Thursday, 26 August 2010

Liberal England: In which I find Jonathan Meades's Severn Heaven

Liberal England: In which I find Jonathan Meades's Severn Heaven Liberal England has a very interesting post on cotter's homes or plotlands. Colin Ward wrote a passionate advocacy of this type of settlement in his book 'Cotters and Squatters' reviewed in the Independent here. The type of settlement Jonathan is talking about is also briefly featured in Winifred Holtby's novel South Riding in which a group of ex servicemen back from WW1 are trying to make a living in such a setting. South Riding is being televised by BBC1 later this yaer and it will interesting to see whether the adapter, Andrew Davies, keeps the plotlanders scenes in-they are after all uncomfortable for those Counrty File viewers who see the land neatly laid out and tidy. South Riding is obviously the BBC's novel of the season as it was recently broadcast on Radio 7. It is one of the few novels that is set around local government and of the few it is, I think, the best.
And finally in this posting another example from Wales. The painting is by Stan Rosenthal and called Red Pembrokeshire Cottage as the artist writes 'it is a tiny cottage at the side of the road between Haverfordwest  and Dale. It is very typical of many little cottages which used to be seen in the area and Known as 'Tai Un Nos'. These were dwellings built on common land, which if started one day and having smoke coming out of the chimney by next morning, was deemed in common law, to be rightfully owned by the builder and his family. It was not uncommon for a tiny cottage such as this to be home to a family of five or six in the C19th and early C20th.'

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