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Picture of Urban Politics and Space in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Urban Politics and Space in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Regional Perspectives

Editor(s): Barry M. Doyle

Book Description

This book addresses the increasing regionalisation of urban governance and politics in an era of industrialisation, suburbanisation and welfare extension. It provides an important reassessment of the role, structure and activities of urban elites, highlighting their vitality and their interdependence and demonstrating the increasing regionalisation of municipal politics as towns sought to promote themselves, extend services and even expand physically onto a regional level. Moreover, it explores the discourses surrounding space in which gender, class, morality and community all feature prominently. How urban space and its uses were defined and redefined became key political weapons across the regions of England in the nineteenth century and these chapters show how a range of sources (maps, poems, songs, paintings, illustrated journalism, social investigations, historical texts) were employed by contemporaries to shape the urban and its image, often by placing it in a regional context or contributing to the creation of a regional image and identity. This collection illustrates the continuing vitality of the study of urban politics and governance and presents a rare attempt to place English urban history in a regional context.

“Barry Doyle has assembled an impressive team of experts on urban politics to examine not just party politics but the wider machinery of government - the boards, agencies, and committees – that shaped British towns and cities after 1830. Space and place were contested and negotiated, and a distinctive sense of local identity emerged. In so doing, the collection challenges some of the generalisations about the governance of urban Britain and reminds us that, despite a shrinking globe, the local and regional are crucial to our everyday lives. The book should be read by all interested in, and especially those working for, local government.”
—Professor Richard Rodger, University of Edinburgh

“In Urban Politics and Urban Space in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Regional Perspectives Barry Doyle brings together nine original essays by both established and younger authors to explore three inter-related themes in urban history – politics, space and region from the early to mid nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. The book is conveniently divided into three sections dealing with structures of politics, politics, institutions and urban management, and governance discourses and space. Each of the contributions to this volume promises to both enrich our knowledge of specific moments in British politico-urban development (through the study of discrete developments in time and space), and to open up and extend the debate on the British variant of urban modernity. Each examines the ways in which local power, space and regional relations developed and changed between the early nineteenth and mid-twentieth century. Localities, their politics and communal identities are never really far from a national context; indeed, they largely shaped it, as these essays make clear. Doyle is to be commended for his endeavour, not just as the editor but in particular for his introduction to the volume. In a richly referenced essay that comes in at just over seven and half thousand words, he casts a panoramic view over the field in the last few decades, making connections where few contemporary urban historians care to tread. Doyle gives us a forceful challenge to what he sees as a particularly English malaise in this period, namely that of failing to recognise the potential of regional and local government to shape and manage the major reallocation of space and power; a vital sphere of public life that is contemporary to our own times. It is a masterly and well-informed piece of writing that will set the standard for some years to come.”
—Professor Anthony McElligott, University of Limerick.


ISBN-13: 978-1-8471-8292-0
ISBN-10: 1-84718-292-5
Date of Publication: 01/10/2007
Pages / Size: 197 / A5
Price: £34.99


Barry Doyle is Reader in Urban History in the School of Social Sciences and Law at the University of Teesside. He has written extensively on urban politics in the early twentieth century, particularly in Norwich, including articles in the Cambridge Urban History of Britain, 1830-1950, Urban History, Historical Journal and Parliamentary History. His recent research has focused on the politics of hospital provision in Middlesbrough 1900-1948.