Centre for Urban history


This list provides information about some of our publications. Further details of these and other publications produced by staff in the Centre for Urban History can be found within individual staff pages.

Automobility and the City in Twentieth- Century Britain and Japan
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Author: Simon Gunn and Susan C. Townsend

Book cover of Automobility and the City in Twentieth- Century Britain and Japan by Simon Gunn & Susan C. Townsend

Automobility and the City in Twentieth-Century Britain and Japan is the first book to consider how mass motorization reshaped cities in Japan and Britain during the 20th century. Taking two leading 'motor cities', Nagoya and Birmingham, as their principal subjects, Simon Gunn and Susan C. Townsend show how cars changed the spatial form and individual experience of the modern city and reveal the similarities and differences between Japan and Britain in adapting to the 'motor age'.

Building the Irish Courthouse and Prison A political history 1750-1850
Publisher: Cork University Press
Author: Richard Butler

Book cover title, Building the Irish Courthouse and Prison A political history 1750-1850 by Dr Richard Butler

This book is the first national history of the building of some of Ireland’s most important historic public buildings. Focusing on the former assize courthouses and county gaols, it tells a political history of how they were built, who paid for them, and the effects they had on urban development in Ireland.
Using extensive archival sources, it delves in unprecedented detail into the politics and personalities of county grand jurors, Protestant landed society, government prison inspectors, charities, architects, and engineers, who together oversaw a wave of courthouse and prison construction in Ireland in an era of turbulent domestic and international change. It investigates the extent to which these buildings can be seen as the legacy of the British or imperial state, especially after the Act of Union, and thus contributes to ongoing debates within post-colonial studies regarding the built environment. Richly illustrated with over 300 historic drawings, photographs and maps, this book analyses how and why these historic buildings came to exist. It discusses crime, violence and political and agrarian unrest in Ireland during the years when Protestant elites commissioned such extensive new public architecture. The book will be of interest to academic and popular audiences curious to learn more about Irish politics, culture, society and especially its rich architectural heritage.


Cambridge Social and Cultural Histories, Cities and the Grand Tour, The British in Italy, c. 1690-1820
Publisher: Cambridge
Author: Rosemary Sweet

Book cover of Cambridge Social and Cultural Histories, Cities and the Grand Tour, The British in Italy, c. 1690-1820 by Professor Rosemary Sweet

How did eighteenth-century travellers experience, describe and represent the urban environments they encountered as they made the Grand Tour? This fascinating book focuses on the changing responses of the British to the cities of Florence, Rome, Naples and Venice, during a period of unprecedented urbanisation at home. Drawing on a wide range of unpublished material, including travel accounts written by women, Rosemary Sweet explores how travel literature helped to create and perpetuate the image of a city; what the different meanings and imaginative associations attached to these cities were; and how the contrasting descriptions of each of these cities reflected the travellers' own attitudes to urbanism. More broadly, the book explores the construction and performance of personal, gender and national identities, and the shift in cultural values away from neo-classicism towards medievalism and the gothic, which is central to our understanding of eighteenth-century culture and the transition to modernity.


Cricket Country An Indian Odyssey in the Age of Empire
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Author: Prashant Kidambi

Shortlisted for the 2020 Wolfson History Prize

Book cover of Cricket Country An Indian Odyssey in the Age of Empire, by Dr Prashant Kidambi

An Indian Odyssey in the Age of Empire
Prashant Kidambi

  • Drawing on an unparalleled range of original archival sources, Cricket Country is the story of this first 'All India' national cricket tour of Great Britain and Ireland.
  • The extraordinary tale of how the idea of India took shape on the cricket pitch long before the country gained its political independence.
  • A tale with an improbable cast of characters, set against the backdrop of revolutionary protest in the high noon of Edwardian imperialism, with an Indian team that included the young, newly enthroned, ruler of the most powerful Sikh state in India as its captain and, remarkably for the day, two Dalit cricketers as well.
  • Over the course of a historic tour in the blazing Coronation summer of 1911, these Indian cricketers participated in a collective enterprise that epitomizes the role played by sport in fashioning the imagined communities of both nation and empire.

Urbanizing China in War and Peace, The Case if Wuxi County
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Author: Toby Lincoln

Book cover of Urbanizing China in War and Peace, The Case if Wuxi County by Toby Lincoln

Urbanizing China in War and Peace rewrites the history of rural-urban relations in the first half of the twentieth century by arguing that urbanization is a total societal transformation and as important a factor as revolution, nationalism, or modernity in the history of modern China. Linking the global and the local in space and time, China's urbanization was not only driven by industrial capitalism and the expansion of the state, but also shaped how these forces influenced daily life in the city and the countryside. Although the conflict that beset China after the Japanese invasion in 1937 affected the development of cities, towns, and villages, it did not derail previous changes. To truly understand how China has emerged as the world's largest urban society, we must consider such continuities across the first half of the twentieth century—during periods of war as well as peace.

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