Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City


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Yet the Victorian city dream soon fell apart. Developments like Hampstead Garden Suburb championed by macassar oil heiress and settlement house pioneer Henrietta Barnett outside of Eton College, and designed by Ruskianian Garden City architect Raymond Unwin , the spread of suburban "Metroland," and the rise again of London as the center of modern life, meant the independent, local, nonconformist cities of the North lost their cachet.

Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow and others fell into desuetude as London boomed, and nationalism replaced localism as an ideology. If there is a theme in this morass of names, books, and dates, it is that the Victorian City shocked contemporaries, and led them scurrying into a host of "usable pasts," either to reject it or revivify it, which had real effects.

In any case, the book could have been saved with more organization and editing, but there is much to ponder on here. Aug 04, O. Pulling together an extensive array of primary sources, Building Jerusalem charts how the idea of the city developed throughout the Victorian era—a truly fascinating and pertinent topic.

Considering Hunt had defined conservatism and Toryism as essentially anti-capitalist re Pulling together an extensive array of primary sources, Building Jerusalem charts how the idea of the city developed throughout the Victorian era—a truly fascinating and pertinent topic. Considering Hunt had defined conservatism and Toryism as essentially anti-capitalist represented by Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin for the first two-thirds of the book, it is frustrating that he fails to explore this specific shift.

May 18, Alex Csicsek rated it really liked it.

Jane Ridley

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 indus 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.

Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City [9780141990125]

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.


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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.

Building Jerusalem by Tristram Hunt - Book - Read Online

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 necessit Considering its rave reviews, I found this book rather disappointing.

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 more critically presented histories of the "Victorian city" in Hunt's Whiggish style, or on another shelf for a more 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.

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 wi This marvelous history takes us through the low and high points of the development of the British cities of the 19th century.

It is a fascinating story told with great enthusiasm, erudition, and wit.

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The author is not afraid to make links to the present and provide lessons for to-day and showing that the urban disturbances of have clear historical antecedents. 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 involve 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.


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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. 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 page history of English cities and how they grew. Lots more 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 ling 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. 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.

Jun 04, Martin Petchey rated it really liked it. 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 more significantly, where they want to live.

Mar 17, David Cowhig rated it it was amazing. Nice blending of social history of 19th century England and the cities it produced.

Building the Victorian City: Splendour and Squalour - Professor Simon Thurley

Jun 28, Jack rated it it was ok. A lot of interesting info Pascal Ouellet rated it really liked it Sep 05, Ratatoskr rated it really liked it May 25, Daryl rated it really liked it Jul 24, Tristan Chatfield rated it really liked it Jul 23, Karl Hickey rated it liked it Jan 06, Andrew rated it liked it Mar 28, Declan Ryan rated it it was amazing Feb 25, Joan rated it really liked it Oct 24, Mike rated it really liked it Sep 06, Stijn Stragier rated it liked it May 09, Roger Dupuis rated it really liked it Nov 26, Tomos Roberts rated it it was ok May 02, Steve rated it it was amazing Oct 25, Peter Trumper rated it really liked it Dec 21, Petersen rated it it was amazing Apr 26, David rated it it was amazing Dec 12, A rated it it was amazing Aug 22, Adam Ploetz rated it really liked it Jul 02, Louise rated it liked it Mar 08, Readers also enjoyed.

About Tristram Hunt. Tristram Hunt. A lecturer in history at the University of London, Hunt represents Stoke-on-Trent in the British Parliament, where he serves as the education spokesman for the Labour Party. Check Retail Stores' phone number. Wish List Welcome! Sign in New customer?

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Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City
Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City
Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City
Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City
Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City
Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City
Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City
Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City
Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City

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