This post has been kindly written for us by Ian Stone, Isobel Thornley Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research.
I first saw the Curriers’ Company London history essay prize advertised about this time last year. To be considered essays have to be submitted to the IHR, who judge and administer the prize, and submissions can be on any aspect of London’s history. At that point I had submitted a junior research fellowship application to the IHR and was awaiting a reply. I was looking at various prizes offered by institutions as I had the germ of an essay in mind which I thought could be formed into something more concrete. I wanted to write about an essay about politics and identity in thirteenth-century London, focussing on the career of an alderman of the city, Arnold fitz Thedmar, the first layman in this country to write a historical account of his time. I did not expect to find something with so wide a remit and so generous a prize.
By the time I had written this essay up and submitted it I had been contacted by the IHR and awarded a fellowship. Being awarded a fellowship has given me the opportunity to really widen the scope of my doctoral research. Thanks to the IHR I am currently in the process of writing up a chapter which will add depth and context to my doctoral thesis; I have also rewritten substantial sections of my earlier work to take account of new research I have been able to undertake this year.
In addition to being awarded the fellowship, I was lucky enough to find out subsequently that I had won the inaugural Curriers’ Company prize. To win such a prize, when I knew that the judging panel had received so many good entries, was a wonderful surprise. The standard of entries was so high that several of the essays which were submitted were recommended for publication in the London Journal; I know that mine and at least one other has since been accepted for publication.
On Thursday 9 April 2015 the Curriers’ Company held a prize-giving ceremony at the Mansion House in London. The Lord Mayor of London presented the two prizes on the evening; the judging panel and staff from the IHR attended; and members and officers from the Worshipful Company of Curriers were there to celebrate with us all. The Mansion House is a beautiful venue and that the Lord Mayor of London was happy to host the event, and that so many people from the Curriers Company came, shows just how much support they have for young researchers working on the history of London.
Thanks to the opportunities offered by the IHR, I have been fortunate enough to be awarded a junior research fellowship, win the Curriers’ Company essay prize and have an essay accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. My advice to anyone who is thinking about applying for a fellowship or submitting an essay for the prize is to go for it. There are so many fantastic opportunities at the IHR and the Institute really does want to support early career researchers.
Top: Ian Stone is presented with the Curriers’ London History Essay prize by The Right Honorable The Lord Mayor of London; guests at the prize-giving reception at The Mansion House. Below: guests at the prize-giving reception at The Mansion House; Donald Adamson, former Master of the Worshipful Company of Curriers of the City of London, and founder of the prize. © Antony Ball Photography