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This book provides a detailed consideration of the history of racing in British culture and society, and explores the cultural world of racing during the interwar years. The book shows how racing gave pleasure even to the supposedly respectable middle classes and gave some working-class groups hope and consolation during economically difficult times. Regular attendance and increased spending on betting were found across class and generation, and women too were keen participants. Enjoyed by the royal family and controlled by the Jockey Club and National Hunt Committee, racing's visible emphasis on rank and status helped defend hierarchy and gentlemanly amateurism, and provided support for more conservative British attitudes. The mass media provided a cumulative cultural validation of racing, helping define national and regional identity, and encouraging the affluent consumption of sporting experience and a frank enjoyment of betting. The broader cultural approach of the first half of the book is followed by an exploration if the internal culture of racing itself.

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these too show its importance. In part these were related to the politics and cultural conformity of broader British society. Horseracing had been a central feature of both urban and pastoral British life since far earlier that any of the other major sports, yet across Britain and across the social classes, attitudes to racing and betting after the First World War also lay along a major fault line dividing British society, representing a struggle for ascendancy between competing value systems. Some sports were closely linked to debates about ‘respectability’. Academic

in Horseracing and the British 1919–39
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-war British society, but also in the grey area between two sets of competing and unresolved moralities. On the one hand, it has a liberal and progressive agenda, depicting criminality sympathetically, attempting to present a realistic and unsentimental view of contemporary Britain, and critical of the suffering imposed on young girls by society’s attempt to preserve respectability at all costs. One of the more

in British cinema of the 1950s
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The Conservatives in crisis

’.      While no party – not even New Labour – can be all things to all voters, the Conservatives have become damagingly out of tune with the attitudes and values of parts of British society. Although they accepted Labour’s spending targets on health and education in 2001, the Conservative position was still well to the right of the median voter. Though closer to public opinion on Europe, this had limited issue saliency and did not convert sufficient numbers of voters to the Tory cause. Instead, the Conservatives’ free market, social authoritarian message saw them competing

in The Conservatives in Crisis

social activity, which avoided direct competition within families or communities by focusing interest on indirect competition between horses and jockeys. Even if people disagreed about a horse’s chances, the only personal competition for the punter was between him and the bookmaker. Yet betting aroused powerful emotions and strong opposition in wider British society. To understand its place we need to examine the nature of the opposition to betting, and those who disliked it, found it irrelevant or disagreed with it, now we have examined those who enjoyed betting

in Horseracing and the British 1919–39

‘enormously increased’ gate money at Manchester.63 The complex inter-relationships between the presentations of racing and betting in the media, and the ambiguous, complicated and highly nuanced ways in which attitudes to betting on races varied socially, culturally and politically in British society are the subject of the next three chapters. Notes 1 Michael-Seth Smith et al., The history of steeplechasing (London: Michael Joseph, 1966, p. 105; John Hislop, Far from a gentleman (London: Michael Joseph, 1960), p. 190. 2 Terence Brady and Michael Felton, Point-to-pointing: a

in Horseracing and the British 1919–39
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known to bet with illegal cash bookmakers. Racing acted back on British society in other, more complex ways. In part it contributed to the essential harmony and cultural conformity of broader society. It also underpinned and sustained economic and social inequalities and snobberies. Major studies of interwar leisure have argued strongly for leisure’s clear differentiation on class lines and racing was no exception.1 Yet it was never a site of resistance, of class-ridden battles. It had an appeal to all classes, and played a part in uniting them. Through the constantly

in Horseracing and the British 1919–39
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Ash dieback and plant biosecurity in Britain

area of plant pathology in the UK, which had led to a steep decline in expertise in this field. In a report published in 2009, the Royal Society had urged universities and funding bodies to collaborate in order to revive the teaching of subjects like agronomy, plant physiology, pathology, general botany, soil science, environmental microbiology, weed science and entomology. This was no mean feat, as an audit of plant pathology undergraduate teaching and training commissioned three years later by the British Society for Plant Pathology (2012) revealed. It found that

in Science and the politics of openness
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industries, perhaps, to see if the coal industry was alone in its employment of disabled people in industrial Britain. While the compensation system ensured some sort of place for impaired men in the industry, it also performed a far more significant role than that in coalfield society, and, indeed, in British society more generally, from 1897 onwards. In fact, it might be argued that the compensation legislation passed in 1897, and amended on a number of occasions up to 1946, was fundamental to the creation of disability in British society. Establishing eligibility for

in Disability in industrial Britain
Nonconformist religion in nineteenth-century pacifism

particular, conflicts in American Quakerism influenced the British Society of Friends. In 1827 Elias Hicks withdrew from the Evangelical American Society of Friends, on the grounds that he believed in the importance of the ‘Inner Light’ to the exclusion of all other sources of spiritual knowledge. Hicks became something of a ‘spiritual bogey-man’ to Evangelical Friends, who mistrusted his attempts to substitute personal faith for biblical authority.16 These divisions also affected Quakerism in Britain, where Evangelical Friends also took the content of the Scripture as

in ‘The truest form of patriotism’