Charles Saumarez Smith on ‘East London’

Friends events

Thursday 4 May 2017
7 — 8.30pm

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Charles Saumarez Smith

© Red Photographic

Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts, Charles Saumarez Smith hosts a talk on the inspiration behind his new book ‘East London’; an engagingly informal insider’s guide to the streets of the East End, from Spitalfields to Stratford.

East London has changed more dramatically than any other part of the city over the last thirty years. From a desolate, and in many places derelict, state after the bombing of the Second World War, it has become one of the most fashionable neighbourhoods in the world, with new developments in Canary Wharf and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as well as Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane.

Charles Saumarez Smith, who has lived in the area since the early 1980s, invites the reader to join him on his explorations, which are both historical and geographical, describing the unique character of spaces and places, new and old. He guides the reader around shops, churchyards, parks, pumping stations and cemeteries, up the Regent’s Canal and across Victoria Park. Each of the old villages and neighbourhoods that make up East London is shown, through photographs taken on his travels, to offer unexpected and fascinating discoveries, from Wapping in the south through Spitalfields and Bethnal Green to Hoxton, Haggerston and Hackney in the north.

East London has been designed by Harry Pearce of Pentagram to give a sense of visual discovery, with maps that enable the reader to explore the area themselves.

Charles Saumarez Smith CBE has been Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts since 2007, and is also Visiting Professor of Cultural History at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of The Company of Artists: The Origins of the Royal Academy of Arts in London and The National Gallery: A Short History.

Advance acclaim for East London:

“An informal but informative and interesting study of the most important aspects of East London” Peter Ackroyd

“This is a vigorous, clear-sighted and beautiful book of journeys through the East End. It is timely in its mapping of transitions, and astute in finding continuities. Charles Saumarez Smith is a very good companion on his flaneurial walks, amusing, erudite and engaged in his response to buildings, people and places. I loved it.” Edmund de Waal

Charles Saumarez Smith will talk about his book for approximately 20 minutes. This will be followed by a Q&A session, as well as the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of East London.

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● Fully booked

● Cancelled

Thursday 4 May 2017

7 — 8.30pm

The Sir Hugh Casson Room for Friends, The Keeper's House, Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly

£15, includes welcome drink.

Booking is now open to Friends of the RA.

Book now