This blog post was written by Ian Stone, a historian and former winner of the Curriers’ Prize, who now represents the Curriers’ Company on the Prize panel.
The Curriers’ Company London History Essay Prize was instituted in 2014 by Dr Donald Adamson. The prize is administered by the IHR and it is open to postgraduate students and to early career scholars (that is, someone who has completed their PhD within the last three years). The winner receives £1,000 and the winning essay will normally be published in The London Journal. A runner-up prize is commonly awarded with publication of the essay in The London Journal, too,along with a smaller cash sum.
The prize is generously funded by The Worshipful Company of Curriers, one of the ancient Livery Companies of the City of London, associated with the leather trade. The Company wishes to encourage the broadest range of research possible, so essays can be submitted on any aspect of the history of London, from the Romans to the present day; they can reflect any relevant approach or disciplinary perspective (including perceptions of London as reflected in imaginative literature); and they can consider London alone or in comparison with other cities. The essay topic is by no means confined to the City of London and more information about the prize and its conditions can be found here.
The prize is now a well-established part of London’s academic landscape. Since its inception, it has been won by medievalists, early modernists and modernists (although we still await our first submission from a historian of Roman London), and more than a dozen entries have been published. For scholars taking their first steps into the academic world, it affords a wonderful opportunity to add a publication to their embryonic record and to make their CV stand out with a highly-regarded prize.
It can also fairly be said that the prize has succeeded in encouraging wide-ranging research into the history of London. In 2021, for example, there were 16 entries—a record number—and this gave the judges a very hard time indeed! In that year, the prize was won by David Mason and his essay, ‘The Role of London’s Urban Foundation Legends in Late-Medieval Historical and Political Cultures’ was subsequently published in The London Journal. With so many good submissions to choose from, the judges decided to award three runner-up prizes and essays by Ellen Paterson, Marcus Meer, and Oliver Parken have since been published, or accepted for publication, in the same journal. The judges also concluded that two more entries, though not awarded a prize, were at publication standard and the authors were given feedback to improve their essays and encouraged to submit them to The London Journal. All in all, the entries submitted for the 2021 prize made for an impressive addition to the historiography of London.
The prize is open again for 2023 now and the deadline for submissions is 28 February 2023. If you have an idea in mind, why not enter this year?