1st Edition

The Georgian Triumph, 1700–1830

By Michael Reed Copyright 1983
    258 Pages
    by Routledge

    In The Georgian Triumph, 1700–1830 (originally published in 1983), Michael Reed re-creates the ambience of eighteenth-century Britain, a period of astonishing change and, paradoxically, of massive stability. Both the change and the stability were reflected in the landscape.

    Dr Reed explores the visual impact on the landscape of the adoption of new ideas and practices. These range from the acceptance of the Palladian style of architecture and its gradual replacement by a taste for Gothic, Picturesque or Chinese designs, to the practical exploration of the power of atmospheric pressure and improvements in road-making techniques and the design of water wheels. He describes the ‘feel’ of what it must have been like to live through the years which saw the beginning of the end for the old, medieval society, and the birth of a modern industrial nation. Traditional ways of life were slowly abandoned as ancient open fields were enclosed and divided up by straight roads and hedgerows. Changes in the moral climate led to the gradual disappearance of village feasts and the suppression of cockfighting and bull-running, while other, more acceptable, pastimes such as horse-racing and cricket acquired rules and institutions.

    The book shows that these changes were brought about by people at work and at play; going about their everyday affairs, they wrote and re-wrote upon the landscape the autobiography of the society of which they formed a part, reflecting its aspirations, ideals and achievements.

    Preface  1. The structure of Britain  2. The rural landscape  3. Rural change  4. Country houses, parks and gardens  5. The urban landscape  6. The search for power  7. Transport  8. The secularisation of the landscape  9. Britain in 1830 


    Michael Reed read history at the University of Brimingham and took his further degrees at the University of London, and the University of Leicester. He has published a number of papers on various aspects of economic history, as well as an edition of early seventeenth-century probate inventories for Ipswich.

    Review of the first publication:

    ‘…Reed’s application of the techniques of local history to Britain as a whole makes this book fresh and rewarding.’

    Kenneth L. Campbell, Albion, Volume 16, Issue 3