In 1800 London was already the largest city in the world, and over the course of the next century its population grew rapidly, reaching over seven million by 1914. Historians have often depicted London after the Industrial Revolution as an industrial backwater that declined into the mass exploitation of labour through 'sweating', dominated by City and merchant interests. This book instead argues that London was a centre of nineteenth-century British economic growth. Modern economic theories of cities are used to explain the causes of metropolitan economic development, and emphasis is placed on the changing role of the metropolis within Britain and the wider world economy.
Individual chapters comprehensively survey a wide variety of topics including:
population and migration
standards of living
employment and industry
changes in retailing and leisure
social welfare and local government
post and telecommunications.
The evolution of London did not occur on purely free market terms - the supply of urban services is an important component of metropolitan history, particularly in the changing relationship between government and private endeavour. This fascinating history of a remarkable city will appeal to a wide audience from amateur to specialist interests in economics, history, urban studies and geography.