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CHPPC Events

We organise a range of imaginative events and activities, from large special public events to a regular seminar series. All welcome - please check event listings for any booking requirements.

Please browse the listings below to explore upcoming events, and to find details of any booking required. If you have an idea for an event in partnership with the Centre, please get in touch!

About the People, Place and Community seminar

The Centre for the History of People, Place and Community's (CHPPC) seminar series builds on IHR strengths in both local history and in urban and metropolitan history, bringing together academics, heritage professionals, creative practitioners and others to present new work and forge new approaches to making histories of place and people. It seeks to bridge disciplinary silos and foster comparative, connected conversations, and to identify opportunities to make both theoretical and practice-led interventions in contemporary debates around space and place.

Our Seminar Convenors:

  • Melissa Bennett, Higher Education Programme Manager, Museum of London
  • Matt Bristow, Victoria County History, Institute of Historical Research / Senior Investigator, Historic England
  • Adam Chapman, Victoria County History, Institute of Historical Research
  • Catherine Clarke, Chair in the History of People, Place and Community, Institute of Historical Research
  • Matthew Davies, Professor of Urban History and Executive Dean, School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, Birkbeck University of London; Director of ‘Layers of London’ project
  • Michael Eades, Public Engagement Manager and Cultural Contexts Research Fellow; ‘Being Human’ Festival Curator, School of Advanced Study, University of London
  • Chris Lewis, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Historical Research
  • Ben Wilcock, Academic Research and Engagement Coordinator (North of England portfolio), National Trust

Autumn 2019 Seminar Series

Wednesday 25 September, 6pm
Booking required: to book your free place, see the event page.

Nino Strachey, National Head of Research, National Trust
Owain Lloyd-James, National Head of Places Strategy, Historic England
Nayan Kulkarni, Site-specific / Public Realm Artist and Researcher
Leanne O’Boyle, Head of Cultural and Visitor Strategy, City of London Corporation

How is history mobilised in place-making strategies today? How is heritage used to regenerate spaces, drive economic development or shape community identities? How does the past enrich and shape a sense of place? And what limitations, lines of exclusion, or challenges should we be alert to? Whether you’re a researcher, practitioner, or interested in your own community, join the panel in conversation with Catherine Clarke, IHR Professor in the History of People, Place and Community, for a critical discussion of history in place-making strategies today. This event also launches the Centre for the History of People, Place and Community, with a wine reception. Please join us to celebrate!

Wednesday 9 October, 5.30pm

Ben Wilcock, Academic Research and Engagement Coordinator, North-West Region, National Trust

2019 marks the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre, and throughout the year cultural organisations in and around Manchester are commemorating the violent suppression of the peaceful protest at St Peter’s Fields. Two of the properties that the National Trust looks after in the North have a strong connection to the Massacre: the Greg family who owned Quarry Bank were eyewitnesses and spoke out against the militia’s brutality in the subsequent trial; while at Dunham Massey the Earl of Stamford – George Grey – was the head of the militia that led the charge. At the Trust, we’ve been working with our research-active volunteers to delve into the property-specific archives relating to the massacre; with academic researchers to contextualise this research; and with artists who have developed a creative response to tell these stories in an engaging and responsible way to our visitors.

Wednesday 23 October, 5.30pm
Booking required: to book your free place, see the event page.
Led by Tom Woolley, artist, illustrator and mapmaker (www.tomwoolley.com)

Are you interested in the history and heritage of place? Do you use maps in your research or practice? Artist Tom Woolley creates maps for heritage sites, visitor attractions, towns and cities. His work includes maps for Sherwood Forest, Leeds Industrial Museum, the City of Birmingham, the St Thomas Way and Bolton Abbey, as well as independent projects such as ‘Myths & Legends of the British Isles’. In this workshop, Tom will share and reflect on his practice, then lead a hands-on map-making workshop. How could creative mapping help you to think in fresh ways about your place-based research? How could creative maps form an interpretation or public engagement tool? Come and have a go – no artistic experience or talent necessary!

Wednesday 6 November, 5.30pm

David Killingray, Emeritus Professor at Goldsmiths; Senior Research Fellow in the School of Advanced Study, University of London

Every day can be an adventure: where will we go, who might we meet, what will we talk about, and what could we learn? In 1891 Percyvall Bowen, a Kent farmer, took a holiday in the Canary Islands.  When he boarded the ship to return home, he met a group of South African Muslim pilgrims bound for Mecca via London. While sightseeing in London the Malays were seen by Queen Victoria who commanded them to come to tea. What do these encounters tell us about people, place and communities in a hierarchical and racially ordered imperial world?

Wednesday 20 November, from 4.30pm
Booking required: to book your free place, see the event page.

The Victoria County History – an ongoing project to write the history of every county in England – is famous for its iconic ‘Red Books’. This year, we’re celebrating the 120th anniversary of the Victoria County History with VCH Red Boxes. Counties across England have filled special Red Boxes with objects which represent their history in quirky or surprising ways. What secrets and stories will we discover? Join us for our ‘Unboxing’ party (from 4.30pm), with exhibition, object handling and live 3D printing; and panel discussion (5.30-7pm). A great opportunity to encounter some secret histories, explore public history practice, and learn more about the VCH project and how you could get involved. Free drinks and nibbles provided.

Wednesday 4 December, 5.30pm, , IHR Pollard Room (301)/Alternative Venue

Annette Day, Head of Content Delivery, Museum of London
Alex Werner, Lead Curator, New Museum at the Museum of London
In conversation with Matthew Davies, Professor of Urban History and Executive Dean, School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London

This meeting of the seminar will focus on the opportunities and challenges involved in the development of the new Museum of London, which will move to a new site in the General Market buildings in West Smithfield in 2023. Through presentations and a panel discussion, the seminar will explore some of the thinking behind the Museum masterplan, the use of the new spaces, the opening up of the Museum’s collections, and the engagement with Londoners to communicate the stories of people and places across more than 2,000 years of the capital’s history.

Spring 2020 Seminar Series

Wednesday 15 January, 5.30pm 

Booking required: to book your free place, see Events Page.

This event launches ‘English Places’: the exciting new app from the Victoria County History, which puts authoritative histories of places across England at your fingertips, whether you’re browsing at home or out and about exploring. Please join us to celebrate the launch, and for our broader discussion of digital mapping projects, place and public history.  The launch will be introduced by Catherine Clarke, Professor in the History of People, Place and Community, IHR and will follow a panel session which will discuss digital mapping platforms in academic and public history contexts.

Chair: Matt Bristow (CHPPC/Historic England)

Panel:

Peter Insole (Principal Historic Environment Officer, Know Your Place Bristol)

Sarah Jones (Head of Geomatics, Museum of London Archaeology)

Seif El Rashidi (Project Manager, Layers of London)

Professor Andrew McCrae (University of Exeter, Co-Director Places of Poetry)

 

The challenge for digital mapping platforms like Layers of London and Know Your Place West, and for national projects which focus on the local, such as the Victoria County History, is to move beyond the immediate locality towards crowd sourced national histories.  The potential for digital mapping platforms to be ‘franchised’, allowing expansion beyond the geographical and organisational boundaries of an individual project, opens up exciting possibilities for the creation of interconnected, multi-layered resources which combine to speak to our collective national history.  How can academics, community groups and members of the public harness the potential of digital mapping platforms to expand the horizons of our histories from the local to the national?

Wednesday 29 January, 5.30pm, IHR Pollard Room (301)

David Green (King's College London)

Doug Brown (Kingston University)

The Post Office was an extremely important institution and London was the focal point of its operations. However, London postal workers were relatively unhealthy and the majority had retired  before they reached sixty, mainly because of ill health.  Using new evidence drawn from pension records, we explore the extent of ill health in the London workforce, comparing it to that in the Metropolitan Police. For postmen, orthopaedic conditions were the main problem, relating to the ability to walk long distances.  This was similar to the problems encountered in the police. For other postal workers, notably letter sorters, mental illness and poor vision were the main problems, relating to the pressure of having to work irregular hours, often at night-time and in poorly designed and overcrowded workspaces. These problems were exacerbated by the increasing frequency of mail deliveries and the constant shortage of space in the main headquarters building. In response to these issues and workers’ concerns, the Post Office introduced a range of measures including a medical service and generous sickness pay, more offices, new technologies to speed the flow of mail, better lighting, and changed working practices to ease pressures on the workforce. We conclude by considering the implications of understanding ill health in the Post Office as part of a broader discussion of morbidity during the so called 'epidemiological transition' of the late nineteenth century.

Wednesday 12 February, 5.30pm, IHR Pollard Room (301)

Melanie Backe-Hansen: House-Historian

Deborah Sugg Ryan, Professor of Design History and Theory; Associate Dean of Research

The history of houses and the home is an area of popular interest and a window into social history. Our two speakers have both been involved in the highly successful BBC series, ‘A House through Time’.

In conversation, Deborah and Melanie will draw on their work in the history of residential houses through different ages. Using a range of case studies of historic houses, including those featured in A House Through Time, modest inter-war homes, and older houses back to the sixteenth century, they will look at the tools and sources to explore social history and how to uncover the history to be found in our homes.

Melanie and Deborah’s books will also be available to purchase (cash only) on the night.

Wednesday 26 February, 5.30pm, IHR Pollard Room (301)

Ken Crowe - VCH Essex

Findings from an Essex pilot project with wider potential.  Using Essex as the basis for this study, we shall illustrate how documentary and archaeological evidence can illuminate the process of dismantling the monasteries following the dissolution of 1536-40, and the re-use (or recycling) of monastic materials. Other related themes (which we will not have time to consider in any detail) include the conversion of monastic buildings to other uses.

Wednesday 25 March, 5.30pm, IHR Pollard Room (301)

Who should be on the platform for this discussion? This week, we’re experimenting with a crowdsourced approach – you tell us who you think could make an exciting contribution to the conversation, and we’ll invite them to join us!

How are places commemorated? How do schemes such as blue plaques identify and select individuals and groups worth of public memory? How are significant events chosen and linked to the interpretation of places? What lines of exclusion or under-representation can we identify? And how are alternative, radical projects seeking to forge new, more socially-inclusive or creative approaches to place and commemoration?

Join the debate on social media and nominate a speaker or project by the end of February 2020, when we’ll make a selection. We’re looking forward to your ideas!

Summer 2020 Seminar Series

Wednesday 29 April, 5.30pm, IHR Pollard Room (301)

 

Corinne Fowler, Associate Professor, University of Leicester

Colonial Countryside is a child-led history and writing project funded by HLF and ACE in partnership with the National Trust. 100 children visited 11 Trust houses and explored their African, Caribbean and East India Company connections. This talk will explore the underlying research questions and key themes which drive the project and work in the historic housing sector more broadly.

A lot has been learned about what "child-led" means and what it achieved. Some children led guided tours. Others redesigned guidebooks, wrote pamphlets for visitors or made videos about country houses' colonial links for Twitter. Colonial Countryside also produced, with two curriculum experts, lessons for year 5 pupils which teach the history of empire focused on local histories of five cities and National Trust properties. This has already had a positive impact and an example is provided of the benefit of these curriculum materials to a Toxteth Primary school and its teachers.

Wednesday 13 May, 5.30pm, meet on Malet Street outside Senate House

Howard Spencer, English Heritage

Howard Spencer, a senior historian with English Heritage, leads a perambulation around the plaques – blue and otherwise – and discusses the people and places so marked, as well as the how, why and when they came to be commemorated. Among the plaques featured will be those put up by the London-wide councils, English Heritage, and the Bedford Estate.

Wednesday 27 May, 5.30pm, IHR Pollard Room (301)

Allan Brodie, Historic England

As summer approaches, for many of us our thoughts turn to the future; perhaps interesting travel, fine dining and a sun-kissed beach lie ahead. Of course reality rarely meets expectations - long queues at the airport, threadbare paella and an overcrowded beach with watery beer.

But enough of Allan Brodie’s holiday woes! After years of studying England’s seaside, Historic England’s very own beach boy will describe the key issues that have faced our holiday resorts during their rise, fall and their continuing fall /rise again. At the heart of his work has been to understand, celebrate and champion the English seaside and his presentation will look behind the headlines to explore the strengths and opportunities of towns and cities as different as Blackpool, Scarborough and Brighton. He will describe how his work has combined academic research with trying to harness the historic environment as a tool to market seaside resorts, through posing questions such as ‘Why Bath and why not Weymouth?’ and ‘Why Nice, when Brighton awaits’?

Wednesday 24 June, 5.30pm, IHR Pollard Room (301)

Ben Wilcock, Academic Research and Engagement Coordinator, North-West Region, National Trust

2019 marked the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre, and throughout the year cultural organisations in and around Manchester commemorated the violent suppression of the peaceful protest at St Peter’s Fields. Two of the properties that the National Trust looks after in the North have a strong connection to the Massacre: the Greg family who owned Quarry Bank were eyewitnesses and spoke out against the militia’s brutality in the subsequent trial; while at Dunham Massey the Earl of Stamford – George Grey – was the head of the militia that led the charge. At the Trust, we’ve been working with our research-active volunteers to delve into the property-specific archives relating to the massacre; with academic researchers to contextualise this research; and with artists who have developed a creative response to tell these stories in an engaging and responsible way to our visitors.