Seizing the Horizon: Co-Operative Tourism and the Production of Picturesque Space
Emerging in the mid-eighteenth century, picturesque discourse produced a series of discrete spatial units of ostensibly untouched nature. By the 1890s, this picturesque space coordinated the leisure practices of a mass audience, with globe-spanning itineraries managed not only by travel agencies like Thomas Cook & Son Ltd., but also by the likes of the Co-operative Holiday Association and the Holiday Fellowship, co-operative tourism organizations explicitly oriented towards servicing a working-class membership. As these co-operatives facilitated access to picturesque space, they also engaged in its reproduction, and opened possibilities for its counter-hegemonic appropriation. Examining magazines, routebooks, and popular accounts contained within the fonds of the Co-Operative Holidays Association and the Holiday Fellowship at the Manchester County Record Office, I argue that this potential for the recontextualization of the perceived and conceived space of co-operative travel is subtly apparent.