Re-ordering the landscape : landed elites and the new urban aristocracy in Manchester

O'Reilly, C ORCID: 2011, 'Re-ordering the landscape : landed elites and the new urban aristocracy in Manchester' , Urban History Review, 40 (1) , pp. 30-40.

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This paper examines the relationship between the landed aristocracy in the vicinity of Manchester and the ‘urban aristocracy’ of the municipal authority and their role in the development of municipal parks in the city in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It contests the view that landed elites had little impact on the development of the environs of Manchester during this period and argues that their social and economic influence was gradually replaced by that of the municipal authority in an re-ordering of the social landscape. It also re-examines the role of debt in the decline of the traditional landed elites and argues that, in the case of the two families studied here, debt became a problem much earlier than others have suggested and was often chronic and persistent. The aristocracy of the Manchester area and the sales of their estates have been marginalised in existing histories as the aristocracy have been perceived as peripheral to the city’s development. It is the contention of this paper that they played a more active role in their localities than previously believed and they forged significant networks with local authorities, families, businesses and institutions. Their economic relationships with the new business elite in Manchester, represented primarily but not solely, by the municipal authority, provide an opportunity to examine the re-ordering of the social landscape as the landed elite sought to remove themselves from the city. Having symbolised the social and economic power of the aristocracy, the land now represented the civic pride and enterprise of the municipal authority. The paper reveals the complex interplay of power between these elite groups and sheds a unique light on urban land usage and the formation of leisure spaces in the city.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
Subjects / Themes > D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Memory, Text and Place
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Urban History Review
Publisher: Becker Associates
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0703-0428
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Carole O'Reilly
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2011 08:36
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 12:18

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