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The London Course: Exploring Growing Village Suburbs

The growth of London in recent centuries entailed the swallowing up of small villages deep in the countryside.

This course will examine what have now become extensive London boroughs. Each which will be described in lectures followed by walks through these historic areas and each should be treated as an integrated pair of topics.

Lecture about Chelsea

In this lecture you will see from medieval times through to the 18th century that Chelsea was a compact village on the river. The coming of the Royal Army Hospital on undeveloped land was to have a big impact in developing Chelsea as an area of elegant residences. This was further stimulated by the Ranelagh Pleasure Gardens in the 18th century. The southern end of Chelsea retained an atmosphere of elegance, helped by the Chelsea Physic Garden. In what had been a village of grand houses since Tudor times where Sir Thomas More was highly significant, industry developed with the Chelsea Porcelain works and the Waterworks which provided fresh water for Mayfair and Belgravia. The river area in the 19th century became an artistic quarter with Whistler, Rosetti and the pre-Raphaelites making their presence. Later development went northwards to Hans Place and Sloane Square, while the 20th century focus moved to the Kings Road and its shopping developments.


Mr Geoffrey Toms | talks


Date and Time:

17 February 2016 at 10:45 am


Half Day



The University Women's Club
2 Audley Square

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