Shakespeare's London - Everyday Life in London 1580-1616
Shakespeare's London was a bustling, teeming metropolis that was growing so rapidly that the government took repeated, and ineffectual, steps to curb it's expansion. From comtemporary letters, journals and diaries, a vivid picture emerges of this fascinating city, with its many opportunities and also it's persistent problems. By far the largest city in the country, it was the centre of government, the law and the church, the focus of politics and culture. It had a vigorous economy, with a range of industries and a lucrative trade in luxury goods for the courtiers and wealthy citizens. Growth produced overcrowding and high mortality, with shockingly high death tolls during the periodic plague epidemics, yet London attracted an endless stream of people, who were absorbed into it's diverse communities and economic structures. Here the first playhouses were built, patronised by large audiences, who were treated to a rich and varied diet of plays to keep them, and the court, entertained. The London that Shakespeare knew was an expanding, changing and exciting city.