Letters of Social Scientist C.R. Enock to Leaders of the Royal Society of Arts on Social Reform Concepts and a New School of Social Science

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On offer are 22 manuscript letters written between 1913-1926 by social scientist Charles Reginald (C.R.) Enock (1868-1970) to Sir Henry Trueman Wood (1846-1929) and George Kenneth (G.K.) Menzies (1869-1954), both of the Royal Society of Arts. [See BIO NOTES on all three men at the conclusion of this summary]. The early letters focus heavily on Enock’s desire to educate his peers and the public on his vision for a better Britain through scientifically founded social reform. Also highlighted is Enock’s vision for creating a new school of study within the social sciences, focusing on “the real science of collective living on the earth”. The letters provide insight into Enock’s thoughts and work. His letters also offer a view of the give-and-take of academic discourse at the time (and, really, at any time), presenting the push-pull of the academic’s desire to remain true to their work while requiring institutional support.

C.R. Enock was educated as a civil and mining engineer. He spent many years traveling and investigating natural resources in the context of societies, particularly in North and South America and Britain. He published extensively and his work situated him as a major thinker on social issues of the time. His letters offered here attest to the breadth of his vision as a powerful and imaginative thinker, whose futuristic schemes for the “scientific ‘re-colonisation of England’” drew the involvement of the controversial statesman, Lord Alfred Milner [see BIO NOTES below], who was, himself, a proponent of social change for Britain.

Enock’s 1913 correspondence with Wood and Menzies relate to the preparation of a lecture Enock hopes to give at the Royal Society of Arts, and to his accompanying paper’s publication in the Society's journal. It is within this discourse that a fascinating discussion emerges, though we are privy only to Enock’s side. Enock’s overarching aim was to educate Britain about the scientific need for social reform, stating to Wood, “Social reform is much in the air at present but I think we could shew that it will have to be founded scientifically; not on charity” [Nov 7, 1913]. Enock does not feel that a social science yet exists that can capture his school of thought and he would like his lecture’s title to reflect his own unique school of thought. Enock and Wood discuss Enock’s suggested terms for his new science/the title of the lecture.

Enock suggests the terms “human geography” then “constructive economics” and finally, “a science of living”. With Wood finding all of these terms unclear, they settle on referring to Enock’s conceptual framework as: Organization of Economics and Industrial Resources.

A summary of the included letters follows:

Enock’s first letter is dated June 22, 1913. In it, he proposes a lecture to Wood, explaining that he is “endeavouring to arouse public interest in a more intense economic science”, and that he is going to “lecture before the British Association in Birmingham in September, under the title of “Industry-Planning and Human Geography”. It involves the subject of the scientific “re-colonisation of England”, as necessary against difficult social conditions; congestion in cities, high price of food, and so forth”. He also intends to publish a book on the subject and asks whether an expanded version of the lecture could be given to the Society.

On November 7, 1913, months after his lecture to the British Association in Birmingham, Enock writes Wood and encloses a handbill notice of the British Association lecture in Birmingham, which he gave in September. The handbill is present in this collection and is titled: 'The Necessity for a Constructive Social Science. C. R. ENOCK, C.E., F.R.G.S.’ It is a single typed page summary of his talk, in which he argues that:

…The economic and industrial problems before the world call for the establishment of a constructive science, whose purpose would be to develop and teach the principles under which economic stability in the life of the community may be attained. It was shown that the real science of collective living on the earth (which might be termed ‘human geography’) has never been formulated.

Enock further proposes that an Institution should be established to “enter upon a full study of the general condition of social life and natural resources…”

Following his Nov 7th letter, Enock receives Wood’s blessing to prepare a lecture for the Royal Society of Arts, and addresses Wood’s concern that his concept of ‘human geography’ as a new branch of the social sciences is an unclear term. He discusses potentially using the term ‘constructive economics’, explaining “I think a wide public will be interested in this constructive aspect of social life in regard to its economic environment; discussing the remedy for the pressing economic ills of the time”.

In writing to Wood on Dec 2, 1913, Enock introduces Wood to his working relationship with Lord [Alfred] Milner, who is willing to “take the chair” for him if the dates for the lecture can align with

Milner’s busy schedule. On Dec 8th, 1913, Enock suggests clarifying his lecture title by referring to his new science as “a comprehensive Science of Living [or of life and industry]”. On Dec 11th, Enock confirms a date for the lecture and expresses agreement with Wood’s suggestion of the lecture title: “The Need for a Better Organization of Economics and Industrial Resources” and asks Wood, “would it be well to add ‘in connection with social reform’?”

The following four letters between Enock and Wood are largely Enock confirming a lecture date of April 29, 1914. These planning letters concluded in February of 1914. On April 15, 1914, Enock writes to Wood enclosing his paper on which he will lecture and that will be published in the Royal Society of Arts Journal (the paper is not included in this collection). The next four letters in mid-April are on this theme, and once Enock’s paper reaches the later stages of preparation for publication, he begins writing to G.K. Menzies, the Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society of Arts and Editor of their Journal, to discuss particulars of the length of his Appendix, and to request proofs prior to his paper’s publication.

Following the April 29th lecture, on May 5, 1914, Enock writes to Menzies. An excerpt:

“I note Lord Milner’s statement that he supported “State Socialism” in principle and that he was a “socialist” was left out of his discussion. Was not this statement rather interesting? I note the Radical Press took hold of it. I severally get a much better Press than the paper gave me….Did Lord Milner edit his speech?”

This short letter is a nod to questions around academic freedom of expression and the role of the media in

public acceptance of new or controversial ideas.

In the summer of 1914, Enock’s letters took on a new slant - he needed funding to continue his work, and he hoped the Royal Society of Arts would help. On July 7, 2014, Enock writes to Wood to inquire about getting a grant from the Society to help fund his research into the Development of Local Industry, which he introduced in a paper for the Society recently. He states that his goal is to “secure more intensive development of industry, and to equialise condition, adjust unemployment, congestion and so forth”. He expects the Railway Companies will be on board to support this work and would like support from the Society as well.

About one month after Britain declared war on Germany, Sept 5, 2014, Enock writes to Wood. He tells Wood he has been lecturing on “The Geography of the War” and “introducing matter connected with international trade and British food supply”. He is being assisted by the Royal Geographical Society, and hopes to “arouse popular interest in these subjects […] Curiously some of the conditions obtaining in the localities at home at present were anticipated in my recent paper before the society”.

Two early letters of 1916 are related to Enock’s role within the British war effort. Enock is doing “some War Work for the War Office” and Wood kindly acts as a reference for him.

By spring of 1916, Enock has refocused on his own work and has published his book “The Tropics”. He asks Wood for inclusion in the Journal, explaining,: “As you well see, I am interested to bring forward the development of nature arts and industries”.

The final three letters, written after the War, relate to work on railways that Enock hinted at in his 1914 letters. He has completed years of work on railways and would like to present his findings at the Society.

Some excerpts of the final letters follow:

May 9, 1925 - Enock to Wood: “I would be glad to know if the Society would be desirous of discussing the matter of “A New Type of Railway”...The subject of improved Railway transport is, it is scarcely necessary to say, of great importance, not only at home but in the undeveloped lands, including our Dominions and Dependancies”

May 12, 1925 - Enock to Menzies, he writes enclosing “further particulars as to the “New Type of Railway” and he explains that “you will I am sure grasp the fact that I bring this important subject forward from scientific and economic interest - not from any personal advantage. A discussion as to how railway transport can be improved ought to be of great value”

One year later, April 9, 1926, Enock to Wood “Will the subject of A New Type of Railway, which I offered last year for the society’s lecture session interest the society for next session?”

This collection of letters is equal parts inspiring and frustrating. Enock’s mind is busy, his ideas are grand, and his desire to educate and build his research program is palpable. His success at bringing his ideas forward in his various publications and speeches, plus the support he gained from Lord Milner speaks to the value of his ideas. His failure to achieve some of his goals, such as the development of an Institution focused on his new form of social science, and his relative obscurity in modern-day social science discourse begs the question: why? Perhaps it is because he had his hands in so many pots, expounding on the tropics, on Britain, on America, industry, natural resources, social organization, and much more [see BIO NOTES].

The collection consists of a total of 26 pages, all on lightly aged, high-quality paper. Most letters on letterhead of Valley Croft, Northwood, Middlesex. Letters dated from 1913 (6), 1914 (10), 1916 (2), 1918 (1), 1925 (2) and 1926 (1). No significant rips or tears noted. The pages vary in size. All letters are written in ink in Enock’s hand and signed by Enock. The printed handbill related to Enock’s lecture at the British Association at Birmingham appears to be the only available copy (No other copy of this handbill notice has been traced, either on OCLC WorldCat or on COPAC). Overall VG.


Charles Reginald (C.R.) Enock, F.R.G.S. (1868-1970) was one of nine children born in England to parents Lavinia (Hollis) Enock and Arthur Enock. In 1889, while living and working in Mexico, he married a Mexican woman named Concha Lavin. In 1901 they married again in Devon, UK. They had two children, Enid and Consuelo. Enock was a Royal Society of Arts medalist, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a member of the Society of Engineers. Following his education and articleship in civil engineering (under Mr. William Hale), Enock travelled frequently. He spent three years in America looking at railway construction, six years in Mexico looking at natural resources and mining, and four years in Peru. He lectured extensively and authored many books about his observations and theories derived from his travel experience. At one point, Enock was leader of a political party he called the “New National Party” (he was never elected to any political office). Enock felt his life’s work was “a mission to show how the world has been brought to a chaotic state by indiscriminate commercialism and to set it right again”. All of Enock’s ideas were based on his observations of social issues abroad. For example, his travels in the USA inspired him to write a book that was “...a survey of life in the United States, considered in the light of present social evolution…” (Enock, 1910, vii). As a British scientist, Enock was always concerned with how his learnings could influence social change Britain: “The study of Democracy, its virtues and defects, is much before the world at the present time; and America is working out problems whose teachings are of great value to Britain” (Enock, 1910, vii). Enock was a devout Christian. He was a believer in working toward a communal solution to the woes of modern society. in his 1910 book, An Imperial Commonwealth, he argues that “it is time that ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’ - that is to say, the great burden-bearing people…The civilisation which would endure will be that which demands a certain standard of life for all its people” and he argued for a National Minimum in Britain. He lived in poverty, using all his money to print pamphlets and try to get the word out on his ideas. He published details about his “Truth Campaign” in these pamphlets. He argued that by creating “economic areas” and “economic neighbourhoods” industry would become embedded into the social fabric of each community, which he believed would “render us independent of Capitalism and currencies– greatest achievements, and not Socialism. Poverty, unemployment and wage-slavery will disappear” (C.R. Enock, self-published, n.d.; Portsmouth Community News, 1935). He was once described by a family member, Joan Enock, as “a dear, very kind, but a pompous ass”.

Sir Henry Trueman Wood (1846-1929) had a “lifelong experience of science in every possible application to the good of mankind” (Trueman Wood Lecture, 1917). He was married to Marian Oliver and had three children. He was an artist, author and proponent of science. Educated in Cambridge, he worked in the Civil Service after attaining his M.A. and winning the Le Bas prize for his academic achievements. At age 27, Wood took on the role of editor for the Society of Arts Journal. He was given frequent promotions and, by 1879, he was appointed Secretary of the Royal Society of Arts. He was Knighted in 1890 for his service promoting the success of the British Section in his role as British Commissioner to the Paris Exhibition of 1889. He was heavily involved in Britain’s arts community, acting as President of the Royal Photographic Society for two years.

GK (George Kenneth) Menzies (1869-1954) was born and lived in England. He was married to Mary Strathearn Gordon and records do not show any children born to the couple. Menzies had a distinguished career in administration, working in multiple roles for St. Andrew’s University before joining the Royal Society of Arts, where he was Assistant Secretary and succeeded Sir Henry Trueman Wood as Secretary. Menzies was also a published writer of poetry and prose.

Lord Alfred Milner, Viscount of Saint James’s and Cape Town (1854-1925) was born in Germany to English parents, then educated at Oxford University. He practiced law but soon moved into journalism and then into the British political sphere, where he championed imperialism. He oversaw the political maneuvers between Britain and South Africa that ultimately led to the Orange Free State and the Transvaal declaring war on Britain in 1899. He was also partially responsible for ending the war, through his involvement in negotiating the Peace of Vereeniging in 1902. He spent time after the war helping to rebuild South Africa. He was made a viscount in 1902 and sat on the House of Lords in England. During World War I, Milner was a member of Prime Minister David Lloyd George's five-man War Cabinet, which ruled England from 1916 to 1918. He is remembered as having Conservative values, though he referred to himself as a socialist (Lord Milner. On State Socialism, 1914).

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