[Tristram Hunt] ☆ Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City [espionage PDF] Ebook Epub Download Ê This isn t about the lived reality of Victorian cities but about the ideas informing the shape of the city and how people, especially people of influence, envisioned the city and what it meant to live in one Victorians really believed in the possibilities of urban life and the importance of maintaining, or creating, vibrant city spaces They didn t always succeed to put it mildly , but they thought of cities as exciting places where great things could happen, places that fostered civic involvement and the healthy interchange of ideas That s a vision of the city we would do well to restore.
From Manchester S Deadly Cotton Works To London S Literary Salons, A Brilliant Exploration Of How The Victorians Created The Modern City Since Charles Dickens First Described Coketown In Hard Times, The Nineteenth Century City, Born Of The Industrial Revolution, Has Been A Byword For Deprivation, Pollution, And Criminality Yet, As Historian Tristram Hunt Argues In This Powerful New History, The Coketowns Of The S Were Far Than A Monstrous Landscape Of Factories And Tenements By , Than Half Of Britain S Population Lived In Cities, And Even As These Pioneers Confronted A Frightening New Way Of Life, They Produced An Urban Flowering That Would Influence The Shape Of Cities For Generations To Come Drawing On Diaries, Newspapers, And Classic Works Of Fiction, Hunt Shows How The Victorians Translated Their Energy And Ambition Into Realizing An Astonishingly Grand Vision Of The Utopian City On A Hill The New Jerusalem He Surveys The Great Civic Creations, From Town Halls To City Squares, Sidewalks, And Even Sewers, To Reveal A Story Of Middle Class Power And Prosperity And The Liberating Mission Of City Life Vowing To Emulate The City States Of Renaissance Italy, The Victorians Worked To Turn Even The Smokestacks Of Manchester And Birmingham Into Sites Of Freedom And Art And They Succeeded Until Twentieth Century Decline Transformed Wealthy Metropolises Into Dangerous Inner Cities An original History Of Proud Cities And Confident Citizens, Building Jerusalem Depicts An Unrivaled Era That Produced One Of The Great Urban Civilizations Of Western History This marvelous history takes us through the low and high points of the development of the British cities of the 19th century The Industrial Revolution greatly expanded the urban population, but also brought with it poverty and dismal living conditions among the new underclass Hunt shows how individuals with a Catholic or Non Conformist background initiated urban reform on a broad scale that included public buildings, city planning, culture and social services It is a fascinating story told with great enthusiasm, erudition, and wit The author is not afraid to make links to the present and provide lessons for to day and showing that the urban disturbances of 2011 have clear historical antecedents.
Stimulating and enjoyable a great help in understanding the development of our major cities Issues concentrates too much on a few cities Manchester, Birmingham to the exclusion of other provincial towns and cities, and does not spend enough time on London far too hard on suburbs and new towns, which is where most people live, and significantly, where they want to live.
I think the title is a mistake a grabber for fans of William Blake and Monty Python, but maybe a turn off for other prospective readers Which is too bad, because the book is unusually lively for a 500 page history of English cities and how they grew Lots foreign influences than I suspected on the architecture, most intriguingly to me The political ups and downs of Gothic, for instance You have to be ready to skip chunks about things you already know about or don t care about, and linger over what is news to you and helps you see new connections.
Nice blending of social history of 19th century England and the cities it produced.
A lot of interesting info never really went anywhere
Tristram Hunt, better known as Labour MP and sometimes Guardian columnist, offers a survey of conceptions of the city as it underwent rapid and seismic change in the Victorian era This isn t a timeline history of industrialisation and urbanisation, but an exploration of how both the elite and popular society understood the new urban bohemoths springing up across Britain.
The space of a generation saw the greatest shift ever in the way the British lived The new cities and their industries revolutionised how people worked and who they worked for, where and how they lived and who they lived with, how they got around, how and what they ate, what ideas they were exposed to, what opportunities they had for cultural enrichment and hedonistic pleasures, and changes in nearly every other facet of life.
These were massive disruptions to traditional notions of the family, the workplace, and the community, and they raised very serious introspection about just what the changes meant for Britain Hunt takes us through what, in very simplistic terms, can be considered the nation s intellectual journey in its understanding of the new industrial cities the deep scepticism of anything urban and in particular the reactionary Young England movement which idealised rural Mideval England the modern scepticism of the slum journalists and fiction writers who equated density and industry with disease and sin the doctors, do gooders, and campaigners informed by either Christian beliefs or a utilitarian commitment to alleviate suffering who tackled those problems the civic fathers who fought the sceptics by turning the city into an attractive and fulfilling place with community groups and intellectual societies as well as public monuments and grand buildings and finally the institutionalisation of this civic pride with the emergence of genuinely local government which embraced an activism that improved housing, built transport and waste infrastructure, and most importantly laid down the foundations for councils which were a force for good in peoples lives.
It is through this intellectual journey that the British revamped their cities from the dirty, unhealthy, and over crowded anarchy of the early Victorian era into the clean, rational, and beautiful cities which bequeathed the built environment still enjoy today.
The chapter cataloguing Joseph Chamberlain s transformation of Birmingham through his leadership on the council is especially inspiring This is not only a high point in the history, but a high point in the book itself Hunt s discussion of Chamberlain is a well focused narrative which uses one man s story to illustrate a larger trend This engaging style is used throughout, though not always to as clear an effect.
Even at their greatest, Victorian cities were still dangerous and unequal places, and the short sighted adoration of anything rural continues to infest British ideas about the right way to live But those of us dedicated to urbanism can t help but feel a pang of envy at the Victorian social ethic We only need compare the cheaply constructed shoeboxes we call public buildings with the sturdy, grand buildings the Victorians erected for their town halls and libraries For all their faults, most Victorians loved their cities and were committed to making them better places We could use a dose of that civic pride today.
Considering its rave reviews, I found this book rather disappointing Only those who enjoy reading history as a list of white businessmen politicians and the buildings they erected will find something for them in Building Jerusalem The tidbits of biography and historical detail nipped from primary sources are unfortunately too far between, and the meandering structure demands much of the reader to get from oasis to oasis For the casual reader, it s a bit lengthy and its message of the necessity of civic spirit for modern progress, while optimistically driven, is frought with difficulties considering the very limited historical view Hunt has here not to mention saturated in Hunt s own politics And historians can look elsewhere for equally comprehensive, and critically presented histories of the Victorian city in Hunt s Whiggish style, or on another shelf for a well rounded presentation of the Victorian city in all its facets rather than merely its politics and the top two per cent of its populace.