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Agricultural modernity as a product of the Great War: the founding of the official seed testing station for England and Wales, 1917–1921

Berry, Dominic J. (2015) Agricultural modernity as a product of the Great War: the founding of the official seed testing station for England and Wales, 1917–1921. War & Society, 34 (2). pp. 121-139. ISSN 0729-2473

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Identification Number: 10.1179/0729247314Z.00000000051

Abstract

The Seed Testing Station (STS) is a key and clear example of agricultural modernization in twentieth-century Britain, one which was produced by the pressures of the First World War. Part of the agricultural industry that had for generations been managed by non-governmental means (the production and sale of seed) was now intruded upon, in the name of efficiency, purity, and national productivity. Founded in 1917, the STS initially operated out of offices within the Food Production Department (FPD), itself established that same year and tasked with increasing domestic agricultural output. Soon after the war, a vast purpose-built headquarters was erected for the Station in Cambridge, funded through subscriptions from various agricultural trades and through grants from the Development Commission (DC). In making this move, the STS also thereby became the Official STS (OSTS), an institution which continues to operate from the same Cambridge site to this day. In this article, the STS’s multiple layers of social meaning are uncovered, an effort that requires an interdisciplinary approach. Drawing together existing work on the history of science within the Great War, and the most recent interpretations of the meaning of that war from historians working on gender, design, and disability, this paper uncovers the deep connections between national efficiency, eugenics, architecture, women’s employment, and disabled ex-servicemen, that together constituted the OSTS.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ywar20/current
Additional Information: © 2015 School of Humanities & Social Sciences, The University of New South Wales
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2018 14:07
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2019 02:49
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/88846

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