This is City of Beasts: How Animals Shaped Georgian London, a panoramic new study of the world’s first modern metropolis by Thomas Almeroth-Williams.

You are about to enter an unfamiliar world, a city at the dawn of the modern age in which large, four-legged animals abound and influence every aspect of urban life. You will follow in the hoof and paw prints of the city’s horses, cows, sheep, pigs and dogs to wherever they may lead, from West End mews to East End industrial yards. You are heading where few historians have ventured. Watch your step, hold your nerve / nose and be ready to jump out of the way of speeding carts and enraged bullocks.


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

Philippa Stockley, Country Life (2 October 2019)

Thomas Almeroth-Williams adds vibrant colour to the landscape of Georgian London through his cast of horses, jackasses, livestock and watchdogs large and small. Beautifully written, attentive and thoughtful, City of beasts is alive not only with the sights, sounds, smells of the eighteenth century metropolis, but also with its animal voices.'

Lucy Inglis, author of Georgian London: Into the Streets

'Animals made eighteenth-century London work. From guard dogs to drays, they provided the 'horse power' that made society turn. Almeroth-Williams interrogates a lost world of human-animal relations to expose something quite new. This book will change how you see the pre-industrial world and every mutt you meet on the street.'

Professor Tim Hitchcock, Co-Director of The Old Bailey Online

Book in brief

  • Published by Manchester University Press on 31 May 2019

  • Price: £25

  • Places animals centre stage in the major debates of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century English social and urban history

  • Reassesses London’s role in the industrial, agricultural and consumer revolutions

  • 9 chapters (incl. Intro & Conclusion) covering everything from mill horses to watch dogs

  • 308 pages

  • 29 black and white images, many never before published

  • 5 maps

  • Primary sources include legal, parish, commercial, newspaper and private records

  • Written by a University of York Research Associate / pig farmer’s son!


Image (top) courtesy of Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection