Cityread London 2017

Cityread London is an annual celebration that aims to bring reading to life for the whole capital. The chosen Cityread London book for 2017 is Prophecy by S.J. Parris, a gripping Elizabethan spy thriller set in London 1583.

Richmond Libraries will be running a festival of celebratory events.

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Cityread London events take place throughout April and May 2017.

Elizabethan food at Hampton Court Palace

State Apartment Warder from Hampton Court Palace, Ian Franklin, will talk about Elizabethan cookery. Ian has been associated with the Tudor Kitchens Team at Hampton Court for almost 20 years.

His illustrated talk will give you an insight into the workings of the Great Kitchen at Hampton Court, and tell you more about the unique survival of Elizabeth I’s Privy Kitchen at the Palace. He will also detail the sorts of food eaten at the time.

Ticket price includes refreshments.

  • Date: Thursday 6 April
  • Time: 7.30 to 8.45pm
  • Location: Hampton Library
  • Price: £3 per person, booking essential

Book online

Shakespeare and Elizabethan Politics

Shakespeare made abundant use of deception, murder, passion and superstition to reveal the turmoil of the times. As he couldn’t safely write about the regime he was living under, he wrote about the politics of his time obliquely, through stories set in other times and places. Maturing in a tense political climate, he constantly questions what holds society together or breaks it apart.

Gabriel Chanan, author of Shakespeare and Democracy, shows how issues like gender, war, rebellion and the accountability of rulers unfold across the plays, and illustrates these issues with key excerpts.

Ticket price includes refreshments.

Book online

Elizabethan Embroidery with Dr Susan Kay-Williams

Embroidery was used extensively in the Elizabethan period from the embellishment of clothes to domestic pieces and as occupation for ladies. This illustrated lecture from Dr Susan Kay-Williams of the Royal School of Needlework will examine some of the popular techniques and show a range of examples from the few extant objects.

Most clothing was handed down until it fell apart so in the most part we have to rely upon pictures to see the use of embroidery in the period. Learn about the work of Elizabeth’s own embroiderers and two of the most famous stitchers of the period: Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick.

Ticket price includes refreshments.

  • Date: Thursday 20 April
  • Time: 7 to 8pm
  • Location: Teddington Library
  • Price: £3 per person, booking essential

Book online

Workshop: Writing historical fiction with Imogen Robertson

The past is full of fascinating stories and history can be a rich source of inspiration for your writing - but how do you create a different era on the page? Is it all Kings and courtiers? What can you discover about those who lived more humble lives? How do you manage the research? Do you have to spend years in a library or are there other ways to get an insight into the lives of our ancestors?

This workshop with acclaimed author Imogen Robertson gives you the chance to experiment with historical fiction, discuss the problems and pleasures of the genre and find the key to unlocking the stories of our past.

Ticket price includes refreshments.

Book online

Theft of Life book cover

A Tour of Elizabethan London

Travel back to the year 1600 with speaker Nick Dobson to take a virtual trip around our capital as it looked 400 years ago. We'll see a few familiar landmarks, but be prepared to experience the sights of a city very different to modern London in this illustrated talk.

Ticket price includes refreshments.

A Tour of Elizabethan London timetable
Date Time Location Price Booking
Monday 24 April 7 to 8pm Hampton Hill Library £3 per person, booking essential This event is fully booked
Wednesday 26 April 7 to 8pm Whitton Library £3 per person, booking essential Book online

Baynard's Castle

John Dee’s apprentice: Elizabethan crime and punishment

The detection of crime in Elizabethan England often involved the use of magic. Notably, John Dee of Mortlake used angel revelations and astrology to locate stolen goods and identify the thieves, methods in which he trained his most famous student, Thomas Digges.

Digges was the most brilliant mathematician of his generation, the first Englishman to publish in support of Copernicus. Yet his life shows in turn how political influence could interfere with the punishment of crime in Elizabethan England. Apart from his mathematical achievements, Digges turned out to be a con-man, a fraudster, a forger – and a murderer. The fact that he died peacefully in his bed tells us a lot about crime and punishment under Elizabeth I.

Learn more with Professor Glyn Parry, author of The Arch Conjuror of England, John Dee.

Ticket price includes refreshments.

  • Date: Thursday 27 April
  • Time: 7 to 8pm
  • Location: East Sheen Library
  • Price: £3 per person, booking essential

Book online

Quizabethan: A fun, Elizabethan themed quiz night

Test your knowledge of all things Elizabethan in history, film, music and literature. The quiz will have rounds including general knowledge and word puzzles. Come as a team of 6 or join a team on the night.

Ticket price includes a fish and chip supper. Soft drinks are provided.

  • Date: Wednesday 3 May
  • Time: 7 to 9.30pm
  • Location: Twickenham Library
  • Price: £10 per person, booking essential

Book online

Elizabethan stories for adults with Giles Abbott

Giles Abbott rediscovered the joy of storytelling after sudden and severe, but not total, sight loss booted him out of the world of books. He is the UK’s only professional blind storyteller and is in demand in clubs and festivals all over the UK and internationally. His telling is characterised by his commanding stage presence, rich voice and poetic use of language.

For Ham Library Giles will be telling Elizabethan stories - scary, funny, rude and sometimes shocking! Giles will include a tale we know frightened the young William Shakespeare and a tale of black magic inspired by Dr John Dee.

Ticket price includes refreshments.

  • Date: Thursday 4 May
  • Time: 7 to 8pm
  • Location: Ham Library
  • Price: £3 per person, booking essential

Book online

Cityread website

Activities, talks and events will be going on across London and details can be found on the Cityread website.

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Updated: 20 March 2017