Environment 1951

The  Stowmarket Gas Works
The Stowmarket Gas Works
By 1951 Industrialisation had began to take its toll on environments around the world. However the true effects were still to be seen in a village community such as Stowupland, especially as the industrial area of the parish had been moved into Stowmarket with the boundary changes of 1934.

The use of more motor vehicles across the country increased air pollution and the greater use of electricity and gas in the home meant that more coal and gas fired power stations were needed to meet the demand.

In Stowupland itself, the village may have appeared less polluted as regulations on the release of harmful substances from farms and factories were introduced. The number of homes with inside plumbing and sewage systems also increased.

Changes in Agriculture

Ransomes Reversible Plough
Ransomes Reversible Plough
The Second World War had accelerated changes in agriculture with increased mechanisation resulting in a huge reduction in the number of agricultural workers in the parish. The farmers in the village used more chemicals on their crops in the form of herbicides and pesticides to increase production. Unfortunately, these chemicals also killed native insects and plants that disrupted the natural balance of the countryside.

Mechanisation also changed the outlines of Stowupland’s field systems. The new machines needed larger fields in which to work effectively. Hedgerows were pulled out and previously uncultivated areas were used. This led to a loss of habitats for plants and animals.

There was more money in arable farming so farmers moved away from traditional mixed farms that were better for the local environment. Stowupland had changed from a mixed agricultural area to an arable parish with vast fields that could be managed with tractors and combine harvesters.


This exhibition is part of a wider sustainability project delivered through the Rural Museums East Partnership. It is funded by Renaissance East of England.

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