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The Spiv and the Architect

The Spiv and the Architect: Unruly Life in Postwar London

RICHARD HORNSEY
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttsnpr
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  • Book Info
    The Spiv and the Architect
    Book Description:

    As London emerged from the devastation of the Second World War, planners sought to rebuild the city in ways that would reshape the behavior of its citizens—a program defined by a strong emphasis on civic order and conservative values of national community. Richard Hornsey examines how queer men legitimized, resisted, and reinvented this ambitious reconstruction program.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7343-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction: SOCIAL MODERNISM AND MALE HOMOSEXUALITY IN POSTWAR LONDON
    (pp. 1-38)

    In the summer of 1954 , Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, the Conservative Home Secretary, asked John Wolfenden to form a Departmental Committee to make recommendations on the twin problems of male homosexuality and female prostitution. During the previous half-decade, both of these phenomena had become popularly perceived as virulent metropolitan threats, stoked by frequent tabloid exposés and mounting calls for political intervention. One of the new committee’s first actions was to invite various doctors, policemen, youth leaders, and military personnel to submit written evidence detailing their own experiences of queer men and their thoughts concerning what could and should be...

  4. chapter 1 RECONSTRUCTING EVERYDAY LIFE IN THE ATOMIC AGE
    (pp. 39-80)

    After the blitz had devastated great swaths of London, but long before final victory had been secured, planners, designers, and policy makers were already presenting its inhabitants with ambitious projections of what life would be like in the postwar metropolis. The reformist potential of modern urban planning had become accepted by young architects and designers between the wars, but such ideas were now loudly promoted within a new hegemonic social vision. The public was informed of how uncoordinated building in earlier decades had produced great disparities of wealth and squalor within London, as well as social fragmentation and aesthetic disorder....

  5. chapter 2 THE PERVERSITY OF THE ZIGZAG: THE CRIMINALITY OF QUEER URBAN DESIRE
    (pp. 81-116)

    When, in May 1952, the weekly tabloidSunday Pictorialbegan a three-part series of articles titled “Evil Men,” the journalist Douglas Warth felt it necessary to justify the topic of his piece within the opening paragraphs:

    The natural British tendency to pass over anything unpleasant in scornful silence is providing cover for an unnatural sex vice which is getting a dangerous grip on this country . . .

    I thought, at first, that this menace could best be fought by silence—a silence which Society has almost always maintained in the face of a problem which had been growing in...

  6. chapter 3 TRIAL BY PHOTOBOOTH: THE PUBLIC FACE OF THE HOMOSEXUAL CITIZEN
    (pp. 117-162)

    In 1952, Gordon Westwood (a pseudonym of the sociologist Michael Scho-field) published his bookSociety and the Homosexual,an “attempt to evaluate the social implications of homosexuality” for a general nontechnical readership. Deploying a similar rhetoric to Douglas Warth’s contemporaneous series of “Evil Men” articles, Westwood also presented his work as an urgent attempt to end the “conspiracy of silence on all sides” that continued to disavow the prevalence of male homosexuality in Britain.¹ Yet as much as he mimicked the journalist’s structure of contrived revelation, his text was primarily directed against Warth’s type of populist reportage. Westwood shared with...

  7. chapter 4 OF PUBLIC LIBRARIES AND PAPERBACKS: THE SEXUAL GEOGRAPHIES OF READING
    (pp. 163-200)

    As the 1950s progressed, the reformist blueprint for the respectable homosexual gained an increased cultural currency within Britain. Promulgated across a range of forums, from therapeutic communities to the more “en-lightened” popular media, it brought with it a significant shift in prescriptive calls concerning how, where, and by whom male same-sex desire should be managed. Early in the decade, tabloid reports and judicial proclamations had demanded the eradication of London’s “male vice,” an approach that positioned queer desire as a set of manifest urban behaviors and social practices. Yet the formulation of a model of homosexual citizenship, supported by psychiatric...

  8. chapter 5 LIFE IN THE CYBERNETIC BEDSIT: INTERIOR DESIGN AND THE HOMOSEXUAL SELF
    (pp. 201-246)

    During the early postwar era, the private home emerged as one of the most contested sites in the concerted drive for social reconstruction and renewal. Planners, policy makers, and other public experts paid particular attention to domestic space, now presented as a formative space of national citizenship and an important battleground in the attempt to secure social order and psychological stability. Against the decrepit slums, the rundown Victorian town houses, and residential bomb sites that scarred London’s metropolitan landscape—surely a fertile breeding ground of delinquency and petty crime—the reform of the home and the life that took place...

  9. Conclusion: CITY OF ANY DREAM
    (pp. 247-262)

    If the collages pasted on Orton and Halliwell’s bedsit walls were largely enabled by the cultural prominence of Do-It-Yourself in the later 1950s, then it is equally interesting that for Jane Gaskell writing for theDaily Sketchin 1966, its component images should be naturally presented as having been cut out from magazines. In 1962—the year of the pair’s imprisonment—theSunday Timeswould issue its first color supplement, announcing a new type of weekly lifestyle magazine that would serve to disseminate the latest trends in metropolitan culture and consumption to an increasingly affluent national readership. That the Noel...

  10. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 263-264)
  11. NOTES
    (pp. 265-292)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 293-310)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 311-311)