Training minds for the war of ideas

Publié le 1 juin 2015

Ashridge College, the Conservative Party and the cultural politics of Britain, 1929–54 / Paperback 2019

Berthezène Clarisse

Editeur : Manchester University Press

Parution : 01/06/2015

Nombre de pages : 288

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RésuméTable des matièresCritiques

This book examines attempts by the Conservative party in the interwar years to capture the ‘brains’ of the new electorate and create a counter-culture to what they saw as the intellectual hegemony of the Left.

It tells the fascinating story of the Bonar Law Memorial College, Ashridge, founded in 1929 as a ‘College of citizenship’ to provide political education through both teaching and publications. The College aimed at creating ‘Conservative Fabians’ who were to publish and disseminate Conservative literature, which meant not only explicitly political works but literary, historical and cultural work that carried implicit Conservative messages.

This book modifies our understanding of the history of the Conservative party and popular Conservatism, but also more generally of the history of intellectual debate in Britain. It sheds new light on the history of the ‘middlebrow’ and how that category became a weapon for the Conservatives.

Winner of the 2016 PSA Group Prize for the best publication on conservatism.


1. The Conservatives’ great fear

2. Founding the Bonar Law Memorial College at Ashridge

3. The Conservative party and the middle classes

4. Ashridge and the student community

5. Redefining the principles of conservatism

6. The Tory interpretation of History

7. Educating for citizenship

8. Fighting the ‘battle of the brows’

9. Rural Elegies

10. Ashridge and the media

11. Ashridge after the war: the Baldwinians versus the Churchillians