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The political space of Chancery Lane, c.1760-1815

Citation: Boorman, Francis Calvert (2013) The political space of Chancery Lane, c.1760-1815. Doctoral thesis, University of London.

This is a study of Chancery Lane from the accession of George III in 1760 until the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815, a time of explosive growth in London and rapid change to the society, economy and politics of Britain. The aim of this thesis is to explain the relationship between space and political activity in part of London, connecting local and national issues and adding to our understanding of the political geography of the capital. The locality around Chancery Lane is an important focus for study because it is an area of transition between the oft-studied centres of Westminster and the City, spanning the border between the two and falling into an exceptional number of different parochial jurisdictions. It is an area that has received little attention from historians, although it reveals much about the political dynamics of the metropolis. Chancery Lane was an interstice within the city, a position which profoundly influenced community politics and daily life. Using a broad range of source material, including newspapers, parochial records, histories, maps and guides of London, satires, poetry, prints and the records of Lincoln's Inn, this thesis examines political culture, built environment, policing, crime, prostitution, social policy and political associations in the area around Chancery Lane. Chancery Lane was at the heart of 'legal London' and lawyers played an important role in local politics. This thesis furthers our relatively poor understanding of the social and political history of lawyers, and in particular the ways in which their developing professional status shaped their interaction with the local community. Chancery Lane was liminal in the standard bipolar conceptualisation of London and it is discussed how local people responded to the challenges that presented, in terms of their preoccupation with respectability, independence and urban improvement.

Creators: Boorman, Francis Calvert and
Subjects: History
Divisions: Institute of Historical Research
Collections: Theses and Dissertations
  • 2013 (completed)


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