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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, May 06, 2008
    Freedom to Roam?
     
    Refreshing, occasionally, to read an anarchist text. Particularly one so well researched and readable as Harold Sculthorpe's Freedom to Roam, which describes the mechanisms through which privileged individuals and institutions keep the rest of us off the land. Here he is with an eye-opening paragraph on the National Trust:
    Today the NT is run as an elitist club that has forgotten its plebeian past. It took the name suggested by Robert Hunter of the Commons Preservation Society (CPS), now the Open Spaces Society, when it was set up on 16th July 1894 by members of the CPS and Octavia Hill of the Kyrle Society (which had aims similar to the CPS) to take over land and to safeguard it in trust for everyone freely to use for recreation. Its loss of direction is well illustrated by what happened when it acquired the 16,000 acre Kingston Lacey estate in Dorset on the death of its last private owner in August 1981. Down came the PRIVATE notices. Up went the STRICTLY PRIVATE replacements.