UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Heritage and the making of a national identity : a study of Margaret Thatcher's Britain Zumpano, Lisa


Britian during the 1980’s experience a heritage boom. This was not something unique to Britain. The United States was experiencing the same phenomenon, as was Canada. Britain, however, is an interesting case study as it has a long history of preservation. Early movements shunned life characterized by industry and trade in favor of a mythical England; static, rural and idyllic. This mythical England was nationally appealing. By the 1980’s however, Britain had lost much of its empire and was experiencing social, political and economic unrest. The election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979 marked a radical departure for the heritage movement. With the New Right’s focus on the industrial prowess of England, the heritage movement began to include a harmonized version of industrial history on their heritage roster. This thesis argues that the new inclusion of industrial sites under the umbrella of ‘heritage’ beginning in the 1980’s enabled British history to be told in a more balanced way. I seek to understand how heritage came to reflect a new national narrative in the 1980’s and what this new heritage, and indeed, new nation looked like.

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