Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The 'perpetual fair'Gender, disorder and urban amusement in eighteenth-century London$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Anne Wohlcke

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719090912

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719090912.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

‘Heroick Informers’ and London spies:

‘Heroick Informers’ and London spies:

Religion, politeness, and reforming impulses in late seventeenth-and early eighteenth-century London

(p.49) 2 ‘Heroick Informers’ and London spies
The 'perpetual fair'

Anne Wohlcke

Manchester University Press

This chapter examines debates about the dangers of fairs. In late-Stuart England, some notable and polite London men fashioned themselves into urban patriarchs. Reform movements, such as societies for reformation of manners, provided middling London reformers incentive to observe the city around them from a moral high ground. From this perspective, London’s fairs seemed dangerous – they threatened social order particularly because they encouraged behaviours contrary to reformers’ own notions of polite masculinity. Middling men had available to them two discourses that motivated their urban reform attempts: religious sermons and tracts and satirical periodical literature. Men who heard sermons or read pamphlets regarding the dangers of vice and public immorality looked around them at London’s post-fire urban landscape in disarray. Sermons calling for religious renewal or cleaning up social ills and avoiding ‘lewd’ behaviour took on a specific meaning as they were preached, printed and disseminated in a city undergoing the constant flux of post-Fire reconstruction. Men who participated in urban reform movements considered London’s fairs disorderly events that threatened their gendered ideals. Becoming ‘Heroick’ Christian informers and policing urban amusements, middling men made themselves essential to the urban environment and propagated a new style of masculinity.

Keywords:   London, Societies for reformation of manners, Sermons, masculinity

Manchester Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.