CMH news
The Newsletter of the Centre for Metropolitan History

Number 9 September 1999

Readers may know that the IHR has been closed over the summer so that major building work and refurbishment can take place. The only effect this will have on the CMH is to alter our entry arrangements again. When the work is eventually finished the Centre should have acquired a new staircase entrance from the third floor of the Institute - turn right out of the lift and follow the signs!

Those of you who have access to the Internet will find that the Centre's website ( has undergone a major overhaul since Christmas. Most of the work, so far, has gone into making information available: all of the Centre's annual reports are now on-line, together with information on projects past and present, CMH publications, seminars and conferences. The latest additions include an electronic version of the the now out-of-print Epidemic Disease in London ( and the integration of the Register of Research in Progress on the History of London into the History On-Line searchable database ( The nex t task is to add pages detailing the databases and other resources available for public consultation at the Centre. We also aim to make a series of research databases available in searchable form. In the longer term these will include the large database o f London taxpayers which lies behind the forthcoming Social Atlas of London in the 1690s. Over the next twelve months we hope also to add Samantha Letters's Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1540 (see below) as well as i mprove the look and navigability of the website. Olwen Myhill (email: is always happy to receive comments and suggestions regarding content and layout of the site.

Metropolitan Market Networks c.1300-1600
Margaret Murphy returned to work after maternity leave in June. Ewan was born in February and has already visited his parents' office at CMH where he seemed to approve of the research and entertainment facilities. Work on the project has concentrated on t he editing and preliminary analysis of the Common Pleas database; analysis of the price data has also been undertaken and the results of this were presented by Jim Galloway at a workshop organised by the Centre in July. This and other papers from the work shop are to be published soon as a volume of working papers.

Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1540
Samantha Letters has found the printed sources unexpectedly rich in information, and the project has already identified more markets and fairs than ever before. The gazetteer of markets and fairs is linked to a geographical information system which will e nable the markets and fairs to be categorised (by date, type of owner, etc) and mapped. A trial recently undertaken with the information for Essex showed that this system works, demonstrating the value of the gazetteer both as a source of information and as a research tool. The close examination of the sources which distinguishes this project from many earlier listings of markets and fairs reveals the importance of the political context of many of the grants. This is one of several research topics arising from the work for which we hope to obtain further funding.

London Diaries
Heather Creaton has now found details of 750 unpublished diaries with London history content. The starting dates of the diaries range from 1504 to 1971 and they are housed in libraries all over the UK and beyond. Some were kept for quite brief periods, ot her writers developed a lifetime habit - like Florence Turtle, of Wimbledon Park, who persevered with hers from 1917 to 1980, recording a long career as a stationery and book buyer for London department stores, and her social and domestic life at home wit h her unmarried brothers and sisters. Her diaries are with Wandsworth Local History Collection. Heather hopes to have the diary checklist ready for publication by summer 2000.

St Paul's Cathedral History
Dr Christine Faunch joined us in August to work on the new history of St Paul's cathedral, celebrating its fourteen-hundreth anniversary in 2004. Her one-year post is funded by the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's, who are sponsoring the history. Chris has r ecently completed her doctoral thesis, on early modern church monuments, at Exeter University. Derek Keene is the general editor of the history, with Arthur Burns (King's College London) and Andrew Saint (Department of Architecture, Cambridge) as co-editors. With about thirty authors, dealing with all aspects of the cathedral's life, fabric and se tting, the new history aims to strike a balance between continuous narrative and more detailed discussions revealing the current state of knowledge and research. Although not the premier cathedral of England, St Paul's is undoubtedly the most distinctive, as the focus of many ideas, conflicts and public events in the capital. Among the most important themes to be explored throughout the history will be the relationship between the cathedral, the metropolis and the state. The volume will contain many illus trations and will develop many of its arguments graphically as well as in text.

Mortality in the Metropolis, 1860-1914
The project finished in May. Work on the resulting book, to be published by CUP, is progressing well, and the final drafts should be complete by the end of the year.

English Merchant Culture, 1660-1720
Perry Gauci's book arising from this project is almost complete and is currently being assessed by publishers' readers.

We were sorry to say goodbye to Angel Alloza, our Visiting Fellow, at Christmas. Angel has now returned to Madrid and is working on a new research project. The Centre has received its usual range of visitors from all over the world, including Japan, the U nited States and Canada, Colombia, France, Italy, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and Spain.

This has been a very busy summer for conferences. The CMH organised a session on London for IHR's Anglo-American Conference of Historians, which took the theme 'Race and Ethnicity' this year. This was swiftly followed by 'Social History and Socio-linguist ics', an interdisciplinary workshop for linguists and historians, with a thematic focus on London as a social space, that attracted a sizeable contingent of Scandinavian colleagues. The very next day came our workshop on 'Trade, urban hinterlands and mark et integration, 1300-1600', an international occasion which included participants and contributions from Belgium and Germany. On the day after that we co-operated with Dr John Langdon of the University of Alberta in arranging an equally international meet ing on 'New advances in the study of peasant agriculture'. This was closely followed by a two-day conference on 'Monuments and dust: the culture of Victorian London', organised in conjunction with University College London and the University of Virginia. A feature of this conference was the associated project, based in Virginia, to assemble a database of images and text on the culture of Victorian London. All these conferences coincided with what we have come to know as CMH conference weather - a sticky h eatwave!

Last season's seminar theme was 'Commercial and imperial metropolises', with an impressive range of subjects taking us from medieval Florence to modern Rome, via 19th-century Shanghai and London at several periods. This autumn and winter the theme will be 'Marginality in the metropolis', the programme is circulated with this newsletter.

Heather Creaton's Sources for the history of London, 1939-45 was published by the British Records Association which staged a very enjoyable book launch party in March at London Metropolitan Archives.
Archives and the Metropolis, the proceedings of our conference held in 1996 and published in 1998, has begun to receive favourable reviews which, gratifyingly, appreciate the message that the keeping of archives is a powerful expression of the pol itical, social and cultural life of a city.
The papers from our conference on 'Trade, hinterlands and market integration' (see above) are currently being prepared for publication in the CMH working papers series.

Derek Keene gave talks at sites as diverse as Barnard College New York, the Free University Brussels, Redbridge Town Hall, Radio Four, and the Guildhall of the City of London, as well as the University of London. Topics ranged from 'sites of desire', thro ugh 'medieval water' and 'industrial organisation 650-1150', to 'suburbs' and the 'Great Fire of London'. The last, at Guildhall on the 333rd anniversary of the fire, was part of a debate on the problems of designing and building the modern city. As a dis cussion between historians and those active in business and policy making, that event should be a model for future occasions addressing other themes.
He also visited Rome to contribute to planning an international conference on bridges, organised a seminar at the Museum of London on planning a research project concerning the Great Famine of 1315-17, and co-ordinated the Historic Towns Atlas publicatio n project on 'Westminster and Southwark to c.1530' (whose authors include staff of the IHR and the Museum of London).

The Centre is co-ordinating an interdisciplinary group, including cultural historians, historical geographers, architectural historians, socio-linguists, and literary historians, to look at London suburban life from the 1880s to the Second World War. We p lan to submit a funding application this autumn. A joint project with the Institute of Archaeology (University College) on 'City churches in the middle ages' has been formulated, and a funding decision on the proposed project 'The London court of George I I' is expected before Christmas.
Andrea Tanner (see below) has just completed a short pilot investigation, funded by the Wellcome Trust, on the nineteenth-century records of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, testing the feasibility of a full-scale study, involving comparison with other paediatric hospitals, of the experience of patients and their families being treated at the hospital up to 1939. Should the full study be established, it will explore many important issues concerning the changing relationships between hospitals, th e wider community, and charitable benefactors.

Our three research students, Stephen Priestley (Piety and charity in twelfth-century London); Paula Marber (Office work in the late Victorian city) and Craig Bailey (Irish professionals in London, 1790-1840) are progressing steadily with their theses.

Perry Gauci, formerly of the 'English merchant culture' project, is starting his second year as Praelector in Eighteenth-century history at Lincoln College, Oxford.
We were very sorry to say goodbye to Graham Mooney and Andrea Tanner (pictured below), of the 'Mortality in the metropolis' project, earlier this year. Graham has taken up his Fellowship at the Wellcome Institute in June, where he is now working on the n otification of infectious diseases and its political context in the nineteenth century. We hope that Andrea will be rejoining the Centre to carry out the next phase of her work on paediatric hospitals and society in London (see above).