The meaning of concrete for interwar Nottingham: geography, commerce & politics

Matthews, Chris (2016) The meaning of concrete for interwar Nottingham: geography, commerce & politics. In: LSFM Research Seminar, 17 February 2016, University of Lincoln.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Lecture)
Item Status:Live Archive


What did concrete mean to the city of Nottingham during the 1920s and 1930s? How did the city respond to the formative years of this material in terms of geography, economy and politics? On the one hand this was a city that momentarily saw concrete as the vanguard of pragmatic modernism and economic diversification alongside a utilitarian approach to social reform. And on the other, a city more willing to fall back on established materials and structures.Concrete was very rarely a monstrosity for inter-war Nottingham: it more often meant economic revitalisation, technological change, social improvement, cleanliness, efficiency, fashion and comfort. As a product of the landscape, the city made an important contribution to the formative years of this twentieth-century material. In a climate of recession after the First World War, concrete represented a hope for the future that was readily expressed by the most innovative of the city’s commercial firms. Yet compared to the city’s commercial concrete achievements, the approach from local government appeared tame: here a delicate balance had to be played out between the power of conservative symbolism and the efficiency of social improvement.

Keywords:urban history, local history, architecture
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V360 History of Architecture
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V321 Local History
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
ID Code:28039
Deposited On:26 Jul 2017 14:13

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