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The perpetual fair : gender, disorder, and urban amusement in eighteenth-century London / Anne Wohlcke.

  • Wohlcke, Anne
  • Books

About this work

Also known as

Gender, disorder, and urban amusement in eighteenth-century London


Each summer, a 'perpetual fair' plagued eighteenth-century London, a city in transition overrun by a burgeoning population. City officials attempted to control disorderly urban amusement according to their own gendered understandings of order and morality. Frequently derided as locations of dangerous femininity disrupting masculine commerce, fairs withstood regulation attempts. Fairs were important in the lives of ordinary Londoners as sites of women's work, sociability, and local and national identity formation. Rarely studied as vital to London's modernisation, urban fairs are a microcosm of London's transforming society demonstrating how metropolitan changes were popularly contested. This study contributes to our understanding of popular culture and modernisation in Britain during the formative years of its global empire. Fascinating examples drawn from literary and visual culture make this an engaging study for scholars and students of late Stuart and early Georgian Britain, urban and gender history, World's Fairs, and cultural studies. --Provided by publisher.


Manchester ; New York : Manchester University Press, 2014.

Physical description

x, 246 pages : black and white illustrations, maps ; 23 cm.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 219-236) and index.


Introduction: Making a mannered metroplis and taming the 'perpetual fair' -- 'London's Mart': The crowds and culture of eighteenth-century London fairs -- 'Heroick Informers' and London spies: Religion, politeness, and reforming impulses in late seventeenth-and early eighteenth -century London -- Regulation and resistance: Wayward apprentices and other 'evil disposed persons' at London's fairs -- 'Dirty Molly' and 'The Greasier Kate': The feminine threat to urban order -- Locating the fair sex at work -- Clocks, monsters, and drolls: Gender, race, nation, and the amusements of London fairs.



  • English

Where to find it

  • Location

    History of Medicine CBW.43.AA7


    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 0719090911
  • 9780719090912