London in the Early 1800ís

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Urban and Rural Traveling
The Urban Church
Urban and Rural Housing

Urban and Rural Traveling

    In the early stages of the nineteenth-century, England remained a largely rural society with a population around twelve million people. London, the most diverse city in England at the time, was beginning a huge transformation, as the trends of its urban culture, began to spread and influence those of rural cultures. This movement was hugely influential in the beginning of the century, when it was first introduced to rural society.
    Rural society as a whole was accustomed to certain traditions. For example, people who lived in the countryside did not often travel long distances, unless they were of the aristocracy. Therefore, traveling long distances was not an every day consideration for the majority of the rural population. This trend began to change, however, as the rural countryside began to develop common roads, the pre-cursor to what would eventually be streets. With the implementation of common roads, it was easier to get from place to place in a rural society. It was also easier for those living in urban cities, such as London, to travel into rural areas. Traveling long distances, however, was still a hassle for those that could afford it as stagecoaches could only travel twelve miles an hour at most.

The Urban Church

    Another aspect of rural life affected by the spread of urban trends was the church. Traditionally, the church was a steady fixture in the everyday life of those who lived in the countryside. In urban cities such as London, the population was so dense and diverse that creating a steady following in any given church was hard, if not non-existent. Therefore, as the urban population began expanding into rural territories, the stability of the church began to wane.
 
Urban and Rural Housing

    Levels of social structure in the countryside were also affected by urban influences. In the rural countryside, differences in social structure were usually very obvious from any outsiderís perspective. Those that were rich lived in large homes, more commonly called estates. These estates were often placed away from other homes and estates due to land boundaries and population dispersal. Not only did this create a sense of uniqueness about an estate, but also a sense of nobility. There were also other kinds of housing, however, these were cottages and smaller homes that belonged to those of a lower class. These homes paled in comparison to the grandness of an estate. Yet, with the spread of the urban population into rural areas, it became quite harder to differentiate between the richer and poorer classes simply based on oneís housing. In areas where large estates were once the only visible homes for miles, other homes began to appear. Soon there was quite a variation in homes throughout the countryside, all grouped much closer together than before. Large and small houses alike appeared neat and tidy, right alongside each other.

Sources:

1. Dentith, Simon. Society and Cultural Forms in Nineteenth-Century England. MacMillan Press Ltd, 1998.  Call Number: HN398E5D45 1998.

2. Short, Brian. The English Rural Community. Cambridge University Press, 1992. Call Number: HN398E5E53 1992