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The Writing of Urban Histories in Eighteenth-Century England$
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Rosemary Sweet

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206699

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206699.001.0001

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The Chronicling Tradition and Urban Histories

The Chronicling Tradition and Urban Histories

(p.74) 2 The Chronicling Tradition and Urban Histories
The Writing of Urban Histories in Eighteenth-Century England

Rosemary Sweet

Oxford University Press

This chapter demonstrates how urban history developed from the need to preserve records and traditions, and how they help maintain an individual town's sense of identity. It discusses the importance of topographical surveys and chronicling traditions and their contributions to the writing of urban history in the eighteenth century. It also examines the literary lineage of urban history and the tradition of compiling annals and recording lists, which took the form of year-by-year chronicles, lists of civic officials, and ‘remarkable occurrences’. These records are accompanied by a brief commentary of events which were crucial to the existence of the town. Such noteworthy events ranged from the granting of a charter or charitable bequests to meteorological disasters or the levying of taxation. These lists and chronicles provided the starting point for almost all urban histories.

Keywords:   urban history, records, traditions, identity, topographical surveys, chronicling traditions, annals, chronicles, charter, charitable bequests

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