Urban history as a sub-discipline within history began to emerge in Britain in the 1960s and early 1970s. Attention initially focused heavily on the 19th century, but the Tudor and early Stuart town also soon attracted attention. Academic interest in the post-restoration and 18th-century urban world emerged a little more slowly, but the closing decades of the 20th century produced a mounting volume of research on the subject. Geoffrey Holmes was one of a group of post-war historians rewriting the history of Augustan Britain and re-establishing its significance in the longer-term development of the country. Though not a specialist urban historian, Holmes saw towns playing a vital part in shaping the character of the period. His research anticipated and inspired many of the facets of the rapidly-emerging historiography on the 18th-century town, intersecting with it in three particular areas. First, in demonstrating the important role played by towns, in particular as the home of four-fifths of the seats in the house of commons, in the broader political system; second, in highlighting the position of London at the hub of the Augustan world; and third in revealing the part played by towns, and especially those who inhabited them, in promoting social change at the same time as securing long-term political stability.