In a world where, it too often seems, only the economy matters, we have forgotten how important beauty is to our lives. It’s a word rarely used in official language today, yet in the past beauty has mattered enough for people to fight for it and for governments to respond. Fiona Reynolds’s new book The fight for beauty charts the story of the fight for beauty from the moment Wordsworth’s devotion to it tipped from admiration into defence, as his beloved Lake District came under threat from suburbanising villas, the spiky-leaved larch and the thundering railway. Ruskin took up the fight for beauty and inspired a generation of campaigners, leading to the foundation of the conservation movement in Britain. Then, following the Second World War, beauty was at the heart of the objectives of a government determined to build a better, fairer Britain for all those who had come through two devastating conflicts.


Join Fiona as she draws on these stories and her own as a campaigner for beauty, describing how beauty has been fought for, diminished, revived and marginalised as our country has been through the processes of change. Looking at the beauty of landscape, nature and cultural heritage, she charts how industrialisation and urbanisation, and the commercialisation of farming and forestry have posed repeated threats to beauty, and how those who love it have fought for and defended it. Moreover it shows how, with the help of beauty, these tensions can be reconciled.