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London Talks: The Arcades and Bazaars of the West End in the 19th Century
  • Category
    Talks and Discussions
  • Date(s)
    06 December 2017
  • Time
    7:00 PM
  • Price
  • Concs.
London Talks: The Arcades and Bazaars of the West End in the 19th Century
19:00 - 20:00

How did the West End of London become one of the world's great pleasure districts? In this talk Professor Rohan McWilliam explores that apart from providing theatre, in the nineteenth century the West End grew into a distinctive shopping district which catered for the demands of the rich who roamed Bond Street and Regent Street seeking out the latest fashions. At the same time, arcades were built to create sites of comfortable and stylish consumerism.  The Burlington Arcade (completed in 1819) was associated with prestige shopping but also became linked to prostitution, and managed to outrage the middle class public. Another development was the emergence of the bazaar. Orientalist in form, it took its inspiration from eastern shopping marts with a wide range of goods laid out for the delectation of customers. These arcades and bazaars created a template for modern shopping, and shaped the department store of the later nineteenth century and the shopping mall of the twentieth century.
Rohan McWilliam is Professor of History at Anglia Ruskin University In Cambridge. He is the author of The Tichborne Claimant: A Victorian Sensation (2007) and editor of Labour and the Left in the 1980s (2017). At present, he is at work on a history of the West End of London.

Part of the London Talks series.

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