Tomas Creagh Blog: 2 Revolution and Modernisation in Moscow

                                       Revolution and Modernisation in Moscow

Tomas Creagh Student No: 112406628


(Fig 1: Damaged buildings during the Revolution of 1917)

The centre of the October Revolution of 1917 was centred mainly in St Petersburg however also experienced a large scale Bolshevik uprising which experienced bitter street battles lasting from around the “29th of October to November the 11th” 1. Evidence of the damage these battles caused in Moscow can be seen in the image above. Moscow would remain under Bolshevik control following the uprising and throughout the Civil War. The Bolshevik Revolution brought about massive changes to Moscow as a city and saw a drive for modernisation and better living quality for its inhabitants.

workers club

(Fig 2: Zuev Workers Club Moscow Built in 1928)

Following the Revolution and Civil War the new Soviet government sought to modernise its cities in order to show the world the strengths of Socialism. One of the ways in which they showcased this was through the medium of Modernist architecture which would become a common sight throughout cities in the USSR including Moscow. Figure: 2 is an early example of Modernist architecture in the form of a workers club which is a political statement as well as a showcase for modernisation in Moscow.


(The Communal House of the Textile Institute Moscow 1929)

“By abolishing private property in land and building cheap and hygienic dwellings can the housing problem be solved” 2. This quote by Lenin shows how the Soviet Government aimed to construct housing which would be beneficial to the health, hygiene and well being of its inhabitants. Due to the large number of people in need of proper housing the idea of the Kommunalka or communal apartment was born. These apartments vastly improved the quality of life for many of Moscow’s residents as they came with electricity and indoor plumbing and even though they were overcrowded they were still a large improvement on the unhygienic slums they replaced.

moscow metro

(Fig: 4 Construction Of Moscow Metro)

Mobility became an issue for the quickly industrialising Moscow during the Stalinist era. To combat this issue large public transport initiatives were carried out. The most famous of these initiatives being the Moscow metro which saw its first line completed in 1935. Above we can see workers building the metro. This Metro line also showcased the modernity of Moscow as well as providing its citizens with increased mobility.

choo choo

(Fig: 5 Muscovites making use of new Metro 1935)

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  1. Moscow Destroyed By The Revolution. (2013, February 13). Retrieved from
  2. Lenin, V. (n.d.). Materials Relating to the Revision of the Party Programme. Retrieved from

Bridging a path to a modern city.

John Augustus Roebling was a man with vision. He envisaged building suspension bridges which at the time had been known to fail under strong winds ad heavy loads. These opinions did not phase Roebling who, with the addition of a web truss, managed to transform the suspension bridge to a much more secure structure. It was based on this achievement that led to the New York legislators approving his plans to build a suspension bridge which would connect the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn over the East River.

Image 1. Plan of a tower for East River Bridge. (drawn with ink on trace linen)

The bridge cost $15 million to build, and took over 600 workers to build. Work began on the bridge in 1869 under the supervision of Washington A. Roebling, after his father John passed away following an incident while taking measurements for the bridge. The bridge was completed in 1883 and was soon opened to the public. The bridge provided a simple connection for both cars, cyclists and pedestrians to cross from Brooklyn to Manhattan in only a few minutes.


Image 2: Brooklyn Bridge connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn

The bridge not only provided an easy connection between two vast boroughs, but a new area for socializing. The bridge became popular amongst residents of both Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as tourists, but particularly amongst the upper class. This was mainly due to the bridges location. At the time, the bridge stood high above both cities low lying buildings thus allowing the people to view the city developing and change as time went on.

Image 3: The promenade on Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge was a modern idea. It dared to push boundaries by connecting two boroughs by road and by footpath. It also epitomises Michel De Certeau’s concept of space centring around direction movement and velocity.


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Richard Dennis (2008). Cities in modernity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p1-9

Matthew Keating 112411268

Ripping at their rights – Sexual Violence 19th Century London

Robynne O’Sullivan: 113354836The true Jack the Ripper never identifiedFigure 1: The trade mark look of Jack the Ripper roaming the streets of London.

The events of 19th century London shaped and created the London we know today. What I dare to question in this blog may be hard to wrap your mind around at first but stick with me. What if Jack the Ripper was in fact a social reformer? I know, its a crazy thought and almost excusing the actions of a serial killer but his actions may have had more of a positive impact than first meets the eye.

Jam: London Bridge, shown around 1880, is packed with a steady stream of horses and carts

Figure 1: An image of busy London bridge, in an overpopulated, poverty-stricken city in roughly 1880.

Unfortunately, prostitution played a huge part during the 1800’s in London. It became part of the culture and a normality but with prostitution, comes sexually transmitted diseases. In a poverty stricken London, health care was most definitely not at its prime and regardless they were still only making medical discoveries at that time anyway so health care was extremely experimental. This lead to a high death rate because people became weaker and sicker without the correct medical attention after a sexual disease.

Figure 2: A glamourised painting of Jack the Rippers first victim, Mary Ann Nichols

The area in which the ‘Jack the Ripper’ murders took place, Whitechapel,  was one of the worst parts of London in  terms of poverty with poor and homeless people residing there. The Murders attracted so much media attention and drew journalists to the area that were absolutely horrified with how these people were living.

 Figure 4: A very poor side of London.

Now after diving a little closer in to the times of Jack the Ripper it is easier to see how he may have been a social reformer even if it was unintentional which is most likely. Jack the Ripper caused fear for prostitutes and also thought them that you can’t trust any man on the street which slowed down the street walking business which in turn helps to battle the passing of sexually transmitted diseases. He also attracted attention to Victorian slums and two decades after the murders the majority of the slums were broken down and demolished. While causing distress, Ripper changed a toxic London shaping it into the city we see today. If it wasn’t for the murders, who knows what state the city would be in by now.

Figure 5: The London we now know and love.


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Una Hayes-Blog 1: Digital Urban Maps

Paris was deemed a very ‘stressed’ city, especially for the powerful and elite politicians. Therefore, a new public and new city was to be created which triggered todays “New France”. By the late 1850’s Napoleon III began constructing plans relating to the improvement and modernisation of Paris, in which he hoped to improve the condition of the city’s citizens by creating new streets now known as Boulevards and cleaning up the neighbourhoods which often lacked in air and daylight due to the narrow streets which were usually congested. (Kirkland, 2013)

(Paris 1864 map) This map of Paris indicates a congested, narrow street city with very few or almost non-existent boulevards, along with an evident lack of public gardens.

In 1853 Napoleon III appointed Haussman whose previous work had impressed him due to the fact he was a doer rather than a planner. (Kirkland, 2013) The way in which the city of Paris was re-invented symbolises financialising and power. The heart of Old Paris, which was thriving with lower class and working class citizens such as thugs, prostitutes and thieves was later demolished; driving the working class out of the city centre. “The grands travaux destroyed entire neighbourhoods of irreplaceable character and history and overturned the lives of thousands of ordinary people.” (Kirkland, 2013)

(Map of Paris 1900) This map of Paris in the year 1900 illustrates the ‘New Reborn Paris’ which differs greatly to the map of Paris in the year 1864. Indicated in this map is the newly erected Opera House which symbolises a new way in which the people of Paris can socialise in a more refined manner. In order to access the Opera House a new Boulevard known as ‘Boul Haussman’ was built, which is one of the many new wider roads easing the traffic congestion which was once an inconvenience to the city. New public gardens were also constructed for the pleasure of Parisian citizens such as the newly redesigned Bois de Boulogne, which was previously only “an arrangement of paths and greenery.” (Hopkins, 2003) Due to his exile, Napoleon III spent years in England which introduced him to the ‘jardin anglais’ style of garden. The Bois de Bologne became a place where the elite Parisian haute Bourgeoisie came to unwind before heading home to the city (Hopkins, 2003) This new way of socialising became the way of life in the newly formed Paris.

Reference List

student number-113473918

Tomas Creagh Blog: 1 Haussmann’s Paris

                   Haussmann’s Paris             

Paris is a prime example of modern metropolitan life and has been an inspiration for many modern city planners, however it has not always been this way. The modern chic urban feel one gets in Paris today owes itself to the visionary urban planner Baron Georges Eugene Haussmann. Baron Haussmann was appointed by Napoleon III on the 22nd of June 1853 to modernize Paris 1. Paris at this time had seen its population double since the beginning of the century and this had led to the problems of lack of adequate housing and logistical issues due to the unsuitable medieval street layout an example of one such street can be seen in figure 1.

pre haussman

(Fig 1: Pre Haussmann Medieval style Parisian Street, Charles Marville 1865-69)

“How ugly Paris seems after a year’s absence. How one chokes in these dark narrow and dank corridors that we like to call the streets of Paris” 2. This quote sums up how many of Parisians viewed their city at the time and we can also assume from this quote that he was making a comparison to foreign modernised cities. It was sentiments such as this from influential members of Parisian society which would pave the way and also bankroll Haussmann’s redevelopment of Paris. Haussmann’s vision was to create wide boulevards through the city which would help to ease logistics and provide spaces in which a Parisian bourgeoisie could flourish. Along these boulevards would be new buildings, a mixture of shops cafes and apartments. All of the buildings built during the Haussmann redevelopment were expected to meet certain parameters ensuring they were visually pleasing and pleasant environments to live in and around an example of a Haussmann style apartment building can be seen in Figure 2.

Parisian Apartments, view from the sky in West Paris France, taken 14th of April 2011

(Fig 2: Haussmann Style Apartment Buildings in modern day Paris)

The new wide boulevards and architecturally stunning buildings made Paris a desirable place to live and set the benchmark for the redevelopment of urban landscapes at this time. This redevelopment and re-imagination of public space by Haussmann created a chic fashion and consumer driven bourgeoisie Parisian culture (see Fig:3) which exists to this day along its magnificent Boulevards.


(Fig 3: A depiction of Paris’s new Boulevard based Bourgeoisie, Antoine Blanchard,Rue Tronchet)


(Fig 4: Map depicting Pre-Haussmann Ile de la Cite,Paris 1789)


(Fig 5: Ile de la Cite Paris Post-Haussmann 1999, Google Earth)


Fig: 1. Marville, C. (1865-69). Retrieved from Robert Koch Gallery:

Fig: 2

Fig: 3 Blanchard, A. (1910). Retrieved from Rehs Galleries, INC.

Fig: 4  Smith, M. E. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Fig: 5 Smith, M. E. (n.d.). Retrieved from



  1. Haussman and New Paris. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  2. Daniel A. Bell, A. d.-S. (2011). The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Author: Tomas Creagh, Student No: 112406628

From plagued to important- The rise of London

Robynne O’Sullivan


Hyde Park, a commonly known, public nirvana in London was not always the sophisticated hub we know today.  Hyde Park has transformed a lot down through the years having great ups and downs in its history.

The park was taken over by Henry VIII in 1537. It became a closed off deer park, which was privately used by Henry for hunting. This was the case until James I took over the thrown in 1606 and granted limited access to the grounds and appointed a ranger. The public were finally allowed full access to the grounds and he created the Ring in 1637. Hyde park went from an elite place, to a place of refuge for all members of the public. Although it was a royal gem, its use took a drastic turn when people camped out there hoping to escape the wrath of the Great Plague that took over London in 1665. The social use for Hyde park had changed a lot in just over 100 years but was now starting to bring a community together. The route now known as Rotten Row, was the first highway with artificial lighting installed in the country. It consisted of 300 oil lamps that were elected in the late 17th century when William III moved to Kensington and granted his walk to the park too dangerous.


The park transformed again in 1730’s when Queen Caroline had a Lake of 11.34 acres created called the Serpentine. This created all sorts of leisure activities for the public to enjoy. Completely changing the air of the place from an association with the Plague back to a place of fun and happiness.


Hyde Park has come a long way from being a private hunting grounds to what we know today. It has morphed into a social epicentre with shops, cafes, playgrounds and even plays the role as venue for concerts and other events.