IHR Summer School Schedule 2024

Monday 8 July | A View from the Bridge

10:00-10:30 | Summer School Registration

10:30-10:45 | Important Information

10:45-11:30 | Session 1 - The Living Bridge: Across, Upon, and Under Medieval London Bridge (Dr Justin Colson, IHR) 

Medieval London Bridge is perhaps the most famous of all London’s river crossings – everyone knows that it was romantically filled with shops and houses, and indeed that it fell down. But the realities of what it was like to cross, live and work upon, and sail under, are much less well known. This lecture will chart the range of shops that could be found on the bridge in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the relationship their tenants had with the bridge, the fate of the Bridge Chapel of St Thomas, and the brave feat of ‘shooting the bridge’ by water. The tempestuous water flow beneath the bridge also leads us into the famous frost fairs of the seventeenth century. 

11:45-13:00 | Session 2 - Library induction workshop

13:00-14:00 | Lunch 

14:00-18:00 | Session 3 - Seeing the Historic City: Walk with Photography (Dr Charlotte Rudman)

TRIP
Join us for a short walk of discovery around London Bridge. What hidden traces and clues about history can we glimpse in the environment around us? And how can our own photography help us to interpret place and the past? Please bring along a digital camera (for example, on a mobile phone) if you have one. 

OR 

IHR Library supported research 
These IHR Library sessions offer access to all our collections, with our expert librarians on hand for advice and guidance. 

Evening | London Pub Quiz  

Join us in the IHR Common Room for drinks (provided) and a fun, informal and friendly pub quiz, themed around London and ‘rivers’ – with some surprises… 

Tuesday 9 July | Trade, Maps and Networks

10:30-11:30 | Session 1 - Lundenwic: a Pre-Viking Boomtown (Dr Simon Trafford, IHR) 

In the seventh and eighth centuries a dynamic and wealthy new settlement sprang up to the west of the ruins of Roman London. A node in a complex and vibrant North Sea economy, it flourished and sowed the seeds of London’s later commercial greatness before more hostile times forced London’s urban functions back within the safety of the walls. 

11:45-13:00 | Session 2 - Layers of London / Rotherhithe Maps Workshop (Dr Justin Colson, IHR) 

Discover stories of the Thames and trade in this hands-on workshop using the IHR’s Layers of London project, with a particular focus on the 1843 Rotherhithe valuation plans. 

13:00-14:00 | Lunch 

13:00-13:30  | How to write an essay

14:00-18:00 | Session 3 Museum of London Docklands visit with curator talk 

TRIP

OR 

IHR Library supported research 
These IHR Library sessions offer access to all our collections, with our expert librarians on hand for advice and guidance. 

 

Wednesday 10 July | Twentieth-Century Thames

10:30-11:30 | Session 1 - Windrush Stories (Prof Philip Murphy, IHR) 

People have arrived in London from all over the world for centuries. But the arrival of the Empire Windrush, in 1948, is a landmark event in narratives of twentieth-century migration and cultural transformation. Philip Murphy, director of the major research project ‘The Windrush Scandal in a Transnational and Commonwealth Perspective’, will explore some of these stories.

11:45-13:00 | Session 2 - Dramatising the Thames (Prof Claire Langhamer, IHR) 

Taking Humphrey Jennings’ 1943 docudrama, Fires Were Started, as its focal point, this session explores some of the ways in which the Thames was deployed and invoked by creative practitioners in the middle decades of the twentieth century.  

13:00-14:00 | Lunch 

14:00-18:00 | Session 3 Senate House Tour (Prof Philip Murphy, IHR) 

TRIP
Discover the stories of the University of London’s own magnificent Senate House – home of the IHR. From wartime Ministry of Information to present-day film set and more... A special access-all-areas tour. 

OR 

IHR Library supported research 

  • These IHR Library sessions offer access to all our collections, with our expert librarians on hand for advice and guidance. 
  • Consultation time with IHR academic tutors (compulsory meetings for those taking the credit-bearing module) 

Evening | Derek Keene London Lecture 2024 

London Clay, Thames Mud: Exploring the Amphibious City (Tom Chivers) 

Drawing on geology, history and the practices of field walking in the streets of London, along the traces of its lost rivers, and on the foreshore of the Thames itself, writer, researcher and licensed mudlark Tom Chivers will propose London as an amphibious city whose past, present and future are fundamentally configured by the actions of water. 

Thursday 11 July | Environmental Histories

10:30-11:30 | Session 1 - Nature, Power and History: The River Thames in the Anthropocene (Dr Vanessa Taylor, University of Greenwich) 

The River Thames, flowing through England’s capital city, has been an invaluable and industrialised stream of ‘cheap nature’ (J. Moore, 2014) in recent centuries – a water source and fishery, shipping route and drain for waste – as well as an evocative waterscape. This session explores ways in which different groups have tried to control the Thames, while the river itself has been transformed but remains untamed: through floods and droughts, pollution, rising water temperatures and sea levels, and invasive species living in its silty bed, nature continues to shape its own history and the lives of those living and working along its banks. 

11:45-13:00 | Session 2 - Thames Natural Histories (Dr Adam Chapman, IHR & Dr Ruth Slatter, IHR) 

In this session, we’ll explore how an environmental history approach to the Thames can connect social, economic, cultural histories. Focusing on the Victoria County History of England ‘Natural History’ volumes for Essex and Kent, published in the early twentieth-century, we’ll reflect on environmental change over time, as well as how personal stories, anecdotes and emotional connections with place and nature are gathered in the VCH accounts. 

13:00-14:00 | Lunch 

14:00-18:00 | Session 3 Foreshore walk / Mudlark Object handling session (Tom Chivers

TRIP
Writer, researcher and licensed mudlark Tom Chivers will share objects found on the Thames foreshore, spanning almost 2,000 years of London’s history - from sherds of Roman pottery and medieval jewellery to maritime artefacts that reveal the global flows of goods, ideas and people along the river. (Location TBC depending on tides and weather.

OR 

IHR Library supported research 

These IHR Library sessions offer access to all our collections, with our expert librarians on hand for advice and guidance. 

Friday 12 July | Discoveries and Departures

10:30-11:30 | Session 1 - The Other Rivers: History through Poetry (Prof Catherine Clarke, IHR) 

London’s rivers – from the Thames to its forgotten or lost rivers – flow through poetry from the Middle Ages to the present day. In this session, we’ll look at a range of texts, and focus closely on selected poems to explore how depictions of London’s rivers in poetry reveal historical stories. We’ll also join in a hands-on activity to create our own ‘Cento poem’ of London’s rivers together (no poetic experience or inspiration necessary!). 

11:45-13:00 | Session 2 - Research Discovery Session 

This special session gives you an opportunity to share your own research – either a project you’ve developed across the Summer School week, or your wider personal or professional research interests. The session will take an informal ‘open mic’ format, with 5 minutes for each speaker. Come along and share your interests, discover others’ research, gain feedback, and make connections! 

Students taking the credit-bearing (assessed) module must give a presentation in this session on their proposed essay topic. 

13:00-14:00 | Lunch 

14:00-18:00 | Session 3 Treasures of the University of London Special Collections 

A unique hands-on session in Senate House Library’s Special Collections Reading Room gives us the opportunity to discover a wealth of rare and fascinating treasures relating to London’s rivers. 

OR 

IHR Library supported research 

These IHR Library sessions offer access to all our collections, with our expert librarians on hand for advice and guidance. 

IHR Summer School 2024 | Provisional Programme PDF 2.86 MB