Turning night into day: transgression and Americanisation at the English inter-war roadhouse

Law, Michael John 2009. Turning night into day: transgression and Americanisation at the English inter-war roadhouse. Journal of Historical Geography. 35 (3), pp. 473-494.

TitleTurning night into day: transgression and Americanisation at the English inter-war roadhouse
AuthorsLaw, Michael John
Abstract

In the inter-war Home Counties, the roadhouse, a sizeable country club style location of entertainment and dancing was an iconic destination of consumption and leisure aimed at the wealthier middle classes. These establishments were marketed in newsreels as exclusive and sophisticated but in reality were open to wider groups in a settings that offered anonymity by virtue of their suburban locations. Reflecting this, roadhouses were also used in literature and in cinema as a locus of transgression and danger. Readings of suburbia have concentrated on static analyses of house/home and discussions of suburban mobilities have been confined to commuting, thus reinforcing the centrality of the house. A consideration of mobilities facilitated by the motorcar can produce a more subtle view of the suburban world of the period. In this paper the roadhouse is shown to form part of a new suburban landscape responding to the development of the wider availability of the automobile and to London’s new arterial roads. The leisure products consumed at the roadhouse were heavily influenced by American cultural exports but were hybridized for local audiences.

JournalJournal of Historical Geography
Journal citation35 (3), pp. 473-494
ISSN0305-7488
YearJul 2009
PublisherElsevier
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.jhg.2008.09.002
Publication dates
PublishedJul 2009

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