On the 13 July 2022 Prof. Vanessa Harding (Birkbeck, University of London) gave the inaugural Derek Keene London Lecture, from the Centre for the History of People, Place and Community, Institute of Historical Research. 

This new series of annual public lectures will offer new perspectives on key questions in London’s history, from leading experts on the city’s past.  

How long was London a ‘medieval’ city? Derek Keene’s first London project, The Social and Economic Study of Medieval London (1979-87), explored the profusion of records of property holding in the City of London, and established their potential for reconstructing property histories and thus charting economic and social change over several centuries. Despite its name, the project extended from the thirteenth century, when such records become numerous, up to the Great Fire of 1666. This lecture will examine the justification for taking the Fire as a terminal event for a study of ‘medieval London’, and consider alternative ‘periodisations’ and phases in the study of early London.  

The lecture series commemorates the work of Prof. Derek Keene (1942-2021), a leading scholar of London and comparative urban history, and founding director of the Institute of Historical Research’s Centre for Metropolitan History. Co-founded by the Institute and the Museum of London in 1988, the Centre carried out numerous research projects in the history of London and other cities, as well as pioneering work in environmental history and digital humanities. The Centre’s work is now continued by the Centre for the History of People, Place and Community.  

The lecture sits alongside the IHR’s new London Summer School, which ran from the 11th to 14th July 2022.

Keene Lecture 2022