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  • Print publication year: 2001
  • Online publication date: March 2008

23 - Playing and praying

from Part IV - Getting and spending
In earlier centuries leisure activities had more often appeared to grow out of the religious sphere. That very large numbers of the employed population increasingly enjoyed approved leisure was one of the many important innovations of the Victorian period, and the overall increase in their leisure time underlay key leisure innovations like railway excursions and Association football. However, Charlie Chaplin aside, the most popular films probably contributed more to the formation of a sense of national than of urban identity. Although the middle-classes included some of the most serious critics of mass leisure, their young were among its enthusiastic aficionados. The Scottish burgh councils had owned their churches since the Reformation, and were the earliest in Britain to develop a religious response to the new urban problems, playing an important role in coordinating educational, philanthropic and medical agencies.
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The Cambridge Urban History of Britain
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