A Tour of London, Science City, 1550–1800


In 1550, London was a rapidly expanding commercial city, yet with a relatively modest position on the world stage. By 1800, it was a global city – and also a world-leading centre of science. In this talk, Science Museum curator Alexandra Rose will take you on a tour of the early modern city, revealing how science was central to its remarkable transformation. Our journey through the city will be brought to life by surviving scientific instruments from this period, preserved in the collections of the Science Museum, Royal Society and Kings College London, and which are currently on display in the Museum’s gallery, Science City 1550–1800.


Dr Alexandra Rose is Curator of Earth Sciences and Astronomy at the Science Museum in London. She lead-curated Science City 1550–1800: The Linbury Gallery, which opened in 2019, and coauthored its accompanying book Science City: Craft, Commerce and Curiosity in London, 1550–1800 (Scala). Her other exhibitions at the Science Museum have included Unlocking Lovelock: Scientist, Inventor, Maverick (2014) and Atmosphere: Exploring Climate Science (2010). Her research interests include history of earth sciences, scientific instruments, and the role of museums in engaging publics with climate change and environmental issues. She is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company.