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The Last Tuesday Society, The National Trust and The Perfect Cellar have joined together to bring an exciting series of talks to Carlyle’s house in Chelsea. Untouched since 1895, the four storey house on Cheyne Row was the home to Thomas and Jane Carlyle, a Victorian celebrity couple who were both successful authors. It was here that they hosted their legendary salons attended by many literary luminaries including Tennyson, Dickens, Ruskin and Darwin. For fourteen years after Carlyle’s death, the house continued to be rented, remaining untouched more from neglect than any other factor. But such was the reputation of the so-called ‘Sage of Chelsea’ that a few years after his death, his house was purchased by public subscription by the Carlyle House Memorial Trust and preserved for the nation. In 1936 it was transferred to the National Trust, which has restored and maintained the house and gardens in the style for which Jane Carlyle was famed.
the Last Tuesday Society and the National Trust Present Three dates in the Autumn as the salon is brought back to Carlyle’s living room with Mike Jay, Bridget O’Donnell and Helen O’Neill.
Complimentary glasses of fine wine will be provided by The Perfect Cellar, the highly esteemed suppliers of boutique wines from passionate, historical and artisan winemakers.
5th of September 2013
CARLYLE’S BEST IDEA: THE LONDON LIBRARY with Helen O’Neill
The London Library, founded by Thomas Carlyle in 1841, occupies a unique and enduring place in the literary landscape of the capital. Using original institutional archival records Helen O’Neill unveils the Library’s extraordinary Victorian membership in the home of its founder. Dickens, Darwin, Tennyson, George Eliot, Bram Stoker, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and a couple of Pre-Raphaelite “stunners” will all appear along with many others, as she uses the archive to paint an absorbing picture of literary and cultural life in Victorian London.
Helen O’Neill has been Head of Reader Services at the London Library for six years spending the last year at UCL researching the Library’s institutional archive. She has a particular interest in the early membership records as she feels they provide a unique window through which to view Victorian literary London.
19th of September 2013
WHEN MINAHAN MET MARY: Sex, Sleaze and Scandal in 1880s Chelsea with Bridget O’Donnell
One night in August 1882, Inspector Jeremiah Minahan was walking his Chelsea beat when he encountered the most infamous brothel-keeper in London, Mary Jeffries. Notorious for purveying young Chelsea girls to wealthy, powerful men, Jeffries attempted to warn Minahan off. ‘It is no good,’ she said, ‘for the police to watch my houses. I only do business with gentlemen of the highest rank in life.’ But Minahan ignored her advice and investigated. His subsequent exposé sparked national outrage: riots, arrests, a sensational trial and a change in English law that still holds today.
Find out how the battle between a Chelsea Madam and her local law enforcement officer changed British legal history in a talk by Bridget O’Donnell, author of Inspector Minahan Makes a Stand…
A former journalist and film-maker at the BBC, Bridget worked as a producer and director in documentaries, crime and drama for both television and radio. Her first book, Inspector Minahan Makes a Stand, was published by Picador in September 2012.
3rd of October 2013
EMPERORS OF DREAMS: Drugs in the Nineteenth Century with Mike Jay
Coleridge and de Quincey swilling laudanum. Sigmund Freud and Sherlock Holmes dallying with cocaine. Baudelaire and Gautier rapt in hashish fantasies. Queen Victoria with her prescription of cannabis. As every schoolboy knows, consciousness-altering drugs did not become illegal in this country until the early part of this century. Until then, people had been able to go to the chemist for any number of pick-me-up or put-me-down potions, tonics and powders, containing various concentrations of opium, cocaine, or cannabis. The situation was not even regarded as a problem, except for an unfortunate few.
In his talk Mike Jay tells us how we got from there to here; and also how we got there in the first place revealing what impact the growth of the narcotics industry had on that century’s dreams and nightmares.
Mike Jay has written extensively on the cultural history of science, medicine, drugs, madness and politics. He’s the author and editor of nine titles including The Air Loom Gang (of which Oliver Sacks wrote, “I have never seen the logic of madness so clearly and convincingly expressed…a wonderful book”) and The Unfortunate Colonel Despard, hailed as “popular history at its best” by the Times.