Fashionable society in ‘these our cloudy days’
in Westminster 1640–60
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This chapter challenges the traditional assumption that the gentry season and fashionable society of the West End disappeared during the years of civil war and interregnum. While noting the degree of wartime disruption, the chapter traces the rise of post-war building and the beginning of large-scale planning developments in the area, forms of elite sociability and the notable revival of a vibrant fashionable society centred on the fashions and entertainments on display in Hyde Park, Spring Gardens and the New Exchange. However, the chapter also emphasizes the ambiguous and qualified nature of this revival, the schizophrenic attitudes of the authorities, and the ways in which the spectre of further prosecution hung over the royalists and ex-royalists who constituted the indispensable core of this elite fashionable society.

Westminster 1640–60

A royal city in a time of revolution

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