Whether we consider the great London Planes which are now the largest trees in many British urban streets, the exotic ornamentals from across the globe flourishing in numerous private gardens, the stately trees of public parks and squares or the dense colourful foliage of suburbia, the impact of trees and arboriculture upon modern towns and their ecosystems is clear. From the formal walks and squares of the Georgian town to Victorian tree-lined boulevards and commemorative oaks, trees are the organic statuary of modern urban society, providing continuity yet constantly changing through the day and over the seasons. Interfacing between humans and nature, connecting the continents and reaching back and forward through time to past and future generations, they have come to define urbanity while simultaneously evoking nature and the countryside. This book is the first major study of British urban arboriculture between 1800 and 1914 and draws upon fresh approaches in geographical, urban and environmental history. It makes a major contribution to our understanding of where, how and why trees grew in British towns in the period, the social and cultural impact of these and the attitudes taken towards them.
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Paul A. Elliott is Professor of Modern History in the College of Law, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Derby. His research interests include the history of science, local, urban and regional history, historical geography, landscape history and the history of education. His books include The Derby Philosophers: Science and Culture in English Urban Society, 1700–1850 (MUP, 2009), Enlightenment, Modernity and Science: Geographies of Scientific Culture in Eighteenth Century England (I.B. Tauris, 2010) and (as co-author) The British Arboretum: Trees, Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century (Pickering and Chatto, 2011). He has published numerous articles in leading national and international history and geography journals including Isis, British Journal for the History of Science, History of Education, Social History, Garden History, Annals of Science, Urban History, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, Journal of Historical Geography and Midland History.