Uplands, Downlands, Sunlit Meadows… wish you were here
In 1940, during his “Finest Hour” radio address to the nation, Winston Churchill first coined the phrase “sunlit uplands” as an allusion to a future Europe free of Nazi tyranny; “…all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands”. The phrase reappeared in a 1981 speech by American President Ronald Reagan, outlining a worldview beyond Soviet Communism. Over the recent Brexit period, the phrase has been referenced time and again. This time it is being used to both describe a “taking back control” from what Boris Johnson sees as “anti-democratic absurdities of the EU”, and to purposefully invoke a 1940s blitz-spirit. While the phrase was first coined to look forward – to a world beyond, its use during the Brexit debate is having one gaze backwards – to a world before joining the EU. Images for Uplands, Downlands, Sunlit meadows beyond –– wish you were here have been printed from negatives photographed in the post-war years for the purpose of creating postcards. The views are of English villages and coastal towns, an escape from the then bomb-scarred cities. The scenes pictured in postcards are what people would have wanted to remember and share with friends and family through the post. Postcards served as an antidote; they encapsulate happy holiday memories.
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