The IHR Blog |


Announcement from Professor Lawrence Goldman


‘I intend to stand down as Director of the Institute of Historical Research from 1 May 2017 and will take up the role of Professor of History in the IHR to allow me to concentrate on the Disraeli Letters Project, which I have been successful in attracting to the IHR, and on other research in the Victorian period. I will also pursue grant and funding opportunities’.

The University will now begin a search for Professor Goldman’s successor as Director. From 1 May 2017, Professor Philip Murphy, Deputy Dean of the School of Advanced Study, will carry out the duties of the Director.

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Institute of Historical Research gets royal reopening


The newly refurbished IHR Common Room

The newly refurbished IHR Common Room

The Institute of Historical Research was officially reopened by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, on Tuesday 14 October. The Princess Royal, who is Chancellor of the University of London, was given a tour of the Institute’s new facilities including the library, seminar rooms and the conference suite.

More than 80 people assembled in the remodelled IHR Common Room for the rededication, where the Chancellor met students and junior research fellows as well as members of staff and representatives of the Friends of the IHR. After unveiling a plaque, she gave a short speech about the Institute’s ongoing work.

The refurbishment, made possible by a University of London investment of more than £10 million, took place over a three-year period, during which time the Institute was temporarily housed in Senate House. Charitable foundations, individual benefactors and the many historians who use the IHR’s library and attend its research seminars, made further contributions.

The Institute has been the focus of a rich historical culture in London since its foundation in 1921 and now the many improvements to its premises, equipment and facilities can only enhance its national and international roles as a centre for historical studies.‘The Institute of Historical Research has always had a special place in the affections of academic historians in Britain and around the world. There is nothing quite like it anywhere else’, explained Professor Lawrence Goldman, IHR Director.

‘Historians have come here for decades to work in our library with its unique resources, attend the many seminars which convene in the Institute, and meet and chat in the IHR’s common room. We can now accommodate them in purpose-built facilities for research and exchange. We look forward to an exciting new phase in the IHR’s history.’

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Institute of Historical Research announces new Director


goldmanThe School of Advanced Study, University of London is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Lawrence Goldman as the new Director of the Institute of Historical Research (IHR). He will take up the appointment on 1 October 2014, succeeding Professor Miles Taylor, the IHR’s Director since 2008.

‘I am delighted that such a distinguished scholar and so experienced a pair of hands, is succeeding me as Director’, said Professor Taylor, who is leaving the IHR to take up a Leverhulme Research Fellowship at University of York. ‘Professor Goldman will bring much that is new and preserve all that is essential to the life of the IHR as it heads towards its centenary in 2021’.

A Cambridge graduate and Oxford University historian, Professor Goldman has, since 2004, also edited the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, once the preserve of the great and good, but which now includes space for a broader spectrum of British public and artistic life. He is the author of The Life of R.H. Tawney, Science, Reform and Politics in Victorian Britain: The Social Science Association 1857–1886 and Dons and Workers: Oxford and Adult Education Since 1850 and editor of The Blind Victorian: Henry Fawcett and British Liberalism collection. His articles have appeared in several journals including the English Historical Review, Past and Present and The Historical Journal.

Professor Roger Kain CBE FBA, Dean and Chief Executive of the School, said ‘I am delighted that we have been able to obtain the services of Lawrence Goldman, an historian of world-renown, who will bring to the School and the IHR the benefit of his deep and broad experience of the management of his college and an internationally-significant long-term academic publishing project.’

Professor Goldman said he is honoured to be joining the School and the IHR in his new role as Director. ‘The Institute is central to the promotion of historical studies in the University of London and the United Kingdom more generally. I hope to build on the achievements of the many notable historians who have been Director before me, especially Professor Miles Taylor, my immediate predecessor, who has overseen the renovation and refurbishment of the Institute and developed an exciting programme of teaching and research.’

– Ends –

Notes for editors:

1. For further information and to request an interview please contact Dee Burn at the School of Advanced Study at or +44 (0) 20 7862 8670. Images available on request.

2. The Institute of Historical Research (IHR), founded in 1921, is one of 10 member Institutes of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. It is home to two important research centres and a major open access library, hosts over 60 seminar series and offers doctoral supervision in a wide range of historical subjects. It has a substantial publishing programme, hosts a number of innovative digital research projects, administers fellowships, runs specialist research training programmes and organises a variety of conferences and workshops each year.

3. The School of Advanced Study (SAS) at the University of London is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and facilitation of research in the humanities. The School brings together 10 prestigious research institutes to offer unparalleled academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. The member institutes of the School are the Institutes of Advanced Legal Studies, Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, English Studies, Historical Research, Latin American Studies, Modern Languages Research, Musical Research, Philosophy, and the Warburg Institute. The School also hosts a cross-disciplinary centre, the Human Rights Consortium, dedicated to the facilitation, promotion and dissemination of academic and policy work on human rights.

4. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in Higher Education. It consists of 18 self-governing Colleges of outstanding reputation, together with a number of prestigious central academic bodies and activities. Learn more about the University of London at

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Update on the IHR redevelopment


Miles_SmallMiles Taylor, Director of the IHR recently hosted a site tour of the IHR to view progress on the redevelopment.

The group went through the entire IHR from top to bottom, which provided a clear idea of the IHR’s new spacial footprint in Senate House’s North Block.


Conf Suite_SMallIt was very encouraging to see the architectural drawings becoming a reality.

In the basement, the conference suite is starting to take shape with the majority of the under floor wiring now complete and fittings for the AV equipment starting to make appearances on the walls.


Cables_SmallYou may also be pleased to hear that we have tried to keep as much of the original architectural accents intact so that the IHR retains most of its profile and feel.

We saw some of this in the partially completed sample room on the third floor.

The IHR remains on target to move back to the North Block in the summer of 2014.

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IHR to return to its North Block ‘home’


DSCN0281After three years the IHR will be returning to its ‘home’ in the north block following completion of its £8m refurbishment.  Everything is on track with the contractors ISG, ably managed by BDP, for the finishing of the works by mid- July 2014 which will allow the library, staff and other resources to move back during August and early September.

Most of the noisy works have now been completed including the shaft for a new lift for Senate House Library and structural works to the floors.  Specialist lime plastering continues and will be finished by the end of January.

Designs  for the library shelving and furniture and toilets are virtually complete and agreed.

BDP are working with ISG to set up a sample room on the third floor which will include completed ceilings, walls, decorations, floors, electric heater and lighting.  We will include a picture of this in our next bulletin.

Fitting out of the space will commence around March/April.  Site visits will be made regularly from that point on by IHR senior management.

Readers who are also members of SHL will be pleased to know that access between the 2 libraries will be available via the 4th floor, creating a united history collection for the first time.

Further postings will contain details of the approximate dates for library moves during the summer.

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MA Landscape and Garden History


Wisley_EntranceInterested in gardens as landscapes?  Take a look at the new MA Landscape and Garden History at the IHR.

The course starts this Autumn, running every Thursday (10am-5pm) with the first session on 2 October.  The lecturers are all well-respected academics in their fields and include Brian Dix (archaeology), Paula Henderson (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), Sally Jeffery (Italian Renaissance and French seventeenth-century gardens), Michael Symes (eighteenth century), Rebecca Preston (interwar suburban gardens) and Brent Elliott (plant collectors and garden designers) and Barbara Simms who will be teaching American gardens and twentieth- and twenty-first century gardens.

The third term will be devoted to dissertation writing under the supervision of an appropriate academic.

Teaching will be undertaken at the Institute of Historical Research, but with practical sessions at Museums and libraries as well as visits to gardens in and around London including Chiswick House, Garden Museum, Tate Britain, British Museum, Painshill Gardens and Wisley.  There will be an optional overseas visit to Italy for those that wish to take it.    There will be a strong emphasis on tutor/student interaction in class. Visit

You may also be interested in the ‘History of Gardens and Landscapes’ seminar at the IHR, and there’s a handy guide here to the IHR Library’s collections on Garden History here.


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Graduate Trainee Library Assistant Post 2014-15 at the IHR


Level 2 point 10 on the University of London scale (£19,148pa inclusive of London Allowance; pay award pending)


Since its foundation in 1921, The Institute of Historical Research (IHR) has been an important resource and meeting place for researchers from all over the world. Full details of its extensive range of activities and services can be found


The IHR Library forms part of the Senate House Libraries (SHLs) but remains an integrated part of the Institute.

The Library is one of the most wide ranging and comprehensive collections of printed historical sources in the UK, and is designed for use by researchers at postgraduate level and above.  Divided into national and topical collections, books are held in both open access and closed access locations, with a request service operated by Library staff.  All material is reference only.

The Library holds in the region of 185,000 volumes and grows by about 2,000 volumes each year.  The core of the Library is a comprehensive collection of the chief printed primary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles and western Europe, their colonial expansion, the subsequent history of north and south America, international relations and war.  The printed sources are supported by very substantial holdings of bibliographies, archival guides, works of methodology and reference works, with biographical sources a particular strength.  There is also a large collection of the most essential historical periodicals and a selective but significant collection of microforms.  Electronic resources can also be accessed on site.

The IHR and its Library is temporarily located in the south block of Senate House to facilitate the refurbishment of its north block premises.   The move back is due to take place in 2014 once work is complete.


The holder of the post will assist the IHR library staff, primarily in the selection and acquisition of new material, but also in the provision of services to users and in any other activities required to support the work of Library. The trainee will become familiar with the Innovative Millennium library system, and will also have some opportunity to work on the maintenance of the Library pages of the IHR website. The trainee will be encouraged to take full advantage of the programme of visits and other training which is available to all Senate House Libraries trainees.

The post will be available from the end of August 2014, for one year.  The post is non-renewable and intended for applicants who plan to pursue a postgraduate course in library/information studies in autumn 2015.

Normal hours of work will be 9.00am-5.00pm Monday-Friday, which may be varied slightly by mutual agreement, but the Graduate Trainee will also be required to work one evening shift per week (2.00pm-9.00pm) and on one Saturday in five (9.30am-5.30pm). There are 25 days annual leave (in addition to University of London and public holidays), and time in lieu is given for working on Saturdays.


Applicants should have a degree in medieval and/or modern history or one with significant historical content relating to the collections of the IHR library, a competent level of IT skills, and some knowledge of a major western European language (other than English; French, German, Spanish or Italian preferred). Applicants should have good interpersonal skills, and be able to work independently and as part of a small team. They need to be prepared to work in what may well be a rapidly changing environment. They should be committed to a career in librarianship.


We shall be glad to answer enquiries sent to


Applications should include a full CV, covering letter, contact details for two referees, and the University’s forms for personal details and equal opportunities monitoring LINK TO ONLINE APPLICATION


(Interviews will be held in February 2014)

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Changes to membership at the IHR


The Access Policy for the IHR will be changing in Autumn 2013. Until now, Friendship and Membership have been unified and Friends have had access to the library through their Friends’ subscription. Access to the IHR will now be provided through a new membership scheme, outlined in the table below. The main differences will be:

  • All current overseas university academic staff and postgraduate students will have free access.
  • Friends will no longer have free access to the library included, but can get separate membership. Current Friends will have access until the end of their subscription year.
  • We will no longer offer free short-term visitor access, but there will instead be a daily rate.
  • Proof of residential address will be required before membership can be confirmed.

New IHR membership programme

Membership type Access to the IHR
All current postgraduate students and academic staff free
Undergraduates with an academic recommendation free by arrangement
Research staff of museums, libraries, galleries or similar free by arrangement
Retired academics annual or daily charge*
Commercial or private researcher annual or daily charge*

*The membership rates for 2013/14 will be £45 annual membership, £5 day ticket

See letter from Miles Taylor, IHR Director explaining these changes.

Please contact the IHR library in the first instance with any questions or comments about these changes.

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