Writing on the Wall - A Talk by Dr Madeleine Pelling

Talk Heritage
  • Venue


  • Time

    6:30 PM

  • Price

    £6.00 plus booking fee

  • Book Tickets

Join us at Southwark Cathedral for a fascinating new history of eighteenth-century Britain, told through its graffiti!

What if walls could talk? For historian Madeleine Pelling, they can - if you know where to look.

A brilliant new cultural history of the long eighteenth century, Writing on the Wall is told through the marks its citizens left behind, bringing into focus lost voices from the highest to the lowest in society. From the centre of London to the islands of the Caribbean, Pelling goes in search of graffiti, evidence of how ordinary people experienced the world-changing events that defined their lives - from political prisoners to sex workers, homesick sailors, Romantic poets and factory workers.

Here are the lives, loves, triumphs and failures, scratched into the walls of prisons and latrines, chalked up on doors and etched into windows. The names of their creators may be lost to history, but together they tell the real story of Britain's most rebellious and transformative century.

This talk will take place in the Cathedral library and won't be recorded or streamed. Doors will open at 6.15pm and copies of Writing on the Wall: Graffiti, Rebellion and the Making of Eighteenth-Century Britain will be available to purchase on the evening.

Madeleine Pelling is a cultural historian, author and broadcaster. She holds a PhD from the University of York and has held research fellowships at the universities of Yale, Edinburgh, Manchester. Her first book, Writing on the Wall: Graffiti, Rebellion and the Making of Eighteenth-Century Britain (Profile Books, 2024), tells the stories of immigrants, prisoners of war, debtors, sex workers and rebels in Georgian Britain through the marks they left behind, and offers a new perspective on this tumultuous period of history.

Madeleine is co-host of History Hit’s After Dark: Myths, Misdeeds and the Paranormal, a podcast that shines a light on the shadier corners of the past and which brings a rigorous historical lens to folklore and true crime. She is also a regular contributor for television, most recently for Titanic in Colour (Channel 4, 2024) Mayhem! Secret Lives of the Georgian Kings (2024), Queens That Changed The World (Channel 4, 2023) and Who Do You Think You Are? Australia (Warner Bros, 2023). Her words appear in The GuardianThe IndependentBBC History Magazine and History Today, as well as on Times Radio.