The Central Region comprises the whole of Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, most of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, and part of Gloucestershire, Huntingdonshire, and Wiltshire. From one point of view it is the most unsatisfactory of Fawcett’s regions, for, more obviously than any other, it has no natural regional centre. Northampton, its largest town, could not be regarded as performing any gravitational function for the Upper Thames basin, still less for parts of Wiltshire; and Oxford, which was the most central of the other towns, in spite of its national importance as a university town was too small to count as a focus for economic activity beyond a limited area. Nevertheless, there was a good deal in common between most parts of this region. Essentially, it was an agricultural zone between London, the national metropolis, and the ports and industry of the North and West. The most important single non-agricultural industry was long-distance transport, and the fortunes of many of the towns were closely linked to changesin the system of communication. Reading, Bletchley, Wolverton, Peterborough and above all Swindon were important railway centres; and Oxford would have had Swindows engine works if the university had not in the 1860s successfully resisted a proposal to build them there.1


Agricultural Labourer Liberal Party Social Geography Election Village Market Town 


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Copyright information

© Henry Pelling 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Pelling
    • 1
  1. 1.St. John’s CollegeCambridgeUK

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