Centre for Metropolitan History

The Centre for Metropolitan History (CMH), established by the Institute in 1988, is one of the world’s leading centres for the study of the history of London and other metropolises. It specialises in innovative research projects, covering a wide range of periods, themes and problems in metropolitan history, publishing the results and data online and in print. The Centre runs a seminar, and organises workshops and conferences on many different topics in metropolitan and urban history. Staff at the Centre supervise more than a dozen PhD students and are involved in the Institute’s MA programme.

CMH News

Metropolitan History Seminar 2015-16

The programme for the Metropolitan History Seminar 2015-16 is now available at: www.history.ac.uk/events/seminars/134

The first seminar will be on 14 October, when Alison Telfer (Museum of London Archaeology) will give a paper on 'By the banks of the Walbrook - current excavations at the site of the Crossrail Broadgate Ticket Hall'. On 28 October, Chris O'Rourke's paper is 'The view from the London Paviliion: the Covered Wagon, cinema and urban tourism in the 1920s'.

The seminars are held on alternate Wednesdays at 5.30 pm in the John S Cohen Room (Room 203), 2nd floor, IHR. They are free of charge and open to all. No advance booking necessary.

Podcasts of previous Metropolitan History seminars are online at: www.history.ac.uk/podcasts/metropolitan-history

PASSAGE: A symposium on writing about walking in London, 1500-1900

Tuesday 27 October 2015, 10 am-4.30 pm |  The Dr Seng Tee Lee Centre, Senate House Library, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

This symposium will provide an opportunity for scholars and students from various backgrounds and disciplines to define the landscape for a new project, 'Passage' - a collaboration between the CMH and Senate House Library, which hopes to address a number of research questions arising from historical texts that describe or are structured around walking in London. Attendance is free but places are strictly limited. Please see Eventbrite for more details and to book. Booking closes on 25 October.

Call for Papers: AHRC International Research Network 'The Global City, Past and Present' - Workshop 3 'Peoples' (CMH, IHR, 26-27 May 2016)

The network invites proposals from scholars of all humanities and social sciences for its workshop on the topic of 'Peoples' in cities - colonial, imperial, or other - of the early modern or modern and contemporary period. Possible areas of investigation include demography, inequality, politics, governance, trade, religions, gender, language, migration, prosopographies and family studies, race, mortality, health and disease. Cross -historical comparative papers that range from the past to the present are also welcome.

Applicants should email a 500-750 word proposal and a one-page CV to Emma Hart by 15 October, 2015. For full details see: http://globalcities.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/workshop-3/call-for-papers

London and the First World War Conference podcasts

Podcasts of nineteen of the papers given at the CMH/IWM conference on London and the First World War (20-21 March 2015) are now available at: www.history.ac.uk/podcasts/london-and-first-world-war. They include the keynote lectures by Adrian Gregory (Pembroke College, Oxford), 'London: a wartime metropolis in comparative perspective', and Jerry White (Birkbeck, University of London), 'London in the First World War: questions of legacy', along with papers from sessions on 'daily life and institutions', 'enemy aliens', 'transport', 'the empire view', 'dissent', 'air war' and 'leisure'.

People, Property and Charity: The Clothworkers’ Company 1500-1688 (http://www.clothworkersproperty.org/)

Arising from a CMH project, funded by The Clothworkers’ Company, with research carried out by Dr Annaleigh Margey, this website was officially launched on 10 October. It provides the first detailed history of the benefactors, property acquisitions and other bequests of The Clothworkers’ Company in the City of London during the late medieval and early modern periods. Focusing specifically on the properties that came to the company through the bequests of several benefactors, it traces the company’s management of these properties and associated charities. The site provides biographies of the most significant property benefactors, as well as listings of benefactors who bequeathed silver, plate, and monies for charity and entertainment purposes, and histories of the properties granted to the Company.

Records of London's Livery Companies Online (ROLLCO) Project

The ROLLCO database has see three recent updates, which have included freedom and apprenticeship records from the Bowyers', Founders, Girdlers', Musicians', Salters', and Tallow Chandlers' Companies, and brings the total number of individuals contained in the database to over 350,000. The database can be searched at londonroll.org. The new records include a number of notable people. To read more about them and the updates, see the the ROLLCO blogs here.

Medieval Merchants and Money conference podcasts

Seventeen papers from our highly successful conference held last November in celebration of the work of Professor Jim Bolton (QMUL) are now online as free podcasts. We are very grateful to the speakers who have given permission to make their papers available.

Locating London's Past wins BSECS prize

We are delighted that Locating London's Past has won the 2014 British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS) Prize for Digital Resources. This prestigious prize, sponsored by Adam Matthew Digital, is awarded annually to the best resource supporting eighteenth-century studies.  Locating London's Past was funded by a grant from the JISC e-content programme 2011, and is a partnership between the CMH, the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Sheffield. Visit the website at: http://www.locatinglondon.org

CMH Publications

A number of our publications can still be purchased online from the University of London's bookstore. Bestsellers include: The Religious Houses of London and Middlesex; Guilds, Society & Economy in London 1450-1800 and London in the 1690s: A Social Atlas. Also available are IHR Conference Series volumes: London and Beyond: Essays in Honour of Derek Keene and A History of the French in London: Liberty, Equality, Opportunity

Mobilising London's Housing Histories Conference Podcasts

Papers from the 'Mobilising London's Housing Histories: The Provision of Homes since 1850' conference, held on 27-28 June, are now available as podcasts on History SPOT

Life in the Suburbs Project

Datasets compiled by the ESRC-funded 'Life in the Suburbs: health, domesticity and status in early modern London' project are now available from the UK Data Archive: Study No 7244: Life in the Suburbs: Health, Domesticity and Status in Early Modern London, 1523-1720

Going Underground Conference Podcasts

The majority of papers given at the recent 'Going Underground: Travel Beneath the Metropolis 1863-2013' conference, marking the 150th Anniversary of the London Underground, are now available as podcasts on History SPOT

Book: London and Beyond: Essays in Honour of Derek Keene (ed. Matthew Davies and James A. Galloway)

The third title in the IHR's new conference series, London and Beyond arose from the CMH's 20th Anniversary conference in 2008, at which Derek Keene was guest of honour. Derek was the founding director of the CMH, from 2001 Leverhulme Professor of Comparative Metropolitan History (also based at the Centre) and, before his retirement in 2008, acting director of the IHR. The papers in this festschrift are written by internationally renowned and long-standing colleagues, postgraduate students, or researchers who began their careers under Derek’s guidance.  Chapters range from the effect of flooding around the Thames in the middle ages to railways in early 20th-century Paris and London. Buy

Book: Cities into Battlefields (ed. Stefan Goebel and Derek Keene)

Arising from the Centre's 2004 'Metropolitan catastrophes' conference on cities' role in warfare, Ashgate have just published Cities into Battlefields: Metropolitan Scenarios, Experiences and Commemorations of Total War.  The volume explores the cultural imprint of military conflict on metropolises world wide in the era of the First and Second World Wars and examines how the emergence of 'total' warfare blurred the boundaries between home and front. With contributions from Susan Grayzel, Peter Stansky, Patrice Higonnet, Eyal Ginio, Maureen Healey, Tim Cole, Antony Beevor, Lisa Yoneyama, Julie Higashi and Jay Winter, it is currently available at the reduced price of £58.50 (normally £65) from the Ashgate website.

Online mapping resource: Locating London's Past

The Locating London's Past website is now available at: www.locatinglondon.org. The website enables users to map information from a vast array of sources, including trial accounts from the Old Bailey, hearth tax, plague deaths and population data and even archaeological records, on to John Rocque’s 1746 map of London, now fully referenced to modern geographical coordinates. This new resource is the result of a collaborative project, funded by JISC, involving the CMH, the Universities of Sheffield and Hertfordshire, and Museum of London Archaeology (see CMH project page for details).

'The Last of the Jobbers'

‘Big Bang’ in 1986 signalled the end of the historic jobbing system of the London Stock Exchange. Jobbers were market-makers who acted as intermediaries between stockbrokers on the floor of the exchange.  Few written records are left of their activities. In 1990 the CMH undertook a series of interviews - predominantly with former jobbers but augmented by those from the point of view of brokers and financial journalists - which now form a rare resource for the history of this distinctive part of the financial life of the City.

The tapes and transcripts of the 42 interviews were originally deposited at the British Library Sound Archive (ref no. C463) for permanent archiving but they are now also available online via the University of London School of Advanced Study’s e-repository, SAS-Space.  To access the collection visit http://www.history.ac.uk/projects/jobbing.

CMH working papers volume: Tides and Floods

The five papers in Tides and floods: new research on London and the tidal Thames from the middle ages to the twentieth century (ed. James A. Galloway; CMH Working papers series no. 4) arise from a conference held in October 2009, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of the London and the tidal Thames 1250-1550 research project. Written by archaeologists, historians and historical geographers, they present up-to-date work on the flood threat from the later middle ages to the 20th century, focusing upon the changing political, institutional and economic response to this environmental challenge. Also included is a preliminary report on the medieval tidal mills recently uncovered at Greenwich and Northfleet and an overview of the multi-faceted work of the Thames Discovery Programme. 80pp (illus); price £5 + £2 postage. Order a copy from the IHR Bookshop.

Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs

Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs screenshot

Want to investigate markets and fairs? Take a look at our Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 - the first systematic national survey of the establishment and operation of markets and fairs from c.900. It contains entries for 2,400 places and lists details for more than 2,600 markets and nearly 3,000 fairs.

Register of Research in Progress

The Centre's register of research in progress on the history of London has just been updated with information on theses completed in 2009, along with some thirty new topics currently being studied.  We would like the register to be as comprehensive as possible, so if you are actively researching an aspect of London history and you wish to be added to the list, please email the Centre providing details of your research and indicating whether you are willing for your email address to be included in the entry.


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London and Urban news and events

Archives for London conference: Chimes of Freedom. Life and liberty in London, from Magna Carta to today

Friday 25 September 2015, 1.30 pm-5.00 pm | Huntley Room, London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB and Friday 2 October, 1.30-5.00 pm | Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE

To celebrate the 800th anniversary of magna Carta, Archives for London will explore the challenges to and the protection of freedom and liberty in London since Magna Carta guaranteed the Capital's 'ancient liberty and customs' in 1215. On 25 September Speakers include Caterina Loriggio and David Prior on Parliament in the making, oral historian Clare Summerskill on recording voices of LGBTQ Londoners, and Paul Dudman and Dr Rumana Hashem on refugee narratives in archives. The City's 1297 Magna Carta will be on display. On 2 October, speakers include Professor Justin Fisher on Magna Carta's relevance today, Simon Carter on St Paul's Cathedral and civil rights, and Professor Michael Macmillan on what art and heritage tells us about Black British cultural identities.

Advance booking essential. Book online through Eventbrite or see AfL website for more information and booking form. £8 for one conference/£10 for both conferences for AfL Members; £10/£10 Non-members.

Call for Papers: Urban History Group 2016 - Re-evaluating the Place of the City in History

31 March 2016-1 April 2016 | Robinson College, University of Cambridge

As the devolution of powers to cities gains political momentum in the UK it brings into sharper focus the roles of towns and cities in previous times and cultures.

Since 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the first conference devoted to urban history, it provides the Urban History Group Annual Conference an opportunity to: a) clariy the general scope and methods of urban history, and b) to examine the potential for comparative research. The conference committee invites proposals for individual papers as well as for panel sessions of up to 3 papers. The deadline for proposals is 2 October 2015. Bursaries are also available PhD students. See the full Call for Papers for further details.

Free Exhibition: Museum of London - Zeppelin Offensive

Until 20 September 2015 | Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN

Among the Museum of London's current exhibitions is 'Zeppelin Offensive', marking the 100th anniversary of the first Zeppelin raids on London during the First World War. The exhibition reflects on London's first experience of aerial bombardment and its impact on its streets and people. More information. For information on the museum's talks, tours, and exhibitions, see the Events Calendar.

Free Exhibition: Victorian London in Photographs

Until 29 October 2015 | London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R OHB

The collections at London Metropolitan Archives contain an extraordinary range of photographs from Queen Victoria’s reign, recording the capital and its people in stunning detail. Whether in carefully posed studio portraits or images of people gathered in the street, it seems that almost everyone wanted to be recorded on camera. This exhibition delves into these collections to present some of most striking images of London and Londoners from the era, from the first known photograph of the capital to the opening of Blackwall Tunnel, taking in the Crystal Palace, the first Tube line and life on the city’s streets. See visitor information for opening times.

London Metropolitan Archives: News and Events

London Metropolitan Archives is home to an extraordinary range of documents, images, maps, films and books about London. LMA is free to use and open to everyone. Whether you’re tracing your family history or researching the history of your neighbourhood, if you’re interested in London or Londoners, LMA is the place to visit. LMA also has programme of events throughout the year - exhibitions, talks, walks, tours and workshops. Details of these events and news from the archives can be found on LMA's events pages.

New Publication: London's Sailortown, 1600-1800: A Social History of Shadwell and Ratcliff, an early-modern London riverside suburb

by Derek Morris and Ken Cozens

Published December 2014 by The East London History Society; ISBN 978-0-9564779-2-7

The first book to describe this unique area of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century London. Features the rich and the poor, the churches and chapels, the East India Company, Hudson's Bay Company, brewers, coopers, mariners, sailmakers, ship builders, ship chandlers. It also includes extensive indexes to names, places and subjects. Available at £12.60 (plus p&p UK £3.50; Europe £8.35; USA £13.15; Australia £13.90) per copy from Philip Mernick, East London History Society, 42 Campbell Road, London E3 4DT (e: mail@eastlondonhistory.org.uk; www.eastlondonhistory.org.uk).

Historic Hospital Admissions Records Project (HHARP)

This project provides online access to nearly 120,000 individual admission records between 1852 and 1914 for three London children's hospitals: Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Evelina Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital for Children with Hip Disease, as well as the recently added Royal Glasgow Children's Hospital. Website