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City of Beasts explores the role of animals – horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and dogs – in shaping Georgian London. Moving away from the philosophical, fictional and humanitarian sources used by previous animal studies, it focuses on evidence of tangible, dung-bespattered interactions between real people and animals, drawn from legal, parish, commercial, newspaper and private records.
This approach opens up new perspectives on unfamiliar or misunderstood metropolitan spaces, activities, social types, relationships and cultural developments. Ultimately, City of Beasts challenges traditional assumptions about the industrial, agricultural and consumer revolutions, as well as key aspects of the city's culture, social relations and physical development. It will be stimulating reading for students and professional scholars of urban, social, economic, agricultural, industrial, architectural and environmental history.
1 Mill horse
2 Draught horse
3 Animal husbandry
4 Meat on the hoof
5 Consuming horses
6 Horsing around
Thomas Almeroth-Williams is Research Associate in the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York.
"Thomas Almeroth-Williams adds vibrant colour to the landscape of Georgian London through his cast of horses, jackasses, livestock and watchdogs large and small. Beautifully written, attentive and thoughtful, City of Beasts is alive not only with the sights, sounds, smells of the eighteenth century metropolis, but also with its animal voices."
– Lucy Inglis, author of Milk of Paradise
"Animals made eighteenth-century London work. From guard dogs to drays, they provided the 'horse power' that made society turn. Almeroth-Williams interrogates a lost world of human-animal relations to expose something quite new. This book will change how you see the pre-industrial world and every mutt you meet on the street."
– Tim Hitchcock, Co-Director of The Old Bailey Online
"This widely researched, delightful work bears the hoof-stamp of excellence: facts, interest and thought-provoking discoveries."
– Country Life Magazine