Man about Town: Victorian Night Life and the Haymarket Saturnalia, 1840-1880

McWilliam, Rohan (2018) Man about Town: Victorian Night Life and the Haymarket Saturnalia, 1840-1880. History: The Journal of the Historical Association, 103 (358). pp. 758-776. ISSN 1468-229X

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-229X.12678

Abstract

This article aims to establish night life and pleasure districts as historical problems. It examines as its case study the Haymarket in London's West End between 1840 and 1880 when the street was notorious for louche entertainments aimed at younger members of the nobility. A moral panic developed around the street, particularly concerned with the high level of prostitution. The article looks at the Argyll Rooms dance hall at the top of the Haymarket and the night houses (night clubs) in adjacent streets. The pleasures of these spaces are decoded in order to consider the role of night life in the making of the West End and of the Victorian imagination. A clean‐up campaign was driven by police and local rate payers who wanted to tame the Haymarket saturnalia which represented a threat to respectable society. Licentious behaviour clashed with systems of moral regulation. The article argues that the transformation of the Haymarket was part of larger changes that established the West End as a pleasure district open to a wider public.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: West End of London, Nightlife, Popular Culture
Faculty: Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Rohan McWilliam
Date Deposited: 17 May 2018 15:14
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2019 11:13
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/703027

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