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London of One Hundred Years Ago
Category: History: Europe: England: London
Author: John Coulter
Copyright/published Year: 1998 by Alan Sutton
Description: London of One Hundred Years Ago gives a vivid insight into the life of the metropolis in the late Victorian and Edwardian era. A fascinating selection of early photographs and other illustrations, combined with memorable quotations from the writing of the day, recall a lost generation of Londoners and their great city. The book recaptures the spirit of a past age. The London that had so hugely expanded during the nineteenth century excited a wide range of intense responses. Its sheer size and variety, and its extremes of grandeur and ugliness, poverty and extraordinary wealth, provoked astonished reactions from visitors and provided an inexhaustible topic for writers who knew the capital well. Their accounts recall the stink and congestion of the streets, the sprawl of new building, the burgeoning population, the masses of commuters and shoppers, the undercurrents of disorder and crime, and the sometimes worthy attempts made by the city's governors and benefactors to improve social conditions and to enhance the appearance of the principal capital of the British Empire.
The fine selection of illustrations that have been brought together for this book record the startling contrasts of the time. The pictures show royalty and the aristocracy, the professionals and the growing middle class, the office-workers and street-sellers and the vast working population. They also offer an unforgettable glimpse of trends in fashion and entertainment, and recall changing modes of transport and types of work at the beginning of the twentieth century. The accompanying text reveals, too, the attitudes, opinions and habits of Londoners and brings their ordinary concerns and activities back to life.
London of One Hundred Years Ago will appeal to everyone who is keen to learn more about the city's history and about England in an age which now seems so remote. The book creates a powerful impression of this period of unprecedented developments, but it also illustrates the strength of an underlying culture that has resisted change and is recognizable today.
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