Period 4: London—Capital of Empire, 1871–1914
This introduction develops the theme of London’s rapid expansion and transformation into a modern city, with improved transportation by Underground Railway, electric trams and the omnibus, and unimaginably fast communication via the telegraph and (later) the telephone. It considers the dissemination of literature through the development of periodical publication and the ‘railway novel’, and the rise of free public libraries established through the Public Libraries Act of 1850. The introduction also contemplates London’s morally ambivalent role as the capital of an empire covering a quarter of the globe (as highlighted by the Diamond Jubilee of 1897), and social developments such as the ‘scandalous’ rise of the ‘New Woman’ and the struggle for female suffrage.
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