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Controlling a complex metropolis, 1650-1750: politics, parishes and powers

By Vanessa Harding


The period from 1650 to 1750 was not characterised by major institutional innovation in the government of London, let alone revolutionary structural change. The contrast between the centralised and well-organised government of the City and the atomised and somewhat improvised governmental institutions of the rest of the metropolis was as striking in 1750 as it was in 1650. However, the nature of government changed. The power relations between national and local government shifted, as did the scope and competence of administrative activity. Many of the characteristic features of London's governance as it is today emerged or became significant within this period. This paper focuses on three main developments in London's government. The overarching one is the politicisation of the process of choosing or identifying the governors of London, and the increased significance in national party-politics of the stance of London's governors. Underpinning this is the financial revolution and the invention of 'the City' as we understand the term. Thirdly, local government in the rest of London, while still fairly ad hoc in its institutions, began to respond to heightened expectations of the quality of life in the metropolis, but encountered a number of new problems, notably that of accountability

Topics: hca
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Year: 2001
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