Hidden London: An Insider’s Guide with Hattie Bennett

Hidden London: An Insider’s Guide with Hattie Bennett


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Join London native Hattie Bennett to explore the secret side of London. Head off the beaten track to discover museums, restaurants, and special places known only to locals.

When you think of London, you think of The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey. But there is so much more to this exciting city than these top attractions. In this seminar, we will take you to the lesser-known corners of the city to look at how locals enjoy their nation’s capital.

We will start by going south of the river Thames to the residential area of Wandsworth to look at fine early eighteenth-century houses in Clapham. We will tour The Common, once medieval cow pasture, now a park for recreation, and learn about the role of open space in historical London. Next stop, Richmond. Traveling downriver, we will stop at Petersham Nurseries while making our way down the towpath past seventeenth-century Ham House and eighteenth-century Marble Hill. Crossing the river, we will head to Chiswick, home to William Hogarth’s tiny villa and the grand Chiswick House and Gardens, an exquisite example of Palladian architecture.

On our way back towards the city center, we will learn about some fantastic local restaurants before traveling east across the city to Spitalfields. Once a busy industrial area, this neighborhood is now home to artists, creatives, and a thriving Bangladeshi community. We will get a taste of this area’s early history at the Dennis Severs House, a reproduction of an eighteenth-century Huguenot silk weaver’s house.

Afterward, we will head to Bloomsbury to explore another small museum with a complicated history. The Foundling Museum houses England's first art gallery of contemporary art but was also the first charity for children in the UK. In addition to viewing stunning artwork, we will also hear some harrowing accounts of child poverty in the eighteenth century, bringing to light another facet of London’s rich history.

Led by Londoner and art historian Hattie Bennett, this interactive seminar will share hidden gems known only to locals. Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of London away from the tourist center and gain some useful tips for future visits.

Hattie has a degree in History of Art and an MA in Historic Interiors, she has a life-long passion and fascination in Fine and Decorative Arts, particularly works produced in Europe from the 16th to 18th century. After working for the Royal Collection in the Print Room at Windsor Castle, she was a curator for a private collector of 17th and 18th century prints and drawings. Hattie has worked for London's foremost framer of important old master paintings during which time she sharpened her appreciation and understanding of the decorative arts and the changing tastes of collecting. Recently she has been dealing in prints and works of art as well as taking groups of all ages to museums and galleries.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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