In the enviably warm sunshine of March, this year’s fieldwalks exploring the environmental history of Gloucestershire and Cheltenham were a great success. Our level-4 (first-year) module, ‘Themes in Local and Environmental History‘, explored the intersection of processes such as enclosure, landscape gardening and urban design in the early-nineteenth century. Led by some well-researched local history provided by the Friends of Pittville, we had a great time exploring the fascinating issues surrounding agrarian capitalism, urban space and society, and uses of ‘nature’ raised by the gorgeous Pittville estate. Students on the level-5 module ‘Nature, Culture and Society‘, meanwhile, delved deeper into the emergence of cultures of consumption in Cheltenham, concentrating on the social and gendered implications of the environmental changes made to the town in order to accommodate new ways of shopping and entertaining. Here, extra information was again provided by our very own local expert James Hodsdon (publisher of the Online Gazetteer of Cheltenham).
Students have praised these elements of the module as ‘very interactive’, the guides ‘very useful’ and said that ‘learning about the history of Cheltenham was one of the best bits’. Overall, though, we had a great time – as one student wrote, ‘it was sunny, and it was fun!’
Congratulations to all those students on their fieldwalk-based assignments – there were some really excellent pieces!