Jerry White's Books

London in the Eighteenth Century

London in the Eighteenth Century - jacketBy 1700, after half a century of relentless expansion, London had overtaken Paris to become the largest – if disputably the finest – city in Europe. A striking feature of this monster city in 1700 was its newness. In September 1666 some three-fifths of the City of London had been destroyed in the Great Fire. The losses were immense – 13,200 houses were burnt to the ground and so were most of the great public buildings, including St Paul's Cathedral.

London in the Eighteenth Century details the growth of the city and urban change; the make-up of the Londoner from home and abroad; ways of earning a living from banking to begging; the public pleasures of London and the crime and prostitution that accompanied them; the tightening sinews of power and discipline; and the hesitant beginnings of London democracy.

"White is one of our great chroniclers of London and this beautifully written, impeccably researched and incredibly generous book is a necessity for those of us who are not yet tired of life." - The Sunday Telegraph

"A dazzling and dramatic narrative... a must for anyone seriously interested in London's history" - Evening Standard

"White brings a diligence and contagious zest that may serve to discourage anyone from ever tackling the subject again" - Sunday Times

"A brilliant account of the bursting, overflowing city, with its glittering wealth and harrowing poverty... A work of undoubted academic authority... yet it is also a poetic evocation" - Financial Times

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London: The Story of a Great City

London: The Story of a Great City jacketNo city can lay claim to a more dramatic history than London. Engulfed in calamities that seemed to mark its end - fire, plague, riot, civil war, mass bombing - from each crisis it has emerged stronger than ever. Its cultural life, and the long heritage that underpins it, has made London one of the most visited and best-loved places on Earth. It is this extraordinary story that "London: The Story of a Great City" encapsulates: the rise of the city from a remote outpost of Rome's northern empire; the growth of trade that sent money and ships to every corner of the earth; the roll-call of great Londoners from Shakespeare to Dickens, from Cromwell to Churchill; the strength of its institutions, Parliament prominent among them; the endurance of its people in the face of disaster and war; its innovations in enterprise and pleasure; its dark side in crime and mayhem; and, the positive example it gives the world as a tolerant city in the face of global movements of people.

For its lavish illustrations and memorabilia, this book draws on the fabulous resources of the Museum of London, one of the world's great city museums. The Museum's uniquely rich collections illuminates the whole of London's history through artefacts, documents, maps, paintings and photographs.

"White's narrative is lively and engaging, and the facsimiles are well's also great fun" - Sunday Telegraph

"The new history of the capital" - Time Out

"..relentlessly cheerful....The facsimiles are very finely reproduced" - Times Literary Supplement

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London in the Twentieth Century

London in the Twentieth Century - hardback jacketLondon in the Twentieth Century - paperback jacketIn 1901, London was the greatest city the world had seen in size, wealth and grandeur. Yet it was also a city where poverty and disease were rife. London in 2001 was no longer among the world's very largest cities, but was still one where vast wealth was displayed - alongside beggars sleeping rough. Such paradoxes are among the defining experiences of living in London in this extraordinary century, and in this colourful book Jerry White tells the story not just of London, but of Londoners too. He examines the changes on the worlds of work, transport, popular culture, politics and government and shows how London affects its inhabitants, shaping their lives and being shaped in turn by them.

Beautifully illustrated and with a wealth of detail, this is a definitive and highly readable history of London in the twentieth century

"A brilliant, acclaimed book which examines one of the world's greatest cities during one of the most tumultuous centuries"

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London in the Nineteenth Century

London in the Nineteenth CenturyLondon in the Nineteenth Century - paperback jacketLondon in the nineteenth century was the greatest city mankind had ever seen. Its wealth was dazzling. Its horrors shocked the world. As William Blake put it, London was ‘a Human awful wonder of God’. It was a century of genius - of Blake, Thackeray and Mayhew, of Nash, Faraday, Disraeli and Dickens.

Jerry White’s dazzling book is the first in a hundred years to explore London’s history over the nineteenth century as a whole. We see the destruction of old London and the city’s unparalleled suburban expansion. We see how London absorbed people from all over Britain, from Europe and the Empire. We see how Londoners worked and played. Most of all, we see how they tried to make sense of their city and make it a better place in which to live. Emerging clearly from this eloquent and richly-detailed overview is the London we see about us today.

"Quite extraordinary... The writing is extremely lucid, colourful and, though he does not shrink from the occasional technical word, the author presents his subject in a very readable story" - BBC Who Do You Think You Are Magazine

"Meticulously researched and full of often engaging detail" - The Guardian

"Both exhaustive and detailed: both scholarly... and human... irresistible" - BBC History Magazine

"From a prize winning historian, a fresh and energetic look at a century of frenzied growth" - The Sunday Times

“A dazzling and dramatic narrative”London Evening Standard

“Magisterial”The Observer

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Campbell Bunk: The Worst Street in London Between the Wars

Campbell Bunk jacketFrom the 1880s to World War II, Campbell Road, Finsbury Park (known as Campbell Bunk), had a notorious reputation for violence, for breeding thieves and prostitutes, and for an enthusiastic disregard for law and order. It was the object of reform by church, magistrates, local authorities and scientists, who left many traces of their attempts to improve what became known as "the worse street in North London". In all that record, the voice of Campbell Bunk itself was silent. Campbell Road was eventually cleared as a slum in the 1950s.

This title provides insight into the realities of life in a "slum" community, showing how it changed over a 90-year period. The author uses extensive oral history to describe in detail the years between the wars, revealing complex lessons between the new world opening up (especially for young women) in Campbell Bunk and the street's traditional culture of economic individualism, crime, street theatre and domestic violence.

"A more lucid and penetrating analysis of an urban slum would be hard to imagine….a most subtle and powerful evocation of life and labour." - The Guardian

"A brilliant and searching study….I do not believe that even Henry Mayhew could have done greater or more sympathetic justice to the memory ``Campbell Bunk’’ and its inhabitants." - Victor Neuberg, British Book News

"This is an enthralling book which comes as near as possible to understanding an urban community in its environment. It deserves to become a classic" - Emrys Jones, Planning Perspectives

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Rothschild Buildings: Life in an East-End Tenement Block, 1887-1920

Rothschild Buildings jacketRothschild Buildings were typical of the 'model dwellings for the working classes' which were such an important part of the response to late-Victorian London's housing problem. They were built for poor but respectable Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, and the community which put down roots there was to be characteristic of the East End Jewish working class in its formative years. By talking to people who grew up in the Buildings in the 1890s and after, and using untapped documentary evidence from a wide range of public and private sources, the author re-creates the richly detailed life of that community and its relations with the economy and culture around it. The book shows how cramped and austere housing was made into homes; how the mechanism of class domination, of which the Buildings were part, was both accepted and fought against; how a close community was riven with constantly shifting tensions; and how that community co-existed in surprising ways with the East End casual poor of 'outcast London'. It provides unique and fascinating insights into immigrant and working-class life at the turn of the last century.

"Jerry White has written a moving and richly detailed history of those times and those people. They are recalled like a lost tribe, revealing the extraordinary courage of ordinary people in their day-to-day battle for existence." - Bernard Kops, The Guardian

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