X424 • 3 semester units in History
"London is a riddle," wrote the Edwardian critic G. K. Chesterton. Set out to find the answer in this course. In a wide-ranging and detailed exploration of the social and architectural history of one of the worldís greatest cities, look at the stories behind some of its most famous buildings—Westminster Abbey, the Tower, Buckingham Palace. But, youl also search for secret London—the alleys and underground tunnels, the ordinary homes, the remnants of the past that tourists never see. Although London, England, takes in the Londinium of the Romans and iconic modern high rises like the Gherkin and the Shard, your focus is the period 1600–1960, beginning with one Elizabethan era and closing with another. Throughout the course, you engage in the study of visual material, documents, artifacts and buildings. By the end of the session, you acquire an understanding of:
Plan to make at least three full-day visits to London. At this stage there isn't a definite list of venues, but plans are to see quite a few of the following: the Museum of London, Watermen's Hall, Sir John Soane's Museum, the Bank of England Museum, London Transport Museum, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and a number of London churches. (These trips involve travel on public transport and quite a lot of walking: if you feel this may be a problem for you, contact the tutor or the Berkeley office to discuss the issue.)
There is no set text for the course, although if you were only to read one book on this list, Iíd recommend Ackroydís London: The Biography. But there are hundreds of good books dealing with the history of London. The suggestions that follow include some of my favourites (and one or two that I havenít read yet). The reference is to the paperback edition when one is available.
Peter Ackroyd, London: The Biography (Vintage, 2001)
Peter Ackroyd, London Under (Vintage, 2012)
Sir Walter Besant, The History of London (Kindle, 1894). This classic obviously doesnít have much to say about recent history, but it does have the advantage that the Kindle version is free at Amazon.
Judith Flanders, The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickensí London (Atlantic, 2012). At the time of writing this has just been published and I havenít read it yet. It looks good, though.
Leo Hollis, The Stones of London: A History in Twelve Buildings (Phoenix, 2012)
Lucy Inglis, Georgian London (Penguin, to be published May 2013). Iíve read this in manuscript. It will appear rather late for us, but if you have time, I recommend it.
Museum of London, John Clark and Cathy Ross, London: The Illustrated History (Penguin, 2011)
Liza Picard, Elizabethís London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London (Phoenix, 2004). All of Liza Picardís London books are excellent sources for the social history of the capital.
Liza Picard, Restoration London: Everyday Life in the 1660s (Phoenix, 2004)
Liza Picard, Dr Johnsonís London: Everyday Life in London in the Mid 18th Century (Phoenix, 2004)
Liza Picard, Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840–1870 (Phoenix, 2006)
Roy Porter, London: A Social History (Penguin, 2000)
James Stourton, Great Houses of London (Frances Lincoln, October 2012). Another brand-new book which at first glance looks worth a read.
John Summerson, Georgian London (Yale, 2003). A classic of architectural history.
Jerry White, London in the Twentieth Century: A City and its People (Vintage, 2008)
You are expected to write one paper of 1,500 to 2,000 words and to deliver one oral presentation.
15% course participation
25% in-class presentation
60% final paper
Adrian Tinniswood, Ph.D., is the author of 12 books on architectural and social history and is well known as an author, lecturer and broadcaster in Britain and America. His most recent book is Pirates of Barbary: Corsairs, Conquest and Captivity in the 17th Century Mediterranean (Riverhead, 2010). Tinniswood is an elected member of the National Trust Council and a Visiting Fellow in Heritage at Bath Spa University. He serves on the boards of a number of museums and institutions, including the Holburne Museum, Bristol Museums Development Trust, Bath Preservation Trust and the Bishops Palace Wells.