History seminars at the IHR

Locality & Region

This seminar welcomes all those who are interested in the relationship between local and national history and who wish to share ideas, viewpoints and work in progress. It seeks to make an original contribution to local and regional history by drawing upon the long-established national resources of the VCH and co-operating with participants from universities, record offices, local history societies and heritage organisations, as well as with those engaged in independent research.

Convenors: Professor Richard Hoyle (VCH, IHR), Adam Chapman (VCH, IHR), Professor John Beckett (University of Nottingham), Matthew Bristow (VCH, IHR), Dr Christopher Currie (IHR), Dr Gill Draper (University of Kent), Dr Alan Thacker (IHR)

If you would like to join our e-mailing list, please contact rebecca.read@sas.ac.uk.

Time:  alternate Tuesdays at 17:15

Venue:  Room N304, 3rd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House

Some podcasts from this Seminar are available online

Autumn Term 2015
DateSeminar details
6 October Post-War Council Housing in North London: The case of Hornsey 1947-1964

John Hinshelwood

After retiring, John became the volunteer curator and archivist for the Hornsey Historical Society before studying for an MA in Metropolitan and Regional History at the IHR, graduating in 2009. He is a frequent contributor to the HHS and has written five books on different aspects of north London.

The talk will look at the development of social housing in the Borough of Hornsey following the Second World War until the Borough was absorbed into the London Borough of Haringey in 1965. Hornsey had pride in its Council housing, started in 1897 and much praised as a pioneer of local authority cottage housing estates. In the inter war years the council turned to building flats which were the preferred accommodation after the Second World War. Most of these new flats, but by no means all of them, concentrated in two estates; one at Stroud Green, the other at Hornsey Village. The pride Hornsey took in its new flats was demonstrated by the submission of designs to competitions organised by the Architectural, Town Planning and Building Research Section of the Festival of Britain and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. By 1964 the Council had become a major provider of housing for the local population and had introduced a scheme of rentals that made good housing affordable to all.

20 October Digital approaches to late medieval buildings in south-eastern England

Catriona Cooper (Southampton)

Catriona has a PhD from Southampton together with a BA in Archaeology & MA in MSc in Archaeological Computing (Spatial Technologies). She is working on a thesis exploring lived experience in late medieval buildings through digital technologies.

This paper explores the use of digital technologies to explore lived experience in late medieval buildings through two case studies. The first, based at Bodiam Castle uses digital visualisation techniques to envision the private apartments. The second, presents auralization as a method for exploring sound at Ightham Mote. The conclusions demonstrate that digital techniques that work across senses can provide a robust mechanism for exploring the concept of lived experience, and for exploring the lived experience of specific medieval buildings.

3 November 'The Local and the Global - Cultures of Empire in the Scottish Highlands, c. 1876-1902

Ben Thomas (IHR)

Ben has a PhD from Aberdeen and is the 2015–16  Pearsall Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research working on the Royal Naval Reserve in rural Scotland and Wales, c.1900–1939

This paper explores the impact of the British Empire back home in Britain, by looking at the relationship between a particular region - the Highlands and Islands of Scotland - and the Empire in the 'age of high imperialism'.  It will concentrate on a rural region of Britain, and explore how empire was experienced and understood at a level below that of the nation. 

17 November 'Liber homo fuit: Landscape and landholding in pre-Conquest Staffordshire'

Andrew Sargent

Andrew studied Astrophysics at the University of Leicester, gained a First Class MA in European Historical Archaeology at the University of Sheffield and PhD from Keele exploring the early medieval history and archaeology of the diocese of Lichfield and the cult of its patron saint, St Chad.

This paper will explore evidence provided by the historic landscape, place-names and topography of tenth- and eleventh-century Staffordshire, as well as that contained within Domesday Book and charters, in order to characterize those landholders other than the king, earls, bishop and abbots who otherwise dominate the record.  The relationships of these people with royal authority will also be analysed, with a view to evaluating some of the causes and consequences of the creation of the shire and its constituent hundreds.

1 December Meeting places in the Northern Danelaw, c. 900-c. 1100

Tudor Skinner

Tudor completed a PhD at Durham in 2014.

This paper seeks to characterise the dynamic relations between meeting places and their associated administrative divisions in the early medieval northeast. It will draw upon numerous strands of evidence in order to map and analyse the shifting landscape, combining established emphases upon documentary sources and place-names with an ever growing corpus of archaeological data.

Spring Term 2016
DateSeminar details
12 January A disorderly alehouse at Mill End in Rickmansworth (Herts)

Heather Falvey

Heather Falvey completed her doctorate at Warwick in 2007, entitled ‘Custom, Resistance and Politics: Local Experiences of Improvement in Early Modern England’, she has since published extensively on this topic and is currently editorial assistant with the Economic History Review.

In June 1588 twenty-seven men signed or marked a petition complaining about disorderly alehouses in Rickmansworth in general and about the alehouse of Richard Heyward at Mill End in particular. In the light of the recent scholarship on alehouse sociability, this paper seeks to identify the opponents of Heyward’s alehouse and to ascertain whether their complaint was driven by religious, i.e. ‘puritan’, conviction, or whether the objectors were members of the middling sort of the community who simply objected to the poorer sort frequenting alehouses. In addition, links can be suggested between the Sabbatarian tract published in 1572 by Humfrey Roberts, vicar

26 January 'Stranger than fiction'? Alien accommodation and Dutch architectural influence in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century Sandwich

Alison Charles

Alison trained as a Building Surveyor prior to working in the heritage sector. She is based at the University of Kent where she is currently completing her doctorate on the ‘Dutch houses’ of east Kent. Her research interests include vernacular building in England and the Low Countries, and the history of the Flemish and Walloon communities in England.

This session presents results of archival work which confirm the unlikely nature of previously suggested links between the influx of Dutch-speaking immigrants and the subsequent spread of a local ‘Netherlandish’ building style. The challenge of mapping the presence of ‘strangers’ and ‘strange-looking’ buildings given minimal documentary, visual and cartographical records will also be discussed.

9 February Forms of democracy in rural England, 1550-1800, and their enemies

Professor Richard Hoyle

Richard is the Director and Executive Editor of the VCH

23 February Contrasting communities: open and closed parishes revisited

Dr Kate Tiller

Kate is Chair of the Oxfordshire VCH Trust. Her academic fields are British social and local history, with particular interests in English rural change post-1760 and in religion and community in Britain since 1730. She is currently working on a third edition of ‘English Local History: an Introduction.’

8 March A disappearing landscape: the heathlands of the Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire borders 1750-1914

Dr Alan Crosby

Alan is, among many other things, editor of The Local Historian, the quarterly journa of the British Association for Local History

Between the late 18th and mid-20th centuries a unique and highly distinctive landscape, covering 100,000 acres and only 25 miles from London, almost completely disappeared. The heaths and commons of West Surrey, North Hampshire and East Berkshire fell victim to enclosure, urbanisation, the land hunger of the military, the building of great institutions, and the natural process of woodland encroachment. Hardly a voice was raised in protest – indeed, most commentators welcomed the transformation. This extraordinary story explains how one of the poorest parts of Georgian England now has some of the most expensive real estate on the planet.

Summer Term 2016
DateSeminar details
26 April Forms of democracy in rural England, 1550-1800, and their enemies

Professor Richard Hoyle (IHR)

Richard is the Director and Executive Editor of the VCH

10 May TBA

24 May TBA

7 June TBA

21 June TBA