The streets of Victorian London became increasingly congested with vehicles, fast and furious drivers, pedestrians, costermongers, prostitutes, brass bands, homeless children and other obstacles to safe and rapid motion. Concerned citizens were alarmed by this unprecedented build-up of traffic and pollution. But how did this chaotic state come about - and why was more not done to prevent it?
London's Teeming Streets brings an historical perspective to present-day concerns about the effects of continued urban expansion and shows that many current problems date back to the Victorian era. James Winter reveals that the issue of street reform was fraught with political intrigue. Many reformers were liberals; yet the question of attempting to limit or prohibit activity on the King's Highway which was, by definition, an open and democratic preserve, brought the very purpose of liberal reform into sharp focus.