Real Happiness

Predictability

Policies that encourage trust .....These include moral education in schools, and policies to build stable families, communities and workplaces. We do not want high turnover in jobs, in housing or in marriages, except where clear advantages outweigh the human and other costs.Richard Layard, Happiness

Since the 1980s public policies in Britain have championed flexibility and choice. But there are huge advantages to inflexibility and predictability.

Stable Communities

A Family Day out in Suffolk c.1900
A Family Day out in Suffolk c.1900

Up until 50 years ago in countless neighbourhoods across Suffolk, people lived and worked within the community. Villages were made up of extended families which had lived there for generations.

 

Having a network of family and friends close by makes for a more trusting community. Equally communities which welcome strangers into the rhythms of daily life are less suspicious.

People who are highly mobile have less connection to their place and feel less bonded to the people among whom they live.

Local Friends

There is a correlation between rates of crime and how many friends people have within a 15 minute walk. Crime rates are often lower where people have more friends.

How many friends do you have within a 15 minute walk of your house?

Sgt Derek Hazelwood of Stowupland in the 1950s
Sgt Derek Hazelwood
of Stowupland in the 1950s

We were also scared of the policeman, P.C. Meddows. Mind you, he was always after us for something. He’d take us to the police station and lock us up for a short while for such things as breaking telegraph pots or pushing someone’s cultivator in the ditch. I recall one day he locked us up and went off to have his food.” Can Your Mother Skin a Rabbit? Tales of a Suffolk Lad’ by Bert Allard (1988) who grew up in Stonham, Suffolk in the 1920s and 30s


We want to be part of the village but there’s so much life outside the village now. And there’s no shop here, and there’s no Post Office. The village hasn’t got that central meeting point that other villages havePatrick Bishop, Entrepreneur in ‘Return to Akenfield, Portrait of an English Village in the 21st Century’ by Craig Taylor (2006)

Mr. Walby the wheelwright and Mr. Cocksedge the blacksmith working together at Gt. Bealings smithy, Suffolk c.1890
Mr. Walby the wheelwright and Mr. Cocksedge
the blacksmith working together at
Gt. Bealings smithy, Suffolk c.1890

The Miller and the Millwright, the harness-maker and the tailor show how the old village community was dovetailed together by the nature of the work‘The Farm and the Village’ by George Ewart Evans (1969)


 

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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