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On the rise

J.M. Roberts, 16 September 1982

Choiseul. Vol. 1: Father and Son 1719-1754 
by Rohan Butler.
Oxford, 1133 pp., £48, January 1981, 0 19 822509 1
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... as unjustly discredited as it is at present, it is unlikely that an author as well-informed as Dr Butler can be under any illusion that a large public waits eagerly to find out more about Choiseul. That is a pity. He was an important and interesting man. But such public as does exist for a biography can hardly be enlarged by having to pay £48 for this first ...

Populist Palatial

Rosemary Hill: The View from Piccadilly, 4 March 2021

London’s West End: Creating the Pleasure District, 1800-1914 
by Rohan McWilliam.
Oxford, 400 pp., £30, September 2020, 978 0 19 882341 4
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Survey of London: Volume 53, Oxford Street 
edited by Andrew Saint.
Paul Mellon Centre, 421 pp., £75, April 2020, 978 1 913107 08 6
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... forward instead to the return of ‘bad weather, coal fires and good society in a crowded city’. Rohan McWilliam’s West End is bigger than Smith’s. It begins further east, at what is now Kingsway, and carries on south to the Strand, but it is conceptually the same, a sort of flying island of sophistication, sociability and pleasurable consumption. In its ...

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