Annual Report 1988-9

Message from the Chairman of the Patrons

1. Introduction and Director's Report

2. Project Reports
i Feeding the City: London's impact on the agrarian economy of southern England, c.1250-1350
ii Epidemics and Mortality in the Pre-industrial City: Florence and London compared
iii From Counting-House to Office: the evolution of London's central financial district, 1690-1870
iv Bibliography of Printed Works on London History to 1939
Appendices: I Patrons
  II Advisory Committee
  III Associate Supervisors of Projects
  IV Staff of the Centre
  V Publications
  VI Sources of Funding


London has one of the longest, most interesting, and best-recorded histories of any metropolis. The city has both reflected and moulded the development of Britain and, in recent centuries, that of the world at large. A knowledge of its history, therefore, is of prime importance for understanding the modern world and urban life in general.

The initiative of the University of London, through its Institute of Historical Research, in setting up the new Centre for Metropolitan History is to be widely welcomed as the first attempt comprehensively to explore the development of the capital in all its complexity. As this report shows the Centre's programme of research, in a variety of disciplines, is already making substantial new additions to our knowledge of London and other metropolises.

The Centre is also a notable instance of the academic community reaching out to the wider world of which it is part, by providing a service for all those interested in the metropolis in which we live and work. My fellow Patrons and I are pleased to lend our support to this exciting new venture. In particular, we hope to develop and strengthen the links between the Centre and London at large.

Sir Kit McMahon

[1989-90] [1990-1] [1991-2] {1992-3] [Back to Contents]


Founded at the end of 1987, the Centre for Metropolitan History had its first full year of activity during 1988-9. In the summer of 1988 the CMH took up its quarters in the basement of the Annexe of the Institute of Historical Research at 34 Tavistock Square. Work on two new research projects began almost immediately, and work on a third began early in 1989. By the latter part of the year the Centre had a staff of ten, almost all employed on short-term contracts. Reports on the progress of the research projects and on their initial findings, written by the research staff involved, will be found in the second part of this report.

This programme of research covers a wide range of topics and periods, and focuses on several key issues in metropolitan history, including the impact of London on its agrarian hinterland, the spread of epidemic disease, and the first emergence of that characteristic feature of the modern metropolis, the central financial district. The Centre has also been able to offer a service to others studying the history of London, by continuing work on its bibliography (described below), by publishing a list of research in progress on London history, and by compiling a guide to biographical listings of Londoners. The Metropolitan History Seminar has fulfilled the same aim by bringing metropolitan historians into closer contact with each other. The seminar themes for the year were 'Metropolitan politics' and 'Out of doors in the metropolis', and topics ranged from Anglo-Jewish politics in the early twentieth century to streetwalking in eighteenth-century London. Two day-conferences were also held. One, a joint occasion with the Greater London Archive Users' Forum, was concerned with archives and their users in London. The other, with the Museum of London, focused on the use of skeletal remains in studying the demography of the city.

Despite the distractions which necessarily accompany the setting up of a new venture and supervising new research projects, the Director of the Centre was able to pursue some lines of enquiry arising from his earlier work on the society, economy and topography of medieval London. Having assisted the Museum fur Hamburgische Geschichte in planning its current exhibition on the myth and reality of the Hansa, he wrote several papers on Hanseatic headquarters in London (now beneath Cannon Street Station), providing a context for the Museum of London's recent excavations there. He also contributed a substantial section to the BBC's forthcoming interactive video disc on the City of London. This took the form of a complete history of Ironmonger Lane from the eleventh to the twentieth century, including text, maps, views, and photographs of original documents. It was a valuable experience in communications technology, likely to be of use in further work for the CMH. Another small-scale project involved contributing data on London between 1870 and 1939 to a comparative study of Berlin and other metropolises being undertaken by the University of Cologne. This immediately raised some new questions concerning London, and demonstrates the value of comparative studies, as the Centre's own project on London and Florence also shows.

A number of overseas scholars visited the Centre during the year, from both the German Republics, from the United States, from Hungary, and from India. Correspondence was maintained with scholars in those countries and in France, Italy, and Czechoslovakia. There are excellent prospects for international collaborative projects in the future, if funds can be matched between the various countries.

New projects are already being planned. During the year the International Stock Exchange gave a sum which made it possible in October 1989 to begin an oral history of the jobbing system of the Stock Exchange. The system, embodying many features of London's historic culture as a market, came to an end in 1986. Planning and other essential ground work was undertaken for the proposed project on 'Office Life and Environment, 1880-1980', for which a concerted fundraising effort will begin in the course of 1989-90. There has been discussion of several additional themes in metropolitan history on which the Centre should promote study and debate. These include politics, industry, culture, the transmission of information and ideas, and the 'metropolis and the state'. Projects have also been identified which could make more readily available to historians, or to posterity, important source materials for London history. These include an analysis of eighteenth-century legal records and an investigation of the types of information concerning late twentieth-century London which exists only in the form of electronic impulses. The existing projects, moreover, have already begun to indicate lines of inquiry which could profitably be followed up in further work.

The results of these studies will be published as articles in academic journals, and as books. Some of them will be suitable for more popular presentation. The possibility of establishing a distinct CMH series of publications is being considered, and a close association is being established with the London Journal.

The Centre has been greatly encouraged by the generous level of support for its projects so far, from research councils, trusts, other institutions, and private sponsors. It has been possible to fund the small core staff necessary to maintain such an enterprise by means of generous grants from the Museum of London Trust Fund, the Marc Fitch Fund, and several City Livery Companies and financial institutions, and by the secondment of the Deputy Director of the Centre from within the Institute of Historical Research. This support has provided for the initial years, but a more long-term source of core funding is urgently needed. Accommodation, provided by the University of London, also presents a problem. The Centre at present fits very tightly into its headquarters. There is no space for expansion of current activities or for the accommodation of the visiting scholars who would add greatly to the Centre's vitality.

One of the most stimulating and encouraging features of the CMH's early life has been the wide range of outside contacts it has established. The Associates of the CMH, over one hundred people actively involved in the study of London history, are an invaluable source of information, ideas, and support. Others outside the Centre are involved more closely as co-supervisors of projects or as advisers to them. There has been a steady stream of inquiries from scholars, the general public, and journalists. In this way the CMH seems to be meeting its original objective of providing a service for the wider community of all those interested in the history of London.

A notable event during the year has been the recruitment of a distinguished body of patrons under the chairmanship of Sir Kit McMahon. The CMH looks forward to working closely with its Patrons, who represent many important aspects of metropolitan life, and whose advice and assistance will be highly valued.

[1989-90 Report] [1990-1 Report] [1991-2 Report] [1992-3 Report] [1993-4 Report] [1994-5 Report] [1995-6 Report] [1996-7 Report] [1997-8 Report] [Back to Contents]



This project, which commenced in September 1988, seeks to examine London's role as a catalyst of economic and agrarian change in the period 1250-1350, the century preceding the arrival of the Black Death. London's development as one of the largest urban centres of medieval Europe must have placed considerable demands on its rural hinterland to ensure adequate supplies of human and animal foodstuffs and of fuel and building materials. 'Feeding the City' aims to study the effects of this demand by using the rich documentary sources which survive for rural England from this period.

Apart from F.J. Fisher's classic study of the London food market in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the question of the capital's influence on its hinterland has hardly been examined. Fisher's general conclusion was that London's demand stimulated both increased production and increased specialization for the market. He suspected that medieval research would reveal 'in embryo' much of what he had described for the early-modern period.

drawing of essential supplies arriving in a medieval city by land and water
[Fig. 1. Essential supplies arriving in a medieval city by land and water]

The recent work of the project's co-supervisors, Derek Keene and Bruce Campbell, has shown that research of this type is feasible for the medieval period and that it bears directly on some key issues of long-term economic development. Keene has demonstrated that London's population circa 1300 was much higher than previously thought - perhaps as high as 100,000 and thus at least as large as it was to be in the mid sixteenth century - and that there is therefore a very real question to be answered regarding the supply of necessities. Campbell's work on Norfolk has helped to demolish the myth that medieval agriculture was uniformly backward and unproductive, and points rather to a rural economy characterized by regional specialization and a zoning of land-uses responsive to the impact of the market and to variations in the levels of economic rent.

The decades around the year 1300, which form the central focus of the project, are particularly rich in documentary evidence bearing on the agrarian economy. Demesne account rolls, the annual accounts drawn up for the management of land held directly by lords, survive in their thousands for the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and contain information more detailed and more systematically recorded than any other agrarian records prior to the nineteenth century. The account rolls itemize crops grown, specify seeding rates and quantities harvested, and detail how the produce was disposed of. We can thus study yields, patterns of cropping, degree of market involvement and many other aspects of the local economy. The amount of detail given for livestock is also considerable, with animals being divided into numerous age groups (see the example from the Winchester manor of Adderbury represented in Table 1). Numbers born, died, slaughtered or sold are faithfully recorded, enabling us to know more about the demostraphy of animal herds than of human populations at this period.

Table 1: Age categories for cattle, Adderbury manor, 1307.

  Category Term in document
1. Adult animals Taurus
Vacca (Cow )
Bos (Ox)
2. Juvenile c.3 yrs old Bovettus, male and female
3. Juvenile c.2 yrs old Bovinculus, male and female
4. Yearling Annalus, male and female
5. Calf Vitulus, male and female
Source: HRO Bishopric of Winchester Pipe Roll, 1307

For purposes of analysis the project abstracts both quantifiable and non-quantifiable information from the account rolls, entering it directly into lap-top computers in the various archives used. Data is then transferred to the mainframe computer at the Queen's University of Belfast under the guidance of the project's computer consultant, John Power, where it is stored in S.I.R. databases facilitating a wide range of analyses. Between October 1988 and February 1989 a pilot study of around 100 account rolls was carried out to test the project's methodology, and some provisional results were presented at a special seminar in the Institute of Historical Research in February 1989, which generated much useful discussion and comment from a learned audience.

Since February the bulk of the research assistants' time has been spent on the collection and analysis of data from a second principal source, the Inquisitions Post Mortem (IPMs). IPMs contain summary extents, descriptions and valuations of property drawn up on the death of a landholder who held, or was thought to hold in chief from the crown. The extents itemize the principal types of land (arable, meadow, pasture, wood etc. ) and commonly provide an acreage and/or valuation for each. In many cases, particularly for arable and meadow, a per acre valuation - an assessed measure of profitability - is given.

The existence and value of other types of resources are also noted ranging from the common (dovecots, mills, fishponds) to the more exotic, such as vineyards. The IPMs thus enable basic distributions and variations in value of different resources to be studied. This is of major importance in attempting to identify the zoning of agricultural activity. One of the objectives of 'Feeding the City' is to test the body of locational theory developed by Johann von Thunen and his successors against a substantial quantitative database derived entirely from medieval documentary sources.

Already some results are emerging from computer analysis of the IPM data. Variations between the ten counties of the study area in mean value of arable and meadow can be identified, and some evidence of changing values with distance from London is emerging. Figure 2 maps the county means for meadow-value per acre, where Middlesex rates highest. It must be borne in mind, however, that county means may conceal wide local variations. Attention will therefore focus on the identification of more specific and clearly defined zones or regions. Change over time is also being studied, with the derivation of timeseries for mean value of the principal land-use types.

map showing mean value of meadow,
1270-1339, by county (pence per acre)
[Fig. 2. Mean value of meadow, 1270-1339, by county (pence per acre)]

The decadal means for arable land (Fig. 3) reveal that the highest values occur in the first two decades of the period 1270-1339, although it should be noted that the number of extents surviving from this time is smaller than for later decades. After a period of remarkable stability there is a marked dip (approx. 20 per cent) in mean values in the 1320s followed by a partial recovery in the 1330s. This decline could be attributable to the effects of high taxation, or to the medium-term repercussions of the famine of 1315-17. Refinement of the time-periods and geographical units analysed should help to shed further light on this phenomenon.

Fig. 3 picture of graph showing decadal
means for arable land by decade
[Fig. 3. Decadal means for arable land]

'Feeding the City' can thus be expected to shed light on a wide range of issues central to our understanding of the medieval economy, and, more generally, to the role of urban demand in promoting agricultural change and specialisation. It should, therefore, provide a valuable basis for comparative studies of other historical periods and other metropolises and their hinterlands.

This three-year project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and is undertaken in conjunction with The Queen's University of Belfast.

[1989-90 Report] [1990-1 Report] [Publications arising from project] [Feeding the City II] [Back to Contents]


This is the first study to compare the impact of epidemic disease on two of the largest cities in seventeenth-century Europe: Florence and London. Apart from providing two in-depth case studies of the effect of plague on urban society, the comparative approach will enable us to come to a better understanding of the different factors which might have affected the severity of mortality in northern and southern Europe. The main differences being taken into account are the geographical position of each city, their climates, what is known about their buildings (particularly whether they were constructed from brick and stone or from wood), the topographical distribution of wealth and occupations, and more generally the state of their economies (declining in Florence and expanding in London). More generally, we shall examine how far levels of mortality were affected by government policy, and in particular by the more 'advanced' methods in Italy, where governments quarantined pest victims and placed them in Lazzaretti (pesthouses). In London, by contrast, the vast majority of the sick were simply shut up in their houses.

For each city a similar methodology has been adopted to analyse two epidemics which had roughly the same rate of mortality (17 per cent): the outbreaks of 1630-3 in Florence and of 1665 in London. Particular areas have been selected within each city to provide a variety of social, occupational and topographical characteristics. The data is derived from a series of central government and parochial registers, ranging from censuses and Bills of Mortality to tax and parish registers (Figs. 4-6). Analysis of the material using a combination of micro and mainframe computers, has already begun. Database management and statistical packages (dBASE IV, SAS) and graphics and mapping packages (SAS Graph/Map) are used.

Fig. 4. picture of extract from a Census of
Florence, 1632
Fig. 4. Extract from a Census of Florence, 1632

Fig. 5. picture of extract from a Bill of
Mortality for London, 1665
Fig. 5. Extract from a Bill of Mortality for London, 1665

Fig. 6. picture of extract from Hearth Tax
for St. Dunstan's in the West parish, 1662
Fig. 6. Extract from Hearth Tax for St. Dunstan's in the West parish, 1662

The Florentine Plague

In Florence the area of study is the parish of S. Lorenzo, which contained about 10 per cent of the population of the city, and stretched from the very centre to the outer urban walls. This zone contained a wide variety of housing types, including large palaces, such as the Palazzo Medici, near the Cathedral, and the small, crowded terrace houses of textile workers nearer the walls. There were several convents and hospitals in the axial road of Via S. Gallo.

Source materials for the Florentine half of the project were identified and collected over the summer, and the inputting of data will be completed by the end of the year, working from printed copies of microfilmed manuscripts. These records include the parish registers of S. Lorenzo, and the central government Bills of Mortality which are being analysed to provide relative levels of mortality during the years immediately before and after the epidemic. Information about those who died in 1630-3 is derived not from parochial registers, but from the records of the Health Board.

In two ways the mechanisms employed to cope with epidemic disease stand in sharp contrast to London: in Florence the Lazzaretti had a very important role; and voluntary fraternities of laymen were used to transport the sick and the dead. These institutions provide us with detailed records of the sick and dead, which in conjunction with contemporary censuses will enable us to link the topographical distribution of mortality with the sex, occupation, marital status and age (in general terms) of victims.

The Great Plague in London

The impact of plague is being studied in a series of parishes representing the east end, the west end, and the commercial centre of the city, together with riverside districts both north and south of the Thames .

The data-inputting for the London end of the project is now almost complete: the Bills of Mortality for the decade prior to the plague year have been successfully converted to dBASE files at CMH, while the information for 1665 itself was kindly provided in ASCII format by Paul Laxton of the Geography Department at The University of Liverpool and loaded on to our computer. The burial registers and tax assessments for all the targeted parishes (apart from St Botolph's without Aldgate) have also been transferred from the original sources into database files. While the conversion of primary material to computer-legible information was straightforward for the numeric and statistical information contained in the Bills of Mortality, the material in the remaining sources required a more complex process of conversion.

The methodology of the project is premised upon establishing linkages between the mortality information in the Parish Registers and the social and economic contexts of the various tax assessments in order to reconstruct and analyse metropolitan mortality in terms of occupation and wealth. The relational powers of dBASE IV should in theory make such linkages simple, but the inconsistencies of seventeenth-century spelling mean that the computer is often unable to match them ('Smith' with 'Smyth', for example), without assistance in the form of identifying codes.

A second problem is perhaps more difficult. While the tax assessments most commonly used give us information about the relative wealth of households (for example, in terms of the number of hearths a certain household has), they give little or no information about the size or membership of each household, which is usually represented only by the male head. Wives, servants, and children, will (if they died) be present in the burial registers. While the computer can be used to make a general link between heads of households and members of households, final and secure identification can only be achieved manually. The Ball family in Whitefriars provide a good example: the 1666 Hearth Tax Assessment has one Edward Ball assessed at 4 hearths, while the Burial Register has three entries between 30/07/65 and 30/09/65 (Edward, Ann, and an infant, Samuel). The computer, through a series of sorts and queries, can bracket the Hearth Tax and Burial Register entries together, but it is the historian who has to say finally that the Ball in one is related to the Ball in the other.

So far the process of linking has only been attempted on one parochial area (St Dunstan's in the West), but some provisional comparative analysis of the diverse burial patterns has been undertaken. First, using the Bills of Mortality, a general picture of the seasonal dimensions to mortality incidence in London, can be deduced and displayed in graphic form (see Fig. 7). This general picture can also be broken down into sectoral detail (see Figs. 8-10). Ultimately, the intention will be to compare each of our selected parishes with the experience of the city as a whole, in terms of both background mortality (1655-1664) and the plague year itself.

Fig. 7. picture of graph of average mortality for
London, 1655-64 (based on the Bills of Mortality)
Fig. 7. Average mortality for London, 1655-64 (based on the Bills of Mortality)

Fig. 8. picture of graph of mortality averages by
sector, 1655-64 (based on the Bills of Mortality)
Fig. 8. Mortality averages by sector, 1655-64 (based on the Bills of Mortality)

Fig. 9. picture of graph of total mortality, London
1665 (based on the Bills of Mortality)
Fig. 9. Total mortality, London 1665 (based on the Bills of Mortality)

Fig. 10. picture of graph showing mortality in the Plague
Year, London 1665 (based on the Bills of Mortality)
Fig. 10. Mortality in the Plague Year, London 1665 (based on the Bills of Mortality)

Some of the preliminary results suggest interesting findings. There was, for example, an increase in female mortality during the plague year. These early results, drawn from the Bills of Mortality, will be examined and tested in more precise detail when the investigation turns to the individual parish level. The early attempt at comparing two of the selected parishes, St Dunstan's in the West and St Saviour's Southwark, has similarly some intriguing differences in the patterns of death. Some of these findings will cause us to re-examine the nature of the evidence in the burial registers: for example, in St Dunstan's infant mortality (male and female combined) was 30 per cent, the equivalent figure for St Saviour's was 4 per cent. Is this difference the result of a difference in age structure between the parishes or the under-registration of infant deaths in the Southwark parish. Further investigation will address this and other problems.

This two-year project consists of two separate but related studies, one funded by the ESRC (concerning Florence and London), the other funded by the Wellcome Trust.

[1989-90 Report] [1990-1 Report] [Publications arising from project] [Back to Contents]


This project aims to identify and analyse the broad trends involved in the evolution of London's central financial district between the 1690s and 1871. During this period the traditional intermixture of workplace and dwelling was replaced by a new pattern dominated by the specialized office building.

The project is based on a chronological sequence of overviews concerning the occupational, residential and physical character of the area and the distribution of property values within it. These 'snapshots' of the district's socio-economic structure have been constructed on a relational database (dBASE IV) using material drawn from national and local tax assessments, population censuses, trade directories, and other sources such as local jury lists and fire insurance policies. The resulting database contains material for 1693, 1785, 1817, 1851 and 1871 and is based on a study area designed to encompass as much of the financial district in 1871 as was compatible with following the administrative boundaries (ward precincts ) recognised by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century tax assessors (see Fig. 11).

Fig. 11. map of the ward and precinct
boundaries of the area analysed
Fig. 11. The ward and precinct boundaries of the area analysed

Although data entry is now complete, the results offered here can as yet only be provisional. Ultimately, recoding of the material will make it possible to analyse change by sub-districts which contain between twenty and fifty properties, and by type of location (i.e. whether buildings were located on main thoroughfares, in side-streets, or in courts and alleys). For now, however, results are available only by precinct and by ward. Only Cornhill ward lies entirely within the study area: the other five wards all possessed precincts not generally recognised as falling within the financial district.

It is clear that for most of the period under consideration the pace of change across the area was uneven. For instance, during the eighteenth century the rapid growth of a financial sector focusing on the Bank of England stimulated a significant rise in the assessed rental value of properties in the Broad Street sector of the study area (up 53 per cent, while values in nearby Langbourn increased by only 9 per cent). At this stage new patterns of economic activity appear not to have produced dramatic change in the built environment: even in the Broad Street sector the total number of separately-rated properties declined by only 8 per cent between 1693 and 1817. Even so, contemporary sources, including surviving pre-1841 census returns, insurance policies, and personal papers, suggest that by this time it was becoming common for City folk to establish their primary residence either in expanding suburbs such as Hackney, Lee, and Clapham or in the West End. Some continued to maintain a City home for overnight use, or perhaps for a junior partner, but increasingly many chose instead to devote the entire building to commercial use, and entrusted security to a paid housekeeper.

One might identify this, therefore, as the first stage in the transformation 'From Counting-House to Office'; a stage characterized less by dramatic redevelopment than by adaptation. Old buildings were altered to meet new purposes. Improved access to upper floors, the construction of partitions to sub-divide large drawing rooms, the provision of extra fireplaces and wash rooms: all these changes could facilitate the shift from residential to commercial use.

Between 1817 and 1851 the parts of the study area closest to the Bank and the Royal Exchange again experienced the most rapid change. The number of separate property plots in the Broad Street Cornhill and North Langbourn (precincts F1, F2 and F4) sectors fell by 28 per cent during this period compared with just 1.5 per cent for an outlying district like Bridge Within. Although City freeholders and leaseholders continued to adapt existing buildings for commercial use, a second stage in the redevelopment of the City had now begun. The amalgamation of property plots was now associated with the construction of purpose-built commercial premises. Some of these ventures appear to have been purely speculative, but perhaps more typical was the construction of prestige, centrally-located head offices by rapidly-expanding financial institutions such as the large insurance companies and the new Joint Stock banks. Figure 12 shows the London and Westminster Bank's headquarters erected in 1834 on Lothbury, immediately opposite the Bank of England. The buildings around it give some idea of the more traditional City environment. The private bankers Jones, Loyd & Co, had rebuilt their premises in 1808, but along established lines. There was a separate entrance to the upper floors, which housed a partner, his family and their servants. The other houses on this frontage probably dated from the later eighteenth century and were noticeably less substantial. Each had only one front door. The second entry at 39 Lothbury led to Whalebone Court at the rear.

Fig. 12. drawing of London and Westminster Bank Headquarters, Lothbury (1834)
[Fig. 12. London and Westminster Bank Headquarters, Lothbury (1834)]

By 1851, therefore, processes of change were already well advanced within the core parts of the emergent financial district. Analysis of occupational data from the 1851 census suggests that the residential population was already weighted heavily towards lower-status occupations, particularly those associated with the day-to-day supervision of let office space, whereas less than half a century earlier it would have been dominated by wealthy commercial households. Significantly, the more central sectors, such as Cornhill and Broad Street, account for by far the largest concentrations of resident housekeepers and messengers: 9 per cent of the total adult population, compared with 4 per cent for an outlying district like Bishopsgate. By 1871 the comparable figures were 28 per cent and 11 per cent. Elsewhere shopkeepers and small-scale businessmen continued to dominate the resident population, except in some of the least accessible courts on the margins of the study area such as Talbot Court in Bridge Within. Here manual workers and the dependent poor could be found living in acutely overcrowded properties.

It was only in the final period, between 1851 and 1871, that the central financial district began to assume a more uniform character, as capital-rich property development companies sought to meet the evergrowing demand for central let-office space by constructing largescale, purpose-built commercial premises. Property plots in the least accessible and least highly valued parts of the district were amalgamated with holdings which already possessed frontages on to major thoroughfares. In this way the City Offices Company (established 1864) erected a group of adjoining office blocks in Lombard Street, Gracechurch Street, Clements Lane, and Lombard Court, on a site which in 1851 had contained twenty three separate properties (see Fig. 13, which shows the new premises viewed from the corner of Gracechurch Street and Lombard Street ) . The site's rateable value, which stood at £1716 in 1851, had risen to 12,467 by 1871: more than two and a half times the rate of increase across the study area as a whole. In the process, the overcrowded dwellings containing five or more families disappeared, as did many of the small shops and warehouses which had traditionally characterized this part of the City.

Fig. 13. drawing of the offices erected by the
City Offices Company on the corner of Gracechurch Street and
Lombard Street, c. 1870

The construction of these massive office buildings represents the third and final stage in the evolution from counting house to office. The process of transformation was not of course, complete. Indeed, the built environment of the City has experienced near-constant change over the past century, but a new type of environment had been established: the City's traditional mixture of commercial and residential land usage had given way to a new order, dominated by the purpose-built office.

In the later stages of the project a small, representative sample of case studies within the area will be undertaken.

This eighteen-month project is funded by the ESRC.

[1989-90 Report] [Publications arising from project] [Back to Contents]


The lack of a general bibliography of the history of London has long been felt by historians and librarians. Various attempts have been started and abandoned in the past, but we are confident that this one will in due course fill the gap. The task is inevitably a lengthy one, for interest in all aspects of London life has been popular for centuries and has generated an enormous quantity of books and articles. Collection of material began in 1986 and has continued steadily since; we plan to publish the results in book form in 1992. Negotiations with Cambridge University Press are in progress, but have not yet been finalized. There will probably be three volumes containing about 6000 entries each and a separate analytical index.

The bibliography will cover works published up to the end of 1990 on most aspects of London history from the fifth century to the outbreak of the Second World War. London is defined here as the City of London and the former Greater London Council area. Titles gathered are entered directly onto the Cardbox-Plus database which enables retrieval by author, subject. date, period covered, or any other chosen indexing device.

The work began with a systematic search of Guildhall Library's London classified catalogue which yielded thousands of relevant books and articles for inclusion. The staff then moved on to examine the collections at the Greater London History Library, University College's London room, the local history departments of all the London boroughs, and various other libraries. Much important material has been found in them all. We are most grateful to all the library staff involved, who have been so enthusiastic and helpful about the project and have given freely of their time and advice.

The enormous size of this project means that the bibliography must inevitably be selective. Some specific fields are excluded. Archaeological works are omitted, for example, as the Museum of London is producing a computerised bibliography of London archaeology. There is a vast quantity of valuable visual material, but unfortunately we cannot include it for reasons of space; a separate project devoted to this source would be an excellent idea. We also omit fiction, children's books, guidebooks and very short articles, unless of evident significance. Primary sources (such as printed annual reports) are not included, though editions of documents are entered if they have explanatory introductions and good background information.

The bibliography has already proved very useful to the other projects under way at CMH by providing booklists on specific subjects, like the plague in London in the seventeenth century, nineteenth-century engravers, and the Stock Exchange. We have also received enquiries from other researchers asking for material on, among other things, circulating libraries, immigrant communities, the local history of Fulham, early film-making in London, Scotland Yard and Jack the Ripper. We are glad to help with such searches where possible.

This continuing project has been assisted by a fifteen-month grant from the ESRC for a research assistant, and by a grant from English Heritage for computer equipment.

[1989-90 Report] [1990-1 Report] [1991-2 Report] [1992-3 Report] [1993-4 Report] [1994-5 Report] [1995-6 Report] [1996-7 Report] [1997-8 Report] [Publications arising from project] [Back to Contents]




SIR KIT MCMAHON, Chairman, Midland Bank plc


MR STUART LIPTON, Stanhope Properties plc

MR PETER PALUMBO, Chairman of the Arts Council

MR MICHAEL ROBBINS, C.B.E., Chairman of the Board of Governors, Museum of London


THE BISHOP OF STEPNEY, The Right Reverend J.L. Thompson

[Back to Contents]



THE DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE (Professor F.M.L. Thompson, M.A., D.Phil., F.B.A.)

G. ALDERMAN, M.A., D.Phil., Professor of Politics, Royal Holloway and Bedford New College

T.C. BARKER, M.A., Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Economic History

B.M.S. CAMPBELL, B.A., Ph.D., Lecturer in Geography, The Queen's University of Belfast

M.J. DAUNTON, B.A., Ph.D., Reader in History, University College London

R.J. DENNIS, B.A., Ph.D., Lecturer in Geography, University College London

P. EARLE, B.Sc.(Econ.), Ph.D., Reader in Economic History, London School of Economics

S. M. GASKELL, M.A., Ph.D, Director, Nene College

N.B. HARTE, B.Sc.(Econ.), Senior Lecturer in Economic History, University College London

M.M. HEBDITCH, M.A., F.S.A., F.M.A., Director, Museum of London

J.M. LANDERS, B.A., Ph.D., Lecturer in Anthropology, University College London

M.H. PORT, M.A. B.Litt., F.S.A., Professor of Modern History, Queen Mary College

E.A. WRIGLEY, M.A., Ph.D., F.B.A., Fellow, All Soul's College, Oxford

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BRUCE M.S. CAMPBELL B.A., Ph.D. (The Queen's University of Belfast ), 'Feeding the City'

JOHN S. HENDERSON, B.A., Ph.D. (CMH and Wolfson College, Cambridge), 'Epidemics and Mortality'

MARTIN J. DAUNTON, B.A., Ph.D. (University College, London), 'From Counting-House to Office'

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Director: DEREK J. KEENE, M.A., D.Phil. (Oxford)

Deputy Director (and Editor of Bibliography): HEATHER J. CREATON, B.A. M.Phil, (London), A.L.A.

Administrative Assistant: OLWEN R. MYHILL, B.A. (Birmingham ), Dip. R.S.A .

Feeding the City: London's Impact on the Agrarian Economy of Southern England, c.1250-1350:
Research Assistants: JAMES A. GALLOWAY , M.A., Ph.D.(Edinburgh); MARGARET MURPHY, M.A., Ph.D. (Trinity College, Dublin)

Epidemics and Mortality in the Pre-industrial City: Florence and London Compared:
Associate Supervisor: JOHN S. HENDERSON, B.A., Ph.D. (London )
Research Assistant: JUSTIN A.I. CHAMPION, M.A. ( Cambridge )

From Counting-House to Office: the Evolution of London's Central Financial District, 1690-1870:
Research Assistant: JON M. LAWRENCE, M.A. (Cambridge)

Bibliography of Printed Works on London History to 1939:
Research Assistant: TONY A. TROWLES, B.A. (C.N.A.A.)

JUSTIN CHAMPION has completed Ph.D. research at Cambridge on seventeenth century English political thought; his general interest lies in the ideological origins of the English Enlightenment. After varied experience as a reference librarian, HEATHER CREATON edited Writings on British History for many years; in addition to her bibliographical work she runs a regular introductory course for new postgraduate students. JIM GALLOWAY's Ph.D. research examined industry, wealth and mobility in Colchester and its region, 1310-1560; he has broad interests in medieval and early modern historical geography, including the issues of urban development, and industrial and agrarian change. JOHN HENDERSON has written widely on the history of lay devotion, charity and the poor, and plague in late medieval and renaissance Italy, and in particular Florence; he is a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge. DEREK KEENE has written extensively on the society, economy, topography and archaeology of medieval and early modern towns, and especially on Winchester and London; he is a Royal Cornmissioner on the Historical Monuments of England . JON LAWRENCE has recently completed a Ph.D. at Cambridge on popular politics in nineteenth- and early twentiethcentury Wolverhampton. MARGARET MURPHY's main research interests lie within the field of ecclesiastical history; her Ph.D. thesis and publications examine the bishopric of Dublin in the middle ages, covering sch themes as piety, administration, and church and society. Apart from grappling with the Centre's computers and administrationS OLWEN MYHILL's main historical interest is the impact of religious nonconformity on rural society in the nineteenth century. TONY TROWLES has research interests in the cultural history of London, especially during the eighteenth century; he is writing a D.Phil. thesis on the role of the ode in English musical life, 1660-1800.

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Heather Creaton with H. Hiramatsu, Igirisu ho shi shirvo [Guide to the study of English Legal History), (Tokyo, 1989)

J. Henderson, ed., Charity and the Poor in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, Continuity and Change 3:2 (1988)

J. Henderson, 'Introduction' and 'The Parish and the Poor in Florence at the Time of the Black Death: the case of S. Frediano', both in J. Henderson, ed., Charity and the Poor, 145-151 and 247-272.

J. Henderson, 'Religious Confraternities and Death in Early Renaissance Florence' , in P. Denley and C. Elam, eds., Florence and Italy. Renaissance Studies in Honour of Nicolai Rubinstein (London, 1988), 383-394.

J. Henderson, 'The Hospitals of Late-medieval and Renaissance Florence: a preliminary survey', in L. Granshaw and R. Porter, eds., The Hospital in History (London, 1989), 63-92.

J. Henderson, 'Confraternities and Politics in Fifteenth-Century Florence', Collegium Medievale 2:1 (1989), 53-72.

Derek Keene, 'Ein Haus in London: Von der Guildhall zum Stalhof' and 'Die deutsche Guildhall und ihre Umgebung' both in Die Hanse: Lebenswirklichkeit und Mythos. Eine Austelluns des Museums fur Hamburgische Geschichte 1 (Hamburg, 1989), 46-9, 149-56.

Margaret Murphy and Elizabeth Dowse, 'The Chancery Project in the Medieval History Department, Trinity College Dublin' in Humanities Communication Newsletter No. 11.

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a ) Projects:

  • Bank of England
  • Corporation of London
  • Economic and Social Research Council
  • English Heritage
  • The Leverhulme Trust
  • National Westminster Bank plc
  • The Wellcome Trust

    b ) General:

  • Clothworkers' Company
  • Marc Fitch Fund
  • Mercers ' Company
  • Midland Bank plc Museum of London

    The CMH Accounts for 1988-9 are published as part of the Accounts of the Institute of Historical Research in the Institute's Annual Report.

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