The Lunar Society of Birmingham

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

Join Professor Will Christie for the next talk in our Works That Shaped The World Series.

Who was the lunar society of Birmingham?

In the English Midlands in the mid to late eighteenth century, a large and diverse group of independent, largely ‘self-made’ men, all of them in different ways caught up in the experimental ethos of their times, befriended each other and agreed to meet regularly at each others’ houses by the light of the full moon to discuss the latest ideas. Amongst them could be found Erasmus Darwin, Matthew Boulton, James Watt, Josiah Wedgwood, and Joseph Priestly.

The name that this ‘band of brothers’ chose for itself was the Lunar Society and, over the closing decades of the century, their proximity and intimacy, like their fortunes, waxed and waned. But still they continued to offer each other friendship, advice, financial support, and (faced with personal tragedy) consolation, all the while unwittingly designing arguably the most transformative of the many revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: the industrial revolution.

Talk: 6:15-7:15pm

Drinks and food: 7:15-8pm

About the series

Presented by the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Centre, Works That Shaped The World is an engaging series of talks exploring humankind's great achievements and astonishing creations. Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing in 1969, the inaugural 2019 series explores the moon through topics ranging from Shakespeare and cinema, to environmental humanities and Pythagoras. Find out more about the series and subscribe to the podcast at

Subscribe to the Podcast

The Works That Shaped The World podcast lets you enjoy these fascinating talks anywhere, anytime, and share them with others. Listen and subscribe now at Simplecast: