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Title: Utopian dreams or peacetime pragmatism? : the success and constraints of post-war reconstruction in the South West
Author: Maudling, C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 9070
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines the post-war reconstruction process undertaken in the three South Western cities of Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth. The cities provide examples of the difference approaches taken to reconstruction and different political backgrounds, allowing for the testing of current reconstruction narratives. These narratives include the impact of different political ideologies on reconstruction plans, the influence of traders and 'big business', the 'top-down' nature of planning and the impact of the post-war economy on reconstruction. This thesis also examines the continuity between pre- and post-war planning in the three cities, and the influence of interwar plans on post-war reconstruction. The interwar period is demonstrated to have a greater influence on post-war reconstruction plans that previously credited, with interwar concerns such as traffic congestion and slum clearance informing the post-war reconstruction and housing plans. There is also a previously uncredited line of continuity between the pre- and post-war local authorities, with staff and councillors serving their cities throughout the period, further influencing plans. The wartime planning in the cities is demonstrated to have been more inclusive than previously suggested, with the three cities engaging with citizens and businesses to try to plan for all. The influence of economic and financial factors on these plans is examined and demonstrated to have been far more important than political factors, with changes and approaches coloured by the lack of materials, labour and finance rather than political ideology. It is also demonstrated that these factors were the root of dissent amongst traders and property owners, rather than any particular failing of the plans themselves, particularly the financial and land ownership clauses of the Town and Country Planning Acts 1944 and 1947. Finally, the successes of the planning and building process are assessed, along with the reception of the rebuilt cities amongst citizens and the press.
Supervisor: Overy, R. ; Toye, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: post-war reconstruction ; town planning ; Bristol ; Exeter ; Plymouth ; rebuilding ; Second World War ; war damage ; housing