Histories of Tourism: Representation, Identity And Conflict

Histories of Tourism: Representation, Identity And Conflict

by John K. Walton (Editor)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781845410322
Publisher: Channel View Publications
Publication date: 10/30/2005
Series: Tourism and Cultural Change Series , #6
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.99(w) x 8.58(h) x 0.76(d)

About the Author

John K. Walton is Professor of Social History at the University of Central Lancashire, and founding president of the International Commission for the History of Travel and Tourism. He has published widely on British, Spanish and comparative history, with a special interest in the history of seaside resorts, tourism and regional identities. His books include The English Seaside Resort: A Social History, 1750-1914 (Leicester, 1983), Blackpool (Edinburgh, 1998); The British Seaside: holidays and Resorts in the Twentieth Century (Manchester, 2000); and (with Professor Gary Cross) The Playful Crowd (New York, forthcoming 2005).

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Histories of Tourism

Representation, Identity and Conflict

By John K. Walton

Multilingual Matters

Copyright © 2005 John K. Walton and the authors of individual chapters
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-84541-032-2


Empires of Travel: British Guide Books and Cultural Imperialism in the 19th and 20th Centuries


When the Castle Line shipping company first published its Guide to South Africa in the 1890s, it declared that it was for the use of 'Tourists, Sportsmen, Invalids and Settlers'. It is an intriguing group of middle-class travellers which reflects the manner in which 19th-century imperialism and its associated shipping lines sought to capture an essentially bourgeois market. Indeed the very existence of the guides reflected the existence and expansion of just that market. The Castle Line Guides were but one example of a whole range of imperial guides produced in the 19th century to satisfy the demands of a wide spectrum of middle-class readers beyond the four acknowledged by the Castle Line – administrators, members of all manner of technical and professional services, missionaries and teachers, businessmen and the ubiquitous officers from the army and the largest navy the world had seen. Some of these people travelled with servants, who may also have had access to the guide-books. Moreover, not all settlers were driven to travel by poverty and displacement. Many had capital and sought social and economic advancement in new geographical contexts. Women, of course, featured among several of these categories as settlers, missionaries, teachers, servants, wives, wealthy travellers and, from the late 19th century, as professionals too.

Indeed we often miss the fact that the British and other empires were not only empires of war, of economic exploitation, of settlement and of cultural diffusion. They were also increasingly empires of travel. They were playgrounds for the rich or the merely comfortable. They were places where various forms of cultural heritage could be explored. As well as locations for the spread of Christianity, the supposed working out of a divine and evangelical purpose, they offered the best evidence of progress, that defining bourgeois philosophy of the age. They neatly demonstrated the onward march of modernism, as particularly expressed in the spread of the technology of steam, the telegraph, sanitation, urbanism and western science and medicine. In the European empires, travellers pursued an essentially schizophrenic purpose. On the one hand, they appeared to seek other cultures, of both past and present, other climes, other landscapes, other flora and fauna, sometimes other morals; on the other hand, they also charted the comforting extension of what they saw as their own achievements and their own mores. For the British, being imperial was being modern and that was the fundamental value to which all other values referred.

Among these empires, the British inevitably saw themselves as supreme. Almost more than any other, they indulged in the obsessive collection of data which Thomas Richards has characterised as the imperial archive (Richards, 1993). The empire was a vast laboratory offering opportunities for the complete taxonomising of the globe. There can be no better insight into the ideology of modern empire than the notion that such an ambition was achievable at all. Through empire the world could be engrossed and enumerated, identified and indexed. Mapping was, of course, seen as a vital part of this embracing and exposing of the globe: the imperial project was, in many respects, a cartographic one. The East India Company began the great surveys of India in the 18th century. The more technically advanced great trigonometrical survey began at the beginning of the 19th century and was developed from the 1820s (Edney, 1997).

Major cartographic projects were similarly developed in South and North America, in Australasia and, by the end of the century, in Africa (Stone, 1995). Capitalists and settlers, administrators and soldiers, anthropologists and foresters all required maps. And this fascination with the morphology of the land was, of course, matched by the careful surveys of coastlines and oceans which followed the era of oceanographic exploration in the 18th century. The British Admiralty commissioned major surveys like those of Captains Matthew Flinders on the coasts of Australia or William Owen on the East Coast of Africa (Admiralty Hydrographic Department, 1966, 1967). The 'Pilots' are coastal guide-books, which retained their essentially imperial nature long after decolonisation. Their work fed into the series of published 'pilots' through which the coasts of empire were captured, analysed and laid bare for the use of mariners feeling their way along them. The globe could thus be reduced, compressed within the covers of a few books and atlases, encapsulated within a single room.

The development of the travellers' handbook or guide can be seen as a central aspect of this process of marking and miniaturisation. Yet they have never received the attention they deserve. It is perhaps tempting to see them as merely the ephemeral help-mates of the jaded and arrogant imperial traveller. In fact, they unveil a complete mindset. Their compilers and publishers sought to offer the first complete descriptions of the territories and regions to which they were devoted. Often they were inexorable in their gazetteering gaze, few places being so insignificant as to be left out. But as we shall see they were also obsessed, among other things, with historicisation, with progress, with economic development, with architecture, and with the development of modern urban forms. The contrasts, or in some cases similarities, between them and the modern Lonely Planet and Rough Guides are intriguing and reflect the dramatic changes, and also continuities, that are characteristic of the final decades of the 20th century.

The guide-books also illuminate and modify at least three of the central aspects of the oft-quoted work of Benedict Anderson (Anderson, 1983). On the one hand, their existence, their form and their repeated editions reflect the enormous growth of 'print capitalism' in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as the technical advances and the cheapening of unit cost which made these guides readily available to all. Moreover, many of their guides strengthened their connections with imperial enterprise, both in its large-and small-scale guises, by publishing advertisements for all manner of enterprises, shipping lines, mines, hotels, shops and railway companies, among others. Second, they tell us something about an 'imagined community' which extended far beyond Anderson's efforts to explain the emergence of the nation. Anderson's imperial examples are generally drawn from the Spanish empire where he makes a severe distinction between the metropolitan Hispanic and the Creole as a device to explain his contentious idea that nationalism is invented in the New World. But the British Empire was not like that. People born in the Dominions served elsewhere in the British 'dependent empire', even up to the rank of governor. Analysis of the guides indicates that they were directed at a white imperial 'imagined community' which was global in its extent. Implicit in their pages is the notion, assiduously propagated by such figures as John Buchan and J.A. Cramb, that imperialism constituted an antidote to nationalism. In 1900, Cramb, writing propaganda about the Boer War, even wrote of 'the dying principle of Nationality' (Mackenzie, 1999). Indeed, the central myth of these guides is that there was an anglophone supra-nationality which embraced the world through travel and the traveller's gazetteer. Finally, when Anderson included an additional chapter on 'Census, Map, Museum' in his new edition in 1991, he could have included the Guide-book for, in a very real sense, these guides engrossed the other three in popular form (Anderson, 1983: chap. 10).

The new style of travellers' handbook and guide has its origins in the 1830s. The German publisher, Karl Baedeker, was of course one of its most famous exponents and he eventually produced guides to imperial territories like Egypt (which effectively became part of the British Empire in 1882), Canada and India. Baedeker issued a guide to Lower Egypt, in English, in 1877 and to Upper Egypt in 1891. They had, of course, appeared in German much earlier. German Egyptologists supplied the technical historical and archaeological information. Baedeker published in Leipzig and was published in London by T. Fisher Unwin and in New York by Charles Scribner. Some aspects of 'print capitalism' were highly international (information from the British Library catalogue and US Library of Congress National Union Catalogue). But the emphasis in this chapter is going to be on those published in Britain, primarily for the anglophone world. When these works are surveyed and carefully analysed, it becomes apparent that the British Empire was built not only on the sword and the gun, the Bible and the flag, Christianity and commerce but also the guide and the map. This was as true of informal empire as it was of the formal. What follows is an examination of some typical, even classic, guides. It is not an exhaustive survey but it is certainly representative.

The most notable British supplier of handbooks was the publisher John Murray. A significant aspect of Murray's reputation was the successful publication of the works of explorers. For example, Murray published David Livingstone's Missionary Travels and Researches in Southern Africa in 1857, one of the great best-sellers of the 19th century. Murray began to issue travellers' handbooks in the 1830s and it was a project which continued to occupy the publishing house until at least the middle of the 20th century. Among the earliest guides was a Handbook for Travellers on the Continent [of Europe], which was first published in 1836 and sold 10,000 copies within five years. It was soon being broken down into the individual countries. This was followed by guides to the English counties, London and Ireland. Switzerland appeared in 1838, North Germany in 1841, North Italy in 1842 and Central Italy in 1843. As well as Egypt and India, Murray had reached out to Algeria in 1873 and Japan in 1884, as the firm very swiftly went beyond Britain and Europe in a symbolic reaching outwards which both followed and reinforced the tentacles of imperialism.

The importance of Egypt in European tourism is well represented by the manner in which guide-books were issued by both Baedeker and Murray fairly early in their global expansion (John Murray, 1847; Wilkinson, 1847; Wilson, 1895). Murray issued his first guide to India, embracing mainly the presidencies of Bombay and Madras, in 1859, a mere two years after the great revolt of 1857, and a year after the abolition of the East India Company and the imposition of direct Crown rule in the Indian sub-continent. Print capitalism thus seemed intent on acknowledging the shift from company to state. But the scale of the operation was such that some years elapsed before the entire Indian Empire was covered. A series of separate volumes were issued from the late 1870s, by which time Queen Victoria had been proclaimed Empress and one of the major railway networks of the world was in the process of construction. Four volumes covering Madras, Bombay, Bengal, Punjab and the North West appeared between 1879 and 1883. But in 1891 something interesting happens. Whereas Murray had divided up his European guide into separate nation states (sometimes preceding political unification), the Indian guides were now combined into one volume. It is intriguing that this fits into the imperial propaganda of the time: that the British had created a great empire out of a congeries of states, that they were forging an astonishing union out of a South Asian Balkans. If Europe offered the nation as the organising principle of the guide, India reflected the assimilative supra-nationality of empire. This single-volume handbook, which initially threw the net even wider by including sections on Burma and Ceylon, continued to be issued in much the same format until the 1960s. Indeed, for much of this period, the handbooks received a semi-official stamp of approval since the prefaces and the entries on Ceylon and Burma were written by imperial officials (John Murray, 1906 [10th edn, 1919; 20th edn, 1965]). Murray was proud that the first edition of the Handbook had appeared before the Imperial Gazetteer of India, edited by Sir W.W. Hunter. Officials involved with Murray included Captain E.B. Eastwick, MP, Sir George Forest, Sir Arthur Gordon, Charles Buckland and, later, Sir John Cumming and Sir Evan Cotton. In such ways were these handbooks given almost an official imperial imprimatur. By the 1960s, the editing of the Handbook had passed to the academic Professor Rushbrook Williams, who based his work on the 18th edition edited by Sir Arthur Lothian.

Murray's followed Baedeker in organising their handbooks with a large quantity of preliminary information, often the most interesting material of all for the historian, the pages numbered in Roman numerals, before moving on to the tours and gazetteer numbered in Arabic. The 1906 edition, the fifth in the single-volume format, contained no fewer than cxv (115) general pages and 524 of the guide. By the 10th edition of 1919 (the frequency of new editions had been stepped up), this had risen to clxxv (175) and 726. Although the Handbook was sold on the basis of the 'glorious field which in India is opened up for the enjoyment of travel and sport' (John Murray, 1906: vi), it was effectively a major text-book of considerable value to all who worked there. That work, and British rule in general, were clearly sanctified by the history of the British in the sub-continent, particularly the history of their martyrdoms in the Mutiny or revolt of 1857. Indeed, in the third edition of 1898, a lengthy section on the history of the Mutiny was added. There were also major sections on the rulers of India before the British (emphasising, of course, the tradition of foreign rule), on the British administrative and communications systems, on population (based on the most recent British census in India), on irrigation, famine, plague and on 'sport', which generally meant opportunities for shooting game, both large and small. It may well be debated whether these extensions represented the growing self-confidence of empire, the 'illusion of permanence' or whether they represented a developing fin de siècle apprehension. The text explicitly emphasises the former over the latter.

In the traditional guide-book manner, advice was also offered on clothing, health, the engaging of servants, accommodation, useful functionaries and the like. Further emphasis was placed upon the antiquities, the architecture and arts of India and the efforts of the British to preserve these through the Archaeological Survey and the schools of art founded by the British. Interestingly, the figure most frequently quoted was the 19th-century British authority on Indian architecture and sculpture, James Fergusson, who was himself obsessed with notions of 'golden ages' and cultural decline (Fergusson, 1866, 1876; Mackenzie, 1995: 95–6; Mitter, 1977). The Handbook also contained a description of the voyage to India, a very specialist genre of its own to which I shall return later.

The gazetteer was organised in the form of railway tours. This had the effect of emphasising a network which was quintessentially British and which embraced and consolidated the whole of the sub-continent, from the coastal ports to almost every part of the interior, to the princely states and even into the foothills of the Himalayas and the mountains of the North-West frontier. India was to be unlocked and known through the traveller's exploitation of the new modernist technology. The very form of the Handbook imposed a web, a grid which neatly represented the linearity of modernism, a version of the coordinates of the map. Side excursions to antiquities or caves were to be made from railway stations and, in the larger centres, their attendant hotels. Distant regions for the more adventurous would likewise be accessed from a convenient railhead.


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Table of Contents


The Contributors,
Introduction John K. Walton,
1 Empires of Travel: British Guide Books and Cultural Imperialism in the 19th and 20th Centuries John M. MacKenzie,
2 'How and Where To Go': The Role of Travel Journalism in Britain and the Evolution of Foreign Tourism, 1840–1914 Jill Steward,
3 Selling Air: Marketing the Intangible at British Resorts John Beckerson and John K. Walton,
4 Tourism in Augustan Society (44 BC–AD 69) Loykie Lomine,
5 A Century of Tourism in Northern Spain: The Development of High-quality Provision between 1815 and 1914 Carlos Larrinaga,
6 Japanese Tea Party: Representations of Victorian Paradise and Playground in The Geisha (1896) Yorimitsu Hashimoto,
7 Radical Nationalism in an International Context: Strength through Joy and the Paradoxes of Nazi Tourism Shelley Baranowski,
8 'Travel in Merry Germany': Tourism in the Third Reich Kristin Semmens,
9 Coffee, Klimt and Climbing: Constructing an Austrian National Identity in Tourist Literature 1918–38 Corinna Peniston-Bird,
10 Paradise Lost and Found: Tourists and Expatriates in El Terreno, Palma de Mallorca, from the 1920s to the 1950s John K. Walton,
11 '50 Places Rolled into 1': The Development of Domestic Tourism at Pleasure Grounds in Inter-war England Helen Pussard,
12 Public Beaches and Private Beach Huts: A Case Study of Inter-war Clacton and Frinton, Essex Laura Chase,
13 'The Most Magical Corner of England': Tourism, Preservation and the Development of the Lake District, 1919–39 Clifford O'Neill,

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