Beyond the metropolis

The changing image of urban Britain, 1780-1880

By Katy Layton-Jones

Beyond the metropolis


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9969-4
  • Pages: 216
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: February 2016
  • BIC Category: United Kingdom, Great Britain, Industrialisation & industrial history, History & Archaeology, European history, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, Humanities / Social & cultural history, c 1500 onwards to present day, Humanities / British & Irish history, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, HISTORY / Social History, Modern History, History


Dark satanic mills, cobbled streets and cholera have become common shorthand for the nineteenth-century British town. Over the past century historical reality has merged seamlessly with mythology, literature and caricature to create a dramatic but utterly misleading representation of the urban past. Drawing on pictorial and ephemeral sources that shaped the popular image of British towns, Beyond the metropolis revises our understanding of urbanisation, its representation and interpretation throughout the long nineteenth century. In contrast to myriad publications that address London exclusively, this book examines images that reflect the growing political, social and cultural significance of British provincial towns in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. Covering locations from Bristol to Leeds, Glasgow to Birmingham and Manchester to Swansea, it employs hitherto unexplored visual and ephemeral sources to reveal a complex and compelling new narrative of British urbanisation.


'Layton-Jones's Beyond the Metropolis currently holds a prominent position on my bookshelf for both teaching and research. It has already been ordered for students taking my nineteenth-century urban history module. There is perhaps no stronger praise of a book than this.'
Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire & Cheshire


1. The urban prospect
2. The town on show
3. Improving the urban image
4. Advertising the town
5. Crucibles of liberty and ruin


Katy Layton-Jones is a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester and an Associate Lecturer at the Open University

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