Online course

The Greatest Emporium on Earth: London 1666-1851

Wednesday 12 January 2022 - Wednesday 30 March 2022

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

This course explores the transformation of the elegant city of Christopher Wren into the imperial metropolis of the Great Exhibition, a vast emporia of the world’s riches and the most populous city in human history.

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Mike Berlin

Course Director Mike Berlin

Mike Berlin is a Lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is a specialist in the social history of early modern London and has published extensively on the history of London’s guilds. Before joining Birkbeck, he was a research officer at the Centre for Metropolitan History, Institute of Historical Research.

I enjoyed the course and it was really helpful to watch the recordings because I can't attend live. Online course student, Spring 2021

Course Overview

In the two hundred years after the fire London emerged as the world’s greatest city, the metropolitan capital of the largest empire in history, consisting of grand houses and elegant squares, a river teaming with ships from all corners of the globe, and a galaxy of artists, writers, actors, musicians and master craftsmen drawn from all over Europe. Industry came with empire and from the early 1800s new docks, canals, warehouses and eventually railways girded London and sped up the ebb and flow of people and goods. Yet this achievement was marked by widespread social unrest. Events such as the Gordon Riots showed how the London mob could threaten the peace of the prosperous. In response new institutions such as the workhouse, the penitentiary and the police were created to still the grumbling hive, along the way creating a new infrastructure of metropolitan government.


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Online course: The Greatest Emporium on Earth: London 1666-1851

12 January 2022 - 30 March 2022


Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 9.30 - 17.30, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)