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To celebrate the new Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution exhibition, the National Maritime Museum are going all-out with talks and tours, walks and workshops, plus a Pepys party.
The Pepys Show: Late on 26 November is a fitting time to defy those Christmas-hating Puritans with original Baroque'n'roll party-starter Samuel Pepys. Toast the start of the festive season with a free tot of Pusser's old Navy rum then get stuck in Stuart-style.
There's a 17th century dress-up booth, DJ set and a Dancing Schoole from the Playford Liberation Front for a hilarious lesson in Restoration social dancing. Also hear Cringe comics read fittingly wince-inducing tales of their teenage Christmases, test your knowledge at a pub quiz by our very own editor-in-chief James Drury, and of course take a twilight tour of the wonderful new exhibition Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution.
Book now for 26 November, 6.30-10pm, £15, members free.
A dose of culture
Join journalist, author and Londonist favourite Will Self as he reads a specially commissioned piece in the spirit of Pepys at a special Book Slam. The London literary salon hosts brings the great diarist to life with help from The Chaps Choir, Australian comedian Felicity Ward and more. Book now for 29 January, 6.30-10pm, £6 or £12 including exhibition entry.
Train your brain each Thursday at the special Maritime Lecture Series led by leading academics of the time. Talks last an hour, followed by Q&As over refreshments, 11am-1pm, £8 per lecture or £6 for members.
- Dr Clare Jackson (The Stuarts, BBC2) ruminates on the wider Stuart world of civil war, regicide and deposition in Samuel Pepys and the Stuart Age - book now for 29 October.
- Dr Peter Barber, British Library explains the seventeenth century struggle to improve English mapmaking in Pepys meets his match: Pepys, Narbrough and the culture and aesthetics of chart-making
- book now for 5 November.
- Dr Karen Hearn, UCL, considers the contemporary attitudes to the wearing of patches and beauty spots evident in Pepys's diary and other accounts of the time in Pepys and Beauty Spots - book now for 12 November.
- Rebecca Rideal brings the colourful characters of the tumultuous second Anglo-Dutch war to life in The Secret Life of a Restoration Sailor - book now for 19 November.
- Dr Kate Loveman, Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Leicester, answers the all-important question of why Pepys kept a diary in the first place in Why did Pepys keep a diary? - book now for 26 November.
- Exhibition curators Dr Robert Blyth and Kristian Martin focus on the great man himself! in Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution - book now for 3 December.
Walk back in time
Exercise your legs and your brain at once on a series of walking tours round the London Pepys knew and loved.
- By 1665, over a fifth of London's population had died from the previous 300 years' frequent resurgences of the Black Death. On The Dreadful Visitation: Pepys's City and the Great Plague, explore the City of London of Pepys's time and discover how 17th century Londoners dealt with disease, death and burial, plus find out what archaeologists have recently uncovered. Book now for 4 December, 11am-1.30pm, £15, £12 for members.
- Think diverse London is a recent phenomenon? Think again. Meet a varied cast of characters from Pepys's life, including young runaways, seamen, African nobles, the keeper of Harwich lighthouse and a servant who used her employers, on The Other Stuart London walking tour around the City. Book now for 12 December, 2-3pm, £10, £8 for members.
- Spend some time downriver on the Pepys and Greenwich (and Deptford) tour, retracing the diarist's steps through bustling alleyways, pubs and markets, and take advantage of a unique opportunity to see manuscript material relating to his time in Greenwich. Book now for 12 February, 11am-1.30pm, £15, £12 for members.
- Imagine if you'd been knocking around in 1666 at the time of the rather famous blaze that engulfed the capital. Pepys was, and left a dramatic account of the experience. Relive that (without the mass destruction) on this Samuel Pepys and the Great Fire of London walk using his words and other records from the time to explore the fire started and progressed, and how the man of the hour got involved in controlling the conflagration. Plus take a look at objects left behind with MOLA Archaeologist Nigel Jeffries. Book now for 18 March, 11am-1.30pm, £15, £12 for members.
Go deeper with a workshop
One-day workshops are a brilliant way to get truly stuck in to the world of the exhibition. Spend a day exploring techniques for transforming Autobiography into Fiction with Conor Montague on a course organised by the National Maritime Museum with City Lit - book now for 28 November. Or how about joining author Jonathan Barnes in Writing Alternate History in the spirit of Pepys - book now for 31 January. Both are 10am-5pm, £50, £40 for members, and include exhibition entry. And for young'uns, the Plague Takeover is family day chock full of events and activities themed around the deadly disease. Pop along on 21 November, 11am-3pm, free.
Catch Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution at National Maritime Museum in Greenwich 20 November 2015–28 March 2016. Tickets are £12 adult/£6 child.