The years between 1776 and 1851 are of profound importance for the social and urban historian. English town dwellers of the period experienced some fundamental changes in their way of life: rapid population growth; and an unprecedented rate of social change resulting from this. These ever-increasing armies of town dwellers presented the local and central authorities with a myriad of urgent problems, including those of feeding, housing and controlligni a turbulent populace. These years saw the emergence of a new, essentially modern, machinery of control for running an urban society. Despite these dramatic changes an equally important feature of the period was the elements of continuit - in work, family life and leisure.
Part one deals with the physical changes, the problems for the town dweller inherant in these, and the distinctions of social class that developed. Part two discusses the political response to the urbanization of England and the problems this caused: poverty and law enforcement. In part three the continuities are assessed: in leisure, rituals and family life. At every opportunity Dr Walvin brings his material to life with his extensive use of contemporary commentaries.
In this lively and wide-ranging study, firmly rooted in recent scholarly research, Dr Walvin provides a balanced and up-to-date picture of a society which, although experiencing the most fundamental changes was also characterized by the continuities in its people's habits and social customs.
This book was first published in 1984.
PART ONE: A CHANGING NATION
1. People and towns
2. Suffering and people: illness and death in the urban world
3. Working lives
4. The language of class
PART TWO: PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
5. The poor
6. Learning and believing
7. Challenging the system: radicalism and athe development of mass politics
8. The people subdued: law and order in an urban setting
PART THREE: CONTINUITIES
9. People's pleasures
10. Rituals and ceremonies
11. Family life
Conclusion: continuity and change