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Nostalgia and wealth #life

Farley Park GREAT BRIDGE - nostalgia

Former British Prime Minister John Major said, “I want to see wealth cascading down the generations.” He meant family wealth like property and individual wealth. Wealth does cascade down the generations to a certain extent, but that is collective wealth in the form of historic buildings.


There is also our infrastructure, the roads, railways and canals built by our forebears. Then there is knowledge that can be passed from one generation to the next; from professor to student who will one day be the professor of the future. Is there a place for nostalgia in our education system?

We know that we can learn from the past and can use that knowledge in the future. It is often taken for granted, as are the other assets we have inherited from previous generations. Art works find their way into attics to be forgotten, historic buildings are destroyed to make way for concrete monstrosities. Historic Victorian parks are blighted by modern additions like skateboard  areas. Should be value our collective inheritance more?

Some towns and villages in England are so picturesque they are like delicate theme parks and any alteration even the addition of a television aerial is frowned upon or even banned. This attracts visitors to these places of scenic beauty. With many seaside towns now in decline and suffering high unemployment, isn’t this an idea they could use to attract tourism and boost employment. In Victorian times people flocked to these seaside resorts on ‘excursions’ or day trips. It was an experience from start to finish and the train ride was part of it. People like to experience a taste of the past on a steam train. The nostalgic attraction of the Orient Express is repeated on small railways around Britain. Can’t the old railway lines to seaside towns be used again to recreate that experience of the past. The experience that involved raspberry ripple ice cream on a sunny day, seaside rock and a promenade down to the end of the pier.

The heritage we have is valuable, but the out of place TV aerial in the picturesque village or the chips papers in a Victorian park can spoil the image. Communities have to work together to make it work. While we are naturally competitive, we are also social animals and capable of working together as one. Nostalgia can exploit the wealth we inherited and make more wealth. Wealth is cascading down the generations, we just need to protect and add to it, rather than squandering it.

What do you think? Do we value the art, music and culture of yesteryear enough? Do we value the canals, railways and roads? The buildings, parks and natural places of beauty? Please share your thoughts in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter for updates.

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