Seminars meet each weekday morning, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study, or exploring the many places of interest in and around the city.
Please note that OUDCE reserves the right to alter course content and/or cancel field trips in accordance with government guidance.
Samuel Pepys comes to London. Taking the earlier years of his diary as our guide, we will explore the tensions which gripped the capital during the final days of the Commonwealth. Pepys' preoccupations over money and professional advancement and his enthusiastic pursuit of the pleasures London had to offer provide unique insights into the life of the city.
The Great Plague of 1665. Unlike most of his wealthier neighbours and colleagues, Pepys remained in London throughout the epidemic. His objective account of life in the city during that summer and autumn challenges popular assumptions shaped by the melodramatic and fictionalised descriptions of later years, notably that of Daniel Defoe.
The Great Fire of London. Pepys' vivid, day-by-day account of this cataclysm is arguably the most widely familiar section in his diaries. We will retrace his steps during those four terrible days as he struggled to balance his private and public interests. We will then consider the fire’s aftermath, the impacts on London society and the various proposals that were made for London's regeneration into a modern city.
A virtual tour of the City and its environs will compare the London known by Pepys with the City today. It may be found that there is as much continuity as there is change in the fabric of the City and the habits of its inhabitants.
The Court of Charles II. Pepys offers numerous insights into the world of this flamboyant monarch during the later years of the 1660s, as London struggled to reinvent itself following the Great Fire. The diaries provide a vivid picture of a court and capital city on the verge of profound transformations.