25th January 2022

Bombardment, Public Safety and Resilience in English Coastal Communities during the First World War examines wartime ephemera, including pieces of shrapnel, decommissioned ordnance and ornamental objects and argues for an interdisciplinary approach using social and cultural history methods.

Including case studies on coastal towns including Hull, Hartlepool, West Hartlepool, Scarborough and Whitby, the book assesses the pre-war and wartime cultural construction of invasion and bombardment fear, with particular attention paid to the adaptation of prevalent invasion fears for use in the locale.

The book also explores popular culture sources to reflect on how bomb damage and destruction was understood by ordinary people, concluding with an analysis of the efforts to ‘make sense’ of the bombardment among civilians following the armistice, including commemorative and memorial activities.

The political response is also analysed with discussions on emergency legislation and regulations in the north-east coastal region, including the implementation of a wartime voluntary police force and the broader public response within these areas.

Dr Michael Reeve said: “There is an assumed knowledge and general experience of civilian life during WWI which is centred around a metropolitan experience which may not be an accurate reflection of life for other communities.

“Through my research I analysed local and national newspapers, print articles, postcards, ephemeral material culture to add local context to the broad political and legal decisions and actions to give a localised portrayal of bombardment for north-east coastal communities through the themes of wartime resilience, power relations and the coastal-urban environment at war.

“Overall, the book makes the case for further inter-disciplinary comparative studies of coastal urban spaces during modern conflicts.”

Dr Michael Reeve is a historian of modern Britain, with broad interests in the social and cultural history of war and conflict, empire, consumption and coastal-urban contexts in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Bombardment, Public Safety and Resilience in English Coastal Communities during the First World War is published by Palgrave Macmillan and is available now at: https://rd.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-86851-2

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