Discover London: Past, Present and Future

                                                           11 - 14 July 2022

The IHR London Summer School offers a unique opportunity to explore London’s stories and historic places from our home here at Senate House in the heart of Bloomsbury. Guest lectures from world-renowned experts and interactive workshops will focus on topics from London’s earliest history to the present day – as well as visions and policy debates around its future. Site-specific work will take us out to archives and museums, as well as offering special access to some of London’s most fascinating historic sites. Students will have access to the remarkable London collections in the IHR’s Wohl Library, including maps, rare books and a range of important primary and secondary sources. Alongside programmed content, IHR academic and library staff will be available informally for consultation and bespoke support. 

In its first year, workshop and lecture content will be organised around the broad theme of ‘renewal’. Topics include:

  • bomb damage and post-war redevelopment, including the City of London Pedway Scheme
  • histories of fire and reconstruction, from the 1666 ‘Great Fire’ to (repeated) disaster and rebuilding at the (now) Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
  • insights into how arrivals and migrants have renewed and transformed the city, from medieval times to Windrush and beyond
  • visions for renewing and remaking London – both past and present, some realised and others never completed – from the place of Senate House in Holden’s 1930s plans for a vast, modernist University of London campus, to conversations about the future of London today.

Field trips will explore historic buildings and collections seldom open to the public, ranging from the normally inaccessible tower of Senate House itself, to Livery Company Halls, and behind the scenes areas of archives and archaeological stores.

The London Summer School builds on the IHR’s outstanding strengths in urban and metropolitan history, and especially London history, formerly concentrated in its Centre for Metropolitan History (founded in 1988 by the IHR and Museum of London) and now based in its Centre for the History of People, Place and Community. The Summer School draws on this world-class academic heritage, as well as other high-profile projects and centres based in the IHR: the Victoria County History of England (founded 1899), History & Policy: the UK’s national network for connecting historians and policy-makers, and Layers of London: the major history mapping project which brings together historic maps, material from archives and institutions, and crowdsourced content from communities across the city. The Summer School will also feature cutting-edge new research from other projects both within and beyond the University of London.