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RHS Lecture - Plague and Poverty in Early Modern London

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Date of Event
12th January 2023
Last Booking Date for this Event
11th January 2023

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RHS Lecture- Plague and Poverty in Early Modern London, Professor Vanessa Harding (Birkbeck, University of London)

Thursday 12 January 2023
17.30 BST – David Bell Building, University of Roehampton
Sponsored by the Royal Historical Society

Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of ill-health, and early modern London was no exception. Plague and poverty must have seemed like intertwined facts of life to Londoners of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: a series of epidemics and longer periods of endemic plague, and the increasing sprawl of poor suburbs where disease appeared to strike hardest and last longest. There were certainly significant spatial correlations between plague mortality and richer and poorer areas of London, but patterns were also influenced by change over time and changing human behaviour. In fact, while the numbers of the poor certainly increased, epidemics did not get any more severe over time, and although plague never returned after 1665, the living conditions and health of the poor do not seem to have improved. This lecture will explore some of the relationships between environment, demography, local resources, and plague mortality.

The lecture will begin at 17:30, followed by a wine reception at 18:30.

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