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A decade of urban history: Ashgate's Historical Urban Studies series

  • BARRY M. DOYLE (a1)

The first half of the 1990s was a pivotal period in the development and growth of urban history in Europe. In Britain the Urban History Group began to convene again after a decade in abeyance, work commenced on the three-volume Cambridge Urban History of Britain, the Urban History Yearbook became Urban History whilst the European Association of Urban Historians organized their first conference. It was in this climate that Ashgate Publishing commissioned a new monograph series, Historical Urban Studies, under the editorship of Richard Rodger, editor of Urban History, and Jean-Luc Pinol, the leading French urban historian and a key figure in the European Association of Urban Historians (EAUH). The aim of the series was and is to be comparative over both time and space, drawing on multiple locations to explore what is common and what distinctive about the urban experience of diverse towns and nations. The broad agenda for the series was shaped by an overarching concern with the administration and governance of the city which underpinned attempts to manage the social, economic and political challenges wrought by 300 years of urban change. In particular, the editors stress the importance of the comparative element which should allow historians to distinguish ‘which were systematic factors and which were of a purely local nature’. The editors set themselves an ambitious agenda and this essay aims to explore how the series has developed over the ten or so years since it commenced publication; the degree to which it has provided a platform for advancing the sub-discipline of urban history; and to consider some future directions which urban history might take.

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1 R.J. Morris, ‘Author's response’, Reviews in History, Mar. 2001. Accessed 11 Mar. 2008; Palliser, D.M., Clark, P. and Daunton, M. (eds.), The Cambridge Urban History of Britain, 3 vols. (Cambridge, 2000); Gunn, S. and Sweet, R., ‘Editorial’, Urban History, 35 (2008), 3. The association was founded in 1989 and the first conference was held in Amsterdam in 1992. Accessed 30 Apr. 2008.

2 See Jean-Luc Pinol (senior ed.), Histoire de l'Europe urbaine, 2 vols. (Paris, 2003).

3 The editors' preface appears in all of the volumes, but see for example, M. Gee and T. Kirk (eds.), Printed Matters: Priniting, Publishing and Urban Culture in Europe in the Modern Period (2002), x–xi. All volumes in the series were published in Aldershot.

4 F.-E. Eliassen and G.-A. Ersland (eds.), Power, Profit and Urban Land: Land Ownership in Medieval and Early Modern Northern European Towns (1996); P. Clark and B. Lepetit (eds.), Capital Cities and their Hinterlands in Early Modern Europe (1996); G. Crossick (ed.), The Artisan and the European Town, 1500–1900 (1997).

5 J. Miller, Urban Societies in East-Central Europe, 1500–1700 (2008); A. Cowan, Marriage, Manners and Mobility in Early Modern Venice (2007); D. Keene, B. Nagy and K. Szende (eds.), Segregation – Integration – Assimilation: Religious and Ethnic Groups in Medieval Towns of Central and Eastern Europe (forthcoming).

6 For example, A. Rodrick, Self-help and Civic Culture: Citizenship in Victorian Birmingham (2004); R. Colls and R. Rodger (eds.), Cities of Ideas: Citizenship and Governance in Urban Britain since 1800 (2004); K. Hill, Culture and Class in English Public Museums, 1850–1914 (2005); J. Moore and J. Smith (eds.), Corruption in Urban Politics and Society, Britain, 1780–1950 (2007).

7 J. Moore, The Transformation of Urban Liberalism: Party Politics and Urban Governance in Late Nineteenth-Century England (2006); J.V. Beckett, City Status in the British Isles, 1830–2002 (2005).

8 M.J. Miller, The Representation of Place: Urban Planning and Protest in France and Great Britain, 1950–1980 (2003); D. Pomfret, Young People and the European City: Age Relations in Nottingham and St Etienne, 1890–1940 (2004); S. Reynolds, Paris–Edinburgh: Cultural Connections in the Belle Epoch (2007); M. Niemi, Public Health and Municipal Policy Making: Britain and Sweden, 1900–1940 (2007); Håkan Forsell, Property, Tenancy and Urban Growth in Stockholm and Berlin, 1860–1920 (2006).

9 D. Calabi (Marlene Klein, trans.), The Market and the City: Square, Street and Architecture in Early Modern Europe (2004). This volume was originally published in Italian as Il mercato e la città: piazza, strade, architetture d'Europa in età moderna (Venezia, 1993).

10 R.J. Morris and R.H. Trainor (eds.), Urban Governance: Britain and Beyond since 1750 (2000); D. Schott, B. Luckin and G. Massard-Guilbaud (eds.), Resources of the City: Contributions to an Environmental History of Modern Europe (2005).

11 G. Morton, B. de Vries and R.J. Morris (eds.), Civil Society, Associations and Urban Places: Class, Nation and Culture in Nineteenth Century Europe (2006), features essays on nineteenth-century Trieste, Bratislava and cities in Austria, Italy and the Netherlands. Scandinavia is the focus of P. Clark (ed.), The European City and Green Space: London, Stockholm, Helsinki and St. Petersburg, 1850–2000 (2006); Niemi, Public Health; and Forsell, Property, Tenancy and Urban Growth.

12 In addition to editing and contributing to M. Dagenais, I. Maver and P.-Y. Saunier (eds.), Municipal Services and Employees in the Modern City: New Historic Approaches (2003), she has essays in Morris and Trainor (eds.), Urban Governance, and Schott et al. (eds.), Resources of the City. See also B. Young, ‘Patrician elites and power in 19th century Montreal and Quebec City’, in R. Roth and J. Wolfgang (eds.), Who Ran the Cities? City Elites and Urban Power Structures in Europe and North America, 1750–1940 (2007), 229–46.

13 For example essays by Sven Becker in Morton et al. (eds.), Civil Society, and Roth and Wolfgang (eds.), Who Ran the Cities?, or Joel Tarr and Clay McShane in Schott et al. (eds.), Resources of the City. The main vehicle for the dissemination of US urban history is the Journal of Urban History which concentrates almost exclusively on change in American cities. Urban History has appointed a US editorial board and editor to complement the North American book review editor.

14 Most prominently, P. Kidambi, The Making of an Indian Metropolis: Colonial Governance and Public Culture in Bombay, 1890–1920 (2007). See also Kidambi's Dyos Prize winning essay, ‘“An infection of locality”: plague, pythogenesis and the poor in Bombay, c. 1896–1905’, Urban History, 31 (2004), 249–67.

15 Pomfret, Young People, examines Nottingham and St Etienne, cities with similar economies and experiences of the early twentieth century.

16 Forsell, Property, Tenancy and Urban Growth.

17 Miller, Representation of Place which contrasts Glasgow and the French industrial town of Roubaix.

18 For a discussion of the relationship between social science and urban history in Britain see Richard Rodger and Roey Sweet, ‘The changing nature of urban history’, History in Focus, Accessed 2 May 2008.

19 Particularly important has been R.H. Trainor, ‘The “decline” of British urban governance since 1850: a reassessment’, in Morris and Trainor (eds.), Urban Governance.

20 See also Trentmann, F. and Hall, J.A. (eds.), Civil Society: A Reader in History, Theory and Global Politics (Basingstoke, 2005); and Morris, R.J., ‘Civil society and the nature of urbanism: Britain, 1750–1850’, Urban History, 25 (1998), 289–99. The latter is the introduction to a special issue of the journal based on the papers from the 1997 UHG conference.

21 Colls and Rodger (eds.), Cities of Ideas. For similar views on the eclipse of nineteenth- century education see Rodrick, Self-help and Civic Culture.

22 Morton et al. (eds.), Civil Society. For the classic statement see Morris, R.J., ‘Voluntary societies and British urban elites, 1780–1870: an analysis’, Historical Journal, 24 (1982), 95118.

23 Dagenais et al. (eds.), Municipal Services. For the interaction of politicians, governance and the municipal bureaucracy in Britain, see B.M. Doyle, ‘The changing functions of urban government: councillors, officials and pressure groups’, in Daunton (ed.), Cambridge Urban History, vol. III, 287–313. For a European perspective see Contemporary European History, 11 (2002), special issue on municipal connections edited by P.-Y. Saunier.

24 Moore, Urban Liberalism. Moore, J. and Rodger, R., ‘Municipal knowledge and policy networks in British local government, 1832–1914’, Yearbook of European Administrative History, 15 (2003), 239–57, which includes a number of other essays on European municipal urban structures.

25 Moore and Smith (eds.), Corruption; J. Garrard, Heads of the Local State: Mayors, Provosts and Burgomasters since 1800 (2007); Roth and Wolfgang (eds.), Who Ran the Cities?.

26 Morris, R.J., ‘Associations’, in Thompson, F.M.L. (ed.), The Cambridge Social History of Britain, vol. III: 1750–1950 (Cambridge, 1990), 395443; R.J. Morris, ‘Structure, culture and society in British towns’, in Daunton (ed.), Cambridge Urban History, vol. III, 395–426; Gunn, S., The Public Culture of the Victorian Middle Class: Ritual and Authority in the English Industrial City 1840–1914 (Manchester, 2000); Gunn, S., ‘Class, identity and the urban: the middle class in England, 1800–1950’, Urban History, 31 (2004), 119.

27 The rise of cultural history has seen the launch of the new journal, Cultural and Social History, by the Social History Society. Though predominantly empirical in focus, the journal has debated the form and status of cultural history, notably Mandler, P., ‘The problem with cultural history’, Cultural and Social History, 1 (2004), 94117; responses by C. Hesse, C. Jones and C. Watts, 201–24, and a reply by Mandler at 326–32.

28 J.P. Lorente, Cathedrals of Urban Modernity: The First Museums of Contemporary Art, 1800–1930 (1998); Hill, Culture and Class; Reynolds, Paris–Edinburgh.

29 There have been some important recent studies of national museums, especially Prior, N., Museums and Modernity: Art Galleries and the Making of Modern Culture (Oxford, 2002); Whitehead, C., The Public Art Museum in Nineteeth-Century Britain: The Development of the National Gallery (Aldershot, 2005).

30 Nash, D., Secularism, Art and Freedom (Leicester, 1992).

31 Rodrick, Self-Help and Civic Culture, e.g. 51–2

32 C. Wischermann and E. Shore (eds.), Advertising and the European City: Historical Perspectives (2000); Gee and Kirk (eds.), Printed Matters.

33 Three important texts exploring modernity in Germany and Britain are McElligott, A., The German Urban Experience, 1900–1945: Modernity and Crisis (London, 2001); Nava, M. and O'Shea, A. (eds.), Modern Times: Reflections on a Century of English Modernity (London, 1996); Daunton, M. and Rieger, B. (eds.), Meanings of Modernity: Britain from the Late Victorian Era to World War II (Oxford, 2001).

34 P. Fritzsche, ‘Readers, browsers, strangers, spectators: narrative forms and metropolitan encounters in twentieth century Berlin’, in Gee and Kirk (eds.), Printed Matters, 88–104. The relation between advertising, spectacle and commodity culture is explored in a British context by Richards, T., The Commodity Culture of Victorian England: Advertising and Spectacle, 1851–1914 (Stanford, 1991).

35 Colls and Rodger (eds.), Cities of Ideas; Gunn, Public Culture, especially the epilogue. See also Morris, ‘Structure, culture and society’, for a less pessimistic view.

36 Cannadine, D. and Reeder, D. (eds.), Exploring the Urban Past: Essays in Urban History by H.J. Dyos (Cambridge, 1982); Daunton (ed.), Cambridge Urban History, vol. III.

37 Though see J. Stobart and A. Owens (eds.), Urban Fortunes: Property and Inheritance in the Town, 1700–1900 (2000); Forsell, Property, Tenancy and Urban Growth.

38 N. Canefe, ‘One Cyprus or many? Turkish Cypriot history in Nicosia’; K. Cowman, ‘The battle of the boulevards: class, gender and the purpose of public space in later Victorian Liverpool’; D.Y. Ghirardo, ‘Space, race and identity in the Pueblo of Los Angeles’, in S. Gunn and R.J. Morris, Identities in Space: Contested Terrains in the Western City since 1850 (2001), 60–78, 152–64.

39 Ford, G.Constructing a regional identity: the Christian Social Union and Bavaria's common heritage, 1949–1964’, Contemporary European History, 16 (2007), 277–97; Morris, R.J., ‘The capitalist, the professor and the soldier: the re-making of Edinburgh Castle, 1850–1900’, Planning Perspectives, 22 (2007), 5578; Koshar, R. (ed.), Histories of Leisure (Oxford, 2002).

40 Cowman, ‘Battle of the boulevards’.

41 For Miller's distinction see Representation of Place, 1–24.

42 A. Mayne, The Imagined Slum: Newspaper Representation in Three Cities 1870–1914 (Leicester, 1993); Mayne, A., ‘A barefoot childhood. So what?’, Urban History, 22 (1995), 380–91; Englander, D., ‘Urban history or urban historicism? A response to Alan Mayne’, Urban History, 22 (1995), 380–91; Bill Luckin, ‘Revisiting the slums in Manchester and Salford in the 1930s’, in B.M. Doyle (ed.), Urban Politics and Space in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Regional Perspectives (Newcastle, 2007), 134–47.

43 Koven, S., Slumming: Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London (Princeton, 2004); Houlbrook, M., Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918–1957 (Chicago, 2005); Pike, D.L., Subterranean Cities: The World beneath Paris and London, 1800–1945 (Ithaca and London, 2005); Fritzsche, P., Reading Berlin 1900 (Cambridge, MA, 1996).

44 Gender and ethnicity are particularly significant in the urban history of the United States, with local studies of the ‘modern’ period dominated by these concerns. See particularly the work of Zane L. Miller, most recently Visions of Place: The City, Neighbourhoods, Suburbs and Cincinnati's Clifton, 1850–2000 (Columbus, 2001), Timothy Fong's review essay, ‘Epidemics, racial anxiety and community formation: Chinese Americans in Francisco’, San, Urban History, 30 (2003), 401–6, and the Journal of Urban History.

45 Morris, R.J., Men, Women and Property in England, 1780–1870. A Social and Economic History of Family Strategies amongst the Leeds Middle Classes (Cambridge, 2005).

46 Dyos, H.J., Victorian Suburb: A Study of the Growth of Camberwell (Leicester, 1961); Morris, Men, Women and Property; R. Rodger, The Transformation of Edinburgh: Land, Property and Trust in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 2001).

47 Stobart and Owens (ed.), Urban Fortunes. See also M. Winstanley, ‘Owners and occupiers: property, politics and middle-class formation in early industrial Lancashire’, in A.J. Kidd and D. Nicholls (eds.), The Making of the British Middle Class? Studies of Regional and Cultural Diversity since the Eighteenth Century (Stroud, 1998), 92–112.

48 Forsell, Property, Tenancy and Urban Growth; Rodger, Transformation of Edinburgh.

49 In addition see the work of Helen Meller, such as European Cities 1890–1930s: History, Culture and the Built Environment (London, 2001).

50 Conway, H., People's Parks: The Design and Development of Victorian Parks in Britain (Cambridge, 1991), and Conway, H.Everyday landscapes: public parks from 1930 to 2000’, Garden History, 28 (2000), 117–34.

51 A. Kitaev, ‘Red parks: green space in Leningrad, 1917–1990’, in Clark, European City and Green Space, 289–305. See also Bittner, S.V., ‘Green cities and orderly streets: space and culture in Moscow, 1928–33’, Journal of Urban History, 25 (1998), 2256.

52 R. Lee and K. Layton-Jones, Places of Health and Amusement: Liverpool's Historic Parks and Gardens (Informed Conservation) (Liverpool, 2008). See also the 2008 conference, Vauxhall Revisited: Pleasure Gardens and their Publics, 1660–1880, Accessed 25 Jul. 2008.

53 J. Conlin, ‘Vauxhall on the boulevard: pleasure gardens in London and Paris’, and P. Elliott, S. Daniels and C. Watkins, ‘The Nottingham Arboretum (1852): natural history, leisure and public culture in a Victorian regional centre’, both in Urban History, 35 (2008), 24–47 and 48–71.

54 Morris, R.J., Cholera, 1832: The Social Response to an Epidemic (London, 1976); Evans, R.J., Death in Hamburg: Society and Politics in the Cholera Years, 1830–1910 (Oxford, 1987).

55 See also Isenberg, A.C. (ed.), The Nature of Cities: Culture, Landscape and Urban Space (Rochester, 2006), for a largely American vision of urban environmental contest.

56 B. Luckin, ‘Pollution in the city’, in Daunton, Cambridge Urban History, vol. III, 207–28; Platt, H.L., Shock Cities: The Environmental Transformation and Reform of Manchester and Chicago (Chicago, 2005).

57 Christoph Bernhardt (ed.), Environmental Problems in European Cities in the 19th and 20th Century. Umweltprobleme in europäischen Städten des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts (Münster, 2001); C. Bernhardt and G. Massard-Guilbaud (eds.), Le démon moderne: la pollution dans les sociétés urbaines et industrielles d'Europe/The Modern Demon: Pollution in Urban and Industrial European Societies (Clermont-Ferrand, 2002).

58 For a recent discussion see B. Luckin, ‘Environmental justice, history and the city: the United States and Britain, 1970–2000’, in Schott et al. (eds.), Resources of the City, 230–45.

59 For example S. Mosley, The Chimney of the World: A History of Smoke Pollution in Victorian and Edwardian Manchester (Cambridge, 2001).

60 The European Association for the History of Medicine and Health Conference 2007, ‘Environment, Health and History’, University of London. Accessed 25 Jul. 2008.

61 S. Sheard and H. Power (eds.), Body and City: Histories of Urban Public Health (2000); Niemi, Public Health.

62 Jordanova, Ludmilla, ‘The social construction of medical knowledge’, Social History of Medicine, 8 (1995), 361–81.

63 Shapely, P., Charity and Power in Nineteenth Century Manchester (Manchester, 2000).

64 Luckin, B., ‘Revisiting the idea of degeneration in urban Britain, 1830–1900’, Urban History, 33 (2006), 234–52; Luckin, ‘Revisiting the slums in Manchester and Salford in the 1930s’.

65 Niemi, Public Health.

66 Kidambi, Indian Metropolis.

67 A. Cowan and J. Steward (eds.), The City and the Senses: Urban Culture since 1500 (2007).

68 For example the special issue on ‘Music and urban history’, Urban History, 29, 1 (2002); special issue of Cultural and Social History on music, 5, 1 (2008); D. Vaillant, Sounds of Reform: Progressivism and Music in Chicago, 1873–1935 (Chapel Hill, 2003).

69 The Five Senses in the Enlightenment, Birmingham Eighteenth-Century Centre: University of Birmingham 17–18 May 2008. See also the work of Jenner, Mark, such as ‘Civilization and deodorization? Smell in early modern English culture’, in Burke, P., Harrison, B. and Slack, P. (eds.), Civil Histories: Essays Presented to Sir Keith Thomas (Oxford, 2000), 127–44.

70 Pomfret, Young People; A. Schildt and D. Siegfried (eds.), European Cities, Youth and the Public Sphere in the Twentieth Century (2005).

71 For example Hall, S. and Jefferson, T. (eds.), Resistance through Rituals (London, 1976). Osgerby, B., Youth in Britain since 1945 (Oxford, 1998), provides a good general introduction to the literature and the politics of youth.

72 Fowler, D., The First Teenagers: The Lifestyle of Young Wage-Earners in Interwar Britain (London, 1995); Wegs, J.R., Growing up Working Class: Continuity and Change among Viennese Youth, 1890- 1938 (University Park, 1989); A. McElligott, German Urban Experience; Fenemore, M., Sex, Thugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll: Teenage Rebels in Cold-War East Germany (Oxford, 2007).

73 Lancaster, B., The Department Store: A Social History (London, 1995); Rappaport, E., Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of London's West End (Princeton, 2000); G. Crossick and S. Jaumain (eds.), Cathedrals of Consumption: The European Department Store, 1850–1939 (1999); C. Breward, The Hidden Consumer: Masculinities, Fashion and City Life, 1860–1914 (Manchester, 1999). Breward has recently been involved in a major project with David Gilbert to map the development of retailing and fashion spaces in post-war London. Results can be seen in Shopping Routes: Networks of Fashion Consumption in London's West End 1945–1979, a special issue of The London Journal edited by David Gilbert, 31 (2006).

74 Studies of the urban working class of western Europe are legion but key texts could include J. Foster, Class Struggle and the Industrial Revolution: Early Industrial Capitalism in Three English Towns (London, 1974); Evans, R.J. (ed.), The German Working Class, 1888–1933: The Politics of Everyday Life (London, 1982); Merriman, J., The Red City: Limoges and the French Nineteenth Century (New York, 1985).

75 Crossick, G. and Haupt, H.-G., The Petite Bourgeoisie in Europe, 1780–191: Enterprise, Family and Independence (London and New York, 1997).

76 A. Borsay and P. Shapely (eds.), Medicine, Charity and Mutual Aid: The Consumption of Health and Welfare in Britain, c.1550–1950 (2007).

77 See also Daunton, M. (ed.), Charity, Self-interest and Welfare in the English Past: 1500 to the Present (London, 1996); Barry, J. and Jones, C. (eds.), Medicine and Charity before the Welfare State (London, 1994).

78 R. Rodger and J. Herbert (eds.), Testimonies of the City: Identity, Community and Change in a Contemporary Urban World (2007); Keene et al. (eds.), Segregation – Integration – Assimilation.

79 Rodger and Herbert (eds.), Testimonies of the City. See also J. Herbert, Negotiating Boundaries in the City: Migration, Ethnicity, and Gender in Britain (2007).

80 Miller, Representation of Place.

81 Though see the Planning History and the Environment Series edited by Anthony Sutcliffe for Routledge which includes A. Almandoz (ed.), Planning Latin America's Capital Cities, 1850–1950 (London, 2002); Home, R., Of Planting and Planning: The Making of British Colonial Cities (London, 1996); and Hamnett, S. and Freestone, R. (eds.), Australian Metropolis: A Planning History (London, 1999).

82 For example, A. Burton, ‘“Brothers by day”: colonial policing in Dar es Salaam’ (winner of the Dyos Prize for 2003), Urban History, 30 (2003), 63–91; Bun, K. Man, ‘Chinese urban history: four cheers’, Urban History, 29 (2002), 254–61; Taylor, J.E., ‘Colonial Takao: the making of a southern metropolis’, Urban History, 31 (2004), 4871; Thakur, R., ‘Mechanisms of urban growth in India: AD 600–1200, Urban History, 29 (2002), 187–96; Frasch, T., ‘Urban growth in India AD 600–1200: a comment’, Urban History, 31 (2004), 118–20; Almandoz, A., ‘The intelligentsia's two visions of urban modernity: Gómez's Caracas, 1908–35’, Urban History, 28 (2001), 84105; Martland, S.J., ‘Progress illuminating the world: street lighting in Santiago, Valparaiso and La Plata, 1840–90’, Urban History, 29 (2002), 223–38.

83 For example, Jiménez, C.M., ‘Performing their right to the city: political uses of public space in a Mexican city, 1880–1910s’, Urban History, 33 (2006), 435–56.

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