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THE COURSE offers art history lectures, guided museum visits and London walks.

In this series of 6 lectures and 6 accompanying walks we will show HOW LONDON BECAME THE GREATEST CITY ON EARTH

More than any other country on the planet, Britain has pooled its constitutional, financial and cultural forces within its capital. This 6 part series of lectures and 6 accompanying walks will explore how, over 2,000 years, London has dealt with six of those forces: the monarchy; the law; religion; finance; entertainment; and education. The story of the Reformation, of constitutional monarchy, of Shakespearean theatre, of the public school, of the common law, the story of Britain.... They can all be told through London's unique collection of buildings.


This lecture and walk will address the expansion of London education from church and private schools to state education and the growth of the capital’s university education as it caught up with the traditional Oxbridge ones. It will examine the origins of church schools as typified by the Grey Coat Hospital School in Westminster and how the earliest private schools were also religious foundations (St Paul’s and Westminster). The beginnings of government education with the 1870 Education Act led to the Board Schools, the vast, red-brick, arts and craft buildings, across the country. These were designed to be as light and airy as possible to counter the gloomy, unhealthy conditions of the workhouse – such as the surviving one in Fitzrovia, which inspired Dickens to write Oliver Twist. The City of London School was built in 1834, on the actual site of the old London Workhouse. Universities came late to London: from University College London (1826) to King’s College London (1829). UCL was expressly founded as a secular alternative to Oxbridge. The story of London University echoes the expansion of British universities in general. Over the years, London University has sprouted new extensions – including the Courtauld Institute, now in neo-classical Somerset House.

The walk on 08 FEB will be around Westminster.


Harry Mount | talks


Date and Time:

1 February 2017 at 10:45 am


2 hours



The University Women's Club
2 Audley Square

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