A warm welcome to Tom Almeroth-Williams, the latest to join to our expanding crew of experts. Tom is the author of City of Beasts: How Animals Shaped Georgian London, a book that explores the “tangible, dung-bespattered interactions between real people and animals” in Georgian London. We’re delighted that Tom is joining us to extend our perspectives on London, beyond the merely human and into its bestial past.
Tom will be publishing 5 viewpoints in June:
Exeter Change Menagerie, The Strand
Elephants, big cats, monkeys and everything in between all packed into a first-floor petting zoo. What could go wrong? Lots, it turned out, but not before Exeter Change became one of Georgian London’s most famous attractions introducing thousands of people to exotic beasts from around the world for the very first time.
Whitbread’s White Hart Brewery, Chiswell Street
Too often overlooked as an industrial pilgrimage site, it was here that muscle power, horse and human, combined with steam to propel beer into the modern age.
The King’s Mews, Trafalgar Square
Before The National Gallery, a gigantic Georgian stable complex stood here, tending to the needs of over 200 royal horses and housing dozens of workers. The King’s mews was at the heart of one of the biggest urban horse populations in the world and an equestrian craze that gripped an entire nation.
Before Smithfield sold meat, it sold live animals and lots of them – thousands of cattle, sheep and pigs every single week – all of which had to be driven on-the-hoof through the streets of the world’s busiest city. The trade was worth a fortune but wreaked havoc.
Turnmill Brook, Farringdon
Two strips of land running either side of the Turnmill Brook between Farringdon and Clerkenwell provided an ideal spot to fatten pigs in the 18th century. Some considered them a filthy nuisance, others valuable recycling machines. This place takes us to the heart of that conflict. Wellies recommended.