This lecture analyses the relationship between the interrelationship between scientific knowledge and urban culture during the long eighteenth century in British towns. ‘Science’ in the eighteenth-century context was a capacious term including many branches of knowledge that would later be excluded when disciplinary definitions became more rigid and knowledge institutionalised. The emphasis in this lecture will be on the opportunities created in urban society for the generation, acquisition and exchange of scientific knowledge; the relationship between science and both metropolitan and provincial urban culture; and the assimilation of what might be called scientific knowledge or methods into practices of urban governance.
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Roey Sweet is professor of urban history at the University of Leicester where she is Director of the Centre for Urban History, based in the School of History. She has published widely on aspects of eighteenth-century urban and cultural history and on the eighteenth-century reception of the past. Her publications include The Writing of Urban History in Eighteenth-Century England (Oxford, 1997); The English Town. Government, Society and Culture1680-1840 (Harlow, 1999); Antiquaries: the Discovery of the Past in Eighteenth-Century Britain (London, 2004) and Cities and the Grand Tour: The British in Italy, c. 1690-1820 (Cambridge, 2012). She is co-editor of Urban History published by Cambridge University Press; is a member of the Historic Towns Trust; the International Commission for the History of Towns; and on the organizing committees of the UK’s Premodern Towns Group and Urban History Group, and of the European Association of Urban Historians.