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Role of the Centre
Staff and Contacts
Research Projects
Register of Research in Progress
Mailing List and Email Newsletter
How to find the Centre


Since Roman times London has been one of the leading European cities. For the last three hundred years it has been a metropolis on a world scale. Its history and development as a great centre of population, trade, finance, society, and political power are recorded in a rich store of documentary, graphic, and material remains. This growing body of evidence is unparalleled for any other city. A long and vigorous tradition of study has illuminated many aspects of London's past, providing a firm foundation for advancing understanding in the future. London is a laboratory of unique importance for the study of urban affairs. It offers the opportunity of setting our knowledge and experience of metropolitan life today in the context of two thousand years of continuous development.

Established in 1988, in collaboration with the Museum of London and other organisations, the Centre fulfils a long-standing need in London. It promotes the study and wide appreciation of London's character and development from its beginnings to the present day, and is concerned to set the history of London in the wider context provided by knowledge of other metropolises.

The role of the Centre for Metropolitan History is to:

1. Provide a forum for the interchange of ideas on metropolitan history through seminars, conferences and other meetings;

2. Undertake original research into the society, economy, culture and fabric of London, with regard to its role both within the British Isles and in the world at large;

3. Provide a practical service for those interested in the history of London by bibliographical work, by organising raw data so that they are more readily usable, and by collecting and publishing news of research in progress;

4. Promote research into the history of other metropolitan centres by inviting scholars from other parts of the world to take part in its activities, and by undertaking projects which compare London with other centres.

The Centre for Metropolitan History is part of the Institute of Historical Research.

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A register of current work on the history of London is held on database at the Centre. New entries from it appear at intervals in the London Journal. If you would like to be added to the list, or wish to consult it, please contact Heather Creaton.

Access the on-line database

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The seminar on Metropolitan History, convened by Dr Matthew Davies, Dr Richard Dennis, Professor Derek Keene and Dr Patrick Wallis, meets at the Institute of Historical Research at 5.30 pm on alternate Wednesdays during the Autumn and Spring terms.

Seminar Programme index

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The CMH is pleased to receive enquiries, but does not maintain a library. The best general collections of books on London history are at the Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, EC2P 2EJ, and at the London Metropolitan Archives Library, 40 Northampton Road, EC1R 0HB. The Institute of Historical Research and University College London also have useful holdings. The London boroughs maintain local history and archive collections. The following bodies have a London-wide role: The Museum of London (London Wall, EC2Y 5HN), London Record Society (c/o Institute of Historical Research), London Topographical Society (36 Old Deer Park Gardens, Richmond, TW9 2TL), London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (c/o Museum of London), Archives for London.

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The Centre sends out an annual postal mailing (usually in the autumn) free of charge to members of its mailing list. This mailing includes the CMH's Annual Report, Information Leaflet, Metropolitan History seminar programme and other information. The Centre also produces a free, periodic email newsletter (4-5 issues a year) which provides the latest CMH news, and information from other London and regional history centres, libraries and museums, internet resources and new publications. If you would like to be added to the postal mailing and/or the email newsletter lists, contact Olwen Myhill. (Tel: 020 7862 8790; email: ihrcmh@sas.ac.uk).

Please note that by agreeing to be added to these lists you authorise the Centre for Metropolitan History and the Institute of Historical Research to hold contact details and relevant information relating to your activities in association with these bodies on their database until further notice. You may request to see a full copy of the records held on you on provision of reasonable notice. (The Centre does not make contact details available to any external organisation)

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The Centre is situated on the third floor of the Institute of Historical Research in the University of London's Senate House building situated in Bloomsbury, London WC1.

Nearest London Underground stations are: Russell Square (Piccadilly line, 5 mins walk), Goodge Street (Northern Line, 5 mins), Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern Lines, 10 mins), Warren Street (Northern and Victoria Lines, 15 mins), Euston (Northern and Victoria Lines, mainline rail, 15 mins). King's Cross and St Pancras mainline stations are approximately 20 minutes walk.

Senate House may be approached from either Russell Square or Malet Street. Entering the building directly under the tower, turn right if coming from Russell Square direction, or turn left if coming from Malet Street (see map below), and walk through the double doors, turning immediately right into the Institute of Historical Research.

Take the lift to the third floor. Turn right out of the lift, and follow the signs to the Centre.

Please note: The route is not accessible to those unable to climb stairs. If you suffer from such a disability please contact the Centre before making your visit and alternative arrangements will be made.

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