CMH Electronic Newsletter no. 7

Issue number: 
Publish date: 
Sep 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


  • Despite its title, the Metropolitan Catastrophes: Scenarios, Experiences and Commemorations in the Era of Total War (12-13 July 2004) conference was a great success. Organised by our Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow, Stefan Goebel, it attracted a large, distinguished international audience and stimulated much discussion on the cultural impact of war on metropolises worldwide. Many also enjoyed the wartime delicacies of spam, corned beef hash and rissoles at the conference reception - with thanks to Irene Gilchrist for producing such a splendid spread. It is hoped to publish a selection of the papers in due course. Sadly, Stefan is leaving the Centre this month to take up a Lectureship at the University of Kent. We wish him all the best for the next stage of his career and hope that he will continue to stay in contact with the CMH.
  • Thank you to everyone who completed the user survey on London's Past Online (LPOL). It provided some very useful comments which will be used to inform funding bids for stage 2 of the project. It was gratifying to see that 94% of users rated the site as either 'good', 'very good' or 'excellent'. As the first phase nears completion (30 September), there are currently some 40,000 bibliographical records available online. If funding applications are successful, priority will be given to expanding the coverage of archaeological, local and specialised material.
  • The application for a new project entitled Poor relief in Greater London from c.1540 to 1930: an online guide was submitted to the ESRC in July. If the bid is successful, 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.
  • A free 'study morning' on 'The Great Plague of London: experiences and explanations' will be hosted at the Institute of Historical Research (Wolfson Room) on 6 October 2004 by the CMH and the Wellcome Trust, in association with Johns Hopkins University Press. Speakers will include A. Lloyd Moote and Dorothy Moote, authors of The Great Plague: the Story of London's most deadly year which has just been published by Johns Hopkins University Press, Vanessa Harding (Birkbeck) and Patrick Wallis (LSE).
  • As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the University of London's School of Advanced Study in 2004-5, the IHR is organising two conferences. The first of these, to be held on 12 November 2004 is on the theme 'Unleashing the Archives' and organised jointly by Derek Keene and The National Archives. The aim is to promote new thinking about the use and cultural significance of archives.
  • Over the next year, the staff of the Centre, with those of the Victoria County History, will be busy setting up and publicising the new MA in Metropolitan and Regional History which is expected to begin in October 2005. This MA course takes as its guiding theme the variety and importance of the relationships between metropolis and region from the twelfth to the twentieth centuries, with a particular focus on London and southern England. The course will use the continuous history of London and its surrounding territory over eight centuries as a test bed for exploring important general, comparative, themes in the evolution of regional and city cults. The broader context will also be significant, especially the growth of other regional capital and regional identities in Britain and the development of cities and their regional contexts on the continent. Further information will be provided in forthcoming newsletters.


  • The National Maritime Museum and the Institute of Historical Research have organised a series of eight lectures on Rediscovering Nelson, to be given by leading scholars and writers in the Beveridge Hall, Senate House, University of London in October 2004. The lectures will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 October to 28 October, from 18.30 to 19.30 and will be followed by a wine reception.
  • The Freedom of Information Seminar: The National Archives and the Institute of Historical Research are running a one-day seminar on Freedom of Information and Historians. This seminar will give historians an opportunity to learn more about the Freedom of Information Act, which comes into force on January 1 2005, and its potential impact on their work. The seminar will be held on 3 November 2004 at Chancellor's Hall, Senate House, University of London, Malet Street.
  • The Penguin Press Lectures will this year be given by Richard Overy, author of The Dictators. Hitler’s Germany; Stalin’s Russia. The lectures will be held from 2-11 November 2004 in the Beveridge Hall, Senate House, University of London.
  • 74th Anglo-American Conference: States and Empires (6-8 July 2005): Call for papers. What are Empires? How do they relate to the States which have often been their foundation and to the States which they incorporate under their power? Are empires super-states? Do they crush existing states, or do aspirations to nation states destroy empires? Can empires exist without any state machinery at all? The vocabulary has existed in the western tradition since classical times, but the variations in meaning and interpretation over several millennia are almost infinite. Papers will be welcomed on a host of themes. These might include: formal and informal empires; the relationship of state and imperial structures; differences between empires constructed through peaceful possession and conquest; the relationship of empires and their component states and peoples; the rise and fall of empires; state and imperial ideology; gender, state and empire; the economics of empire; religion, state and empire; the art of empire; the place of minorities (ethnic, religious) in empire compared to their place in nation-states, trading companies and empires (e.g., the East India Company, American Corporations in South and Central America); and the legacy of empire.
  • The Institute of Historical Research has secured the AHRB's agreement to hold a national one-day symposium on the current round of bids for Postgraduate Research Training in History on 10 November 2004. The event will be held at the IHR and will constitute a forum for the exchange of ideas on a subject which is certain to be central to a British doctorate for years to come.
  • For the first time ever, the Institute of Historical Research is holding an Open Day on 9 December 2004. The aim of the Open Day is to display London's research resources to students who are seriously considering undertaking historical research, both those who intend to take or are taking a taught Masters degree, and those who intend to proceed directly to a research degree. The Colleges and Universities in and around London will participate along with major libraries and archives.


  • To commemorate the 90th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War the Scottish Centre for War Studies is co-organising two conferences: 'Outbreak of War: New thoughts on 1914' will be held at Glasgow University from 8-10 September 2004 and addresses the war's origins. 'Scottish Writers and the First World War' follows on 11th September, again at Glasgow University. It will explore how the war influenced some of Scotland's most famous writers' lives and work and aims to appeal to both academics and the general public. For further details on both conferences please visit
  • The University of East Anglia is hosting a conference to mark the 850th anniversary of Henry II's accession to the English throne on 13-17 September 2004. For further information and the possibility of late registration please contact the Research Administrator in the School of History.
  • Birkbeck, University of London, Faculty of Continuing Education is running a number of courses on the History of London. There are no entry requirements but all courses are taught at university level and students should be able to read, write and speak English fluently to benefit from their studies Some of the courses on offer are: 'From Radicals to the Mayor of London: London's Politics & Government', 'London Criminals' and 'The Making of Modern London, c.1660-2000'. Further information on these, and other Birkbeck FCE History courses, are available at: .
  • Healthy Towns, Healthy Cities: Public Health in British Cities, 1844-2004 is the title of a one-day conference to be held at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine on 12 November 2004. This conference, sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and the Society for the Social History of Medicine commemorates the work of the Health of Towns Association, formed in 1844 and a key advocate of environmental public health reform in Victorian Britain. It aims to examine how the health of towns has been seen within public health from the nineteenth century to the present day. Conference sessions will explore : urban sanitary reform in the mid 19th century; the work of the early Medical Officers of Health; municipal medicine and town planning in the early 20th century; urban public health under the National Health Service. Speakers include Chris Hamlin, Bill Luckin, Susan McLaurin and David Smith, Tim Boon and John Ashton. For full details and registration form, please go to the conference website at
  • Papers are invited for two conferences to be held in 2005 at Manchester Centre for Regional History: 'The greatest mere village in England': Networks, religion and politics in early modern Manchester (Saturday 2 April ) and 'Elizabeth Gaskell and Manchester: Identity, culture and the modern city' (19-21 July).
  • London College of Fashion, Royal Holloway, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, in association with the Museum of London, are organising a major international conference on 'Fashion's World Cities' (Friday 29th-Saturday 30th April 2005). It coincides with 'The London Look: Fashion from Street to Catwalk' exhibition at the Museum of London from 29 October 2004 to 8 May 2005 and will address the connections between fashion cultures and the modern metropolis. The conference will be held at London College of Fashion, 20 John Princes Street, London W1G 0BJ (29 April) and Museum of London, London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN (30 April). For further information, the conference website is:


  • Guildhall Library's current exhibition is Lords of All They Survey: Estate Maps. The exhibition is open, free of charge, until 30 October 2004 (Monday-Saturday 9.30am to 5 pm) and features estate maps ranging from the 16th to 19th centuries from Guildhall Library's collections. The Manuscripts section of the Library holds the archives of numerous families, businesses, ecclesiastical bodies, livery companies and other institutions based in the City of London which owned far-flung estates in this country and beyond. In the course of running those estates, maps were produced and often proudly displayed as a symbol of a landowner's status, as well as an important part of estate management. The maps give a fascinating picture of the English landscape and its agriculture, and of London estates, in the early modern period. Whilst the majority of the maps show estates in London and the south east of England, they also include Knighton in Staffordshire and plantations on the Caribbean island of St Kitts. Among the surveyors are the celebrated mapmakers Ralph Treswell and Israel Amyce. A full colour illustrated catalogue is available from Guildhall Library Bookshop.(
  • As part of the Archives Awareness Campaign, the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section is holding a series of free events from September to December. The series aims to encourage the use of archives by family and local historians. The talks will include the opportunity for attendees to see examples of manuscripts, to combine a talk with a visit to a related City institution, or to tour behind the scenes at Guildhall Library. These free events commence in the Guildhall Library Theatre (Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London EC2P 2EJ) at 2p.m. on: 14 September: Estate maps at Guildhall Library, Stacey Gee, Assistant Archivist. (45 minutes); 12 October: The records of St Paul’s Cathedral and the Diocese of London, Stephen Freeth, Keeper of Manuscripts, followed by a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral Library. (2hrs); 21 October: Behind the scenes tour of the Manuscripts Section store and Conservation workshop. (1hr); 2 November: Using archives to trace the history of a community: Stepney 1740-80, Derek Morris, Local Historian. (45 minutes); 25 November: Behind the scenes tour of the Manuscripts Section store and Conservation workshop. (1hr); 13 December: Livery Company Records at Guildhall Library, Stephen Freeth, Keeper of Manuscripts, followed by a visit to Goldsmiths’ Hall. (2hrs). Details: /gh/news98.htm
  • Guildhall Library Printed Books Section has arranged a series of lunchtime talks (12.30-1.30 pm), providing the opportunity to talk to staff and view materials. Upcoming dates are: Thursday 30 September Historic trade directories - Exploring one of the country’s largest collections of historical trade directories, dating back to the eighteenth century; Thursday 28 October Maritime history - Exploring the historic maritime records of Lloyd’s of London held in Guildhall Library; Thursday 18 November London and Middlesex Criminals in the 17th-19th century - Guiding the researcher through both the printed and original manuscript records of the Old Bailey. Covering trials, juries, the Sessions House, Tyburn and transportation; Thursday 16 December Researching site history in London - Exploring the history of a site in the City of London through printed, archival and visual sources. Sessions are held in Guildhall Library’s lecture theatre and are free.
  • The London Maze 2004 will be held at Guildhall Art Gallery (Guildhall Yard, Off Gresham Street, London EC2P 2EJ) on Saturday 16 October 2004, 10am - 4pm. As in previous years, the day will consist of a series of events aimed at everyone with an interest in London's history. For the first time, the CMH and London Record Society will be among the 50 stallholders from London's museums, archives, local history libraries and historical societies. There will be also be expert talks, guided walks, tours of Roman London's amphitheatre, Renaissance dancing, and children's storytelling. Entry is free. Full details and a timetable of events are available at:
  • Black History Month is held in the UK every October and is a celebration of the contribution made by black men and women to Britain's heritage. At the time of writing, programmes have yet to be finalised for Black History Month 2004, but two websites to keep an eye on for details of events over the next few weeks are: the Black History Month website ( and, specifically for London, the GLA site ( Many local libraries and museums will also be holding events.


  • Irish History Online has been launched, joining the Royal Historical Society and London's Past Online bibliographies. The new 14,000 records represent the titles from Writings on Irish History for 1989 to 1998 which were not already included in the RHS database; the records have been indexed using the bibliographies' subject indexing scheme and each has been given an indication of period covered. At the same time, the information about many of the titles from the 1989-98 Writings on Irish History that were already in the Royal Historical Society database has been improved by the Irish History Online team. When you select the new Irish material only option on the Search menu (, you have access to the new titles from Irish History Online and also to all the material in the Royal Historical Society and London's Past Online databases that has been identified as relating to Irish history, a total of nearly 33,000 titles. The same data can also be searched from a dedicated search menu (



  • Rural and Urban Encounters in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century contains seven essays by leading regional historians, originally presented at the 2002 C.O.R.A.L. conference on rural life. Copies are available from Manchester Centre for Regional History, Manchester Metropolitan University, The Geoffrey Manton Building, Rosamond Street West, Off Oxford Road, Manchester M5 6LL.




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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)
Senate House
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU