'Sunken Worlds: The Shadowlands of Britain': Dr Matthew Green in discussion with James Goodhead

An immersive historical talk on the drowned cities, ghost towns and vanished villages of Britain by bestselling historian Dr Matthew Green.

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Friday 31 March 2023, 7pm

Friday 31 March 2023, 7pm-9pm

Tickets: £8.50 (£3 entry and £5.50 for a half price book)
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Turner Contemporary Rendezvous, Margate, Kent CT9 1HG
Limited Availability

As Margate is threatened by floods and seastorms in the decades ahead, this immersive talk by bestselling historian and broadcaster Matthew Green on Britain’s drowned cities, ghost towns and vanished villages will be both an elegiac resurrection of the past and a chilling premonition of the future, illustrated by harrowing images.

As the sun sinks into the sea through the glass of the Turner, the arresting tales of Britain’s shadowlands — the medieval city of Dunwich drowned in the North Sea, the wine city of Winchelsea somewhere in the Channel, the abandoned sea-mountain of St Kilda in the Outer Hebrides, a Nazi village in Norfolk, and Capel Celyn, at the bottom of a giant reservoir in Wales, and more — reveal in frightening colours the precarity of our own towns and cities, of humanity, in the 21st century.

The audience will be transported to these places in their prime, as they teetered on the brink of oblivion, and in later centuries as they were mourned and reimagined by writers and artists, including Turner painting the ruins of All Saints’, Dunwich, standing forlorn on its cliff as the rest of the city mouldered beneath the stormy sea below. Green and Goodhead will discuss why Romantics like Turner found such beauty in decay and such presence in what is missing and how ruminating upon ruins and loss can be a cathartic experience in our lives today.

The talk will resurrect long-lost coastal communities — the Margates which have slipped through the fingers of history — and suggest ways in which we might contend with our future.

  • Ticket includes an exclusive half-price advance copy of Shadowlands: A Journey through Lost Britain by Matthew Green.
  • Matthew will be in conversation with James Goodhead.


Author’s Biography

Dr Matthew Green is a historian, writer and broadcaster with a doctorate from Oxford University. His latest book, Shadowlands: A Journey through Lost Britain (Faber) was a Times Top 10 bestseller and has achieved wide critical acclaim, being described as ‘startling’ (— FT ), ‘beautifully written’ (— Sunday Times), ‘premonitory’ (—TLS), ‘cautionary’ (— The New Yorker) and ‘a miraculous work of resurrection’ (— Iain Sinclair). It was Book of the Day in the Guardian and Book of the Week in the Daily Mail. He has appeared in documentaries on the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, and has written historical features for the Guardian and Financial Times, among others. He is the founder of Unreal City Audio, which produces immersive tours of London as live events and podcasts. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

The paperback of Shadowlands: A Journey Through Lost Britain will be released on 6 April 2023; your ticket includes a half-price advanced copy which Matthew will be glad to sign.

Chair’s Biography

James Goodhead is Founder of Unified Goods, consultant for Turner Contemporary and the curator of Sound Events.

Book your tickets here.