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Regional Identities in North-East England, 1300-2000

Regional Identities in North-East England, 1300-2000

Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 258
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    Regional Identities in North-East England, 1300-2000
    Book Description:

    `Required reading for all those interested in the history of North-East England'. ANTHONY FLETCHER. In November 2004 the people of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the historic counties of Durham and Northumberland, along with Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland in North Yorkshire, decisively rejected a regional assembly. The referendum came as the culmination of a long campaign for regional devolution, which asked a number of searching questions. What sort of a region is and was the North East of England? How deep-rooted is the identity of the North East as a region? How can one find a regional identity in the more distant past? This collection of essays, the product of a research project undertaken collaboratively by the five north-eastern Universities, looks for the elusive self-conscious region over many centuries. It suggests that the notion of a single regional identity is a recent phenomenon overlaying a kaleidoscope of sub-regional associations and connections. Today's region appears to be more fissured and fragile than we like to imagine. The approach and conclusions reached are of significance not only for the history of the old counties of north-eastern England, but also for the wider history of England, and hold significant implications for the history of regions and regionalism in general. ADRIAN GREEN is Lecturer in History at Durham University; Professor A.J. POLLARD is University Fellow at the University of Teesside.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-585-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword The AHRC Centre for North-East England History
    (pp. vii-x)

    I was delighted to accept an invitation to chair the Management Committee of the AHRC Centre for North-East England History in 2000, because the five-year project which had been set up seemed to me both ambitious and immensely worthwhile. As Professor of Modern History at the University of Durham from 1987 to 1995, I had learnt much about the region, had become enthusiastic about many aspects of its past and come to appreciate the quality of the research already being conducted locally. When we met periodically to assess progress of the project, with leaders of the five research ‘strands’ in...

  4. Contributors
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. [Maps]
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. Introduction: Identifying Regions
    (pp. 1-26)

    In November 2004 a referendum was held to determine whether the people of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the historic counties of Durham and Northumberland, along with Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland in North Yorkshire, wanted a regional assembly. Nearly 50% of the electorate voted decisively against the proposal by 3:1. The vote was somewhat enigmatic. To have nearly 50% concerned enough about the proposal to vote suggests some sort of regional engagement; the overwhelming majority against the proposal either suggests that there was no desire for regional devolution, or represents a reaction to the insultingly meagre degree of delegation offered – even less than...

  9. 1 North-East England in the Late Middle Ages: Rivers, Boundaries and Identities, 1296–1461
    (pp. 27-48)

    A good case could be made that it was in the late middle ages that the North East enjoyed its greatest coherence as a region. Recent work has argued for the status of the historic counties of Northumberland and Durham as a distinct ‘cultural province’ within pre-modern England, delineated by two major rivers, the Tees and the Tweed.¹ To the north of the region lay the drainage basin of the river Tweed and to the south was the river Tees, which cut across eastern England for around 100 miles to the sea, following a course through the enclosed environment of...

  10. 2 Borders and Bishopric: Regional Identities in the Pre-Modern North East, 1559–1620
    (pp. 49-70)

    An anonymous appraisal ‘concerning the abused government and afflicted estate of Northumberland’, written to the queen late in 1597, opened dramatically and graphically by referring to the county’s ‘gastlie visage, her feared hart, and wasted lyms, so tattered and consumed that no man hathe art no[r] no arte hathe tearmes to unfold her diseases’.¹ Even so, the reporter managed a further four pages, cataloguing shortcomings in every aspect of Northumberland life. The Church and religion were inadequately catered for; there was minimal provision of education at all levels; local justice was discharged irregularly and unsatisfactorily; the conduct of trade was...

  11. 3 Law in North-East England: Community, County and Region, 1550–1850
    (pp. 71-92)

    It may seem wildly ambitious or exceedingly optimistic to seek sources for regional identity in the early modern period. Most people before the early 1800s lived in small communities, even if they were mobile during their working lives. They spent most of their energies in associating with small numbers of people in what was still largely a face-to-face society, with the possible exception of the social relations of the largest city, London. Nevertheless, through war and the celebration of victories (in part against each other), the English and Scots already had a strong sense of national identity by 1550, and...

  12. 4 A Shock for Bishop Pudsey: Social Change and Regional Identity in the Diocese of Durham, 1820–1920
    (pp. 93-112)

    In January 1874 theNewcastle Weekly Chroniclefantasised about resurrecting a long-dead churchman. How would it be, the newspaper wondered, if Hugh Pudsey – the twelfth-century Prince Bishop responsible for the Church’s first grants of land and coal rights in 1180 – could be taken to the highest tower of Durham cathedral and invited to look at the social and environmental repercussions of his initial piece of business?

    He would open his ghostly eyes with astonishment at the sight of the numerous collieries which now virtually surround the ancient city. On well nigh every hill top, and on the sides of well...

  13. 5 Business Regionalism: Defining and Owning the Industrial North East 1850–1914
    (pp. 113-132)

    The North East has long been defined by its industrial profile. In the late nineteenth century it was the great stereotype of a coal, shipping and heavy–engineering industrial district, standing in contrast not only to England’s agrarian shires, but also to other industrial clusters, such as the textile–manufacturing North West or the light–engineering and pottery–making Midlands. The staple industries dominate contemporary and historiographical perceptions of the North East, and of its place within wider processes of trade and industrialisation, whether in the sudden growth of the economy from the mid nineteenth to the early twentieth century,...

  14. 6 Competing Identities: Irish and Welsh Migration and the North East of England, 1851–1980
    (pp. 133-160)

    Contemporary anxieties with a perceived refugee problem in the West, and a revitalised nationalism in Europe, have led to a plethora of sociological studies all eager to establish a definitive understanding of the production of identities. This may well be a fool’s errand, especially if we accept the view that ‘identity is never ana priori, nor a finished product’¹ but, rather, a more fluid and ambiguous process which is constantly challenged and altered over time. Religion, according to some commentators, should be placed at the heart of any understanding of the production of identities, and even those who choose...

  15. 7 Immigrant Politics and North-East Identity, 1907–1973
    (pp. 161-180)

    Although many historians of the North East have analysed the interaction between migrant and host populations in the region, few have attempted to address the extent to which outsiders have engaged with notions of regional identity.¹ This chapter considers two key migrant political campaigns, one from the period immediately preceding the First World War, the other from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Comparison of the two suggests how migrant identity could be shaped by the emergence of a selfconscious regional identity during the course of the twentieth century. Of all the movements of people, few transformed the region as...

  16. 8 Regionalism and Cultural History: The Case of North-Eastern England, 1918–1976
    (pp. 181-208)

    Regional cultural historians operate in a climate of a ‘new’ territorial politics in which the dangers of history as advocacy are likely to be felt more keenly in regional studies than elsewhere.¹ Present-day regionalists in the North East have long argued for the strength of the relationship between territory and a shared culture, and evidence of a cultural geography of belonging continues to be central to the characterisation of north-eastern England as distanced from the national heartland.² Recently this claim has been anchored in discussions of European regionalism as mobilised by the alleged declining significance of nation-states and national cultures.³...

  17. Conclusion: Finding North-East England
    (pp. 209-226)

    We set out to answer the question as to whether the North East of England can be shown to have been a coherent and self-conscious region over the centuries. In some respects this has turned out to be two questions. Was the North East a single region, and if so, did the people who lived there share a sense of regional identity? The identity of a region, as Paasi commented, is not the same as regional identity.¹ In providing answers, we have discovered, much depends on the definition of region and conceptualisation of regional identity. Simple geographical models are inadequate....

  18. Index
    (pp. 227-236)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 237-238)