‘In Darkest Lambeth’: Henry Morton Stanley and the Imperial Politics of London Unionism

  • Alex Windscheffel


The culture of imperialism permeated late Victorian and Edwardian London. As the imperial capital, the ‘heart of the empire’, London was a cosmopolitan, international city, governing vast swathes of the globe. The imperial nature of the city clearly distinguished Londoners from the inhabitants of other English towns and cities.1 As Jonathan Schneer has demonstrated in his pioneering study of the ‘imperial metropolis’, London — its public spaces, monuments and cultural preferences, as well as its inhabitants — was closely defined and reshaped by its imperial character.2 Recent research has elaborated the extent to which metropolis and empire were mutually constitutive and intersecting sites. Michael Port has drawn attention to the imperial nature of the capital’s architecture,3 although some politicians complained that the capital lacked the imperial grandeur of Berlin and Paris.4 Antoinette Burton has deployed postcolonial theory to scrutinize London as an unstable site for traffic, interaction and encounter between colonizer and colonial subject, with the potential to subvert imperial hierarchies.5 Angela Woollacott has investigated how white Australian women travelled to and negotiated the public spaces of the imperial metropolis as part of a process of self-identification.6 Yet, few historians have addressed the influence of imperialism upon the politics of late Victorian London.


Evening News Daily News Conservative Party Imperial Nature Home Rule 
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© Alex Windscheffel 2005

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  • Alex Windscheffel

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