Patrick Geddes: Pilgrimage and Tourism


“Neither Cook’s tourists nor American ones may strike us as models of reverence; but none the less it is their element of reverence which has sent the bulk of them – so far on true pilgrimage – to the historic places of their world”.

“The reunion of Europe, then, can most strongly, even if slowly, be made through the education of travel. Not merely in the recent tourist spirit, at least in the cruder forms; but in that combining of the best of modern cultural travel with something of the old spirit of pilgrimage which that helps effectively to renew. The Brownings and Ruskin in Italy were examples of this union in their day: why not renew it more widely? As Europeans grow more tolerant and more sympathetic … our scheme of educational travel will grow and spread into fuller pilgrimages … throughout Baltic and Mediterranean lands alike, from Scandinavia to Spain, and thence to Greece and beyond. Why not east and west, from Russia and Ireland, indeed to America as well? – with ever increasing appreciation of all their regional and civic interests, the natural, the spiritual, and the temporal together, and in aspects historic, actual and incipient. Does this seem ‘Utopian’? It is after all but what the tourist and the wandering nature-lover, the art-student, and the historian have long been doing, and what the regional agriculturalist and the town planner are now in their turn doing. Today it lies with re-education, with reconstruction, and with re-religion as well, to organise these contacts more fully”.


Patrick Geddes The Life of Sir J C Bose, London: Longmans, Green and co., 1920. Pages 111 and 118.