CMH news
The Newsletter of the Centre for Metropolitan History

Number 8 September 1998


Plans to celebrate the Centre's tenth anniversary this autumn are well under way. The programme for our conference 'Exploring the Metropolis: New Ideas in London History' was circulated in the summer term to those who had requested details, and bookings are going well. Space is limited, so please act soon to be sure of a place. The conference is on October 15, in Senate House. It will focus on themes which have been characteristic of the Centre's attempt to understand the impact of London on the country at large, and some of the problems of metropolitan life.


Due to internal restructuring of Senate House, the Centre's postal address is now Centre for Metropolitan History, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. If you are planning a visit to the CMH, please note our former entrance on the third floor of Senate House is now closed, and that access is through the main entrance to the Institute of Historical Research. The route is rather complicated, so please ask for advice at the Reception Desk and follow the signs!

A further effect of the restructuring is that all members of staff now have direct dial telephone numbers. The main number to dial is 0171-862 followed by the individual's four digit number. These are listed below, together with email addresses.

  Tel Email
Derek Keene (Director)
Heather Creaton (Deputy Director)
Olwen Myhill (Admin Assistant)
Angel Alloza (European Crime)
Jim Galloway (Market Networks)
Samantha Letters (Markets & Fairs)
Graham Mooney (Mortality)Margaret Murphy (Market Networks)
Andrea Tanner (Mortality)


Metropolitan Market Networks c.1300-1600

This project, which began in August 1997, represents the latest stage in the Centre's investigations into London's influence upon and interaction with the wider economies of its region, and of England as a whole. The research, funded by the ESRC, aims to trace the city's changing role over an extended period, from the early peak in national and metropolitan population c.1300, through the demographic and economic crises of the later middle ages, and into the renewed cycle of growth which by 1600 saw London surpassing and ultimately far out-stripping its medieval size. Through a systematic examination of debt litigation and price series Jim Galloway and Margaret Murphy are attempting to trace changes in the extent and structure of London's hinterland, and of London-focused integrated markets, during these three centuries. Jim has spoken at a number of conferences during the past year, including the International Medieval Congress at Leeds, and contributed to the Centre's 'Information Technology' study day.

Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1540

The Centre welcomed a new member of staff in March when Samantha Letters began work on a two-year ESRC-funded project to investigate the development of markets and fairs in England and Wales during the Middle Ages. Samantha is scouring a wide variety of sources in order to identify the foundation date, location and many other attributes of these vital economic institutions. The principal aim is to produce a gazetteer of markets and fairs down to 1540, which will constitute both an invaluable reference work for local historians and an important source for historians of the processes of commercialisation and long-term economic development.

Mortality in the Metropolis, 1860-1914

After a very busy year, the team (Bill Luckin, Andrea Tanner and Graham Mooney) successfully applied for an additional 12 month's funding from the Wellcome Trust, extending the project to the end of June 1999. This will enable them to do some further research on newspaper archives, especially in the districts selected for detailed scrutiny, namely St George in the East, Marylebone, St Pancras, Greenwich, Hackney and Kensington. The main features of epidemiological change during the First World War will also be examined. The team aims to spend the rest of the project preparing a monograph. To this end, a detailed structure of the book has been developed. About half of the chapters are in draft form, and steps are being taken to secure a publishing contract. As well as disseminating the project's findings at a variety of national and international conferences and seminars, a paper describing the redistribution of institutional deaths (as reported in last year's CMH News) has recently been accepted by the Social History of Medicine and a draft is currently being finalised for publication, hopefully next year.

Congratulations to Andrea Tanner on her recent election as a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists!

Sources for the History of London, 1939-45: a Guide and Bibliography

Heather Creaton's text for this guide to published and unpublished sources for London history during the Second World War went to the printer this summer and is due for publication in the British Record Association's Archives and the User series in the autumn.

London Diaries

Heather's new project is the compilation of a checklist of unpublished diaries with a substantial London social history content. She will be circulating a questionnaire to libraries and record offices soon, but would be grateful to hear of any relevant items that might otherwise slip through the net. The checklist will be published, and aims to cover all periods. A typing error in another newsletter recently converted Heather's interest into London dairies, not diaries perhaps this would make a future project for the Centre!

English Merchant Culture, 1660-1720

With the project due to finish on 30 September, the last few months have seen an intensification of the writing-up process. The format for the project's publication has been settled, and a first draft is nearing completion. The book will be divided into halves, the first analysing mercantile environments, life-cycles and associations. This will serve as the foundation for the second part, which will discuss the role of merchants on the public stage, both in the press and Parliament. Following several rewarding trips to York and Liverpool, Perry Gauci will now be able to incorporate provincial experiences into his analysis of these themes, and such research has highlighted the importance of metropolitan links for local businessmen. Colleagues at the Centre will be sorry to see Perry leave, and wish him every success at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he takes up his new post as Praelector in Eighteenth-Century History in October.


Another CMH study day for postgraduate students took place in June. Entitled 'Reframing Metropolitan History: the Impact of Information Technology' it took a wide-ranging look at the ways in which IT has influenced historical thinking and research strategies, particularly in the metropolitan context. Papers from Jim Galloway (CMH), Craig Spence (Goldsmiths' College), Edmund Green (Royal Holloway) and Graham Mooney (CMH) explored methods they have each used for collecting and analysing data for very different purposes and from very different periods, from the middle ages to the twentieth century. It was interesting to note the common threads and the contrasts, leading to a most useful exchange of ideas.


Dr Angel Alloza, of the Autonomous University of Madrid has remained with us as a Visiting Fellow, working on his comparative study of crime in London and Madrid in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He gave a paper on the subject at the CMH seminar. Dr Michael Davis joined us again this summer from the University of Queensland to continue his research on the London Corresponding Society.


In July 1999 the Centre will hold an international workshop on the theme of its 'Metropolitan market networks' project. Linked to that occasion will be a meeting on 'London regions, spaces and languages', the aim of which is to cross the disciplinary boundaries between history, geography and socio-linguistics. Plans are under way for a conference on 'Structures and forms of power in London and Paris during the Middle Ages' to be held in 2000.


'Merchants, markets and city spaces' was the theme of the Centre's seminar series last winter, with papers on aspects of London history from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century as well as on New York and Milan. The 1998-9 programme will concentrate on the theme 'Commercial and imperial metropolises'.


A volume of 26 papers from the 1996 'Archives and the Metropolis' conference was published in the summer. Copies are available from the Guildhall Library bookshop, price 13.99. (Tel: 0171-332 1858.)

Martha Carlin's London and Southwark Inventories 1316-1650: A Handlist of Extents for Debts was published last winter.


Derek Keene participated in the Anglo-Japanese Historians' Conference held in Tokyo in September 1997 and spoke on 'The metropolitan phenomenon: England and Japan compared', his first attempt at Asian metropolitan history. The visit was a fine opportunity to meet Japanese friends and colleagues, whose hospitality was most warm and welcoming, as well as to explore the history, archives, architecture and archaeology of three Japanese metropolises, plus small towns and the countryside.


The Centre is currently involved in a funding bid for a collaborative programme of interdisciplinary research on the theme of 'London, Regions and the Nation'. It is also pursuing plans for a trans-Atlantic programme of research on 'London and the Americas, 1575-1800', to begin probably with a conference. Future topics arising from the 'Mortality in the metropolis' project have also been identified. In addition, the Centre is involved in planning a volume in the Historic Towns Atlas series on Westminster and Southwark to 1540. Derek Keene also leads the editorial team which is currently working on a new history of St Paul's Cathedral, 604-2004, promoted by the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's.


Stephen Priestley and Paula Marber are continuing with their research degrees through the Centre, with Derek Keene as their supervisor. Stephen's thesis looks at piety and charity in twelfth century London, Paula's at office work and its setting in the late Victorian city. They have been joined by Craig Bailey, jointly supervised by David Green at King's College. Craig is working on Irish professionals in London, c.1790-1840.


Iain Black, formerly of the 'Counting House to Office' and 'Textile Marketing' projects, and more recently a lecturer at Cheltenham and Gloucester College, is taking up a new post this autumn as a lecturer in the Geography Department at King's College, London.

Bernard Attard, of the 'Jobbing System of the London Stock Exchange' oral history project, is moving from his post at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies to become a lecturer in the Economic History Department at Leicester University this October.

Tony Trowles, who assisted with the Bibliography of Printed Works on London History, has worked for some years now at Westminster Abbey, but his formal installation as Librarian took place with due ceremony during an Evensong service this June.


We are upgrading our web pages. Among the new features will be a listing of work in progress on the history of London. Let us know if you would like your name and current research interest to be added.

CMH News is edited by Heather Creaton