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Centre for Metropolitan History


Call for Papers: London and the First World War (20-21 March 2015)

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Zeppelin over London

As part of events to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, the Centre for Metropolitan History in partnership with IWM (Imperial War Museums) is organising a major conference that will explore the ways in which London and its inhabitants were affected by, and involved with, the 1914-18 conflict.

For the first time London was effectively on the front line, subject to aerial bombing and surveillance, whilst its streets, buildings and spaces were shaped by the needs of mass mobilisation, supply and defence. The war had an impact upon everyday life in the capital in other ways too, including the economy, governance, standards of living, culture, leisure, the physical environment and social life.

The Zeppelin scare is just as if the whole place was in imminent fear of an earthquake. At night the whole of London is in absolute darkness, every window heavily screened, no street lamps, no lamps on vehicles, all trains with windows closed and blinds drawn, constant street accidents and traffic blocks, and a bewildering pandemonium of confusion in the streets.

War Letters of General Monash, Sydney, ed. F.M. Cutlack (1934), p. 124, 18 July 1916; writing to his wife and daughter in Australia

The conference will be an opportunity to examine these and larger themes, such as the idea of ‘resilience’ as a feature of the development of cities in history, and the extent to which warfare has engendered longer term urban societal changes. We are also interested in exploring the ‘legacy’ of the First World War, whether through art, literature, the built environment or the heritage industry.

Proposals for panels (3 x 20 minute papers) or individual papers are invited on any of these or any other topics connected with the impact of the First World War on London, and indeed London’s role, broadly conceived, in the four-year conflict. The programme committee welcomes submissions reflecting a wide range of perspectives and disciplines, including history, geography, literary studies, art history, and museology. We also welcome papers which reflect comparatively on the experiences of London and other cities in the UK and in other countries.

Programme Committee:
Suzanne Bardgett (Imperial War Museums)
Professor Matthew Davies (Centre for Metropolitan History)
Professor Richard Dennis (UCL)
Dr Stefan Goebel (Kent)
Professor Jerry White (Birkbeck, University of London)

Abstracts of c.250 words and a brief biography should be sent by email to: Olwen.Myhill@sas.ac.uk

The deadline for proposals is 30 May 2014.

The conference will be held on Friday 20 March 2015 at the Institute of Historical Research and on Saturday 21 March 2015 at IWM London.

The programme and registration details will be available in September 2014.

Locating London’s Past wins 2014 BSECS Prize for Digital Resources

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cmhblog2.jpgLocating London’s Past’ has been awarded the 2014 British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (BSECS) Prize for Digital Resources. Sponsored by Adam Matthew Digital, this prestigious award promotes the highest standards in the development, utility and presentation of digital resources that assist scholars in the field of eighteenth-century studies.

Locating London’s Past provides free interactive access to a digitised and geo-referenced version of John Rocque’s 1746 multi-sheet map of London, on to which users can plot information from an array of sources for the period, including the Old Bailey trial proceedings, parish records, and extensive data from tax assessments such as the 1666 Hearth Tax levied on the eve of the Great Fire. Funded by a grant from JISC in 2011-2, the resource was created by a partnership between the Centre for Metropolitan History at the IHR, the Universities of Sheffield and Hertfordshire, and Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA).

Announcing the award at its annual conference on 8 January 2014, BSECS stated:

‘This is a superb new free resource, which applies the latest digital mapping techniques to the study of London. It brings together a range of existing datasets, which are particularly useful for the study of ‘history from below’ – but which will also be of tremendous interest to the full range of disciplines that work on the eighteenth century, including literature, politics, theatre and music, to name but a few. The panel were impressed with the technical advancements represented by the site, but also with how easy it is to use. By making issues of urban space and historical geography so accessible, it promises to change the way that we approach the study of the capital in the eighteenth century’.

More information about the project.

‘The last of the jobbers’ – unique collection of interviews now accessible online

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‘Big Bang’ in 1986 signalled the end of the historic jobbing system of the London Stock Exchange. Jobbers were market-makers who acted as intermediaries between stockbrokers on the floor of the exchange. With few records left of their activities, this collection of forty-two interviews – predominantly with former jobbers but augmented by those from the point of view of brokers and financial journalists – undertaken by the Centre for Metropolitan History in 1990, represents a rare resource for the history of this distinctive part of the financial life of the City. Topics covered include: the type of people who became jobbers; the qualities needed to practise successfully; jobbers’ career patterns; the mechanics of the jobbing system; the rationale of the system; the opportunities and risks involved; the character of the difference markets; the character of the different firms; the contraction in the number of firms; relations between large and small firms; relations with brokers; jobbers as a source of market intelligence; and the background, from a jobbing point of view, to ‘Big Bang’.

The tapes and transcripts of the interviews were originally deposited at the British Library Sound Archive (ref no. C463) for permanent archiving but for the first time they are now available online via the University of London School of Advanced Study’s e-repository, SAS-Space. To access the collection visit http://www.history.ac.uk/projects/jobbing.