Posted on 11 October 2012
Published this month by the University of Wales Press, Claiming the Streets: Processions and Urban Culture in South Wales, c.1830-1880 by Dr Paul O’Leary is an important new contribution to urban history and our understanding of urban cultures and public space in the nineteenth century
Street processions were a defining feature of life in the Victorian town. They were diverse in character and took place regularly throughout the year in all towns. They provided opportunities for men and women to display themselves in public, carrying banners and flags and accompanied by musical bands.
Much of the history of nineteenth-century Wales has been written around political demonstrations and revolt, but Dr Paul O’Leary’s book examines how urban communities in Victorian Wales created inclusive civic identities by using the streets for peaceful processions.
The book describes how towns could form inclusive identities by making the streets available for organized and self-regulating celebrations, exploring how the history of dressing in particular ways and the use of music contributed to the creation of urban culture and including people in public events.
Speaking about the book, Dr Louise Miskell from the Department of History and Classics at Swansea University said:
“This volume is the first major investigation of processional activity in urban South Wales. It brings to light material which will be new to readers and it offers a refreshing and sometimes challenging new perspective on working-class culture in nineteenth-century South Wales. This book will no doubt become an important reference point, both for urban historians and for readers interested in modern Wales”.
Dr Paul O’Leary is senior lecturer in the Department of History and Welsh History, Aberystwyth University. He is joint editor of the Welsh History Review.
(October 2012) Claiming the Streets: Processions and Urban Culture in South Wales, c.1830-1880 by Dr Paul O’Leary
£65 |HB | 9780708321720 | 234 x 156 mm - 4 black and white images