The rise of a fashionable society
in The social world of early modern Westminster
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This chapter focuses on the practicalities of the emergent fashionable society. It traces the manner in which both visiting and resident gentry and aristocracy lived in Westminster, how they acquired accommodation, what sort of households they maintained and amenities they required and, how far the locality was able to provide them. In the early seventeenth century, Westminster's aristocratic credentials were most impressively conveyed by the great townhouses which lined the Strand. Letters written by gentry in Westminster to friends in the country constantly recount the varying price of lodgings, the difficulty of finding them and rumours of soon-to-be-vacant houses. In the early modern period new imported luxuries, easier access to the capital for entire families and new patterns of consumption made shopping one of the more important activities taking place within the Westminster parishes.

The social world of early modern Westminster

Abbey, court and community 1525–1640

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