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To Voltaire, who lived in London for more than two years, it was clear that the sheer diversity of religious communities here was a vital source of political security and civility. For members of religious minority groups in eighteenth-century London, though, the urban landscape had to be made into a devotional environment by human acts of prayer and gathering for worship, but also through business negotiations such as drawing up leases and purchasing equipment, and through decisions made by particular communities at certain moments to share spaces with others or to move on. The picture of how Jews, Catholics, foreign Protestants and non-Anglican congregations interacted with their environment, and did so within larger structures of collective memory and suspicious opposition, is a complex one. Using the examples of the Creechurch Lane synagogue and the Salters’ Hall meeting house built by Protestant dissenters on livery company land, this session will explore the representation and reality of minority religious experience in the City of London over time. 

About the Speaker:

Tessa Whitehouse is Reader in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Queen Mary University of London and Director of the Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English. With Anne Dunan-Page leads ‘Mapping Multifaith London’, a project funded by the Alliance Hubert Curien that charts the places of worship and memory of religious minority groups in early eighteenth-century London by plotting them on John Rocque’s map of 1746. See

Suggested reading:

Ecclesia & Reformatio: A Dialogue Betwixt St Paul’s Church and Salters Hall (1698) [see pdf on LLRG website] – a poem

Voltaire, Letters on England (1733) (start with letters I and II ‘On the Quakers’, Letter V ‘On the Church of England’, Letter VI ‘On the Presbyterians’)

Unless stated otherwise, all our events are free of charge and anyone interested in the topic is welcome to attend. Registration is required for all events.