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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: March 2008

10 - London 1540–1700

from Part II - Urban themes and types 1540–1700
London's demography serves to introduce a number of themes of great importance to the capital's history. London's growth meant not only the redevelopment of its existing fabric but the encroachment of new buildings into suburban fields in the west and the north-east. An account of London's economy must begin with overseas trade. The port of London, its shipping industry and ancillary trades, might have employed one quarter of the capital's population by the early eighteenth century. Many important London industries processed imported raw materials, or manufactured for export. One well-known feature of London was the literacy of its inhabitants and the premium metropolitan society placed on possession of the ability to read and write. Religion in London after the Restoration remained fragmented. The wills of middling Londoners, however, portray entirely conventional 'outward piety and respectability', probably characteristic of the majority Anglican faith then. London's cultural function of association facilitated all kinds of political activity.
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The Cambridge Urban History of Britain
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