CMH Electronic Newsletter no. 5

Issue number: 
Publish date: 
Apr 2004



Welcome to the new 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


  • The CMH welcomed a new member of staff, Dr Helen Bradley, on 1 April. Helen will be working part-time over the next 18 months on a new ESRC-funded project, 'Views of Hosts'. The 'Views of Hosts' were the product of legislation of 1439 compelling aliens to submit to English monitoring of their business activities. They provide unique qualitative and quantitative data for alien trade and social networks from a period when English central and local government sought the social exclusion and economic restriction of those who were not English by allegiance or birth. The aim of the project is to produce a transcript from the original returns which will be available online, a database to facilitate detailed analyses of customers, suppliers, good and prices, and to publish a modern English translation. The project will also examine the social, political and economic context of the legislation, exploring the mechanics of the system employed by the government in this early attempt to identify and regulate the trading practices of non-English communities.
  • There was much celebration at the Centre on 31 March when we toasted both the successful examination of Craig Bailey's PhD thesis and the arrival of a preview copy of St Paul's: The Cathedral Church of London 604-2004 (see below under New Publications). Craig was jointly supervised by Derek Keene at the CMH and David Green at King's College London, and it is hoped that his thesis which was on 'The Irish professional classes in London, 1780-1845' will be published in due course.
  • The 2004 Leverhulme Lecture in Comparative Metropolitan History will be held on 5 May 2004 in The Chancellor's Hall, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. Professor Peter Johanek (Institut für vergleichende Städtegeschichte, Münster) will speak on 'The idea of the metropolis in medieval Europe: the case of the Holy Roman Empire. All welcome (free of charge, no booking necessary). The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception. Peter Johanek, who was born in Prague, is Professor of Westphalian History and Director of the Institute of Comparative Urban History in the University of Muenster. His research and publications cover a wide range of topics in German and European history between the early Middle Ages and the Reformation. Many of these topics come together in his writing about cities which deal with commerce and crafts, the interation of princely and collective authority, law and the culture of writing, the image and representation of the town, and historical writing in cities. He has also written on the institutions of the Holy Roman Empire. Among his publications in English is 'Merchants, markets and towns, c.900-c.1024', in the New Cambridge Medieval History (1999). The Lecture poster available at
  • Metropolitan Folklore (19 May 2004) Co-organised by the CMH and the Folklore Society, this one-day conference will take a fresh look at urban folk traditions. Papers will cover: legendary origins of London; witchcraft in Southwark; medieval death beliefs and rituals; contemporary celebration of first communion in Liverpool; W.J. Thoms; and Welsh Christmas folklore.
  • Metropolitan Catastrophes: Scenarios, Experiences and Commemorations in the Era of Total War (12-13 July 2004). Total war blurred the boundaries between home and front and transformed cities into battlefields. This conference will explore the cultural imprint of military conflict on metropolises worldwide over a long time-span and provide a forum for the interchange of ideas on the comparative history of metropolises and wars. The Programme and booking details are now available at
  • From 20-23 July several members of CMH staff will be at Harlaxton College, Grantham for this year's Harlaxton Symposium, 'London and the Kingdom', held in honour of Professor Caroline M. Barron, a former CMH Committee member and great friend of the Centre. Speakers include: Barbara Harvey, John Clark, Elizabeth New, Martha Carlin, Mary Erler, Anne Sutton, Penny Tucker, Derek Keene, Stephen O'Connor, Sheila Lindenbaum, Mary-Rose McLaren, Laura Wright, Ian Archer, Carole Rawcliffe, Stephanie Hovland, Christian Steer, John Oldland, Clive Burgess, Gervase Rosser, Jenny Stratford, Andrew Prescott, Steve Rigby and Paul Strohm. The full programme and booking details are available at


  • The IHR is delighted to report that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded US$900,000 for the second stage of British History Online ( This will allow the project to move into a two-year phase of major digitisation and development of the site. The site, which provides a cross-searchable range of research resources form the History of Parliament, the Victoria County History, the CMH and other IHR projects, already has around 3,000 registered users with the number of visits per year projected to reach at least 1.5 million during 2004.
  • The Victoria County History Conference will be held on 11 June at the Art Workers Guild, Queen's Square, London WC1N 3AR. The theme is Landscape, Archaeology and the VCH. It will conclude at 5 pm with the Marc Fitch Lecture, to be given by Dr John Blair (Queen's College, Oxford). Othe speakers will include Professor Christopher Dyer (Leicester), Paul Everson (English Heritage) and Simon Ward (City Archaeologist, Chester).
  • The 73rd Anglo-American Conference of Historians will take place at Senate House on 7-9 July 2004. This year's theme is 'Wealth and Poverty'. Plenary lectures will be given by Niall Ferguson, Gareth Stedman Jones, Christopher Dyer, Amy Singer, David Anderson and Martin Daunton. The programme and registration form is available at /aach2004 or from the Conference Administrator, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.
  • The Centre for Contemporary British History's Summer Conference will be on 'The History of Work' (14-16 July). Speakers at this conference on the history of paid work in Britain during the last century include Polly Toynbee, Pat Thane, Robert Taylor, David Howell, Arthur McIvor, Alun Howkins and Noel Whiteside. For more information and booking details see
  • The IHR is holding several training courses during the summer vacation: 'An Introduction to British Sources and Archives' (12-16 July), 'An Introduction to Databases for Historians' (20-23 July), 'An Introduction to Sources and Techniques for Genealogical Researchers' (26-30 July), 'An Introduction to Latin for Historical Research' (26-30 July) and 'Interviewing for Researchers' (26-30 July). For further details on these courses and other courses, see /training)
  • The Postgraduate History Network was set up in October 2003 to provide MA and PhD students of history and related disciplines with an informal social, support and information network. It currently has around 200 members, not only from the University of London but also from further afield. Membership is free, with members receiving a regular newsletter about forthcoming seminars, conferences and events at the IHR. PHN members are also welcome to submit details of activities at their own institutions. There is a programme of social events and also a peer-monitoring scheme.


  • The School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol has asked for volunteers to carry out local 'detective work' for a proposed research project based on a study of the residential care homes for elderly people in England and Wales researched by Peter Townsend for his book The Last Refuge published in 1962. The research team of Julia Johnson (Open University) and Randall Smith (Bristol) need help to pin down the recent history of the 173 homes in Townsend's original study and to consult local electoral registers for the period 1959-63 to get a picture of turnover in the home. Local travel and any access expenses up to £50 would be paid, if the research grant is secured. If the grant application is successful, work would begin early in 2005.
  • The Heritage Lottery Fund has provided the Friends of the National Railway Museum with £49,700 for an oral history project looking at the significant employment, social and cultural changes in three particular railway communities - Stratford, Harwich/Parkestone Quay and Leeds/Bradford/Sheffield - since 1948. It is hoped that this new study will provide a very interesting complement to material already held by the NRM in the National Archive of Railway Oral History. Anyone who wishes to have more information about this study, or who is interested in making a contribution to it, should contact the Volunteer Project Director, Friends of the National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ. (
  • The Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society's (GLIAS) bi-monthly newsletter contains information on walks, lectures and other events taking place in the London area together with news on various industrial sites. GLIAS was founded in 1968 to record relics of London's industrial history and to deposit these records with national and local museums, and archives; and also to advise local authorities and others on the restoration and preservation of historic industrial buildings and machinery. Information on GLIAS's award-winning database, and membership details are available at:
  • The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is holding a conference on 'The Health of Towns' on 12 November 2004. Organised by Drs Virginia Berridge and Martin Gorsky, speakers include: Chris Hamlin, Tim Boon, and John Ashton; and topics covered: Edwin Chadwick, the 19th-century Ministry of Health, inter-war health of towns, town planning, and the healty cities movement.


  • Camden Arts and Tourism is presenting the Camden History Fair 2004 on Friday 30 April (12.00-4.00) and Saturday 1 May (10.00-4.00) at Camden Centre, Bidborough Street, London WC1H. There will be stalls, publications, exhibitions, talks, museum collections to handle, young archaeologists, musicians, art and crafts for adults and children, juggling workshop and refreshments. Free entry.
  • The Museum of London is organising a study day and a number of workshops in May to tie in with its 'London Voices' programme (London Voices is a 3-year programme of exhibitions and activities by the Museum of London, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It explores, reflects and celebrates London's great diversity through the memories and opinions of Londoners). The study day, at the Museum of London on 18 May 11am-3pm, offers individuals and community groups the chance to hear about some of the exciting ways in which the Museum has used oral history. Shorter workshops, featuring extracts from the Museum's oral history collections and exploring the value of personal testimony in developing a richer understanding of the past and present, will be held at several locations: 4 May, 6.30-8 pm at Battersea Library, Lavender Hill; 10 May, 2-4 pm at Hillingdon Central Library; 11 May, 11am-1pm at Hainault Library, Chigwell and on 13 May, 10.30am-12.20pm at Willesden Green Library Centre. These events are free but places are limited.
  • The Hunterian Museum Project at the Royal College of Surgeons of England in Lincoln's Inn Fields is progressing towards its scheduled completion in December 2004 (the new museum is due to open to the public in February 2005). The project will deliver a publicly accessible museum that encourages a wider audience to share the wealth of material, drawn from a collection of nearly 50,000 objects, that has been a source of inspiration to surgeons, scientists and artists for over 200 years. As a sneak preview of the displays planned for the refurbished Hunterian Museum, visitors to the College can take a look at the current temporary exhibition: Lord Lister: The man who made surgery safe. Lister's contribution to surgery will form part of the Science of Surgery gallery. More information on the project is available at


  • People, Places, Businesses and Occupations, mainly in London, listed in more than 50,000 insurance policies issued by the Sun Fire Office 1816-1824 have been indexed by the 'Place in the Sun' project and are now available on the Access to Archives website, Click Search the Database, enter your search term, select Guildhall Library from the Location of Archives dropdown menu and click Search. Guidance on using the Place in the Sun online index can be found at /gh/sun.htm. The policy registers can be consulted in Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, Aldermanbury, London EC2P 2EJ (Tel: 020 7332 1863;
  • Officially launched last October, photoLondon ( provides a gateway to five of the largest public collections of London photographs (English Heritage's National Monuments Record, Guildhall Library, London Metropolitan Archives, Museum of London and Westminster City Archives). Each of the five collections has a gallery of representative images as well as details of the collections, an email contact for further enquiries and a link to their individual website. The site also includes a map of London with links to over 60 public collections holding images of specific areas. There is also a noticeboard carrying news, articles, and exhibitions, plus information on photographers and the history of photography.
  • Lewisham Voices ( (a collaboration with the Museum of London's 'London Voices' project) contains images and personal recollections compiled from the family albums and stories of people who live, work or are involved in community activities in the borough. Access to the Lambeth Archives Image Collection is provided through 'Landmark' ( 6,000 images of Lambeth's streets, buildings, people, and events have been selected and digitised from the collection of 30,000 photographs, drawings, prints and water colours. High quality photographic prints can be purchased from the site. Brixton History ( provides a series of comparative archive and modern photographs showing how Brixton has changed over the years.
  • If you have experienced difficulty in tracking down specific records for Greater Manchester, try the Greater Manchester County Record Office's Past Finder ( Past Finder is a fully searchable database listing over 4,000 archive collections held by record offices of the ten metropolitan councils in Greater Manchester. It does not list items within a archive but gives a brief description of the contents of each collection.
  • The Glasgow Story ( tells the story of Glasgow through a series of essays illustrated with thousands of images drawn from collections held by the city's libraries, museums and universities. Navigation is either by historical period or by following links to themes and topics. There is also a search option to find items for a specific area, period, collection or person.
  • The Living City (New York) ( - created by the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health, Columbia University - is 'a digital library initiative intended to capture the experience of life, health, and urban transformation' in New York during the decades between the end of the Civil War and 1918. The collection currently includes the New York City Department of Health (NYCDOH) Annual Reports, John Griscom's 1845 report, The Sanitary Conditions of the Laboring Population of New York; the Citizens' Association 1864 report on The Sanitary Condition of the City; John Shaw Billings's 1890 report on the Vital Statistics of New York City and Brooklyn; and the Metropolitan Sewerage Commission Reports of 1910, 1912, and 1914 as well as some 1,000 images from the 19th- and 20th-century illustrated press revolving around health in New York City.


  • St Paul's: The Cathedral Church of London, 604-2004, edited by Derek Keene (CMH), Arthur Burns (KCL) and Andrew Saint (Cambridge), will be published by Yale University Press and launched at a special service at St Paul's on 24 April 2004 - the 1400th anniversary of the foundation of the present dioceses and first cathedral of St Paul's. Lavishly illustrated and with contributions from over 40 authors, it is a major work of reference and a fascinating history of an institution that has represented England to the world for more than a millennium. ISBN 0 300 09276 8. 538pp. 150 b/w + 220 colour illus. £65. Details from:
  • The History of the Merchant Taylors' Company by CMH Director, Matthew Davies, and Ann Saunders, will be published in late May by Maney Publishing. One of the 'Great Twelve' livery companies of the City of London, the Merchant Taylors' Company has been in existence for some seven hundred years. This new history will chart the remarkable story of the Company and its members from its origins until the 1950s. As well as looking in detail at the internal life of the Company, the book will also focus on a number of important themes in the wider history of London. It is fully illustrated with more than 75 black and white and 30 colour illustrations. 304pp; clothbound with dust jacket & cloth slipcase; ISBN 1 902653 99 8. Price £49.50. Details from:


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Centre for Metropolitan History
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