The Roadhouse Comes to Britain: Drinking, Driving and Dancing, 1925-1955

 
9781350090040: The Roadhouse Comes to Britain: Drinking, Driving and Dancing, 1925-1955
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This is the first book to examine the cultural phenomenon of the roadhouse in mid 20th-century Britain and its impact on British leisure. The term 'roadhouse' was used in varied ways in the 1930s, from small roadside tearooms to enormous establishments on the outskirts of major cities. These roadhouses were an important component in the transformation of leisure in the 1930s and beyond, reflecting the increased levels of social and physical mobility brought about by new technologies, suburbanisation and the influence of American culture.

Roadhouses attracted wealthy Londoners excited by the prospect of a high-speed run into the countryside. During the day, they offered family activities such as tennis, archery, horse riding and swimming. At night, they provided all the fun of the West End with dancing, classy restaurants, cabaret, swimsuit parades and dance demonstrations, subverting the licensing laws to provide all-night drinking. Rumours abounded of prostitution and transgressive behaviour in the car park. Roadhouses formed part of an imaginary America in suburban Britain that was promoted by the popularity of American movies, music and fiction, providing a pastiche of the American country club.

While much work has been done on the Soho nightclubs of the 1930s, the roadhouse has been largely ignored. Michael John Law and David Gutzke fill this gap in the literature by providing a comprehensive analysis of the roadhouse's cultural meaning, demonstrating how its Americanisation was interpreted for British consumers. This original and engaging study will be fascinating reading for all scholars of 20th-century British cultural history.

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Review:

One of the great strengths of the volume is the richness of the numerous illustrations and the use of novels, short stories, films, plays, roadhouse newsreels, and newspaper and magazine articles. The sources make this a compelling account of the short life of the roadhouse as well as a significant and overlooked part of interwar domestic tourism and the role of the car in the development of middle-class leisure. This is a highly readable volume that will be very useful in the classroom. The book will also appeal to a wide audience, including scholars of twentieth-century British and American popular culture.
American Historical Review

This fascinating book offers a vivid insight into a neglected subject of the interwar period.
Brewery History

This is a pioneering and fascinating book on the brief interwar moment in elite leisure. It is a well-conceived and well-researched imaginative definition of a topic that references the wealthy and adventurous Bright Young Things and their fast cars, as well as homosexuality, anti-Semitism, and black jazz musicians who bring back memories of Downton Abbey.
David M. Fahey, Professor Emeritus of History, Miami University, USA.

About the Author:

David Gutzke is Professor of History at Missouri State University, USA.

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David W. Gutzke, Michael John Law
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom (2018)
ISBN 10: 1350090042 ISBN 13: 9781350090040
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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2018. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. This is the first book to examine the cultural phenomenon of the roadhouse in mid 20th-century Britain and its impact on British leisure. The term 'roadhouse' was used in varied ways in the 1930s, from small roadside tearooms to enormous establishments on the outskirts of major cities. These roadhouses were an important component in the transformation of leisure in the 1930s and beyond, reflecting the increased levels of social and physical mobility brought about by new technologies, suburbanisation and the influence of American culture. Roadhouses attracted wealthy Londoners excited by the prospect of a high-speed run into the countryside. During the day, they offered family activities such as tennis, archery, horse riding and swimming. At night, they provided all the fun of the West End with dancing, classy restaurants, cabaret, swimsuit parades and dance demonstrations, subverting the licensing laws to provide all-night drinking. Rumours abounded of prostitution and transgressive behaviour in the car park. Roadhouses formed part of an imaginary America in suburban Britain that was promoted by the popularity of American movies, music and fiction, providing a pastiche of the American country club. While much work has been done on the Soho nightclubs of the 1930s, the roadhouse has been largely ignored. Michael John Law and David Gutzke fill this gap in the literature by providing a comprehensive analysis of the roadhouse's cultural meaning, demonstrating how its Americanisation was interpreted for British consumers. This original and engaging study will be fascinating reading for all scholars of 20th-century British cultural history. Seller Inventory # AAV9781350090040

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2018. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. This is the first book to examine the cultural phenomenon of the roadhouse in mid 20th-century Britain and its impact on British leisure. The term 'roadhouse' was used in varied ways in the 1930s, from small roadside tearooms to enormous establishments on the outskirts of major cities. These roadhouses were an important component in the transformation of leisure in the 1930s and beyond, reflecting the increased levels of social and physical mobility brought about by new technologies, suburbanisation and the influence of American culture. Roadhouses attracted wealthy Londoners excited by the prospect of a high-speed run into the countryside. During the day, they offered family activities such as tennis, archery, horse riding and swimming. At night, they provided all the fun of the West End with dancing, classy restaurants, cabaret, swimsuit parades and dance demonstrations, subverting the licensing laws to provide all-night drinking. Rumours abounded of prostitution and transgressive behaviour in the car park. Roadhouses formed part of an imaginary America in suburban Britain that was promoted by the popularity of American movies, music and fiction, providing a pastiche of the American country club. While much work has been done on the Soho nightclubs of the 1930s, the roadhouse has been largely ignored. Michael John Law and David Gutzke fill this gap in the literature by providing a comprehensive analysis of the roadhouse's cultural meaning, demonstrating how its Americanisation was interpreted for British consumers. This original and engaging study will be fascinating reading for all scholars of 20th-century British cultural history. Seller Inventory # FOY9781350090040

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