CMH Electronic Newsletter no. 9

Issue number: 
Publish date: 
Mar 2005


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 /cmh/newsletter.html



  • We are currently in midst of publicising the MA in Metropolitan and Regional History, which is due to start in October and will be run in collaboration with colleagues from the Victoria County History. Details of the course are available at </degrees/metma>. For informal enquiries, please contact the course director, Matthew Davies (email: If you are able and willing display posters and/or leaflets, please let Olwen Myhill know (email:
  • Work is progressing well on the Economic and Social Research Council-funded 'Views of Hosts: Reporting the alien commodity trade 1440-1445' project /cmh/projects.html#voh. The finished transcript of the views is now being translated from Anglo-Norman French and Latin into English. The details given in the preamble for each view have been collated with other extant information on assignments of hosts to confirm names, dates, and places; this has thrown up some observable regularities in the way hosts were allocated.
  • With the 'People in Place: Families, households and housing in early modern London' project (</cmh/pip/>, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board) nearing the half-way mark, excellent process has been made entering the masses of rich and widely diverse sources into the project database, and data entry for one of the project's sample periods (1660-1710) has been completed for Cheapside. The next phase of work will see a shift to a demographic analysis of Clerkenwell, alongside an investigation into the property histories of both Cheapside and St Botolph Aldgate in the late 17th century. Various members of the project team have given seminar and conference papers in London, Cambridge, Philadelphia and elsewhere relating to the work being done, and two articles are currently in preparation for submission for publication in the summer.
  • London and Middlesex religious houses: this new collaborative research project, led by Matthew Davies and Caroline Barron, will result later this year in a single, paperback volume containing updated entries for the religious houses originally covered by the London and Middlesex volumes of the Victoria County History. For each institution, attention will be drawn to major new findings and revisions, along with short bibliographies of significant recent works including, for the first time, archaeological reports and plans. The book is intended to appeal to a wide audience, including both local historians and specialists in the field, and is being undertaken with the full support of the VCH, and in collaboration with the Museum of London.
  • Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in our application for 'Poor relief in Greater London from c.1540 to 1930: an online guide'. We expect to hear by the end of May about the second phase of London's Past Online </cmh/lpol>. Other funding applications are at various stages of planning. We hope to give further details in the next issue of the newsletter.
  • The very wide-ranging programme of Metropolitan History Seminars (including papers on Australian and London suburbs; cinema in London, Berlin and St Petersburg before 1918; dining out in the Victorian West End; households and houses in late 17th-century London; and space and urban practices in popular Barcelona, 1914-36) is now over for the year, but the Medieval and Tudor London Seminar will begin on Thursday 28 April at 5.15 pm at the IHR. The programme is currently being finalised but will be available shortly, along with all the other seminars held the Institute at: </ihrseminars>
  • We are delighted to report that on 15 December St Paul's: The Cathedral Church of London 604-2004 </cmh/cmhpubs.html#stp>, edited by Derek Keene, Arthur Burns, and Andrew Saint, won the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History 2004. The prize is awarded annually by The British Art Journal in association with The Berger Collection Educational Trust, Denver, Colorado, to the most outstanding book or exhibition/exhibition catalogue (in any language) on British Art History. Congratulations are due not only to the editors but to Chris Faunch, the research assistant on the project, the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's, Yale University Press and the 40+ contributors that made this handsome, and weighty, volume possible.
  • We are currently organising, with Dr Eva Griffith, a conference marking the 400th anniversary in 2005-6 of the building of the Red Bull Playhouse, Clerkenwell, to be held on Saturday 15 October at London Metropolitan Archives. Entitled 'Beyond Shakespeare's Globe: People, Place and Plays in the Middlesex suburbs, 1400-1700' (</cmh/globe.html>), this interdisciplinary conference seeks to focus broadly on the historical development of the Middlesex suburbs, and the history of drama and theatre there in the medieval and early modern periods.
  • The 31 March deadline for applications for the Leverhulme Postgraduate Studentship in Comparative Metropolitan History is fast approaching. The studentship is for research in any aspect of comparative metropolitan history from the early medieval period onwards and with one element of the comparison situated in Europe. A Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellowship, also in Comparative Metropolitan History, will be advertised shortly, so keep an eye on the CMH Homepage: </cmh>.
  • Our former Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow, Stefan Goebel, now a lecturer at the University of Kent, has been made a Visiting Research Fellow at the CMH and made a welcome return to the Centre to give a paper at the Metropolitan History Seminar on 23 February on 'Coventry and Dresden: the politics of transnational remembrance after 1945'. We were also able to congratulate him on the birth of his and Irini's first child, Katerina, on 20 February.



  • Following the success of the 'Unleashing the Archive' conference held last November, a second conference celebrating the School of Advanced Study's 10th Anniversary is being organised. 'What are Senates for?', to be held on 27 May in the Beveridge Hall (Senate House), will set out the argument that a historical perspective is essential to the effective conduct of constitutional reform. It is therefore intended to be both topical and provocative. A series of distinguished speakers will take a historical approach to the role of upper houses over the centuries, starting from the antecedents in classical times and bringing the argument up to the present through reference to the experiences of many countries other than Britain. The session dealing with Early Modern Europe will look at Poland, Lithuania and Venice alongside British House of Lords. The session of upper chambers in modern times will take account of Italy, France and the United States as well as the House of Lords. The day will conclude with a wide-ranging discussion of constitutional reform.
  • The Victoria County History has been awarded £3,374,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project 'England's Past for Everyone', which will produce local history material covering ten counties across England. The related 'History Footsteps' will provide online local history material to help schoolchildren who are following the National Curriculum. These new projects will bring local history to people of a broad range of ages and academic levels. For details, see here.
  • The theme of this year's Anglo-American Conference (6-8 July) is 'States and Empires'. Plenary speakers include: Linda Colley, Pamela Kyle Crossley, Sir John Elliott, Geoffrey Hosking, Dominic Lieven, Susan Reynolds and Romila Thapar. The full programme and registration forms will be available from early April.
  • The Institute is offering a new training course: 'Medieval and Renaissance Visual Sources for Historians'. This series of 5 meetings (Wednesdays, 27 April to 25 May) will introduce students of medieval and renaissance history to the use of visual evidence for their period. The course is structured around lectures and visits to museums, galleries and buildings in London. It is aimed at postgraduate history students at UK universities, but is open to all those interested in the issues presented. For more details of courses see here.



  • The Centre for Local Studies at Kingston University <> reports that following a substantial grant from the Wellcome Trust, the second phase of the Great Ormond Street Hospital project (directed by former CMH colleague, Dr Andrea Tanner) has begun. This phase includes the launch of the Cromwell House - the convalescent home of the hospital in Highgate - database, the extension of the existing database of patient admission records of GOSH up to at least 1910, and a pilot study on the case notes of the Hospital's founder, Dr Charles West.
  • The Greenwell Project (Leverhulme Trust), in co-operation with the AHRB Centre for North-East England History and the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland is organising a 2-day conference on Canon Greenwell and his contemporaries: the history of British archaeology in the 19th and early 20th centuries on 16-17 April 2005 at the Department of Archaeology, University of Durham. William Greenwell (1820-1918) was a prominent antiquarian, archaeologist, historian and collector. Greenwell and his peers worked on subjects ranging from the tools of the Stone Age, Anglo-Saxon sculpture, old manuscripts and medieval architecture. For further information on the project and the conference see: <>
  • The School of Policy Studies at the University of Bristol has been successful in securing funds from the Economic and Social Research Council for their research project 'The Last Refuge Revisited: Continuity and Change in Residential Care' (see CMH Newsletter No 4 </cmh/newsletter4.html> for details). The team is now seeking enthusiastic volunteers to take part in a tracing study to find out and document what happened to the buildings that were providing residential care for older people in 1959. A proforma is being designed, together with guidance on undertaking this work. The grant covers local travel costs of volunteers and any access expenses that are incurred. The start date of the project is 1 May 2005.
  • While on the subject of volunteers, 'Operation Plum Puddings' is looking for help to transcribe and collate accounts of the Christmas Truce of 1914 in a nationwide project. It will involve searching local papers in your area for 1914/1915 for letters and reports about the Truce, and turning them into an electronic form. If you are interested, please contact Alan Cleaver (email:, Operation Plum Puddings, 24 Glenridding Walk, Richmond, Whitehaven CA28 8SH. The intention is to make the collected works freely available.
  • The Department of English and the Centre for Suburban Studies at Kingston University are hosting the 4th Annual Literary London conference on 14-16 July 2005. The conference aims to read literary texts in their historical and social context and in relation to theoretical approaches to the study of the metropolis; investigate the changing cultural and historical geography of London; consider the social, political, and spiritual hopes, fears, and perceptions that have inspired representations of London; trace different traditions of representing London and examine how the pluralism of London society is reflected in London literature; celebrate the contribution London and Londoners have made to English literature. Further information is available at
  • Two new resources have been released by the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS): Wills and Inventories of Single Men and Women in Norfolk, 1605-1687; and Wills and Inventories of Single Women in Durham, 1611- 1700. For details, and for more historical sources from the AHDS, see their recent releases page <>.


    • Following major refurbishment, the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons of England (35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PE; <>) reopened to the public on 12 February. The Museum encourages visitors to explore the cultural, historical as well as scientific importance of the collections of pathology specimens; skeletons, bones, skulls and teeth; dried preparations; historical and modern surgical instruments and technologies; as well as paintings, drawing and sculpture. The Museum's opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is free.
    • From 16 March, London's Transport Museum is holding a special exhibition on Bloomin' Marvellous: the story of Covent Garden and London's famous flower market, which traces the history of Covent Garden's Piazza from medieval convent garden to one of the world's largest wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower markets, as well as the construction of the Victorian Flower Market which is now home to the Museum. The Flower Market building is shortly to undergo restoration as part of an £18 million Heritage Lottery Fund project and will provide the opportunity for the Transport Museum to refurbish its public galleries. Details at
    • From 24 March to 9 June, Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre (<>; email: is hosting a photographic exhibition by Angela Inglis and Peter Herbert on 'Altered spaces; Quiet Spaces' featuring photographs of the King's Cross Victorian gasholders and other buildings, and St Pancras Old Church with its ancient burial grounds.
    • The Guildhall Library Manuscripts and Printed Books Sections have organised a display of material to mark the 450th anniversary of the granting of the Russia Company's Royal Charter on 26 February 1555. The display can be seen until 29 March during usual library opening hours, Monday to Saturday 9.30 am to 5.00 pm.
    • The Londoners at Work exhibition (2 February to 5 June) at the Museum in Docklands (No. 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, Hertsmere Road, London E14; <>) contains images from both the Museum in Docklands and the Museum of London's collections, many of which are on display for the first time. The images show the many faces of work in the city; exploitation and emancipation; conflict and companionship; poverty and pride. Admission to the exhibition is free with entry to the Museum (adult: £5; concession £3; students and under 16s: free). The Museum is open 7 days at week, 10 am to 6 pm.
    • The Geffrye Museum <> has fully restored one of its 18th-century almshouses, offering a glimpse into the lives of London's poor and elderly. It will be open on Saturdays 2 April, 7 May and 4 June 2005 (with timed entries at 10.30 am, 11.15 am, 12.15 pm, 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm) and is also open on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month at selected times. Tickets: Adults £2.00, Friends of the Geffrye £1.00. Numbers are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.



    • The new issue of Institute of Historical Research's History in Focus series looks at Gender History and the resources available to study it. As well as two specially-commissioned articles, this issue contains book reviews, bibliography, and links to websites, archives and museums dealing with the subject. It is now online at: </ihr/Focus/Gender/>.
    • The team behind the 'Place in the Sun' index of Sun Fire Office policy registers has added a further batch of catalogues to those already searchable online through the Access to Archives database at <> (note that the new URL from mid-March will be <>). The registers contain details of 95,400 insurance policies for the period 1816-1831. Another 10 catalogues, extending to 1834, are in the final stages of preparation for launch in mid 2005. The Sun policy registers offer an unparalleled source for details of the businesses, family and social history of the times they cover. Most relate to London property, though entries for property throughout England, Scotland and Wales can also be found. Guidance on using the index is available at </gh/sun.htm> and numbered insurance policies identified through the index can be ordered from, or consulted at, Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section (email: Funding has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Awards for All, the National Council on Archives, and Guildhall Library. Volunteers are now indexing further registers for dates before 1815 and after 1834.
    • Access to the c.200,000 records in the BIAB: the British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography database is now free at <>. The BIAB database provides information on books and articles on archaeology and the historic environment, historic buildings, maritime and industrial archaeology, environmental history and the conservation of material culture from 1695 to the present day.
    • University College London Library Services has recently launched MASC25 (Mapping Access to Special Collections in the London Region: <>, a consolidated online resource guide to printed special collections in university libraries in the M25 Consortium. It aims to describe 'any collection of printed works that is considered to contain material of a rare or unique nature, or has been developed as a special resource in terms of depth or subject coverage', located in the defined geographical area. In practice, the emphasis is on printed books, journals, pamphlets and other ephemeral publications. Discrete collections of photographs and engravings are not covered. In the case of special collections containing both printed and manuscript material, MASC25 provides a description of the printed elements, and a reference to a complementary description of the manuscript material where appropriate. The database can be searched by keyword, subject or institution.



    • The next issue of The London Journal (Volume 29, no. 2, 2004) is imminent. A list of contents and abstracts of papers will appear on the Journal's website </cmh/londonjournal/> soon.
    • The second in the series of collaborative publications between the Institute of Historical Research and The National Archives will be published in April 2005 at £15.00. Making Sense of the Census Revisited: census records for England & Wales 1801-1901, a handbook for historical researchers by Edward Higgs, updates the author's earlier work, A Clearer Sense of the Census (1996), to include material relating to the recently released 1901 census returns (available online at <>), and to the pre-1841 censuses. It includes details of the structure and geography of the census, and has comprehensive information on the houses, households, individuals and occupations that appear in the returns. There are also chapters on using the censuses, the skills required (and how you get them), and the various reference tools and finding aids available, online and in print. This is an invaluable guide to an important source for the history of the 19th century. To order a copy, please contact the IHR bookshop </bookshop>. Orders can be taken by telephone on 020 7862 8780 or email: Please make cheques payable to the University of London. Payment by credit card is accepted. Postage costs are £1 per item up to a maximum of £5, overseas orders are charged by weight.
    • A number of publications on the Clothworkers' Company and Hall are offered for sale on the Clothworkers' Company's website. All items are at less than cost price and include free postage and packing. To take advantage of this offer visit: <>




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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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