The Land Agent in Britain: Past, Present and Future
Despite the fact that their archives survive in volume and depth across the country, relatively little is known about the fascinating and complex role of the land agent across time. For the very first time, this volume brings together historians, practitioners and representatives of the bodies overseeing the continuing professional development of agents to explore, in overview and through detailed case studies, the wide variety of skills required by those entering this profession. At the core of the contributions here is the sense of continuity which exists between the Anglo-Saxon Reeve and the highly qualified modern land agent. Skills such as a working knowledge of farming, entrepreneurialism, the ability to ‘get on’ with a wide variety of stakeholders as well as estate owners, conservation, environmental management and adaptability to fast changing economic climates or technological possibilities remain as important today as they have been in the past. Fusing together historical and modern perspectives, the contributors both trace the development and refinement of these skills and begin to look to the future of estates and their agents in a post-Brexit world characterised by uncertain subsidies, persistently low food prices, radical changes in the intensity of weather patterns and the need once more to build strong economic and socio-cultural bridges between town and country.
Dr Carol Beardmore is a Research Fellow at the University of Leicester, UK. Her research focuses on the relationship between landowner, agent and rural society, particularly in the ways this relationship manifests through tenancy agreements, attitudes to accrued rent arrears, improvements and repairs, political expression and the social control of the agricultural labouring classes. In addition, Dr Beardmore has ongoing research and publication interests in the experiences of First World War communities and in the doctoring of rural England between the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Steven King is Professor of Economic and Social History at the University of Leicester, UK. His work focuses on the understanding and functioning of rural communities. His current projects concentrate on the relationship between industrialisation and the identity of rural communities, land agency and the nature of everyday life in rural communities that dominated Britain until the mid-nineteenth century. His publications include Obligation, Entitlement and Dispute under the English Poor Laws and Migration, Settlement and Belonging in Europe, 1500-1930s.
Dr Geoff Monks is a Research Fellow at the University of Leicester, UK. He has a background in property development and business administration and this has fostered his interest in the historical and current management and control of large country estates. He is at present working on the professionalization of the land agent in the nineteenth century and the ways in which this altered and changed working practices in the context of a widening bureaucratic society.
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