Advising the Nation: the MAFF bulletins

As the project to catalogue The MERL’s collection of bulletins published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is completed, Collections Librarian, Claudia Ricci explores the history and significance of the publications.

The campaigns of the Women’s Institute

Work experience student, Amelie Roome, delves into the archives of the Women’s Institute to examine the Institute’s role in the historical and contemporary English countryside.

Strawcraft Symbols

Fred Mizen, Strawcraft heart made for the Festival of Britain (MERL 52/73)

Fred Mizen, ‘Corn Dolly’ sculptures, 1951 Straw craftsman Fred Mizen made various sculptures for the Festival of Britain, including a large and much-celebrated Lion and Unicorn for the pavilion of the same name. As well as his sizeable designs, he also contributed a smaller series for the ‘Country’ pavilion. These were were displayed upstairs, tucked […]

Fertile Soils

Spine view of Frank Newman Turner, Fertility Farming (London: Faber and Faber, 1951)

Frank Newman Turner, Fertility Farming (London: Faber and Faber, 1951) This book is one of a range of mid-century texts that introduced a wider readership to the emerging ideas of organic farming. Its author, F. Newman Turner, was a farmer and journalist who would later go on to work in herbal medicine. Fertility Farming owes […]

Countryside Cartoons

Michael O'Connell, Cartoon design for Diversity of British Farming artwork, Yorkshire panel (MERL 2009/64/5)

Michael O’Connell, Diversity of British Farming designs, circa 1950 These seven cartoons by artist Michael O’Connell were scaled-up to create a stunning artwork for the Country pavilion at the Festival of Britain. The finished textile panels from this can be seen here. In order to develop his designs, O’Connell travelled around observing and sketching to […]

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