Geoscience Reference
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In Broadland this specific nature—culture was articulated by author, journalist
and broadcaster James Wentworth Day, author of around fifty topics on shooting,
royalty, speed, nature, ghosts, gambling and more. Day, who died in 1982,
pronounced on and shot over the region from the 1930s, notably in Marshland
Adventure (1950), Broadland Adventure (1951), Norwich and the Broads (1953) and
Portrait of the Broads (1967), all produced by educated-mass-market publishers such
as Batsford and Country Life. Day also broadcast on the area as The Man from the
Country' (1946), and through his work becomes the voice of one version of the
region. A deliberately maverick figure, who acted as political assistant to the equally
maverick Lady Houston in the 1930s (Day 1958), Day worked his hard Right
political views into mainstream topographic commentary, claiming Broadland,
Norfolk and East Anglia as a whole (Day 1949a, 1954) as places for which such
views were appropriate. Commenting on Norfolk's topographic variety in Norwich
and the Broads, Day (1953:73) suggested that 'Norfolk has almost everything except
mountains which produce rain and coal which breeds factories, Socialism and dirt.'
Day determined through environment his political claim to the regional ground:
Norfolk is the kind of place over which his kind of politics should have authority. In
similar vein Day (1953:7) opposed post-war proposals for a Broadland national
Whether the threatened creation of a National Park will enhance or improve
the scene is, to my mind, doubtful. I do not believe in the dead hand of
remote bureaucratic control. Those who dwell in and by the English
countryside are the best guardians thereof.
Day's Broadland, one of dwelling 'in and by' the region, starred local humans, local
animals and Day himself. The dustjacket of Broadland Adventure (see Figure 6.1 )
showed a drawing of Day, face lowered, gun over his shoulder. The frontispiece
photograph showed 'The author in a flight pit on the Waxham marshes', Day in
trilby, jacket and tie, gun ready, dog ready, and with a serving man holding already
dead ducks by his side. Elsewhere we see Day and colleagues 'In the reeds on
Martham Broad', head and shoulders showing, guns pointing up in a visual
extension of the reed bed. Day was well known as a sporting writer, having edited
The Field and Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News; his shooting topics included
Sporting Adventure (1937), Sport in Egypt (1938) and The Modern Fowler (1949b).
As a royal biographer of the most sycophantic order, Day produced King George V
as a Sportsman: An Informal Study of the First Country Gentleman in Europe,
presenting the King as 'The Squire of Sandringham' knowing 'the woodcraft of the
sport', and 'no lover of big bags': 'He never takes an easy shot and never risks a long
one' (Day 1935b: 5, 23). Gunning is here a sign of both masculine action and
ecological connection, of conduct becoming the locality.
The stress on action is common in this period on the political Right, and it is in
this vein that in the 1930s Day could write not only eulogies of sport but eulogies
of speed, producing biographies of the racing drivers and speed-record breakers
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