This book examines the varied and fascinating ways that Westminster - traditionally home to the royal court, the fashionable West End and parliament - became the seat of the successive, non-monarchical regimes of the 1640s and 1650s. It first explores the town as the venue that helped to shape the breakdown of relations between the king and parliament in 1640-42. Subsequent chapters explore the role Westminster performed as both the ceremonial and administrative heart of shifting regimes, the hitherto unnoticed militarisation of local society through the 1640s and 1650s, and the fluctuating fortunes of the fashionable society of the West End in this revolutionary context. Analyses of religious life and patterns of local political allegiance and government unveil a complex and dynamic picture, in which the area not only witnessed major political and cultural change in these turbulent decades, but also the persistence of conservatism on the very doorstep of government. -- .