This article explores English national identities in the early twentieth century through the regional case study of Shropshire. Building on existing research on English regions, this article addresses the scarcity of border case studies. I argue that Shropshire was perceived as a border region that, at the same time as being incorporated into the model of the South Country, was also powerfully shaped by its proximity to Wales. Shropshire was valued as an escape from commercial modernity through its countryside landscapes, as a gateway to the past through its buildings, place-names, and folk customs, as a borderland of medieval conflict with Wales, and as a mysterious region of superstitions and the supernatural. This article suggests that the motifs and themes which worked through the images of ‘Shropshire’ and ‘England’ supported an imagination of diversity, multiplicity and contradiction—not solely one of national unity.
|Journal||Contemporary British History|
|Early online date||9 May 2018|
|Publication status||Published - 2 Jan 2019|