During the eighteenth century there was a widely held belief that Britain was suffering from ‘a great Scarcity of Timber’ and more particularly ‘that Sort of which our ships are constructed’.
The belief led to proposals for the New Forest, Hampshire, to be enclosed for timber production and the remainder to be sold by public sale. But was this modern history’s first instance of ‘fake news’?
This illustrated talk explains how changes in agricultural and forestry, the fashion for landscape gardening, and political corruption in the reign of George III nearly caused the loss of one of Britain’s most iconic landscapes.
Format: Illustrated talk with slides. Length: approximately 45 mins + Q&A
Gale Gould is a third-year PhD student at the University of Southampton (Hampshire) with an interest in political and environmental history. She is also a practicing New Forest commoner with the Right of Pasturage, meaning she can depasture cattle, ponies and donkeys on the Open Forest. Her speaking credits include the Royal Southern Yacht Club, the New Forest Show, the Spring Arts Centre (Havant), and the Chalke Valley History Festival.
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