Popular Conservatism in Imperial London, 1868-1906

Popular Conservatism in Imperial London, 1868-1906

Alex Windscheffel


Royal Historical Society



First detailed investigation into the popular dimensions of late-Victorian London Conservatism.
The Conservatives achieved huge electoral success in London between 1868 and 1906, but the reasons why have never been rigorously examined, with historians tending to explain the late-Victorian party's `transformation' in terms of the political preferences of the suburban middle classes. This work, the first in-depth survey of London Conservatism during this period, challenges that view. The author conclusively demonstrates that the rise in fortunes cannot simply be accounted for by the conversion of the middle-class `Villa Tory' voter. By analysing the party's policies, discourses and structures at grass-roots level, he clearly shows that late-Victorian London Conservatism was above all populist, and that the party was better able than its opponents to construct electoral positions which adapted to social and cultural change.

The book is also a key contribution to the historiography of late-Victorian London: a time when the capital's political, cultural and economic importance burgeoned. Throughout the book, the author brings out the complex interplay between local, national and especially the imperial identities in the late-Victorian city: London was the `heart of the empire', and late-Victorian Conservatives routinely celebrated the imperial dimensions of their city, most notably during the `khaki' election of 1900.
ALEX WINDSCHEFFEL is Lecturer in Modern History at Royal Holloway, University of London.


June 2007
272 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series
ISBN: 9780861932887
Format: Hardback
Royal Historical Society
BISAC HIS037030, HIS010000
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Table of Contents

Relocating the `Transformation' of Late-Victorian Conservatism
The Making of London Conservatism: Electoral Languages and Discourses, 1868-1884
The Making of London Conservatism: Electoral Languages and Discourses, 1885-1900
Organisation and the Nature of the Party
Candidates and Representation
Municipal Conservatism and London Local Government, c. 1855-1900
The Imperial City: London Conservatism, 1895-1900
The Unmaking of London Conservatism, 1900-1914: an epilogue
Appendix 1: Summary of London Elections, 1885-1900
Appendix 2: London Elections, 1885-1900: a brief statistical analysis


(An) important new study.(...)A subtle and nuanced account of London Conservatism which makes an important contribution to the revisionist historiographies on popular Conservatism, Victorian popular politics and the cultural history of London. PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY YEARBOOK
A fine monograph. (...) A remarkably strong book, fully representative of the rigour of the new historiography of modern British politics. REVIEWS IN HISTORY
A thoughtful and wide-ranging survey of late nineteenth-century London politics. TWENTIETH CENTURY BRITISH HISTORY
A stimulating and thought-provoking book. URBAN HISTORY

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