CMH Electronic Newsletter no. 6

Issue number: 
Publish date: 
Jun 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

This newsletter is the last for the current academic year and apart from a general round of news, features reminders about the several conferences and events taking place over the summer. The next issue will be in early September.






  • Arrangements are now well in hand for our summer conference, Metropolitan Catastrophes: Scenarios, Experiences and Commemorations in the Era of Total War (12-13 July 2004). 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. Keynote speakers are: Jay Winter (Yale), Patrice Higonnet (Harvard), Antony Beevor (London) and Lisa Yoneyama (California, San Diego) and in a packed and wide-ranging programme, 26 papers cover subjects such as New York City in 1863, mapping catastrophe in interwar Paris, the first day of the London Blitz, Stalingrad and Berlin, Vienna in the two world wars, a comparative study of Hungarian cities in 1944, politics of remembering and forgetting Hiroshima's atomic annihilation, and the transformative challenge of urban catastrophe. Even the conference reception on 12 July has a wartime flavour! The Programme and booking details are available at The deadline for bookings is 5 July 2004.
  • Current Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) funding of our bibliography project, London's Past Online (LPOL), comes to an end in September. Unfortunately, our recent application to the AHRB for a further 3 years funding with particular reference to expanding the amount of archaeological items and greater in-depth coverage of London local history, was unsuccessful. As the referees' comments were so favourable, we intend to resubmit the application. In the meantime, we are trying to secure funding from other sources for the intervening period so that we can keep the excellent editorial team (David Tomkins and Eileen Sanderson) together. The team has devised a short online questionnaire for users to fill in. It should take less than 5 minutes to complete and will provide useful information for our funding applications. The survey is accessible directly at
  • Work on the AHRB-funded People in Place: Families, Households and Housing in Early Modern London which began in October 2003, has concentrated on the design and construction of the project database and inputting of parish register material. A principal consideration for the design of the database is that it needs to contain information from a large number of different sources, some dealing with cross-sections of a community and others with individuals and, as one of the key aims of the project is to track people and properties across the sources, the database needs to maintain these potential connections. After the initial survey of sources was complete, a design was developed which allows for a modular approach to the material, focusing on the core elements of the project (people, properties and relationships) while allowing for the retrieval of all the 'other' information in the sources (eg. sums assessed in subsidies; arrears owed; lease details; office-holding etc.). To date, approximately half of the non-parish register material identified for the Cheapside study area has been entered, together with all of the parish register material for this area previously published by the Harleian Society (over 12,000 records of baptisms, marriages and burials, and 25,000 records of people). The next phase of the project will be concerned with checking the Cheapside parish register data and entering the registers not published by the Harleian Society, entering information into the database from the existing property histories in the Cheapside Gazetteer, and the continuation of gathering information for Cheapside properties in the post-Fire period.
  • As reported in the last issue, the Views of Hosts: Reporting the alien commodity trade 1440-1445 project (, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, began on 1 April. The 'Views' comprise returns sent to the Exchequer under a statute of 1439 which made aliens fully accountable to English hosts for their private business transactions. The detailed information generated by observance of the statute is of incomparable value for studies of the trade, society and attitudes of the mid-fifteenth century. Early work on the project has concentrated on the transcription of the first group of returns housed at The National Archives. Care has been taken to preserve stylistic and linguistic differences between the returns, each of which was written by a different individual, and Dr Bradley is compiling a detailed glossary of terms, particularly for the commodities listed in the returns as well as the measures used. She has also identified 3 new returns, not currently catalogued as such in The National Archives.
  • We are about to submit a funding bid for Poor relief in Greater London from c.1540 to 1930: an online guide. The poor law provided the main welfare safety net for a substantial proportion of the population during four centuries. London faced particular difficulties because of its size and social complexity, evolving local administrative strategies. The project will provide a detailed, searchable online guide to the extensive and widely scattered records, and an overview history of London's distinctive experience of poor relief. If successful, the project would start in February 2005.






  • The Institute of Historical Research is about to undertake a redesign of its website () and would be grateful for feedback from users. It has also organised a brief online survey to find out what improvements, content and features people would like to see. Your participation in this survey would be invaluable and can be accomplished by completing the online questionnaire located at the following address [NB this survey is now closed]. As an incentive, everyone taking part has a chance to win a year's subscription to the Institute's Journal, Historical Research!
  • A reminder that 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 Centre for Contemporary British History's Summer Conference will be on 'The History of Work' (14-16 July). The history of paid work in Britain during the last century has attracted widespread interest in recent years in a wide range of research programmes, monographs and seminars. Speakers include Polly Toynbee, Pat Thane, Robert Taylor, David Howell, Arthur McIvor, Alun Howkins and Noel Whiteside. For more information and booking details see




  • The Tales from the Old Bailey: Writing a New History from Below Conference will take place on 5 - 6 July 2004 at the University of Hertfordshire ( for booking information). Marking the completion of the first phase of the Old Bailey Online project, this conference will highlight current research undertaken on the Old Bailey Proceedings and similar sources. It will bring together papers that exemplify the new histories of the body, and of space, of gender and of sexuality, race and identity, and which at the same time take as their objects of study non-elite people caught up in social conflict. It will also showcase new approaches to writing the histories of crime, justice and punishment.
  • The Institute of English Studies is holding the first in a series of seminars arising from the Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts Project (DigCIM) based at the British Library. The seminar will be given by Dr Scot Mckendrick (Head of Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts, British Library) on 'The Charles Burney Manuscript Collection' on Monday 5 July at 5.30 pm in Room 329/330, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E ( A partnership between the British Library and the Centre for Manuscript and Print Studies, Institute of English Studies and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board with additional support from the Getty Grant Program, the DigCIM project aims to produce the first ever digitally illustrated and searchable catalogue of c. 9,500 western illuminated medieval and renaissance manuscripts held in the British Library's collection. The pilot website can be consulted at
  • The Regional History Centre (University of the West of England) will be holding its annual conference A Sense of Place: Identity and the Built Environment in Southwest England, at the University of the West of England, Bristol on 10 July 2004. Speakers include: Peter Borsay: 'Bath and Monmouth 1700-1900'; Francis Greenacre: 'Tyntesfield, William Gibbs and the Gothic'; · Samuel Smiles and Caroline Atkinson: 'Continuity and Change: Medieval Antiquity and Modern Patronage at Exeter Cathedral 1750-1790'; · Elaine Chalus: 'Women and the Country House 'in the South West'; · David Jeremiah (University of Plymouth): 'Shinner's Bridge and Dartington Hall: A Paradigm of Beautiful Devon'; · Brian Edwards: 'The Scouring of the White Horse'; Bryan Drummond: 'Death and the Bristol Bridge'.
  • The deadline for registrations for the Banking in Late-Medieval and Renaissance Europe, c. 1300 - c. 1550 Conference (Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1; 7-9 September) is 31 July. The conference aims to survey work in progress on banking and credit systems, local and international, in Europe in this period. The Conference programme include sessions on Banking and Accounting in the Low Countries; the Borromei Bank Research Project; Computerizing Historical Accounts; Credit in England and Italy; Enforcing Credit Transactions; Florentine Bankers Abroad; and Bankers in Siena, Genoa and Spain. The Conference Lecture will be given by Professor Reinhold Muller, Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia. The full programme and booking form is at




  • The Foundling Museum has just reopened at 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ, in a restored and refurbished building adjacent to the original site of the Hospital which was demolished in 1926. The Museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, London's first home for abandoned children, its philanthropist founder Thomas Coram, and two of its Governors, William Hogarth and George Frideric Handel. Established by Coram in 1739, the hospital cared for more than 27,000 children until its closure in 1953. As well as objects relating to the lives of the foundlings, the museum also displays, in fully restored interiors, works of art by Hogarth, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Wilson, Hayman, Highmore, Roubiliac and Rysbrack donated by the artists under the encouragement of William Hogarth with the aim of attracting wealthy potential benefactors. There's also a cafe serving light lunches, teas and coffees! The museum website is at:
  • The Museum of London's exhibition '1920s: the decade that changed London' continues until 18 July. The 1920s began with London struggling to find its feet. The First World War had bankrupted the economy and had left people’s lives and beliefs shattered. By the end of the 1920s the mood had changed. London was looking to the future and coming to terms with such novelties as skyscrapers, ‘talking pictures’ in the cinemas, robots, divorce, the BBC and Labour government. The new London forged in the 1920s was a culturally diverse place plugged in to international ideas. From America came the joyous exuberance of jazz. From Russia came ballet and Bolshevism. From India and Ireland came challenges to the old assumptions of the British Empire. The exhibition offers a panorama of this colourful decade of change and choice and asks the question, how did the 1920s shape the London we know today?
  • Following the success of last year's event, Guildhall Library and Guildhall Art Gallery will again be hosting the London Maze on Saturday 16 October 2004. The day will consist of a series of events aimed at everyone with an interest in London's history, including 50 stands representing London's local studies libraries, archives and museums, user groups and local history societies, a wide range of talks on London's history, free entry to Guildhall Art Gallery and themed walks of the City. There will be more information on this event in the next newsletter.
  • The exhibition ‘City Merchants and the Arts 1670-1720’, continues at Guildhall Art Gallery (Aldermanbury, London EC2) until 20 August and examines the lives and aspirations of the City’s merchant elite after the Great Fire of London. London’s regeneration after the Fire is revealed in the exhibition through maps and plans, topographical views and portraits, and detailed prints and drawings of the houses which individual merchants built for themselves. The exhibition accompanies the book also entitled City Merchants and the Arts 1670-1720, edited by Mireille Galinou, which was published by the Corporation of London in April and is available from the Guildhall Bookshop, priced £16.50.
  • Recent additions to Camden Local Studies Library and Archives Centre collections include photographs of Somers Town by the St Pancras and Humanist Housing Association. The black and white photographs record the work of the Housing Association, founded in 1924 by Father Basil Jellicoe. The pictures date from the 1920s through to the 1990s and provide a fascinating insight into the buildings, events and everyday life of the residents of this area. At present these photographs are available for public viewing by appointment (





  • History in Focus, part of the Institute of Historical Research's website, takes a thematic approach to history. Each issue provides an introduction to the chosen topic and aims to stimulate interest and debate by highlighting books, reviews, websites and conferences relating to the theme. Recent topics include 'Empire', 'Elizabeth I', 'History of War', 'Medical History', 'What is History?' and 'The Victorian Era'. The next issue will focus on the Holocaust and will be available from from 1 July.
  • The Clergy of the Church of England Database is a collaborative project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board and bringing together scholars from King's College London, the University of Kent at Canterbury and the University of Reading. Its objective is to create a relational database documenting the careers of all Church of England clergymen between 1540 and 1835. The site at currently gives access to a pilot database containing all data that has been collected relating to the diocese of Rochester. Material relating to further dioceses will be added over the coming months.



  • We are looking forward to the official launch on 28 June of The History of the Merchant Taylors' Company by CMH Director, Matthew Davies, and Ann Saunders, which has just been published 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 charts 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 also focuses 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. The book can be ordered directly from Maney at:
  • Copies of Professor Caroline Barron's eagerly-awaited book, London in the Later Middle Ages - Government and People 1200-1500 were snapped up at its launch at Guildhall on 25 May. The first full account of the evolution of the government of London over three hundred years, the volume is of interest not only to urban historians, but to anyone with an interest in London history. Published by Oxford University Press, it is available in hardback for £55. A sample of the book is available in pdf format at
  • The Camden History Society has recently launched its latest Occasional Paper. Entitled A history of the St Pancras and Camden Arts Festivals, it is written by Helen Lawrence, a professional singer and current chair of the Hampstead and Highgate Festival. 136 pp, 70 illustrations. Priced £7.95, it is now available from Camden Local Studies Library and Archives Centre. Further infomation is available at
  • The two-volume The Bede Roll of the Parish Clerks' Company 1449-1521, ed. N. and V. James, has just been published by the London Record Society. It lists over 7000 members of the Fraternity of St Nicholas, both living and dead, for whom prayers were regularly said and is available to non-members of the LRS for £20 (plus postage). Please contact the Hon. Secretary. The LRS is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and its 40th volume, The Estate and Household Accounts of William Worsley, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral 1479-97, ed. Stephanie Hovland and Hannes Kleineke (a joint publication with Richard III Society and Yorkist History Trust), is expected soon. The full list of LRS publications is at: /cmh/lrs/LRSpubs.html


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The information in this newsletter is provided in good faith, however the Centre for Metropolitan History cannot guarantee
the accuracy of the information and accepts no responsibility for any error or misrepresentation.


Centre for Metropolitan History
Institute of Historical Research
(School of Advanced Study, University of London)
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