800 years of the city's history in just six weeks? With the right guide, it can be done. In his new course starting this evening, Dr Matt Green will whisk you from the bear-baiting pits of Shakespearean Southwark to the Elephant Man’s Whitechapel, by way of the plague-struck capital.
The stories — brought to life with maps, lavish illustrations and vivid anecdotes — are told through the eyes of commoners and their haunts: coffee houses, fashion boutiques, freak-show booths, prison cells. Each week covers a different era — from the 16th century, through to the 40s and 50s.
And there are tasty touches along the way; Plague London (week three) gets added flavour with 17th century-style hot chocolate while in Early Georgian London (week four) you'll sup on the black, gritty coffee of the time.
Dr Matt Green told us: "This is a unique opportunity to discover, in rich and evocative detail, how London cracked out of its medieval shell, sprawled into the suburbs, and emerged as the biggest and greatest city in the world."
There will also — as Matt is keen to point out — be plenty of gin.
The six-week course, price £225, starts tonight from 6.30pm-8.30pm but you can join at any point (there's a sliding price scale depending on how many weeks you attend).