I just came across this rather nice article written in respect of folk music but change a few names and it could equally well apply to traditional crafts.

“In 1931 H.G. Wells wrote “In England we have come to rely upon a comfortable time-lag of fifty years or a century, intervening between the perception that something ought to be done and a serious attempt to do it” (Work Wealth & Happiness of Mankind). At the end of the last century the Victorian collectors saw a need to record for posterity the tapestry of music, custom, and song that they saw in danger of disappearing. Collectors such as Lucy Broadwood, Frank Kidson and Cecil Sharp would have been amazed and alarmed at the position at the end of the twentieth century; amazed at the wealth of material that has been amassed and alarmed at the dearth of provision for their legacy.

No properly funded centre exists in England to research and celebrate our vernacular arts. No sustained funds or facilities have ever existed in England specifically for research into our native traditions. Most research and collecting has to date been accomplished informally by individuals generally unsupported financially.”

This is an introduction to an article about Doc Rowe, music and folklore collector published in The Living Tradition magazine about ten years ago and available in full online here

Author Robin Wood

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