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The experience of suburban modernityHow private transport changed interwar London$
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Michael John Law

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089190

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089190.001.0001

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Everyday Driving –Mobile Consumerism and Commuting

Everyday Driving –Mobile Consumerism and Commuting

(p.187) 10 Everyday Driving –Mobile Consumerism and Commuting
The experience of suburban modernity

Michael John Law

Manchester University Press

Much of the material on inter-war driving reflects on the novelty and excitement of special journeys by car. Most accounts deal with trips to the seaside, to the countryside or abroad. In reality, of course, most journeys were unremarkable and quotidian. This chapter describes these everyday journeys and focuses on two key aspects: mobile consumption and driving to work. The car moved from being an important aspect of new consumerism to becoming a way of enabling mobile consumption. The chapter shows how suburban department stores attracted car owners and how new businesses on the arterial road were constructed to attract car drivers. Examples are shown of pubs, filling stations and cinemas. Although some authors have claimed that the car was not used for driving to work in the inter-war period, this chapter shows by drawing on surveys and literary accounts that, by 1938, commuting by car was relatively commonplace amongst car owners in suburban London.

Keywords:   London, Suburbia, Inter-war, Consumption, Commuting, Cinema, Pub

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