Stories of London - A Day of Talks Exploring London’s History

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Southwark Cathedral

London Bridge



United Kingdom

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Southwark Cathedral presents a day of talks about London, looking at its stories, old and new.

Speakers include Matthew Beaumont, discussing his extraordinary book Nightwalking, Ted Sandling exploring the joys of mudlarking, Gillian Tindall explores the history of the new Crossrail route which turns out to be only the latest scheme to traverse an ancient path across London's buried secrets and former fields. Stephen Alford will bring to life the story of London's merchant traders in the 16th Century.

All times are approx and include Q&A and book signing if applicable.

Ted Sandling - London in Fragments - A Mudlark's Treasure

10.00am - 11.15am

Based on his book, London in Fragments, Ted Sandling’s illustrated talk offers an introduction to mudlarking and an exploration of history found along the banks of the River Thames. Mudlarks used to be the impoverished Londoners, eking out a living from foraged scrap. Today’s mudlarks unearth treasured relics of past London. The talk celebrates the beauty of small things, and makes sense of the intangible connection that found objects give us to the individuals who lost them.

'Exhilaratingly curious and entertainingly knowledgeable’ Evening Standard

‘Sandling's aim is to increase inquisitiveness, and he undoubtedly achieves this’ Times Literary Supplement

'Hypnotic — yet infectiously jolly’ Spectator

After studying History of Art at The University of Bristol, Ted Sandling moved to London and became a garden designer and landscape historian. In 2008 he returned to the fine arts when he joined Christie's. He now works at Christie's Education. He first went mudlarking in 2004 and was instantly hooked.

Matthew Beaumont - London at Night: A Brief History

11.30am - 12.45pm

'Cities, like cats, will reveal themselves at night,' wrote the poet Rupert Brooke. This talk takes us on a brisk stroll through the history of nocturnal London since the Middle Ages, in the hope that it reveals the city in an unfamiliar light, one that emanates, paradoxically, from the darkness. It begins in the late 13th century, when the crime of 'nightwalking' first appeared on the statute books, and leads us on a journey through various legal, social and technological changes that transformed London and contributed to the creation of its distinctive nightlife. It will reconstruct this story through a series of literary representations, from Chaucer to Dickens, of the mysterious, sometimes dangerous city after hours.

Matthew Beaumont, a Professor of English Literature at University College London, is the author of several books, including Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London (2015).

Gillian Tindall - The Tunnel Through Time: A New Route for a an Old London

2.00pm - 3.15pm

Crossrail, the ‘Elizabeth’ line, with its spacious, light-filled stations, is simply the latest way of traversing a very old east-west route through what was once countryside to the old City core and out again. Visiting Stepney, Liverpool Street, Farringdon, Tottenham Court Road (alias St Giles-in-the-Fields) and the route along Oxford Street (alias the Way to Oxford and also Tyburn) this richly descriptive book traces the course of many of these historical journeys across time as well as space. Archaeology disinters layers of actual matter; one may also disinter the lives that walked where many of our streets, however altered in appearance, still run today. These people spoke the names of ancient farms, manors and slums that now belong to our squares and tube stations. They endured the cycle of the seasons as we do; they ate, drank, laughed, worked, prayed, despaired and hoped in what are essentially the same spaces we occupy today.

Gillian Tindall is a master of miniaturist history, well known for the quality of her writing and the scrupulousness of her research; she makes a handful of people, a few locations or a dramatic event stand for the much larger picture, as her seminal book The Fields Beneath, approached the history of Kentish Town, London. She has also written on London's Southbank (The House by the Thames), on southern English counties (Three Houses, Many Lives), and the Left Bank (Footprints in Paris), amongst other locations, as well as biography and prize-winning novels. She has lived in the same London house for over fifty years.

Stephen Alford - London's Triumph: Merchant Adventurers and the Tudor City

3.30pm - 4.30pm

Life in Europe was fundamentally changed in the 16th century by the astonishing discoveries of the New World and of direct sea routes to Asia. To start with England was hardly involved and London remained a gloomy, introverted medieval city. But as the century progressed something extraordinary happened.
Stephen Alford will bring to life the network of merchants, visionaries, crooks and sailors who changed London forever. In a sudden explosion of energy English ships were suddenly found all over the world - trading with Russia and the Levant, exploring Virginia and the Arctic, and fanning out across the Indian Ocean.
London's Triumph is above all about the people who made this possible - the families, the guild members, the money-men who were willing to risk huge sums and sometimes their own lives in pursuit of the rare, exotic and desirable. Their ambitions fuelled a new view of the world - initiating a long era of trade and empire, the consequences of which we still live with today.

Stephen Alford is the author of the acclaimed biography Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He taught for fifteen years at Cambridge University, where he was a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of History and a Fellow of King's College. He is now Professor of Early Modern British History in the University of Leeds.

A ticket for the day allows entry to each talk.

Books for each talk will be available to purchase.

Your ticket entitles you to 10% off in the Cathedral Refectory. Please ensure you have your ticket with you if you decide to use this facility for lunch.


What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event?

There is no parking in the vicinity of the Cathedral. We are a five minute walk away from London Bridge Station for Underground and Mainline trains. A number of buses also stop nearby either on London Bridge, at the station or at Borough High Street. For more information we recommend using https://tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey/

How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

Please contact Ruth Miller at ruth.miller@southwark.anglican.org

Does the ticket price include all the talks?

Yes - ticket holders can attend all the talks on the day or pick and choose individual talks.

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Southwark Cathedral

London Bridge



United Kingdom

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