The Legacy Lingers On: The Impact of Britain’s International Role on its Internal Geography

  • Doreen Massey
Part of the Critical Human Geography book series (CHG)


The ‘British regional problem’ has changed, almost beyond recognition, a number of times in the last two centuries or so. The general story is well known. For much of the nineteenth century the dynamic areas of the country were in the north and west. Many of the areas which we now think of as prosperous were in the depths of agricultural depression. By the 1920s and 1930s this picture was changing fast. It was the industrial regions of north and west where were to be found the highest rates of unemployment and some of the worst levels of poverty. The newer industries, this time around, were clustered more in the south and east of the country, and in the Midlands. In terms of many of the basic measures of social inequality the geography of the country had to a large extent been reversed. It is one of my contentions in this paper that we are at such a turning-point now, that the changes in the national economic geography which have, in different ways and at varying paces, been under way since the mid-1960s, mark just such another structural shift. What we are experiencing at the moment is a change of a magnitude not dissimilar to that of half a century ago.


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© Doreen Massey 1986

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  • Doreen Massey

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