Beyond the metropolis: the changing image of urban Britain, 1780-1880
Manchester University Press (2016).
Dark satanic mills, cobbled streets, and cholera have become common shorthand for the nineteenth-century British town. Over the past century, historical reality has merged seamlessly with mythology, literature and caricature to create a dramatic, but utterly misleading representation of the urban past. Drawing on pictorial and ephemeral sources that shaped the popular image of British towns between 1780 and 1880, Beyond the Metropolis revises our understanding of urbanization, its representation and interpretation throughout the long nineteenth century. In contrast to myriad publications that address London exclusively, this book examines images that reflect the growing political, social and cultural significance of British provincial towns in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. Covering locations from Bristol to Leeds and Manchester to Portsmouth, it employs hitherto unexplored visual and ephemeral sources to reveal a complex and compelling new narrative of British urbanisation.