friday" by Rex Gordon in 1956 in which the castaway is left, not on a desert island but on Mars. The escapist love of the tropical island is as rich a stimulus to the popular imagination today as it was in years past, and it can be dated from Robinson Crusoe's adventures.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau's book "Emile" entered print in 1762. Far less well known by the general public than Defoe's story, it nonetheless has had huge influence, with educational writer John Darling claiming in a 1994 book that all educational theory since "Emile" appeared is just a series of footnotes to Rousseau. The work is a semi-fictional account of a mentor educating the boy Emile through childhood and early teen age, by concentrating at first on emotional development and then upon knowledge. Rousseau is the mentor. He put learning from experience before and above book learning. Much of this experience was to come from the child's encounters with the world through the more immediate environment and those people within it. Emile had to work out his own relationship with those he met, and to learn how to avoid the traps set by city materialism. Rousseau had a powerful influence on writers in the 19th century who would themselves be the inspiration for movements such as scouting and adventure learning.
The third book is a classic of a very different nature. Gilbert White was the curate of Selborne in Hampshire, England. He studied nature closely, recording from 1751 onwards what he observed and the effects of the cycle of the seasons year by year. In 1789 he published "The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne". It was compiled from his letters to two of his friends who were members of the Royal Society. White believed in learning about birds and animals by observing them rather than collecting dead specimens. For many modern writers he was the first ecologist, famous for valuing the lowly earthworm for its place in the living world just as he valued the songbird for its own. The book has been continuously in print since it first was sold to the public, remaining another inspiration to its readers to venture into the world to discover and watch how its wonders unfold.
Image: Continuation notice
Image: Medieval and Tudor performances
Showcase 6: Performance
Buildings which acted as showcases did not just present objects. Performances were popular in the form of music, story-telling, dance, acrobatics and juggling. In the early medieval period when groups of people occupied large huts there would have been entertainment in the form of performances of this kind, especially indoors in the winter. The larger house or hall of the chief would have been even more accommodating, and entertainment required as part of the social interactions of the ruling group.
Epic poems such as "Beowulf", written perhaps as early as the 7th century, not only would hold an audience spellbound, fearful and celebratory in turn, but would reinforce the sense of shared experience and racial pride. The long epic tells the story of a Nordic prince who slays a fiend named Grendel who had been terrorising Denmark, bafore also dealing with the monster's own mother who comes seeking revenge.
Stokesay Castle would have been a typical place for jugglers, singers and musicians to perform before the lord and ladies and their retinue. Storytellers would have had their place. They were the keepers of oral traditions, and have their equivalent even today around the world: Susan Strauss in the west of the USA performs stories from native American culture and the 'griots' of west Africa keep alive strong traditional themes within their peoples.
In the Christian church, where ritual performace was essential to worship services, the bishops had banned drama around the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire. During the tenth century however it was the church which sowed a seed of a reborn theatre. Some text became added to church services at Easter in the form of a three-line question and answer between angels guarding Christ's tomb and a group of women coming to embalm Christ's body. They are asked "who do you seek" - "Quem Quaeritis" in Latin. They answer "Christ's body" and are told "He has risen". What is known now as the "Quem Quaeritis trope" ("text") was kept, and indeed expanded into a performance by players given suitable costumes. As it grew it became a full retelling of the Christian Easter story, acted out at set points around the church interior. When it became too big for the building and its audience it had to move outside, becoming in different places like Chester and York the Miracle Plays. A full cycle of the York Stories would last 22 hours.
By the end of the middle ages and the Tudor period in Britain - the age which also saw the start of what became known as the Grand Tour - secular, theatrical drama was blossoming forth. Shakespeare was only one amongst many who wrote for theatres such as the Curtain and the Rose, and of course the Globe. This theatre-in-the-round, semi-open air performance, carried on a tradition begun by wandering players in the courtyards of coaching inns where the audience could stand in galleries at different floor levels.
The George Inn in Southwark is the last remaining galleried inn which London has, even though dating from a rebuiuld in 1676 and having lost two of its frontages to railway builders two centuries later. It is cared for by the National Trust and still a popular pub.
The Globe Theatre of Shakespeare's day has long gone, but the close-replica now standing on the south side of the Thames (seen in the photo during construction) once more sees performances much as they might have been in the dramatist's own day.
Image: Stokesay Castle
Showcase 5: Manor House
In the middle ages one of the pillars of the state was the church, the other the monarchy. While cathedrals and churches were placed around the land to supply the church infrastructure, castles and manor houses set up that of the monarchy. The king granted his nobles and others the rights to exercise power on his behalf from a castle or fortified manor house. In later years with the fading away of chances of revolts and invasions and the establishment of civil law enforcement the fortifications disappeared. Great houses such as Chatsworth and Longleat and smaller versions of them in greater numbers took their places.
Still with a law-enforcement role at one level or another, all these structures, from castle to local hall, had to display their aims and functions through architecture. Fashion and the demotic language of building design interplayed in each age. Height and extent, proportion, features and decoration all played their part, as did the design of the surroundings as gardens replaced moats and parkland introduced pastoral scenes. The manor house was a showcase for the state at local and national level. Its very position and quality spoke of the relationship between the governors and the governed. Power was seen to reside within the very profile of the lordly home.
Stokesay Castle in Shropshire is a remarkable survival of a 13th-century manor house. Not given the label of 'castle' until the 16th century, it is basically a manor house with some defensive features. A fine gatehouse from the 17th century is very domestic in style, though acting as a gateway like the entrance to a 'proper' castle.
The house was built by Lawrence Ludlow, a wealthy wool merchant, who could have good windows set into the outer walls because Edward I had defeated Llewellyn the Last and thereby removed the threat of Welsh attacks. Yet the stone-built hall and three-storey tower are structured in many ways like parts of a castle, for both practical benefit in case of renewed hostilities and just to remind neighbours and travellers just who helf power in those parts.
In time the Ludlows passed the property on to the Cravens (of Craven Arms fame) and they in due course to the Allcrofts who restored it after a period of decay. It was opened to the public in 1908. After Lady Allcroft died in 1990 Stokesay Castle was taken over by English Heritage. It now acts as a tourist showcase illustrating the nature of the life and times of a prosperous merchant family and its successors over more than 700 years.
Image: Church pictures composite
Showcase 4: Churches
In Christian churches from the medieval period onwards the tradition of highly symbolic architecture grew and grew. They communicated on many different levels. Going beyond the idea of a sheltered space for religious observance, they became narratives in stone, 24/7.
They grew in height, to become landmarks to guide travellers to their doors. Important churches grew in size, to accomodate people gathering to worship. Their decoration grew: painted murals were common, illustrating the themes of the bible. Statues in wood and stone, tomb figures and engraved brasses told of religious leaders. Later, they gave their accounts of more secular individuals such as soldiers, doctors, teachers and others. Tombstones began to record brief lives in their listing of births, deaths and the good opinions of contemporaries.
Above all, as stained glass became available, great windows, backlit by the sun on its daily journey across the heavens, were installed to recount the cycle of bible tales. Indeed, the custom began, though by no means in all churches, of Old Testament stories being told in the glass on the north side of the church; the life of Jesus appeared behind the altar at the east end; the New Testament followed on the south side and finally the Revelations of St John the Divine were depicted above the main entrance doors at the western end. The pattern can be seen still in places like Fairford Church, Oxfordshire, and King's College Chapel, Cambridge, but usually this system has gone, replaced where it did exist by later memorials to local people, groups or events.
To a population which, hundreds of years ago, was largely illiterate and might not understand the language of the church service, the visual image provided learning and some form of entertainment. At the same time those churches which practised ritual, procession and performance were adding further visual interest and considerable verbal and musical elements into the communication mix.
We would not call church goers tourists, but travellers. Their journeys were not undertaken for purposes of leisure. Yet the church fulfilled many functions that we recognise in tourist attractions - focal points for visitors, heritage centres, places of entertainment and education. They had to communicate their messages just as the modern heritage centre or performance stage must communicate with the people of our times. And the churches happened to pioneer so many of the techniques employed by tourist attractions today.
Photos, left to right: stained glass in St Vitus's Cathedral, Prague; York Minster; the Carmelite Church, Valletta, Malta.
Image: Composite of the Acropolis with Leeds City Hall
Showcase 3: Acropolis
If Biltmore in the previous posting was a late nineteenth century statement of American wealth and culture, then the Acropolis in Athens was one of the earliest examples, at least within the western classical tradition.
Biltmore was a showcase and so was the Acropolis. The Athenian 'high city' stood over the centre of Greek civilisation as a focal point of worship of Athena Parthenos, Athena Nike and other goddesses. These were the deities who watched over the city and had ensured its victories over her enemies. As such it had to act as the setting for festivals and processions of citizens who gathered on the hilltop. When there were no great events in progress the architecture with the figures of the goddesses had to proclaim the same beliefs and values to the ordinary traveller. At a distance the Acropolis symbolized Greek strength and culture. Careful use of proportion and colour, as well as naturalistic carved figures, meant that this great monumental collection succeeded in communicating effectively through stunning images. It was a showcase of Greek ideology and achievement.
So influential was it on the course of European history that succeeding generations through to today have made the journey to Athens to view the temples. It was one of the great goals of the Grand Tour, a notable stopping point on Cook's Tours, and a favourite destination within the eastern Mediterranean for tourists today. The styles of architecture it embodied were copied in thousands of places around the globe by people anxious to claim that they were also successors to the revered Greek civilisation. In the right-hand picture above, the City Hall of Leeds in the UK, built in 1932, carries the columns and pediment drawn from classical antiquity: industrial Europe paying homage to its ancestry.
Image: Biltmore House
Showcase 2: Biltmore
A European great house - from its style a chateau, unmistakeably French; perhaps a scene on the Loire.
Except it isn't. This is Biltmore, an American great house deep in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. Appearances are misleading. This was the home of George Vanderbilt, grandson of a fabulously wealthy shipping and railway magnate in New York. George inherited money but was interested in art, literature and horticulture. In 1888 he had visited Asheville, North Carolina, with his mother as a tourist. Falling in love with the area he began to buy land and employed Richard Morris Hunt to design the house, and Frederick Law Olmsted to create the gardens and estate around it. Both men were steeped in European styles and culture, having travelled themselves extensively to further their knowledge. It was Hunt who designed the sone pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty stands.
Biltmore was occupied on Christmas Eve 1895 and became the home of George Vanderbilt, his wife Edith and their daughter, Cornelia. It was the daughter, who, with her husband, English-born John Cecil, opened the house to the public in 1930 when local community leaders suggested it would help counteract the effects of the depression.
So an American built his home to express his love of European culture, impress his neighbours and acquaintances, and thereby created a showcase of the lives of his people which today attracts thousands. Biltmore stands in stark contrast to the rest of the Blue Ridge country of the Appalachians where it stands.
Image: Kapellbrucke, Lucerne
Showcase 1: Bridge
This is Lucerne in Switzerland.
It could hardly be anywhere else. The combination of architecture, apparent climate and distant deciduous woodlands suggests a temperate zone and central Europe. With its distinctive covered bridge zig-zagging over the river, angular tower alongside and tall church towers nearby the view is identifiable: the Kapellbrucke ('Chapel Bridge') across the River Reuss.
It is the sense of place that travellers absorb in order to know where they are, when they are, even - who they are. The clues here are for Lucerne, for the late twentieth century, and for anyone able to recognise that place and that time the clues also suggest that the viewer is knowledgeable, worldly wise and history wise.
The good people of Lucerne have not smashed down the bridge in favour of something bigger, wider and more modern. They have such a bridge close by and another covered bridge like this one anyway. Pride in their past and their place makes them spend money to maintain it in the way to which it has been long accustomed. Tourists stop (like me) and photograph it - probably many more than photograph the modern road bridge. They may not know it is called Kapellbrucke, or that it has a particular history: what matters is that it is memorable, that it is a visual reminder of this attractive town called Lucerne.
It's an icon. In fact, it's a showcase, and showcases of all kinds are essential in relating people to places. Some thoughts on showcases will follow.
Image: New strand separator
Image: Chronological note - Herbarizings
Tourism As Education
In May, 1620, the London Society of Apothecaries recorded its annual Simpling Day. It wasn't the first, but it is the earliest to be found in the Society's archives.
The Society of Apothecaries was one of the livery companies of the City of London given the right and the duty to train apprentices who would become the pharmacists of the day. It was important that these young men be able to recognise 'simples' - the medicinal plants that provided their drugs for treating the sick. Not only did they need to know the plant, but they had to identify it in its natural setting.
The Society therefore gathered the apprentices at St Paul's Cathedral on herbarizing days. The apprentices had to be up and about at 5 o'clock in the morning and ready for a long day. At their most frequent there were six 'herbarizings', as they were known, between April and September. The first in the season ended with a dinner paid for by the Master of the Society. Another, in July, was called the General Herbarizing and ended with a banquet for the Freemen of the Society - the men who had succeeded as apprentices and who were the only ones allowed by law to practice as trained apothecaries.
The herbarizings took place out in the country with a leader who showed the apprentices where the plants were and taught their names and uses. Some leaders were charismatic, others learned, but poor at preventing outbreaks of misbehaviour: a feature of some teachers through every century, perhaps.
By the 1830s the first railways were stretching out from city centres, opening up more countryside to developers. The time required for the Society to get its London apprentices out to somewhere suitable for teaching about plants was lengthening. In 1834 it was decided the idea had become impracticable and so the herbarizings were abandoned.
Years before, in 1673, the same Society had opened the Chelsea Physic Garden to act as a depository and teaching space for useful plants. It became the practice for a Demonstrator of Plants (paid £10 a year) to stand in the Garden on the last Wednesday of each month to declare the names and uses of the plants on show. The Garden still exisits and is open today as a tourist attraction as well as a specialised botanical collection.
The herbarizings might have gone, but they lasted well over two hundred years and were one of the very first forms of educational travel.
The story is well told in
Allen, D E (1975) The Naturalist in Britain: A Social History, Harmondsworth, Penguin Books
Image: Dale Fort Geology Course party, March 1961
Tourism As Education - Field Studies Council
Originally appeared 01.07.06 on www.westwood232.blogspot.com
During the last world war, Francis Butler was a schools inspector of sciences for the former London County Council. He also had the task of maintaining the welfare of children from the capital evacuated to the area between Cambridge and Newmarket. Visiting the fen country, Butler realised he was in a very unfamiliar world of marshes, drainage dykes and farmland. He then saw that if he was finding it difficult to appreciate his surroundings, the children moved out from the bombing of the capital were in a worse situation. Most of them could not understand the ways of the farmer, and they certainly had little knowledge of the natural scene around them.
With help from a local doctor and natural history enthusiast, Eric Ennion, Butler met academics in Cambridge and on 10 September 1943 a meeting was held at the British Museum (Natural History) which inaugurated the Field Studies Council. Funding was slowly obtained from various sources, and properties owned by the National Trust were leased from them, such as Flatford Mill in Suffolk (of John Constable fame), Juniper Hall in Surrey and Malham Tarn in Yorkshire. Preston Montford, a Queen Anne property near Shrewsbury, was added, as was the Victorian Dale Fort, clinging to cliffs at the entrance to Milford Haven. Since the struggles of the early post-war years of rationing and economic depression, the Council has added to its list and now runs 17 centres in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Council's work is mainly in geology, geography, biology and zoology - but it happens to be an important provider of educational tourism through its range of work.
My photo shows a group of sixth formers from around the UK with whom I was taking part in a geology field week at Dale Fort, Pembrokeshire, in March 1961.
More information at: www.field-studies-council.org
Image: Endon school children at Ecton, May 1964
Tourism As Education - Seeing for themselves
Oiginally 20.04.06 on westwood232.blogspot.com
Children from a Staffordshire secondary school on a field trip in 1964. On this visit I had taken them to study geology and local history. In the 1950s and 60s such children from that area, depending on their age, might have visited Crewe locomotive works, a Lotus shoe factory, Wedgwoods or a scientific glass manufactory. Geology and geography trips were common, depending on the school and the teachers' enthusiasm for them: history was often conspicuous by its absence.
These children were being taught in a tradition which went back at least to James Fairgrieve's ideas about extending the classroom into the surrounding area. For at least some of these children, the enthusiasm that they undoubtedly gained from the experience they had was carried on into adult life. The tourism trips that they then made were enriched by a better understanding of the places and people that they met.
That was my own experience, for which I'm for ever thankful to the teachers who organised excursions for us in our classes. These ranged from seeing locomotives being built to carrying out Land Use Surveys as part of Alice Coleman's national study.
I would welcome comments from anyone who felt they gained similar benefits, or accounts of what their trips were like.
Image: Acomb notice board
Revisiting the Cold War
English Heritage now takes care of a highly unusual historic building, the Royal Observer Corps Control Centre at Acomb, in York. It is one of a number of places across Britain now open to the public, but designed to be used during a nuclear war and therefore supposedly a safe haven for some sixty personnel while the surrounding world disappeared in a radiation storm.
The bunker is now surrounded by modern apartment buildings. Car parking is limited, but there is also a 20-visitor restriction for every group visiting so tours must be booked via English Heritage. No photography is allowed inside: on the occasion of a student project-group tour specially arranged it was only possible to take pictures outside. The above is the entrance sign.
Now that this kind of nuclear sword is being beaten into a tourist ploughshare the range of history subject to visiting has been increased. The 1945-1995 era has much to tell schoolchildren and students besides adults about one of the most dangerous periods in world history. Already the "cold war" face-off between superpowers is a long way away from 21st century realities. What modern travel and tourism makes of it remains to be seen.
Image: Leeds Met students at the Acomb bunker
Image: Grand Tour chronology
Tourism As Education - The Grand Tour
The earliest forms of travel for distinctly educational purposes (as opposed to exploration, politics, trade and religion) were what became known collectively in Britain as the Grand Tour. In the relatively peaceful and outward-looking time of the Tudor monarchs it became the practice for young men to be prepared for government and estate management by travelling in Europe.
The earliest were often paid for by Henry VIII or Elizabeth I in order to gain knowledge and experience. They were followed by the sons of the wealthy, often travelling for two or three years and accompanied by an older tutor. France, Italy and other countries lying in a band running towards the Mediterranean were the fashionable destinations as it was considered that these represented the cultural springs of English society at the time.
Other Europeans also travelled, often to the same destinations, exploring their own cultural society at the same time that risk-taking explorers were beginning to make contacts with more distant lands and civilsations.
For the Grand Tourist of the time the journey was by nature a form of higher education based on encounter, experience and interaction. It was entertaining as well as instructive, often a chance to go through the transition to adult responsibilities while relatively protected by tutor and fellow travellers.
In 1789 the French Revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic Wars closed off the continent to most travellers. After hostilities ceased in 1815 people began to make journeys once more, but the growth of organised group travel during the nineteenth century began to replace the classical Tour with shorter visits. The tradition of the Tourist had been formed, however, and by the turn of the 21st century the growth of independent, gap-year travel, often to south east Asia and Australasia, has brought a modern version to prominence.
NB The divisions along the bottom of the timeline try to mark out the context of the developments shown, at least for a western European country like Britain. The Middle Ages, based often on subsistence, small towns and villages and local trade, is an often-used term. The changes of the Renaissance include the starting of scientific enquiry, ambitious exploration and growing scales of trade. Industrial growth includes the industrial revolution and the dominance of a new, technocratic society. The term 'mediatocracy' is one that I use to mark out a society based increasingly on knowledge of all kinds and its sharing within society. As time progressed its ownership and control began to represent an economy in which primary and secondary industries became less and less dominant, and the struggle to obtain and to use information, channelled by a growing range of media, began to define democratic processes ever more.
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