Events such as the Fire of London and the Plague, and locations like the Globe, are part of the capital's heritage. Between 1500 and 1750 London underwent exceptional changes. Its population soared from around 50,000 in 1500 to approximately 200,000 in 1600 and by 1700 it was nearly half a million. Whereas in 1500 it contained only 4 per cent of the population of England, by 1750 it was over 11 per cent. This demographic explosion transformed the nature of the city. From being a relatively close knit community it became a vast and rootless metropolis, as big as the great cities of Europe. Londoners came to rely more on newsprint than gossip to find out what was going on and the period saw a rapid expansion in publishing and literacy. The size and diversity of London made it a centre of new social and sexual identities and a solvent of older, more hierarchical forms of social organisation. The essays in this volume range widely, covering the themes of polis and the police, gender and sexuality, space and place, and material culture and consumption. Within these themes the reader encounters thieves, prostitutes, litigious wives, the poor, disease, "great quantities of gooseberry pye" and the very taxing question of fresh water.