D not ronting down Pickles and his crew so intent on destroying local governmentA readable walk through of the ideas and people who shaped ideas of municipal government in our big cities in the 19thC That's So '90s Pop!: A Fill-In Activity Book full of men in monocles building civic pride and tireless campaigners against laissezaire management and the Shopocracy my new The Radiant Child favourite history word all of whom wanted the cities to reflect the best values of Victorian BritainOf course they weren t perfect Concernor the poor was bottom of their list and they carried out Hausmann style bulldozing of the poor areas without any regard of where the poor would go when this was done without much soul searching hmm sounds The Best American Crime Writing familiarHunt makes a strong and passionate argumentor defending local government and restoring to it powers gradually stripped The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data from it in the last 40 years unless he s changed his ideas since he wrote this its a message that needs to be shouted much louder than it currently is Tristram Hunt better known as Labour MP and sometimes Guardian columnist offers a survey of conceptions of the city as it underwent rapid and seismic change in the Victorian era This isn t a timeline history of industrialisation and urbanisation but an exploration of how both the elite and popular society understood the new urban bohemoths springing up across BritainThe space of a generation saw the greatest shift ever in the way the British lived The new cities and their industries revolutionised how people worked and who they workedor where and how they lived and who they lived with how they got around how and what they ate what ideas they were exposed to what opportunities they had or cultural enrichment and hedonistic pleasures and changes in nearly every other acet of lifeThese were massive disruptions to traditional notions of the Tempting Eden family the workplace and the community and they raised very serious introspection about just what the changes meantor Britain Hunt takes us through what in very simplistic terms can be considered the nation s intellectual journey in its understanding of the new industrial cities the deep scepticism of anything urban and in particular the reactionary Young England movement which idealised rural Mideval England the modern scepticism of the slum journalists and Talking to Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, fiction writers who euated density and industry with disease and sin the doctors do gooders and campaigners informed by either Christian beliefs or a utilitarian commitment to alleviate suffering who tackled those problems the civicathers who Talking to Dragons fought the sceptics by turning the city into an attractive andulfilling place with community groups and intellectual societies as well as public monuments and grand buildings and Three Times the Love finally the institutionalisation of this civic pride with the emergence of genuinely local government which embraced an activism that improved housing built transport and waste infrastructure and most importantly laid down theoundations The Drowning Man for councils which were aorce The Bride of Willow Creek for good in peoples livesIt is through this intellectual journey that the British revamped their citiesrom the dirty unhealthy and over crowded anarchy of the early Victorian era into the clean rational and beautiful cities which beueathed the built environment still enjoy todayThe chapter cataloguing Joseph Chamberlain s transformation of Birmingham through his leadership on the council is especially inspiring This is not only a high point in the history but a high point in the book itself Hunt s discussion of Chamberlain is a well GREAT INVESTMENT, THE focused narrative which uses one man s story to illustrate a larger trend This engaging style is used throughout though not always to as clear an effectEven at their greatest Victorian cities were still dangerous and uneual places and the short sighted adoration of anything rural continues to infest British ideas about the right way to live But those of us dedicated to urbanism can t help buteel a pang of envy at the Victorian social ethic We only need compare the cheaply constructed shoeboxes we call public buildings with the sturdy grand buildings the Victorians erected or their town halls and libraries For all their aults most Victorians loved their cities and were committed to making them better places We could use a dose of that civic pride today This isn t about the lived reality of Victorian cities but about the ideas informing the shape of the city and how people especially people of influence envisioned the city and what it meant to live in one Victorians really believed in the possibilities of urban life and the importance of maintaining or creating vibrant city spaces They didn t always succeed to put it mildly but they thought of cities as exciting places where great things could happen places that ostered civic involvement and the healthy interchange of ideas That s a vision of the city we would do well to restore A lot of interesting info never really went anywhere. Le class power and prosperity and the liberating mission of city life Vowing to emulate the city states of Renaissance Italy the Victorians worked to turn even the smokestacks of Manchester and Birmingham into sites of reedom and art And they succeeded until twentieth century decline transformed wealthy metropolises into dangerous inner cities An original history of proud cities and confident citizens Building Jerusalem depicts an unrivaled era that produced one of the great urban civilizations of Western history.
Rench historian Francois Guizot they ound another past in which the Puritan Middle Classes as once exemplified by Cromwell created all the good in the world through industriousness and energy Historians like Richard Vaughn The Age of Great Cities 1843 celebrated the civic virtue of commercial ancient Greek towns against static estates and medieval cloisters Others touted the medieval commercial Italian city states like the Liverpudlian William Roscoe in his Life of Lorenzo de Medici in 1796 Soon works by Madame de Stael The Germans and William Stubbs Constitutional History of England recovered Angl0 Saxon heritage which they celebrated as invigorating localism against French centralization while ignoring the old Saxon avoidance of cities These groups celebrated the voluntary associations of cities like the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Societies rom 1781 Manchester Mechanics Institute of 1825 and the the Manchester Statistical Society of 1834 as opposed to the top down autocracies of the middle ages People like the self made Richard Cobden urged Manchester to incorporate and expand their own municipal power which they did in 1838The combination of this incipient noncomformist reform urbanism and historical localism brought about real changes They inspired the 1835 Municipal Corporation Bill and another voluntary reform group the Healthy Towns Association HTA created the Public Baths Bill of 1846 the Nuisances Removal Act of the same year and the Public Health Act o 1848 all under PM Lord John Russell Later Joseph Chamberlain once a cordwainer in London later a successful screw manufacturer in Birmingham along with allies like dissenter preacher George Dawson conceived of a new municipal gospel where the city owned gas and water and other necessities and tried to inspire love of itself The City of Glasgow Improvement Act of 1866 led to the irst urban renewal programs that bulldozed old streets and wynds and later to the The Glass Ocean first municipally built homes and city owned tramways and led to Octavia Hill and Richard Cross championing the Artisans Home Bill in 1875 and the Housing Act of 1885 Soon cities were building and owning almost every type of industry imaginable and Fabians like Sidney Webb were championing municipal trading as the pathway to socialism By the turn of the century municipalities constituted 50% of all government spending in EnglandYet the Victorian city dream soonell apart Developments like Hampstead Garden Suburb championed by macassar oil heiress and settlement house pioneer Henrietta Barnett outside of Eton College and designed by Ruskianian Garden City architect Raymond Unwin the spread of suburban Metroland and the rise again of London as the center of modern life meant the independent local nonconformist cities of the North lost their cachet Manchester Birmingham Liverpool Glasgow and others ell into desuetude as London boomed and nationalism replaced localism as an ideologyIf there is a theme in this morass of names books and dates it is that the Victorian City shocked contemporaries and led them scurrying into a host of usable pasts either to reject it or revivify it which had real effects In any case the book could have been saved with organization and editing but there is much to ponder on here Considering its rave reviews I ound this book rather disappointing Only those who enjoy reading history as a list of white businessmen politicians and the buildings they erected will ind something or them in Building Jerusalem The tidbits of biography and historical detail nipped The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness from primary sources are unfortunately tooar between and the meandering structure demands much of the reader to get The Leadership Gap from oasis to oasis For the casual reader it s a bit lengthy and its message of the necessity of civic spiritor modern progress while optimistically driven is Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science (and What I've Learned So Far) frought with difficulties considering the very limited historical view Hunt has here not to mention saturated in Hunt s own politics And historians can look elsewhereor eually comprehensive and critically presented histories of the Victorian city in Hunt s Whiggish style or on another shelf Serenity Role Playing Game for a well rounded presentation of the Victorian city in all itsacets rather than merely its politics and the top two per cent of its populace I think the title is a mistake a grabber or ans of William Blake and Monty Python but maybe a turn off Tressed to Kill (Southern Beauty Shop, for other prospective readers Which is too bad because the book is unusually livelyor a 500 page history of English cities and how they grew Lots Tressed to Kill foreign influences than I suspected on the architecture most intriguingly to me The political ups and downs of Gothicor instance You have to be ready to skip chunks about things you already know about or don t care about and linger over what is news to you and helps you see new connections Reading this book I wonder why Labour have Tristram Hunt as Shadow education an. Ived in cities and even as these pioneers confronted a rightening new way of life they produced an urban lowering that would influence the shape of cities or generations to come Drawing on diaries newspapers and classic works of iction Hunt shows how the Victorians translated their energy and ambition into realizing an astonishingly grand vision of the utopian city on a hill the new Jerusalem He surveys the great civic creations rom town halls to city suares sidewalks and even sewers to reveal a story of midd.
Pulling together an extensive array of primary sources Building Jerusalem charts how the idea of the city developed throughout the Victorian era a truly ascinating and pertinent topic One of the very ew criticisms is that when discussing the opposition to Joseph Chamberlain Hunt uite suddenly begins using the term conservative to describe Joseph Allday and his Economists who opposed municipal intervention Considering Hunt had defined conservatism and Toryism as essentially anti capitalist represented by Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin or the irst two thirds of the book it is rustrating that he The Gingerbread Man and the Leprechaun Loose at School fails to explore this specific shift Nonetheless the eruditeness inherent in Hunt s writing enables him to move withluidity rom the past to contemporary issues thereby urther impressing the ongoing importance of Victorian discourses concerning the city This marvelous history takes us through the low and high points of the development of the British cities of the 19th century The Industrial Revolution greatly expanded the urban population but also brought with it poverty and dismal living conditions among the new underclass Hunt shows how individuals with a Catholic or Non Conformist background initiated urban reform on a broad scale that included public buildings city planning culture and social services It is a The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School fascinating story told with great enthusiasm erudition and wit The author is not afraid to make links to the present and provide lessonsor to day and showing that the urban disturbances of 2011 have clear historical antecedents Stimulating and enjoyable a great help in understanding the development of our major cities Issues concentrates too much on a The Cutting Room: A Novel of Suspense few cities Manchester Birmingham to the exclusion of other provincial towns and cities and does not spend enough time on Londonar too hard on suburbs and new towns which is where most people live and significantly where they want to live This is less a history of Victorian cities than an intellectual history of Victorians relationship to modernity and industrialization of which of course cities were one important part It s rambling but rarely boringHunt begins with the dolorous statistics on life in early Victorian cities In places like St Giles in London or Blackfriars in Glasgow population increased by 50 or 100% in just a ew years in the early 19th century while the amount of housing stayed the exact same From 1800 to 1841 cities like Sheffield grew rom 45000 to 111000 Bradford rom 13000 to 104000 and Manchester rom 95000 to 310000 James Philips Kay the son of a nonconformist cotton mill owner left Edinburgh to be a doctor or the slums of Manchester and he was shocked by what he saw leading him to write The Moral and Physical Condition of the Working Class in 1832 which detailed the horrible living conditions of Mancunians It later inspired Engels s splenetic work on the same city The New General Register Office of 1837 estimated that life expectancy in Manchester was 27 years while in the rural districts it was almost 35 Across England the number of convicted criminals increased eightfold in the irst 40 years of 19th century Something had clearly gone wrongPerhaps it was not surprising that many began to romanticize a glorious past Thomas Carlyle a Scottish Presbyterian once destined or the church used the German Romantics like Goethe to savage modern industrial society and its intellectual defenders like Jeremy Bentham and his Utilitarians He ormulated the idea that the cash nexus had become the only The Cake House foundation of modern society and that self love supplanted communityeeling Carlyle and others though pointed out that diseases crime and vice showed that everyone was connected He inspired Dickens Disraeli and countless others to inveigh against a alse God of Mammon and utility Along with Sir Walter Scott and many others he also helped bring back a celebration of the Middle Ages John Britton and Thomas Rickman in their Attempt to Discriminate the Styles of Architecture in England 1817 revivified the Gothic architecture as most expressive of England s national medieval genius especially in its late Perpendicular Gothic Style and in turn inspired the lapsed French Catholic AWN Pugin whose Contrasts set off the rich community expressed in medieval architecture with modern gaols and panopticons John Ruskin in his Stones of Venice and his riend the Anglican architect William Butterfield who pioneered structural polychromy made Venetian Gothic a new standard style as well in an attempt to recover that same national and medieval communityBy contrast people like historian Thomas Babington Macaulay attacked medievalism and celebrated the rise of the new cities which they said were getting healthier and wealthier all the time Assisted by a host of nonconformist reformers such as journalists Edward Baines Sr and Jr of the Leeds Mercury and continental allies such as From Manchester's deadly cotton works to London's literary salons a brilliant exploration of how the Victorians created the modern city Since Charles Dickens The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success first described Coketown in Hard Times the nineteenth century city born of the industrial revolution has been a bywordor deprivation pollution and criminality Yet as historian Tristram Hunt argues in this powerful new history the Coketowns of the 1800s were The Outlandish Adventures of Liberty Aimes far than a monstrous landscape ofactories and tenements By 1851 than half of Britain's population
Tristram Hunt is the author of Marx’s General The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels and Building Jerusalem The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City One of Britain’s leading young historians he writes regularly for The Guardian The Observer and The Times and has broadcast numerous series for the BBC A lecturer in history at the University of London Hunt represents Stoke on Trent in the