History 328:  Social Sciences Seminar:  Popular Entertainment and Public Space in London from the Romans to the Blitz.  


Prof. Hickey Bloomsburg U. Dept. of History (mhickey@bloomu.edu)


In this course, we will look at how public spaces in London were used for leisure and popular entertainment in different historical periods, as a way of examining social hierarchies, popular culture, consumption patterns and the exercise of political power in British history. 


Objectives:  To use London as a laboratory for examining the use of public space in different historical periods, and to consider how public leisure and entertainment fit into larger issue of  British social, cultural, and political history.


Methods:  Readings, discussions, journal entries, and individual visits to museums and historical sites.


Evaluation:  Grade based upon participation in 5 weeks of class discussions (12 percent per week= total of 60 percent); course journal (40 percent).


I will evaluate your performance in discussion each week based upon:

a) your completion of assigned tasks (e.g., readings and sight visits);

b) the quality of your reports and contributions to discussion (e.g., the extent to which you address the questions outlined below). 


To facilitate discussion, you must keep a journal on your readings and on your museum and site visits.  Your journal will be turned in at the end of the term, as the equivalent of a final exam. 


I will evaluate your journals based upon:

a) your completion of assigned tasks (e.g., readings and sight visits);

b) the extent to which you address the questions outlined below. 


Readings:  I will be giving you “handouts” during the semester.  These are extracts from books on the history of London.  We will discuss the readings in class.  I may assign individual students to lead discussion on specific readings.  


Museum Visits:  You will visit the Museum of London repeatedly.  It is free.  Address:  180 London Wall.  Tube: Barbican, St. Paul’s, Moorgate.  Open 10-6.  


You also should visit other museums or art galleries that interest you, such as The Museum of London Docklands, The British Museum, The Imperial War Museum, the Victoria and Albert, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the London Guildhall Museum, etc.. 


You must write up notes on all museum or gallery visits—especially on visits to the Museum of London.  Be sure that your notes specify the names of displays/galleries and the time period they cover.  Focus on:


A) things that you find interesting or surprising;

B) details concerning forms of leisure and popular entertainment in specific time periods;

C) details about what groups that participated in those activities (performers and audience);

D) details on any differences in the participants’ experience based upon social class;

E) thoughts regarding how these activities may have been related to the practice of political power (e.g., to the legitimacy of those in power).


Other Site Visits:  Visit places where people gathered for leisure or entertainment in specific historical periods.  (E.g., public baths, churches, places of execution, playhouses, pubs and coffee houses, parks, music halls, etc.---even the Tube itself!)  Some site will have historical information posted, and some won’t.  Look up information about the history of each site you visit (use guide books, histories of London, or the internet).   


Each week you must visit at least one site on which you alone will report.  (So if two people do site visits together, they have to visit two sites, etc.) 


Write up notes on all site visits.  Discuss: 


A) its location now and its layout in a specific historical period;

B) who used the space in that period;

C) whether different social groups interacted in that space, and (if so) how they interacted;

D) what forms of leisure or popular entertainment were performed in the space;

E) whether (or how) the experience of using this space differed depending upon the participants’ and audiences’ social class;

F) thoughts regarding how these activities may have been related to the exercise of political power (e.g., to the legitimacy of those in power). 


Weekly Schedule


Week One:


REQUIRED ACTIVITY:  Visit the Museum of London and concentrate on galleries that deal with London from the Roman period up to the mid-1400s.  Spend at least a couple of hours!  Take/write up notes on your visit (see directions on Museum visits), and be ready to discuss your notes in class.


Class sessions:           

18 May (Tues): arrive in London 

19 May (Weds):  Intro to course (What are we studying and how?)

20 May (Thurs):  Roman, Anglo-Saxon London  and Medieval London


Week Two:    


REQUIRED ACTIVITIES:  Visit Roman, Medieval, and Early-Modern (1450-1750) sites.  Take/write up notes on your visits (see directions on Site visits) and be ready to discuss your notes in class, starting on Thursday.


Visit the Museum of London again to concentrate on 1450-1750 (if you did not already).  Take notes (etc.)


Class sessions:

25 May (Tues):  Discuss visits to M. of L. 

26 May (Weds): Early Modern London

27 May (Thurs): Begin discussing site visits


Week Three:  


REQUIRED ACTIVITIES:  Visit the Museum of London again, to study galleries that cover the period from the mid-1700s to 1914.  Take/write up notes on your visit (see directions on Museum visits).  Be ready to discuss your notes starting on Thursday.


Start visiting sites from the 1750s-1914.  Take/write up notes on your visits (see directions on Site visits) and be ready to discuss your notes in class, starting on Thursday.


Class sessions:

1 June (Tues): Further discussion of site visits

2 June (Weds):  London in the late 18th and 19th centuries

3 June (Thursday):  Discuss M. of L. visits and site visits



Week Four:   


REQUIRED ACTIVITIES:  Finish 1700s-1800s site visits; begin visiting 20th century sites.  Since the M. of L. does not cover the period after 1914, you will need to do a little more “research” for yourself to understand London during the last 100 years.  Take/write up notes on your visits to museums and sites (see directions) and be ready to discuss your notes in class, starting on Thursday.


Class sessions:


8 June (Tues):  Continue discussion of M. of L. visits and site visits

9 June (Weds): Overview of London in the 20th century (to 1945)

10 June (Thursday): Discuss site visits



Week Five:    


REQUIRED ACTIVITIES:  Finish visiting sites from the 20th century.  Take/write up notes on your visits to museums and sites (see directions) and be ready to discuss your notes. 


Think about some of the public spaces that YOU have used for entertainment and recreation in London.  In your notebook, try to explain ways people now use these spaces, what they tell you about political power relations, social class, etc., in contemporary London. 


Class sessions:


15 June (Tues):  Continue discussing site visits

16 June (Weds):  What have we learned? What have we experienced?

17 June (Thursday):  Leave London for USA!




Selected bibliography:


Useful websites:









Example of website on a historic site: 


The Roman Amphitheater at the London Guildhall:  




Books (reading excerpts will be drawn from these)


Allen, Robert.  The Clubs of Augustan London.  Hamden CN, 1967.

Archer, Ian.  The Pursuit of Stability:  social relations in Elizabethan London.  Cambridge, 1991.

Billings, Malcolm. London: a companion to its history and archaeology.  London, 1994.

Bond, Erik.  Reading London : urban speculation and imaginative government in eighteenth-century literature.  Columbus, 2007.

Boulton, Jeremy.  Neighborhood and Society:  a London suburb in the seventeenth century.  Cambridge, 1987.

Brigden, Susan.  London and the Reformation.  Oxford, 1989.

Brook, C. N. L. and Gillian Keir.  London, 800-1216:  the shaping of a city.  Berkeley, 1975.

Clark, Steve and Jason Whittaker, eds..  Blake, Modernity and Popular Culture.  Basingstoke, 2007.

Davis, Jim and Victor Emelianov.  Reflecting the Audience:  London theatergoing, 1840-1880.  Iowa City, 2001.

Draznin, Yaffa.  Victorian London’s Middle Class Housewife.  Westport CN, 2001.

Earle, Peter.  The Making of the English Middle Class:  business, society, and family life in London, 1660-1730.  Berkeley, 1989.

Faulk, Berry.  The Music Hall and Modernity:  the late-Victorian discovery of popular culture.  Athens OH, 2004.

Fishman, William.  East End 1888: life in a London borough among the laboring poor. Philadelphia, 1988.

Gatrell, Vic.  City of Laughter:  sex and satire in eighteenth-century London.  New York, 2007.

Griffiths, Paul and M.S.R. Jenner.  Londinopolis:  essays in the cultural and social history of early modern London.  Manchester, 2000.

Gurr, Andrew.  Playgoing in Shakespeare’s London.  Cambridge, 1996.

Hall-Witt, Jennifer.  Fashionable Acts: opera and elite culture in London, 1780-1880 New York, 2007.

Hall, Jennifer, and Ralph Merrifield.  Roman London.  London, 1986.

Hanawait, Barbara.  Growing up in Medieval London.  New York, 1993.

Hitchcock, Tim and Robert Shoemaker.  Tales from the Hanging Court.  London, 2006.

Holmes, Martin.  Elizabethan London.  New York, 1969.

Home, Gordon. Roman London: A D 43 – 457.  London, 1948.

Horral, Andrew. Popular Culture in London C.1890-1918: the transformation of entertainment.  Manchester, 2001.

Hughes, Leo.  The Drama’s Patrons:  a study of the eighteenth-century London audience.  Auston, 1971.

Inwood, Stephen.  A History of London.  New York, 1998.

Kovan, Seth.  Slumming:  sexual and social politics in Victorian London.  Princeton, 2004.

Lancashire, Anne Begor.  London Civic Theatre : city drama and pageantry from Roman times to 1558.  Cambridge, 2002.

Levy, Shawn.  Ready, Steady, Go!  The smashing rise and giddy fall of swinging London.  New York, 2002.

Marsden, Peter.  Roman London.  London, 1986.

McVeigh, Simon.  Concert Life in London from Mozart to Hayden.  Cambridge, 1993.

Nugent, C., Lawrence Brooke and Gillian Keir.  London, 800-1216.  Ann Arbor, 1975.

O’Brien, John.  Harlequin Britain: pantomime and entertainment, 1690-1760.  Baltimore, 2004.

O’Quinn, Daniel.  Staging Governance: theatrical imperialism in London, 1770-1800.  Baltimore, 2005.

Perring, Dominic.  Roman London.  London, 1991.

Pevsner, Nikolaus.  London I: The Cities of London and Westminster.  London, 1962.

Picard, Liza.  Dr. Johnson’s London.  New York, 2001.

Picard, Liza.  Elizabeth’s London:  everyday life in Elizabethan London.  New York, 2004.

Porter, Roy.  London: a social history.  Cambridge MA, 1995.

Rendall, Jane.  The Pursuit of Pleasure: Gender, Space and Architecture in Regency London.   New Brunswick, 2002.

Rude, George.  Hanoverian London, 1717-1808.  Berkeley, 1971.

Salgado, Gamini.  The Elizabethan Underworld.  London, 1977.

Schechter, Harold.   Savage Pastimes: A Cultural History of Violent Entertainment.  London, 2005.

Sinclair, Mark.  The Thames:  A Cultural History.  New York, 2007.

Stansky, Peter.  The First Day of the Blitz:  September 7, 1940.  New Haven, 2007.

Tames, Richard.  London:  a cultural history.  New York, 2006.

Trease, Geoffrey.  London:  a concise history.  New York. 1975.

Trench, Richard and Ellis Hillman.  London under London.  London, 1984.

Ward, Joseph.  Metropolitan Communities:  trade guilds, identity and change in Early-Modern London.  Stanford, 1997.

Williamson, Judith.  Consuming Passions:  the dynamics of popular culture.  London, 1986.

Wilson, A. N..  London: A history.  New York, 2006.

Winter, Jay, and J-L Robert.  Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin 1914-1919.  Cambridge, 1997.

Walkowitz, Judith.  The City of Dreadful Delight:  narratives of sexual danger in late-Victorian London.  Chicago, 1992.