ISLINGTON HOUSING NEWS SUPPLEMENT
HISTORY OF CITY HOUSING NO.13

May, 1978

1. TO THE WARS

England marched into the 1700s fighting. It continued at war for most of the 18th century.

Soldiers went into battle in brilliant uniforms, lace and wigs. They lined up in opposing ranks and then shattered each other with musket volleys.

Whichever side could hold its fire until it was near the enemy usually won.

 

 

 

 

2. CENTURY Of REASON

In this century of reason, there was not the same savagery in war as when it was fought for Christian ideals.

Battles were conducted with decorum and officers exchanged courtesies with their bullets.

The common soldiers were in far more danger from disease and their army's savage discipline than from the enemy.

They had not the same commitment to glory as their kings and generals. Whenever they could, they ran away. Over 200,000 soldiers deserted in the 7 Years War; in another war the Prussians lost 5 times as many soldiers from desertion as from enemy fire.

3. ENGLAND'S PATH TO VICTORY

England had evolved a very convenient way of fighting its many wars.

It subsidised its allies to do the fighting or it hired the ever-willing German mercenaries.

For its own small armies it used the Scottish, Irish and the scourings from its gaols and slums.

When in 1914/18 it had to conscript its own people for war, the shock of the butcher's bill was traumatic.


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4. RICH LONDON

England was able to pay for its war -and in the process win an empire - because of the power of London.

By the 18th century London had become the greatest city in the world. It was unique - a capital, a huge port and mart, and a manufacturing and banking centre.

 

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