The international prominence of Young British art (YBa) in the 1990s gave London a contemporary art movement to match its role as one of the world's key centres of art exchange. Examining the rise of YBa in retrospect, this paper is concerned with the difference place makes in helping to shape the (hi)story of art. It is argued that London's established role as an international art centre was crucial in providing the density of networks, associations and facilities necessary to sustain an international art movement. At the same time, YBa's success can be linked to London's changing status as a cultural capital, as well as profound changes in the business of contemporary art. Attention is drawn to the ways in which the international art world is dominated by networks formed within and across a limited number of world art cities.