The Prevention of Rural Depopulation: Housing and the Scottish Women's Rural Institutes, c.1917-39


Wright V (2012) The Prevention of Rural Depopulation: Housing and the Scottish Women's Rural Institutes, c.1917-39. Twentieth Century British History, 23 (3), pp. 336-358.

Depopulation was an important issue affecting the lives of the inhabitants of rural Scotland in the inter-war years and throughout the twentieth century. Yet this has been a neglected area in the emergent historiography of rural Britain. Indeed, Scotland is rarely represented in studies of rural Britain in the twentieth century. Rural areas are similarly marginalized in the historiography of twentieth-century Scotland. By considering the role of women in addressing the problem of rural depopulation, specifically the Scottish Women's Rural Institutes, this article will therefore make a unique contribution to the historiography of rural Britain in terms of its gendered and geographical focus. The Scottish Women's Rural Institutes contributed to debates concerning the effects of depopulation on rural areas through its demands for improved housing. In its cooperation with government agencies in Scotland, and by giving evidence to relevant government commissions, the Scottish Women's Rural Institutes and its members were able to influence decision making relating to the provision and standard of housing in rural areas. By doing so this organization was able to satisfy its aim of attempting to improve the housing inhabited by its members and, related to this, prevent further rural depopulation.

FundersEconomic and Social Research Council
Publication date01/09/2012
Publication date online12/11/2011
Date accepted by journal12/11/2011
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)