It could be argued that the history of Britain’s relationship with drink mirrors the evolution of the nation, interwoven with themes from colonial and imperial history, industrialisation and social change. After a broad overview of this longer history, the talk will concentrate on the changing fortunes of the pub from the end of the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth, examining the reasons for its evolving uses, character and form. We will tour different kinds of drinking places: gin shops and gin palaces, beerhouses, ‘jerries’ and ‘shebeens,’ improved pubs and teetotallers’ pubs, roadhouses, flash city taverns and bucolic country inns. Through all of this we will try to sift the fact from the fiction, while still acknowledging that the idea of the British pub is in some ways more real than the thing itself.


James Kneale is a geographer at UCL interested in the histories of drink and temperance, with a particular focus on Britain between 1830-1918. He has published on pub design, drink maps, and the relationships between drink, medicine and life assurance, as well as comparisons between historical and contemporary drinking.


Please note, when you book the talk the £17 ticket price includes a glass of wine (or soft drink) and entry to the Garden. Please book your supper separately (also £17 per person) - we will have sittings at 5.45pm and 8.30pm.

The meal will be a mixed buffet as well as a dessert.


The talk itself is from 7-8.15pm

Please note there is no lift to the lecture room (which is up some stairs) and we apologise for any inconvenience this might cause.


Book a place

Ticket Quantity Price

Ticket for Talk only

Decrease Increase £17.00

Ticket of Talk with Supper beforehand

Decrease Increase £34.00

Ticket for Talk with Supper afterwards

Decrease Increase £34.00