CMH Electronic Newsletter no. 2

Issue number: 
Publish date: 
Jun 2003



Welcome to the second issue of the Centre for Metropolitan History’s periodic electronic newsletter. Our intention is to keep you informed about the latest news from the Centre for Metropolitan History, other research centres and local history societies, record offices and libraries which may be of interest. Each item of news is brief but links are provided to sources where fuller information is available.

The newsletter will only be sent to people who have asked to receive it. To unsubscribe, to notify change of address, or to send items of news for the next issue, please email Back issues will be available at


  • A conference on ‘London Politics, 1789-1914’ will be held at the Institute of Historical Research on Saturday 28 June 2003. Speakers and subjects include: Tony Taylor 'London Radicalism'; Matthew McCormack, 'John Wilkes and Radicalism', David Campion 'The Police Act 1833', Ben Weinstein 'Metropolitan Whiggery', Detlev Mares 'Agitation for Parks', David Nash 'Secularists and the City', Alex Windscheffel ' H.M. Stanley and Imperial Politics', and Anthony Howe 'Politics in the City'. The fee for the day is £25 waged/£15 unwaged (including refreshments and sandwich lunch). The full provisional programme and booking details are available at:
  • We are delighted to announce that the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) has awarded a grant of £309,000 for a three-year project entitled: People in Place: families, households and housing in early modern London. This project will examine the crucial role of family and household in the social and economic transformations that took place in London in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Population growth, immigration, urbanisation, and commercialisation produced new patterns of sociability, gender relations, employment, and domestic lifestyle. The project will combine the established methodologies of family reconstitution and associated nominative linkage with the reconstruction of London property-histories to reconstruct and analyse the dense matrix of families, households, properties, and buildings in three contrasting areas of London (Cheapside, Aldgate, Clerkenwell) in the period c.1540-1710. Led by Dr Vanessa Harding of Birkbeck, University of London, the project will also be co-supervised by Dr Richard Smith, of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, University of Cambridge and the CMH's Director, Dr Matthew Davies. Further details will be posted on the Centre's website when the project commences in October 2003.
  • The Centre's AHRB-funded project ‘London’s Past Online’ had a successful and most enjoyable launch on 28 May 2003 at Guildhall Library by kind permission of David Bradbury, Director of Libraries and Art Galleries, Corporation of London. There was a good attendance by local history librarians and academic users who could try out the new search pages and ask the staff questions. Earlier problems experienced by users of Netscape browsers have now been resolved. The database is now available on the internet at: and is being updated regularly.
  • The second Leverhulme Lecture on Comparative Metropolitan History was given by Professor Kenneth Jackson of Columbia University on ‘Empire City: the impact of history and September 11 on the present circumstances and future prospects of New York’ on 29 May 2003. This proved to be a very enjoyable and stimulating occasion, prompting a mention in the London Evening Standard. Next year's lecture will be given by Professor Dr Peter Johanek of the Institut fuer vergleichende Geschichte, Muenster on 'Capital Cities of Medieval Europe.


  • The Institute of Historical Research's 72nd Anglo-American Conference of Historians will take place 2-4 July 2003 and is devoted to the history of 'The Body' in its multifarious aspects and multiple meanings. Registrations for the conference (although not for lunches or the conference party) can still be accepted. The conference programme and registration forms are available at
  • A one day conference on 'Examining the impact of digitisation upon scholarship in the humanities: benchmarking the British History Online Pilot' will be held on 7 July at the IHR. The British History Online Pilot is using resources from the CMH as well as the Victoria County History and the History of Parliament to examine the academic and technical opportunities and obstacles that using this diverse yet interconnected range of resources will affect a subsequent, larger scale scheme to examine the impact of digitisation upon the humanities. This conference will also draw on the experiences of others in digitising historical resources.
  • The IHR is also launching three new training courses in the Summer: 'An Introduction to British Sources and Archives, 7-11 July 2003'; 'An Introduction to Sources and Archives for Local History', late summer 2003 (TBC); 'An Introduction to Sources and Archives for Genealogical Researchers', late summer/early autumn 2003 (TBC). The standard fee for each week-long course is £100. Further details on these and all IHR training courses may be obtained from the Training Office at the Institute on Tel: 020 7862 8740 or


  • If London Politics 1789-1914 isn't your cup of tea, another conference on Saturday 28 June is the Regional History Centre's (University of West of England, Bristol) 'Image, Identity and Urban Experience in South West England 1688-1832.' Speakers and subjects include: Jonathan Barry 'Urban History in the South West: current issues and future prospects', Roey Sweet 'Contested Histories and Contrasting Identities', Richard Sheldon, 'Markets, Politics and Protest', Nick Rogers 'Bristol and the Politics of Naval Impressment', Viktoria Masten 'Women Entrepreneurs in Bath', Henry French 'Social profile and family structures of office holders', Madge Dresser 'Slavery, the urban gentry and the country house in Bristol', Steve Poole 'Sexual Transgression'. Cost is £20 waged/£15 unwaged.
  • The Centre for Local History Studies at Kingston University has a wide range of research projects underway, including: the Kingston Local History project; the Great Ormond Street Hospital project; the Occupational Structure of Kingston upon Thames; Persistence in a Local Community; Surbiton in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century; Watermen and Lightermen Families of the Upper Tidal Thames 1750-1901; and St George's Hospital History. The Centre will be organising and hosting its first series of local history seminars in autumn 2003. The working title is 'A Sense of Place' with the theme of 'The Family'. Kingston University's MA in Local History (2 years part-time evening study) is also an important part of its activities. The Centre's website is at
  • The tenth Thirteenth-Century England Conference will be held in St Aidan's College, Durham 1-3 September 2003.
  • The AHRB Centre for North-East England History (NEEHI), is organising a conference on 'Influence of Romanesque Durham on Monasteries and Parish Churches 12-14' September 2003.'


  • After many years of planning, the Museum in Docklands is now open to the public. Part of the Museum of London Group, the museum explores the story of London's river, port and people through 2000 years from Roman settlement of the port, through to the recent regeneration of London's former Docklands. The museum is located over five floors in the late Georgian No. 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, near both West India Quay DLR and Canary Wharf tube stations. It is open from 10 am to 6 pm seven days a week; admission £5 adults, £3 concessions, students and under 16s free. All tickets are valid for 1 year and are valid for exhibitions at the Museum of London Groups. Visit the Museum's website at
  • The British Museum's London 1753 exhibition continues until 23 November. It explores London in the middle of the 18th century when it became the largest city in the western world. Objects on show include prints by Hogarth, drawings by Canaletto, wtches, jewellery, medals, coins, Spitalfields silk, shop signs and a first edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language. There is also an opportunity to see two of the museum's treasures: a drawing of a passion flower by Maria Sibylla Merian and a bronze head of Sophocles dating from between 300 and 100 BC. A series of events accompanies the exhibition, for information on these and for an online tour of the exhibition go to
  • Having recently installed their new ADLIB computer system, Camden Local Studies and Archives are now entering details of all new material directly into a computer catalogue. They are also preparing a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding for retrospective conversion of the existing card catalogues. This is likely to take several years, but once enough entries have been input the collections will be searchable over the Internet. Four hundred images from the centre's collections have been digitised through the Ten Generations project and will be available soon at Goad Plans (produced for insurance companies from the 1880s, showing commercial premises in some detail) have now been put onto microfiche making them easily accessible and available for copying. Many parts of the borough are not covered but there is index of those streets which are. St Pancras Housing Association has deposited its archives at the Centre. Found in 1924 the archives chronicle the efforts to improve housing and social conditions in Somers Town and Kentish Town. Until the records have been sorted and listed, access is by appointment only. Please contact the Centre. The exhibition Breathing life into the past: Acland Burghley, the story of a school in Kentish Town 1882-2002 contines until 20 September. Details of the Centre's activities are at:
  • Following the success of last year's Local History Fair, the Corporation of London Libraries and Guildhall Art Gallery are again hosting 'The London Maze' on Saturday 11 October at Guildhall Art Gallery between 10.00 am - 4.00 pm. Entry is free. There will be 40 stands from London's local studies libraries, museums, archives and local history groups, with displays, knowledgeable staff on had to offer advice and publications for sale. Expert guest speakers will be giving talks throughout the day and City of London guides will be offering a selection of scheduled guided walks of the local area on historical themes such as Roman London and Samuel Pepys' London. Free tours of Guildhall Library Art Gallery and Roman London's Amphitheatre will be also available.


  • London Discovery is a New Opportunities and Enrich UK Lottery Funded portal to seven websites created to provide information about London's people, places, buildings and the growth of the city. The sites cover: the growth of suburbia in SE London; unlocking London's architecture; hidden histories from Eastside Community Heritage; Tudor Hackney explored through documents, virtual reality and drama; the many sides of life in Kensington and Chelsea; explore Islington's Artefacts Collection; and aspects of London life 1700-2000 through 400 images from Camden Local Studies collection. The site's URL is:
  • The British Library has just launched it's new website 'Collect Britain'. Experts from the archives of the British Library bring you hundreds and thousands of images, sourced from the BL's collections of maps, books, topographical drawings, photographs, newspapers, music and sounds. Follow their lead and let them interpret for you by taking a themed tour, visiting a virtual exhibition or playing a game to lean something you never knew before. Or simply delve down into the material itself, using the database of images, each carefully described to make your searches easy and practical. Four large resources are presently available: 'An essential guide through the history of London' (1,200 maps dating from 1570 to 1860 collected by Frederick Crace); 'The original Ordnance Surveyors' Drawings of Britain'; 'The Penny Illustrated Paper'; and 'Victorian Popular Music'. New resources will be added monthly. (
  • Also recently launched is The Rothschild Research Forum: a web-based research centre for historians working in areas which touch on the many facets of Rothschild history. The fruit of collaboration between the Rothschild Archive and Waddesdon Manor (renowned for its collections of fine and decorative art), the Forum will give access to a host of new sources for research, together with the opportunity to exchange news, views and ideas on an international scale. From it will spring a step-change in the breadth, depth and vitality of research in Rothschild history - whether in banking, fine art, architecture, wine, railways, economic or natural history. The Rothschild Research Forum can be approached from the websites of both the Rothschild Archive ( and Waddesdon Manor ( To register, follow Research Forum.
  • The Institute of Historical Research and Blackwell Publishing have joined forces to create History Compass - a unique online resource for the teaching and study of History. In today's world of information overload, it has been designed with the specific aim of providing all historians with a clear and authoritative guide to the very best historical research amidst an otherwise overwhelming choice of articles and books. History Compass is now available to libraries on subscription. For more information:


  • Heather Creaton’s Checklist of Unpublished Diaries by Londoners and Visitors, a guide to and bibliography of little-used sources for the social history of London from collections world-wide, was published by the LRS in April and is now available to non-members from the Hon. Secretary (

Information on the London Record Society is available at

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Centre for Metropolitan History
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