On 10 – 14 July 2023, we hosted our annual Summer School, this year themed around Secret London. The Summer School offered a unique opportunity to explore London’s stories and historic places, and provided students with access to the brilliant London collections in the IHR’s Wohl Library, including maps, rare books, and a range of important primary and secondary sources.

Sessions ranged from the earliest days of Roman London to the near-past of recent years, with each day following a different thematic take on ‘secret’ London. Stand-out moments included a lecture and tour by Professor Philip Murphy, revealing the London locations used by the security community across the twentieth century, a tour of the London Mithraeum and the Vine Street London Wall remains with former Museum of London archaeologist Roy Stephenson, and a walking tour of sites associated with the history of slavery with Dr Juanita Cox.

The Summer School was a great success, and we have already opened applications for our 2024 course, which will be themed around Rivers! For more on the 2023 Summer School, click here to read a blog post written by Justin Colson, Senior Lecturer in Urban and Digital History at the IHR.

Thanks to kind donations from the American Friends of the IHR, British Friends of the IHR, and Professor David Bates, we were able to provide bursaries for five students to attend the Summer School. Here, three of them write about their experiences:

Patricia Delara

‘My time at the IHR London Summer School this year was fantastic. As an online History MSc student at the University of Edinburgh, being able to attend in person for the workshops as well as conduct research onsite at the Wohl Library tremendously aided me in my academic journey. Because of this opportunity, I was able to work on my upcoming dissertation well in advance. I really enjoyed Dr Langhamer’s session on the Mass Observation Archive as well as Dr Chapman’s session on women historians. I also enjoyed the offsite activities, such as Dr Cox’s walking tour and the field trip to the London Mithraeum. I looked forward to learning and engaging with both my peers and the amazing IHR staff each day. Being in this setting also enabled me to consider the possibilities of furthering my education, as I was truly inspired by the program and its mission. I am grateful that, thanks to the IHR, my first time in London was a memorable one.’

Daniel Bachedan

‘Coming from a working class background in East Berlin, the bursary award issued by the IHR Trust gave me the chance to attend this year’s Secret London Summer School at the IHR. I’m currently finishing a History Master’s program at the Humboldt University of Berlin with a strong focus on modern British history. My latest research project is a paper on the political history of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, in which I take a closer look at the links between the Chamber and the “neoliberal turn” in Britain. I had the chance to browse the IHR Library, which provided lots of valuable literature, and to discuss my work with some leading historians. I also expanded my academic network. I got in touch with Bishopsgate Institute’s very own Stef Dickers and asked him if he might be interested in coming to Berlin for an event to discuss London’s LGBTIQ* history, which will hopefully happen next year! The Summer School was lots of fun and I will definitely remain part of the IHR community in the future.’

Emily Pomfret

‘The IHR Summer School was truly a special experience. I left with so much more knowledge, so many more skills, and—most importantly—a new wave of inspiration. Each day was so interesting, and consisted of a lecture in the morning and a walking tour in the afternoon. I feel so grateful and happy I had this experience. I met so many new, fascinating people, the staff at the IHR were so welcoming and accommodating, the content of the course was amazing, and it was such a rewarding experience.’