Supporting your high street Find out how »
Basket Image


Theatres of Glass, Hardback Book


In the winter of 1847, the cloisters of Westminster Abbey enjoyed a sudden growth in popularity - though the visitors who streamed in were not of the usual kind.

They were naturalists, come to see the very first marine aquarium in England, a large collection of madrepores and sea sponges kept in glass cases in the drawing-room of Ashburnham House.

The Abbey aquarium was established not by the Revered Lord John Thynne, the Sub-Dean of the Abbey, but by his extraordinary wife Anna, a great beauty and mother of 10 children, who by a process of serendipity, discovered how to keep and breed her pet sea creatures in glass tanks in central London.

Anna's invention of the aquarium coincided with a major philosophical turning point in history.

Married to a clergyman, she found herself working in a field which cut right through to the heart of the prevailing conflict about the origins and development of life on the planet.




Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops

Also by Rebecca Stott   |  View all