English Life and Leisure: A Social Study

English Life and Leisure: A Social Study

English Life and Leisure: A Social Study

English Life and Leisure: A Social Study

Excerpt

When B. S. Rowntree made his second social survey of York, the result of which was published in his book Poverty and Progress, he was struck by the inadequacy of the means provided for the satisfactory recreation of the citizens. As he had no reason to suppose that the facilities for recreation provided in York differed widely from those provided in other British cities, making due allowance for differences in their size, he thought it would be interesting to make a detailed survey of the facilities that would be needed in York to make ample provision for the satisfactory recreation of the inhabitants of that city, and it was on this restricted task that we embarked at the beginning of 1947. Early in our work, however, we realized that a much larger task was implicit in the seemingly simple one that we had set ourselves, for if the word recreation is taken in its proper sense as the activities whereby men and women recreate themselves, not only in body but also in mind and spirit, the consideration of what facilities are necessary for adequate recreation involves a study of the whole question of leisure.

It is not possible to ascertain what facilities should be provided to enable people to use their leisure happily and wisely, without first finding out just how they spend their leisure now, and why they spend it as they do. The task of finding out why people choose some activities and reject others, involves no less than a study of their philosophy of life, as well as an examination of the principal factors that affect behaviour and form character.

We found in Fact that we had inadvertently embarked upon a study of the cultural and spiritual life of the nation, meaning by cultural all that has to do with education and refinement, and using the word spiritual in a broad sense to denote the higher qualities that distinguish great nations and great individuals within a nation. For such a study, upon which we . . .

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