New Book | The Scottish Town in the Age of the Enlightenment

Posted in books by Editor on November 17, 2014

From Edinburgh UP:

Bob Harris and Charles McKean, The Scottish Town in the Age of the Enlightenment, 1740–1820 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014), 640 pages, (hardcover) ISBN: 978-0748692569, $165 / (softcover) ISBN: 978-0748692576, $50.

9780748692569_p0_v1_s600This heavily illustrated and innovative study is founded upon personal documents, town council minutes, legal cases, inventories, travellers’ tales, plans and drawings relating to some 30 Scots burghs of the Georgian period. It establishes a distinctive history for the development of Scots burghs, their living patterns and legislative controls, and shows that the Scottish urban experience was quite different from other parts of Britain.

With population expansion, and economic and social improvement, Scots of the time experienced immense change both in terms of urban behaviour and the decay of ancient privileges and restrictions. This volume shows how the Scots Georgian burgh developed to become a powerfully controlled urban community, with disturbance deliberately designed out.

This is a collaborative history, melding together political, social, economic, urban and architectural histories, to achieve a comprehensive perspective on the nature of the Scottish Georgian town. Not so much a history by growth and numbers, this pioneering study of Scottish urbanization explores the type
of change and the quality of result.

Bob Harris is a lecturer in British History at the University of Oxford. He is a prolific historian who has written on many aspects of British politics and social and cultural history in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. His publications include: A Patriot Press (Oxford, 1993); Politics and the Nation: Britain in the Mid-Eighteenth Century (Oxford, 2002); and Scotland in the Age of the French Revolution (Edinburgh, 2005).

The late Charles McKean was Professor of Scottish Architectural History at the University of Dundee and considered the pre-eminent historian of Scottish buildings and towns. He is author of: The Scottish Thirties: An Architectural Introduction (Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh, 1987); For a Wee Country: Architectural Contributions to Scotland since 1840 (RIAS, Edinburgh, 1990); Edinburgh Portrait of a City (Century, London, 1993); and The Making of the Museum of Scotland (NMS, Edinburgh, 2000).

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊



Part I: Towns and Improvement
1  Scottish towns in context
2  Urban improvement
3  Urban embellishment and public buildings
4  A tale of five towns

Part II: Society and Culture
5  Middling ranks, homes and possessions
6  Cultural life: transformation and adaptation
7  ‘Community’, order, and the stability of the burgh


Appendix: Improvement Profiles


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