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Centre for Earth and Environmental Science Research

An assessment of archival sources for monitoring the occupancy of agricultural land in South-East England

Executive Summary
ResearchersProf. N. S. Walford (Investigator): CEESR
Funding Body/SourceBritish Academy
DurationApr 2001-Mar 2007
Project SummaryThis pilot project investigated the feasibility of using documentary sources (electoral registers and telephone directories) as a means of tracing farm occupation in the decades following World War II.

The project connected with previous and continuing research on the development of large-scale farm busineses across the counties of Kent, Surrey, East and West Sussex in the South-East of England, in this case focusing on farms and farmers with land in parishes on the South Downs. The parishes in this area had formed a case study for Short, Watkins and Foot's (1990) evaluation of the National Farm Survey (Short et al., 1999).

The project started from the reasonably definitive statistical population of farms and farmers provided by the National Farm Survey (NFS) carried out between 1941 and 1943 and then ,oved backwars to the 1939 and forwards to subsequent electoral registers to follow changes in the occupancy of farms in this area. The NFS is of paramount importance for those interested in researching mid-20th century British agriculture, since it provides one of the few opportunities to explore individual level farm records, in this instance in the form of the Agricultural Census for 1941, Ordnance Survey maps annotated with farm boundaries and the Primary Record reporting the condition of the farm.

Publications

2007 Walford, N. S. The National Farm Survey (1941-43) and the tracing of post-war farmers' movements on the South Downs, Agricultural History Review, Special Publication.

Conference Presentation

2002 (September) Walford, N. S. The National Farm Survey (1941-43) and the tracing of post-war farmers' movements on the South Downs, Colloquium on "New Interdisciplinary Approaches to British farming in the Second World War", West Dean, West Sussex.

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