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What's On

Art & architecture

Spencer House Lecture: Animals and the Rise of the West End

Mon 11 Nov

Doors open 6pm. Lecture 6.30pm-8.30pm

Spencer House
Adult £15

Tickets £15, include a glass of wine and an opportunity to view the State Rooms

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A lecture exploring the dramatic role played by horses, livestock and dogs in West End life in the Georgian period and their representation in art, presented by Dr Tom Almeroth-Williams, author of City of Beasts.

Spencer House once stood at the gateway to a horse-powered metropolis, an equestrian paradise and a city brimming with farm animals.

The Georgian West End contained the largest concentration of elite riding and carriage horses in the world; and Spencer House is a stone’s throw from Hyde Park, then Europe’s most famous riding venue. At the same time, the building is a monument to the huge contribution made by working horses in the city. Most of the materials used to build Spencer House were hauled there by draught horses, while some were also manufactured with horse-powered machinery. Once the Spencers were in residence, they could also depend on being served the nation’s finest meat thanks to the gargantuan Smithfield livestock trade.

This lively and richly illustrated lecture will discuss the many ways in which animals shaped the West End’s dramatic expansion and daily life in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, covering everything from art and architecture, to industry and crime prevention.

Warning: enraged bullocks and fierce dogs will make their presence felt.

(There will be an opportunity to buy signed copies of City of Beasts at a discounted price at the event).

Speaker’s biography

Tom Almeroth-Williams is a Research Associate of the University of York’s Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies and a Research Communications Manager at the University of Cambridge. In addition to human–animal interactions, his main interests lie in urban life and the world of work in Georgian Britain. His first book, City of Beasts: How Animals Shaped Georgian London, was published by Manchester University Press in May 2019.

More information www.cityofbeastslondon