Elizabeth McKellar

The birth of modern London

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The period 1660–1720 saw the foundation of modern London. The city was transformed post-Fire from a tight warren of medieval timber-framed buildings into a vastly expanded, regularised landscape of brick houses laid out in squares and spacious streets. This work for the first time examines in detail the building boom and the speculative developers who created that landscape. It offers a wealth of new information on their working practices, the role of craftsmen and the design thinking which led to the creation of a new prototype for English housing. The book concentrates on the mass-produced houses of 'the middling sort' which saw the adoption of classicism on a large scale in this country for the first time. McKellar shows, however, that the 'new city' maintained a surprising degree of continuity with existing patterns of urban used and traditional architecture. The book presents the late seventeenth and the early eighteenth century as a distinct phase in London's architectural development and offers a radical reinterpretations of the adoption of Renaissance styles and ideas at the level of the everyday, challenging conventional interpretations of their use and reception in this country.
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431 printed pages
Original publication



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