Archive for the ‘Round-up’ Category

As 2018 draws to a close, here’s a snapshot of some of the things we got up to. Quite a lot when laid out like this. Even I’m surprised.

These provided the usual superb range of original articles throughout the year from our members, in chronological order as follows:
Caroline Rance on the anatomist Thomas Cooke.
David Long on London Docks.
Anne Carwardine on Suffragette demonstrations in London.
Ian Castle on German air raids in WW1.
Laurence Scales on the Royal Society of Arts.
Lucy Inglis on the history of ethnic cuisine in London.
Drew Gray on Police Magistrates and the Poor.
Stanley Slaughter on the Temple Coffee House Botany Club.
Brian Cookson on Kingston Bridge.
Rebecca Walker on Fred Tibbs, police photographer.
Martyn Cornell on London vat manufacturers.
Gary Powell on the 18C American merchant Stephen Sayre.
Lissa Chapman on Aphra Behn.
Stephen Coates on the ‘lost’ bridge of Vauxhall.
Roger Williams on London freemasonry.
Mark Mason on London ‘seconds’.
Catharine Arnold on Ruth Ellis.
Brian Buxton on William Tyndale in London.


Monthly pub meet-up.

First Wednesday of every month and open to all. Some wonderful evenings as ever, turnout anything between 20 and 40. Info and 2019 schedule here.

Here follows a selection of most of our other events in 2018. 


hmp wandsworth

28 Jan,  21 Oct, 2 Dec:  HMP Wandsworth prison & museum.


Friday 9 February: Royal College of Physicians.

parliamentary archives

Monday 5 March: Parliamentary Archives, Palace of Westminster.

leslie green

Tues 20 March: Leslie Green Stations Tour.

holden tour

Sat 24 March: Charles Holden Stations Tour.


Mon 26 March: Apothecaries’ Hall.

acton depot

27 March:  London Transport Acton Depot Poster Museum.

orleans house

Fri 20 April morning: Orleans House.

turners house

Fri 20 April afternoon: Turner’s House.

army music

Fri 27 April: Museum of Army Music.


Sat 5 May: Abney Park Cemetery Tour.


Wed 23 May morning: Awayday walking tour of Guildford.

guildford brooking

Wed 23 May afternoon: Brooking Museum.

big quiz

Tue 29 May: London Historians Big Quiz, won by 50 Shades.


12 June: Barber Surgeons’ Hall.

cinema museum

Fri 22 June: Cinema Museum.


Sat 7 July: RAF 100 Walks.


Thur 2 August: Society of Genealogists talk and tour.


8 August: Barings Art Collection.


Tue 21 Aug, 16 Oct. History in the Pub.

layers of london

Thurs 23 August: Layers of London Workshop.

ian nairn

Friday 24: August Ian Nairn’s Birthday Pub Crawl.

annual lecture

Thur 6 September: LH Annual Lecture, Gresham College. Prof. Tim Hitchcock.



Thur 10 September:  Alexander Fleming Lab visit. 90 years penicillin.



Thur 13 September: 55 Broadway Tour.


20 Sept morning: Chelsea Arts Club & Historic Chelsea tour.


20 September afternoon: Carlyle’s House, Chelsea.

woolwich ferry

Wed 3 October: Farewell cruise on the old Woolwich Ferry.

tooting granada

Fri 5 October: Tooting Granada tour.

aphra behn

23 Oct: After Aphra featuring the Widow Ranter at Watermens’ Hall.

lord mayor's show

Sat 10 November: Lord Mayor’s Show (not a LH event strictly speaking!).


Saturday 17 November: Kirkaldy Testing Museum.

battle of brentford

Sun 18 November: Battle of Brentford Walk.

tyndale carols

Mon 17 December: Tyndale Society Carol Service, St Mary Abchurch.

If you’re not yet a London Historians Member reading this and you think this sort of thing may be your bag, we’d love to welcome you on board. Please go here!

Thank you to all our Members near and far who supported us through this wonderful year. Also the dozens of London institutions whose time, treasure, knowledge and heritage they most generously share.

Thank you to all readers of this blog.

To everyone, we wish you a Happy New Year and many marvellous things and places to share and explore through 2019.




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Best London History Books of the Year 2016

For various reasons this year I didn’t get around to as much reading as I usually manage so have probably done someone an injustice of omission. However, our shortlist of favourite books of the year is as follows:

Benjamin Franklin in London by George Goodwin
Mr Barry’s War by Caroline Shenton
Curiocity by Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose
Mansions of Misery by Jerry White
The Boss of Bethnal Green by Julian Woodford

Our winner of London Historians Book of the Year for 2016 is Curiocity by Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose. Unconventional format compared with “regular” titles, but so utterly brilliant, we couldn’t not. Thank you Henry and Matt, and congratulations to everyone for such outstanding work.

Previous winners:
2011 Mr Briggs’ Hat by Kate Colquhoun
2012 Mr Foote’s Other Leg by Ian Kelly
2013 Beastly London by Hannah Velten
2014 Played in London by Simon Inglis
2015 The Street of Wonderful Possibilities by Devon Cox

A tad late, but there are still four shopping days left till Christmas. Any one of these will get you brownie points on Sunday morning. Merry Christmas.

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2015 saw our busiest events programme ever, at least 43 in all. The main theme was livery and livery halls: we visited ten altogether. Highlights included our annual lecture in September; our Samuel Pepys day out in the City and Greenwich in November; tours of Fuller’s brewery and Hogarth’s House next door; and our unforgettable Christmas visit to the Ancient House in Walthamstow: magical. These images represent some of our outings, by no means all. Somehow I failed to take pictures at our three History in the Pub talks evenings, which focussed on Sport, Policing London and the history of Print in London.

college of arms

8 January. College of Arms. Tour and talk by the Windsor Herald.

Merchant Taylors' Hall

16 January. Merchant Taylors’ Hall.

cutlers' hall

24 February. Cutlers’ Hall.

drapers' hall

6 March. Drapers’ Hall.

Stationers' Hall.

17 April. Stationers’ Hall.

21 April. Crossrail archaeological dig near Liverpool Street.

21 April. Crossrail archaeological dig near Liverpool Street.

derelict london paul talling

24 April. Derelict London walk with Paul Talling.

20 May. Heraldry and Regalia of the City of London. Talk by Paul Jagger at Information Technologists' Hall.

20 May. Heraldry and Regalia of the City of London. Talk by Paul Jagger at Information Technologists’ Hall.

5 June. Vintners' Hall.

5 June. Vintners’ Hall.


12 June. Exploring Brixton: The Prison and the Mill.


12 July. Walking tour of historic Woolwich with Laurence Scales.


24 July. Armourers' and Braziers' Hall.

24 July. Armourers’ and Braziers’ Hall.

doggett's coat and badge

1 August. 300 Anniversary of Doggett’s Coat and Badge.

7 September. Skinners' Hall.

7 September. Skinners’ Hall.

On 9 September we had our second annual lecture, once again at Gresham College’s wonderful Tudor period Barnard’s Inn Hall. In the 600th anniversary year of Agincourt, we heard Professor Caroline Barron talk about Henry V and his relationship with the City of London and its institutions.

19 September. Behind the scenes at Wood Street police station.

19 September. Behind the scenes at Wood Street police station.

26 September. History and Technology Conference at the National Archives, Kew.

26 September. History and Technology Conference at the National Archives, Kew.

30 November. Tallow Chandlers' Hall.

30 November. Tallow Chandlers’ Hall.

nowell parr

23 October. Pub tour on the trail of pub architect, Nowell Parr.

ancient house E17

12 December. Christmas cheer at the Ancient House, Walthamstow.

Finally, let’s not forget our monthly pub meet-ups on the first Wednesday of each month. This relaxed and convivial event is open to all, not just LH Members. There is no agenda, just friendship. Typically, about 30 folks turn up through the course of the evening.




We have an equally busy programme in the pipeline for 2016. Please check our Events page for the latest. Some are exclusive to LH Members, who also get preferential pricing on most of the rest. Our Members themselves organise some outstanding events such as Georgian Dining Academy and the monthly Salon for the City for which generous discounts are available to LH Members..


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Here are some delightful things we did in the second half of the year.

In August, twelve of us went on an awayday to the Watts Gallery and nearby Memorial Chapel near Guildford, which included a curator-led tour of the fabulous Frank Holl (1845 – 1888) exhibition. And a jolly nice lunch. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos until we got to the chapel bit.

Watts Chapel, interior.

Watts Chapel, interior.

Watts Memorial Chapel

Tina, Peter, Caroline and the lovely well.

Max Gill (1884 – 1947) was the lesser known but no less talented sibling of sculptor and typographer Eric Gill. The biggest retrospective of his work to date was held in Ealing during October. We went for a curator-led tour, followed by a tour of John Soane’s Pitzhanger Manor, led by Georgian historian and author Lucy Inglis (LH Member). It was another delightful afternoon out.

max gill, pitshanger

max gill, pitshanger

max gill, pitshanger

max gill, pitshanger

The staircase at Pitzhanger Manor. Was it supposed to be for the Bank of England?

I bought some wellies and went mudlarking quite a few times this year. Tremendous. But we went out on an official London Historians outing in the late summer on the Thames shoreline in front of the City of London. It was organised with the excellent folks from Thames Discovery Programme.

mudlarking, thames, thames discovery programme

mudlarking, thames, thames discovery programme

mudlarking, thames, thames discovery programme

Finally (possibly!), two things with the National Archives (we work closely with their Friends group). First, a dedicated behind-the-scenes tour. I don’t have photos from this year, but see our report from 2012. Same thing.  Second, we co-hosted with TNA a talk during Know Your Archive week during November. LH Member Simon Fowler gave the presentation.

the national archives, kew

We all had a go on The Wall. Describing diagrammatically how archives are used for research.

mudlarking, thames, thames discovery programme

LH Member Simon Fowler

If you’ve got this far and also read my previous three posts, I thank you. If you are not a Member yet, I hope you now have a fairly decent idea of what London Historians is all about. We’d love to welcome you to the group. You can do this at any time here. Or if you’re reading this before Christmas Eve, we’re doing a special £10 discount via our friends at Londonist, here.

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Many people – with a little justification, I suppose – think that London Historians spend all their time in the pub. This post focuses on this side of our activities.

We have already covered History in the Pub: Tudor London in Part 1. After that, we did one in partnership with Wellcome Library entitled Sex and the City: the STDs of Old London, presented by Dr Lesley Hall.

wellcome library, history in the pub

Ross MacFarlane introduces the talk.

History in the Pub.

Dr Lesley Hall from the Wellcome Library with Matt Brown of Londonist.

history in the pub

During open mic session, LH Member Caroline Rance introduces her new book The Quack Doctor.

Our next History in the Pub addressed the topic of the London Street Poor and featured Professor Tim Hitchcock from University of Sussex, plus Simon Fowler (latterly National Archives) and David Thomas (National Archives).

history in the pub

Tim Hitchcock

History in the Pub

David Thomas

The Coroner’s Inquest and the Petty Sessions.

Probably the best pub-based event we’ve done to date were historic re-enactments of the Georgian magistrate’s court. They were held upstairs at the George in the Strand. We presented actual cases from history, researched and scripted by historians from the University of Hertfordshire, led by Professor Owen Davies, and then presented by professional actors. A triumph! Our report, but here are a few pictures. I’m especially proud of this project.

The Petty Sessions

Picture: Patrick Loftus.

The Petty Sessions

Picture: Patrick Loftus


This is entirely my fault, but some people get confused between History in the Pub – an evening of talks normally held in Spitalfields – and Monthly Pub Meet, which happens every first Wednesday of every month in Victoria (at time of writing). The latter is simply a social occasion at which Members and non-Members alike are welcome. A lot of networking, collaboration, friend-making and drinking goes on. Typically, we’ll get up to 40 folks turn up for that. The full schedule for 2014 is here, although note, we’ll be doing January 8th rather than 1st, for commonsense reasons.

Here are some pictures.

History in the Pub

History in the Pub

History in the Pub

History in the Pub

History in the Pub

History in the Pub

Young Americans. History students from the USA visiting London with their Prof.

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These are some guided walks we organised led by Members and friends of London Historians. We have about 30 London Guides among our Membership, some of whom are listed here.

First, Up the Cally. The Caledonian Road and environs with Rob Smith.

caledonian road, london

caledonian road, london

A fabulous walk one Summer Sunday of the Jewish East End, led by Clive Bettington of the Jewish East End Celebration Society (JEECS).

bevis marks, london

Outside Bevis Marks Synagogue.

jewish east london

jewsish east end, london

How many streets are there in Soho? Just 119, and one fine Saturday we walked all of them with specialist tour specialist Peter Berthoud, one of our long-standing Members. It took about seven hours with a break for lunch and was amazing.

so ho, london

soho, london

soho, london

Academic and City of London Guide Dr Will Pettigrew specialises in – among other things – London’s early overseas trading companies, including the Africa Company, responsible for the trans-Atlantic African slave trade. But that’s just part of the story. Will took us on a walk of the City that started with notorious slave-keepers: the Romans. Fascinating.

city of london, slavery

city of london, slavery

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I had forgotten, but while preparing this post I quickly realised quite how much we did this year. A  lot. So I’ll break this up into two, maybe three bits.

The idea is for Members to look back at what went on, for non-Members to get a better idea of what we get up to, and if they like what they see, to join us. If that’s you and you’re reading this before Christmas Eve, may I suggest you first visit our good friends at Londonist. <taps nose>

Tube 150. We kicked off the year with our panel talk at London Transport Museum on 10 January, the actual anniversary. Review. Later in the year, in August, we went on a behind-the-scenes at the museum’s storage warehouse at Acton Depot, led by LH Member and London Transport Museum volunteer David Burnell.

London Historians, Tube 150

Full House. Picture: Paul Davey

Tube150, London Historians

Mark Mason, Christian Wolmar, Matt Brown, Annie Mole, Gareth Edwards. Picture: Paul Davey

London Transport Museum, Acton Depot, London Historians

London Transport Museum, Acton Depot.

Our Old Bailey tour in March, conducted by  the magnificently-titled Charles Henty (Secondary of London and Under Sheriff, High Bailiff of Southwark), was tremendous. A complete sell-out, that one. Review.

Old Bailey Tour, London Historians

Old Bailey Tour, London Historians

Picture: Matt Brown / Londonist

History in the Pub: Tudor London.

Mathew Lyons

Speaker Mathew Lyons, LH Member, author of The Favourite (about Ralegh).

Andy Maginley

Andrew Maginley, LH Member, playing his lute.

Tudor London

Our final speaker was Tudor academic Dr Suzannah Lipscomb, here talking to Matt Brown of Londonist, who compered the evening.

history in the pub

A full house, as usual.

Behind the Scenes: Tower Bridge. Review.

tower bridge

London Historians group on an upper walkway.

tower bridge

…and the very opposite: in a bascule chamber.

Behind the Scenes: The Government Art Collection. There was a 15 month waiting list for this! Review.
N.B. We’re doing this again on 13 August 2014, likely to be Members only.

government art collection

Where the art is checked in, checked out, cleaned and restored.

government art collection

Deputy Director Julie Toppolo gave us a wonderful tour.

HMP Wandsworth. One of our Members is a serving prison officer who is also the honorary curator of the prison museum. He has organised three tours of the prison for London Historians so far. Photography extremely restricted, but here is one of our groups. We’ll plan do at least one of these in 2014.

hmp wandsworth

Behind the scenes at Middle Temple. We had a wonderful tour of the Middle Temple, one of the ancient four Inns of Court. Afterwards we had a superb lunch in the Tudor Great Hall. Lord Leveson was at high table. Review.

middle temple

middle temple

Coming Soon: Our Year in Review, Part Two.

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