Public Benefit and Private Greed: The Politics of Improvement and Enclosure in the New Forest – Abstract & Video

Author: Nfknowledge

This paper was presented at the New Forest Knowledge Conference 2018 entitled: The Role of Commoning in the Maintenance of Landscape and Ecology: A New Forest, National and Global Perspective.


Gale Gould, University of Southampton


Since the reign of George III, when Parliament rather than the monarch became responsible for administering the Crown lands, the New Forest has increasingly been regarded as a political and financial resource, rather than necessarily as a natural one. Indeed, from the late eighteenth-century several attempts, using the narrative of ‘public good’ and ‘national benefit’, have been made to enclose parts of the New Forest and dispose of the remainder by public-sale. While factional in-fighting among politicians has defeated some proposals; an ever vigilant commoning community, their supporters, and the general public have resisted other attempts to privatise what, for the present, remains a national asset.

The Talk

Date: 29th October 2018

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