Surveying the Warscape: Agriculture, Measurement, and Power on the English Home Front, 1933-1952

Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Pey-Yi Chu

Reader 2

Arash Khazeni

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© 2020 Alexandra A Barber


On June 23, 1942, an inspector named C.V. Dodd visited a farmer named H.C. Stevens at Dumpling Farm in Grantchester, a town outside Cambridge, England. As part of the wartime agricultural effort, Mr. Dodd was there to gather information about Dumpling Farm for a national farm survey. Mr. Stevens was a tenant farmer and part-time milk retailer, working land owned by Cambridge University’s Corpus Christi College. Mr. Dodd recorded the conditions of the farm, from the soil quality to the number of cottages, and made note of the supply of water and electricity. The survey also called for an assessment of Mr. Stevens himself, for which he was given a B grade due to “personal failings.” In explaining these personal failings, Mr. Dodd wrote: “Attends too much to the retailing of his milk and too little to the farm.”[1] How did the side milk business of a smalltime farmer in Cambridgeshire become an act of misconduct worthy of government attention? What can it tell us about the trajectory of state power, surveillance, and support? This thesis seeks answers to these questions.

[1] The National Archives UK (TNA): MAF 32/808/53.

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