The Georgian Facade

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We remember Georgian England with its elegant architecture and regency refinement; the world of Jane Austen novels, the Brighton pavilion, smart red coated soldiers, of wealth and taste. It is a time of harmony, elegance and proportion epitomised by its dominant architectural style, Palladianism, as seen in the city of Bath.

But we forget that all this was a genuine Georgian fa├žade. The Georgian England that we are so comfortable remembering broiled with political sedition and discontent ruthlessly suppressed through political purges, espionage networks and military might.

The Georgian regime was established in 1714; supporting an imposed Hanoverian monarch (58th in line to the throne) through partisan Whig political power. Highly ideological, it faced and suppressed extensive opposition. Even Jane Austen's Bath, which came to epitomise Georgian elegance, was the site of a mass riot against the Hanoverian regime.

So we have inherited a sense of the inevitability of Georgian England and it has placed its roots firmly in our sense of collective history but we have forgotten its suspect foundations and the vast amount of work that went into the construction of this apparently inevitable turn in British history.

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28 minutes

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Mon 11 Jun 2012 20:00