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This article reappraises tramway closures in 1930s London by reading enthusiast memoirs of the events surrounding them. Literary representations in forms such as the novel and poetry of urban public transport experience often overlook experiences in peripheral urban zones and on modes such as the tramway which had a chiefly working-class ridership. Building a perspective around London’s tramscapes, and by practicing Deep Locational Criticism as part of a characteristically “humanities” mode, temporally focused, in mobility studies, the article reveals contestations including acts of disorder surrounding the closure events, deploying those in a rereading of mid-twentieth-century British history more broadly. The 1930s North London suburbs emerge through a reading of George Atkins’s account of 1938 closure events as sites of carnivalesque disorder and other bottom-up transport-focused activity, including the formation of enthusiast groups. This group of practices opposed the extremely top-down transport planning of the post-1933 London Passenger Transport Board’s management.
- 20th century
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