A History of London–From Imperial Outpost to World City: A Four-Part Course with Don Brown

A History of London–From Imperial Outpost to World City: A Four-Part Course with Don Brown


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Discover how one of the truly great cities of the world started as a Roman trading post, grew to be the biggest city the world had ever seen, and then reinvented itself for a post-imperial age.
This is a story of London, capital of the United Kingdom, the former principal city for the world's biggest empire, and a place full of history and culture. We'll trace London's history from its formation by the Romans to the present day and how it survived invasions, wars, plagues, fires, and worse. We'll look at the trade, industry, and people that made it rich, and examine the forces that shaped its growth; meet the men and women who made the city great, the architects and builders who gave it its look, and the immigrants - from the rest of the British Isles and around the globe - that made it the most dynamic city in the world. For those of you planning future visits, we'll also point out historic locations and 'must-see' sites that still exist.
Led by an expert on London's history, Don Brown, the Director of the London Society, this course will provide insights into the growth of one of the world's greatest cities. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away knowing much more about the history of the UK's capital and the reasons why it still captivates visitors.

 
Lecture 1: Londinium and Lundenwic–Up until the Norman Conquest
Our first lecture will examine the early history of the city, from its formation by the Romans (many of whose works still exist in the modern city), through decline and regrowth under the Anglo-Saxons, to the building of the first Westminster Abbey and the invasion of William of Normandy in 1066.
Lecture 2: The Medieval City–From William to Elizabeth I
During the second lecture, we’ll delve into the era from the Normans to the Tudors. We'll look at the growth of the city and its trade, and the building of many of the structures we still associate with the place - London Bridge, the Tower, St Paul's, the Palace of Westminster, and more.
Lecture 3:The Great Wen–The Birth of the Imperial City
Despite revolutions, the Great Fire, the Plague, and civil strife, London in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries become richer, more important, and bigger. In the third lecture, we'll look at what made London a center for the trade of the world, and which spawned both extreme wealth and extreme poverty.
Lecture 4: Apotheosis, Decline, and Rebirth
Our final lecture will take us from the city’s explosive expansion under Queen Victoria when it was the capital of the world's biggest ever empire, through the shocks of two world wars and 20th-century decline, to London's emergence as a 'world city'.

Don Brown is a London Blue Badge Guide, the Director of the London Society and a graduate of Oxford University. He previously worked in publishing, for publications as diverse as History Today, The Spectator and The Guardian. His interests and specialisms encompass history - from the Romans to the present day, politics, WW2, and ‘60s and ‘70s popular music, and as director of the London Society he has a professional interest in architecture (contemporary and historical), planning and urbanism.

 How does it work?
This is a four-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.
Is there a reading list in advance?
Though the course is open to participants with no background on London’s history, there are suggested readings for further investigation. You will receive this soon after course registration.
How long are the lectures?
Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.
How much is the course?
The course is $140 for four lectures.
Is a recording available?
Yes, a recording of each session will be emailed to participants within 24 hours of each lecture's conclusion.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 29 reviews
86%
(25)
7%
(2)
7%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
J
J.W. (Walla Walla, US)
Fascinating overview of London's evolution

Many factors such as geographic setting, rise of industries, rise of courts, fires, civil conflicts, and the Reformation conspired to create today's London. Don Brown compellingly and with humor weaves these disparate factors together to tell a compelling story, connecting today's features to historic ones where possible. I highly recommend this course to those that would love to travel there, or are "armchair travelers".

M
M.A. (Asbury, US)
Excellent Seminar

Thoroughly enjoyable and very informative. Don Brown is engaging and extraordinarily knowledgeable, and has put together a wonderfully accessible and enjoyable series of presentations on London. Looking forward to exploring!

V
V. (Arlington, US)
Excellent History of London

This was an excellent course which was well-organized and covered an amazing amount of interesting information across many centuries. I learned so much. Highly recommend this course.

A
A. (Beachwood, US)
Highly recommended.

The guide is a pro who knows this city and clearly loves it.
Deep background on the history.
Interesting insights on the city as it is today.

a
a.g. (Vestal, US)
History of London

I enjoyed the lecture . Would not call it a coversation as there is no opportunity to talk. Only to send some chat messages

Customer Reviews

Based on 29 reviews
86%
(25)
7%
(2)
7%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
J
J.W. (Walla Walla, US)
Fascinating overview of London's evolution

Many factors such as geographic setting, rise of industries, rise of courts, fires, civil conflicts, and the Reformation conspired to create today's London. Don Brown compellingly and with humor weaves these disparate factors together to tell a compelling story, connecting today's features to historic ones where possible. I highly recommend this course to those that would love to travel there, or are "armchair travelers".

M
M.A. (Asbury, US)
Excellent Seminar

Thoroughly enjoyable and very informative. Don Brown is engaging and extraordinarily knowledgeable, and has put together a wonderfully accessible and enjoyable series of presentations on London. Looking forward to exploring!

V
V. (Arlington, US)
Excellent History of London

This was an excellent course which was well-organized and covered an amazing amount of interesting information across many centuries. I learned so much. Highly recommend this course.

A
A. (Beachwood, US)
Highly recommended.

The guide is a pro who knows this city and clearly loves it.
Deep background on the history.
Interesting insights on the city as it is today.

a
a.g. (Vestal, US)
History of London

I enjoyed the lecture . Would not call it a coversation as there is no opportunity to talk. Only to send some chat messages