Lecture | Tom Almeroth-Williams on Animals and the West End

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on October 21, 2019

Jacques-Laurent Agasse, Old Smithfield Market, 1824, oil on canvas (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B2001.2.252).

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Next month at Spencer House:

Tom Almeroth-Williams, Animals and the Rise of the West End
Spencer House, London, 11 November 2019

A lecture at Spencer House 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 Thomas 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 at the event to buy signed copies of City of Beasts at a discounted price. Monday, 11 November; doors open at 6pm for the 6:30 lecture. Tickets £15, include a glass of wine and an opportunity to view the State Rooms. Booking information is available here.

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.

New Book | City of Beasts

Posted in books by Editor on October 21, 2019

From Manchester UP:

Thomas Almeroth-Williams, City of Beasts: How Animals Shaped Georgian London (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2019), 328 pages, ISBN: 978-1526126351, £25.

This book explores the role of animals—horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and dogs—in shaping Georgian London. Moving away from the philosophical, fictional, and humanitarian sources used by previous animal studies, it focuses on evidence of tangible, dung-bespattered interactions between real people and animals, drawn from legal, parish, commercial, newspaper, and private records. This approach opens up new perspectives on unfamiliar or misunderstood metropolitan spaces, activities, social types, relationships, and cultural developments. Ultimately, the book challenges traditional assumptions about the industrial, agricultural, and consumer revolutions, as well as key aspects of the city’s culture, social relations, and physical development. It will be stimulating reading for students and professional scholars of urban, social, economic, agricultural, industrial, architectural, and environmental history.

Tom Almeroth-Williams is Research Associate in the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York


1  Mill Horse
2  Draught Horse
3  Animal Husbandry
4  Meat on the Hoof
5  Consuming Horses
6  Horsing Around
7  Watchdogs



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