The London County Council was a the world's largest municipal government and a laboratory for social experimentation before the Great War. It sought to master the problems of metropolitan amelioration, political economy and public culture.
Pennybacker's social history tests the vision of London Progressivism against its practitioners' accomplishments. She argues that the historical memory of the hopes inspired by LCC achievement and the disillusions spawned by failure, are potent forces in today's deeply ambivalent responses to metropolitan politics in London. The `new women', bohemian London, scandal in the building industry, midwifery, lodging houses, children's provision and the music hall were all provocative issues in LCC work. Their story richly evokes life in the turn-of-the-century metropolis and illustrates the complexities of `municipal socialism'.