By 1880, London, capital of the largest empire ever known, was the richest, most populous city in the world; and yet it remained an overcrowded, ungoverned metropolis with huge slums gripped by poverty and disease. Over the next three decades, London began its transformation into a new kind of city—one of unprecedented size, dynamism, and technological advance. This highly evocative account delves into the lives and textures of the booming city, from the glittering new department stores of Oxford Street to the synagogues and sweatshops of the East End, from bohemian bars and gaudy music halls to the well-kept gardens of Edwardian suburbia. It shows how the city, as a result of massive urban migration and construction, took on its shape; and how the advent of novelties such as electricity, the motor car, the telephone, socialism, democracy, and female emancipation transformed the lives of city dwellers. Brought to life is an age when Londoners spoke with excitement of the New Journalism, the New Woman, the New Aristocracy, and the New Liberalism, and when the nation hurled itself into war, realizing the cataclysmic consequences of this rush to modernity.