City of beasts

How animals shaped Georgian London

By Thomas Almeroth-Williams

City of beasts


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5032-5
  • Pages: 328
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £13.99
  • Published Date: April 2020
  • BIC Category: History, NATURE / Animals / General, London, Greater London, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Georgian Era (1714-1837), Humanities / Social & cultural history, Animals & Society
  • Series: Manchester University Press


This book 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, the book 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.


'Beautifully written, attentive and thoughtful, City of beasts is alive not only with the sights, sounds, and smells of the eighteenth-century metropolis, but also with its animal voices.'
Lucy Inglis, author of Milk of Paradise

This widely researched, delightful work bears the hoof-stamp of excellence: facts, interest and thought-provoking discoveries.'
Country Life

His close attention to the details of human and animal behaviours, his focus on the "dung-bespattered" reality of human-animal interactions, forces the reader to acknowledge animals ... as agents of historical change in their own right.'

'City of Beasts
is an unusual, provocative urban history, which makes exciting methodological contributions and challenging arguments relevant to a range of subjects and disciplines.'
Urban History Journal

'It is very well written and includes a wealth of stories that bring "dung-spattered" Georgian London to life. City of Beasts offers a new and compelling way to look at both urban and animal history in ways that intersect closely with environmental history.'
Environmental History journal

'City of Beasts is written in an engaging style that should allow it to appeal both to specialists and to more general readers. [...] It is an enjoyable and accessible book, a useful and welcome contribution to the study of urban and social history, and required reading for scholars of early modern and modern animal studies.'
Journal of British Studies

'[...] offers a well-researched social history of tangible human-animal interactions, focusing on the close way in which lower-class men lived and worked with animals in Georgian London.'
Reviews in History


1 Mill horse
2 Draught horse
3 Animal husbandry
4 Meat on the hoof
5 Consuming horses
6 Horsing around
7 Watchdogs


Thomas Almeroth-Williams is Research Associate in the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York

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