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roger williams 3We were deeply dismayed recently to hear that London Historians Member Roger Williams had passed away, on 23 August following a heart attack.

Roger had been a Member of long-standing, having joined us early on, in 2012. He was an enthusiastic supporter of London Historians as a group but also of our members individually. A regular fixture at LH monthly pub meet-ups, he was marvellous company and kindness personified. Many of our members have experienced ready advice, suggestions, the loan (or often gift) of a book or magazine, or myriad other acts of kindness.

Roger was, first and foremost, a writer. A professional journalist for most of his career, he also wrote many books, the ones in recent years focusing on London and in particular, the Thames. Roger was also an active member of the Docklands History Group which, like us, benefited from his support and wisdom.

As for Roger’s background before we met him, his wife Pam kindly sent us both the picture you see above, taken in Genoa only last June, and these words:

Roger was born in Wimbledon in 1947 and grew up and went to school there. He had (has) two sisters. He left school at 17 and went straight into journalism, working initially on a trade magazine. I met him when he was 23 and we spent a few years roaming around Europe, teaching English in Italy for a while and working in a bar in Spain. He then worked on Mayfair magazine (I know!!) and Titbits (I’m a bit vague on the chronology). We bought our first home, a flat in Fulham, where our daughter Joby was born in 1978. We then moved to Putney. He worked on the Sunday Times Magazine but left when Murdoch took the paper to Wapping, although he later returned as a freelance and spent several years there, making many friends. He wrote two anti-nuclear books for WH Allen. We moved out to rural Kent in 1990 and he then wrote Lunch with Elizabeth David – published by Little Brown – which was quite well received. After that he concentrated mainly on travel writing and editing, mostly for Insight Guides and Dorling Kindersley. With the advance of technology, and our move back to London in 2009, he got into self-publishing, and furthered his interest in London and the Thames. He then wrote the three London books you know about and that brings us up to date when you first knew him.”

Our deepest condolences go to both Pam and Joby.

Thank-you, Roger. We’ll miss you.

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A guest post by LH Member Roger Williams. 

I awake early, a joke fading in my dreams concerning a current bun being so-named as it is an on-going thing, and trying to recall the threads of disparate pieces of work. They tumble out in no particular order, but today I must go over my text for a Sardinia wildlife book to be published shortly in Italy, write a report for Cornucopia on the Venetian island of Giudecca as the new arts centre in Venice, put up a post on London Historians about the press launch of the Painted Hall, chase Capadoccia university to find out what has happened to my paper on Cevat Sakir, the Fisherman of Halicarnassus, which I delivered before Christmas and have heard nothing since, tidy up the talk I gave Greenwich Industrial Society last week, so it is ready for its next outing, check train time to Grimsby for fish research, see who has been reading my papers on academia.org, update my book audit, deal with images for my interview with Canadian historical fiction writer Christian Cameron now being laid out at Minerva magazine, and while I am at it see what has happened about payments for images used in my John Ruskin piece, get on with my article about the Trimmer family of Brentford for the Turner Society magazine, check on tomorrow’s visit to Turks of Richmond about my Turner boat trip in September as part of the Thames festival… and I had better reply to this email from Mike Paterson asking me if I have any news for the April newsletter. Well, no, I can’t think of anything at the moment.


Very amusing. If this chimes with you and you’d like to hang out with like-minded folks, join London Historians today! ~ Ed


Roger is a long-standing member of London Historians. He has published books on the East India Company, the Thames whitebait industry, JMW Turner, non-religious buildings in the City of London and the Thames itself. Oh, and a book of poetry.

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Victims of our own success (600+ Members), we have run out of stock of Member cards featuring a design from 2013.

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And here is the previous generation design from 2011. Gorgeous: my favourite.

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What this means is we now have an opportunity to do a brand new Member card featuring a historic London vista. Like the above examples it would probably include the Thames but this is not a set-in-stone stipulation. What is important is that it has sufficient space of sky, or possibly water, for the London Historians logo and “MEMBER” to stand out without unduly interfering with the image.

We need to act quickly and we’d love to hear your suggestions.

If you’re not familiar with the LH Member card, it’s printed on credit-card type plastic and personalised on the reverse. A quality item. If you’d like to join us as a Member and be the first to receive the new card, you can do so here.

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paulinesowry03We were very sad to hear of the unexpected death of LH Member Pauline Sowry on 19 August, though aware that she had endured some adverse health issues of late.

Pauline was a Founder Member of London Historians back in 2010 and a great and valued supporter of ours ever since; it was always lovely to see her at our events, which she frequently attended.

Daughter Tessa writes:
“Pauline was born in Wembley in 1949. During quite an ill childhood, at the age of 10 she decided to be a librarian, and then spent her life fulfilling this mission. She worked all over London and in her later years in Rochester at the University of Creative Arts. Once retired, she even became the chairman of the local community library as a volunteer. She spent her life learning, with a particular interest in art and history.”

Pauline completed a degree in Medieval History at the LSE in the early 1980s.

She spent her whole career as a qualified librarian, mainly in London, starting at Tooting in the early 1970s. Her final appointment before retirement in 2009 was College Librarian at the University of Creative Arts in Rochester.

Very near her home, from 2011 Pauline was the lynchpin at the Tattenhams library in Epsom when it became a Community Partnership Library to save it from closure.

On behalf of all Pauline’s fellow Members at London Historians we extend our condolences to husband Phil, son Tom, daughter Tessa and grandson Stanley.
_______________________________________

Update.
I attended Pauline’s funeral on Wednesday 21 September in Leatherhead, with fellow LH Member Sue Sinton Smith, followed by a lovely reception at the Tattnehams Community Library. Both were very well attended by all her friends and family, standing room only, in fact. It was a non-religious service, with a wonderful choice of exit music: Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir.

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Donations in memory of Pauline can be made to:
Kidney Research UK, c/o Alan Greenwood & Sons, 4a Tattenham Crescent, Epsom Downs, Surrey, KT18 5QG. We’ve made a modest contribution on behalf of London Historians.

Our thanks to Rev. Des Williamson for extra information on Pauline.

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Today marks the 5th anniversary of the founding of London Historians.

The first London Historians member card. Somerset House.

The first London Historians member card. Somerset House.

I’d like to thank every single member who has joined us in that time. I’d also like to thank all the friends we’ve made at museums, libraries, historic buildings, local history societies and other heritage groups, the London Topographical Society, to pick a random example. Curators, librarians, authors, academics, genealogists, archaeologists. And tour guides, a special mention for them: there are several dozen among our membership which now stands at 520. I wonder if we can make that 600 in 24 hours?

SPECIAL OFFER NEW MEMBERS. This Day Only, ends midnight.
If you’re a non-Member reading this and would like to take the plunge, we commemorate this anniversary with a £10 discount on joining. 24 hours only! Please proceed to this page. (for “Qualifying Group”, please put LH5).

Here are some highlights, events, memories.

2010
26 August. London Historians founded with web site and bank account.
2 September. First blog post. Not very exciting!
8 September. New member cards designed and ordered.
20 September. Our first paying Member!
Early member newsletter web site articles in 2010 by Brian Cookson, Russ Willey, Emily Brand, Lucy Inglis and Christian Wolmar (yes, the transport guru and current London Mayoral candidate).

Historian, Blue Badge Guide, author Brian Cookson. He wrote our first article and in 2011 conducted our first guided tour.

Historian, Blue Badge Guide, author Brian Cookson. He wrote our first article and in 2011 conducted our first guided tour.

2011
15 March: Our launch party at the Georgian Group HQ in Fitzroy Square.
31 March. Our 100th Member. Take a bow, Essie Fox!
Weds 4 May. First ever monthly pub meet-up at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. (now Hoop & Grapes, Farringdon Street). Three members show up. This event has run on the first Weds of the month unbroken ever since, now attracting dozens of members and guests. So we’ve had 52 at time of writing.
21 May. Our first guided walk under LH banner, and led by LH Member, Brian Cookson.
28 July. Awayday trip and conference in Bath organised by LH Members from Bath Spa University led by Prof Elaine Chalus.
18 September. Tour of Kensal Green Cemetery.
21 September. Our first History in the Pub. Unthemed. Speakers Lucy Inglis and Prof Jerry White. Live music from Ruairidh Anderson, quiz by Matt Brown. Matt continues as our MC for all subsequent History in the Pub events.
30 November. History in the Pub 2. Unthemed. Speakers are historian Nigel Jones and Prof Tim Hitchcock. Live music from Ruairidh Anderson again and Henry Skewes.
17 December: Art and the City. Tour of some Wren churches and the Guildhall Art Gallery, let by LH Member Colin Davey.

Members and guests and our launch party.

Members and guests and our launch party.

Audience at our first History in the Pub.

Audience at our first History in the Pub.

2012
7 February. We witness the opening of The Trial of the Pyx.
10 March. Visit to Whitechapel Bell Foundry. We repeated the exercise in 2015.
13 March. History in the Pub 3: sounds of London. Our first themed effort. Featuring archivists from BBC, British Library and Wellcome Library Terrific.
25/26 April. Two behind the scenes visits to the Parliamentary Archives, led by LH Member Caroline Shenton. Wonderful.
1 May. Behind the Scenes at Kew National Archives. We repeated this tour in 2013.
5 May. Visit to Turner’s House and Marble Hill House.
17 July. History in the Pub 4. Theme East London.
25 July. Member tour of Fulham Palace.
16 August. Member tour of the Supreme Court.
October. History in the Pub 5: Fire. Member tour of London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre (LAARC), Oddities of the Strand walk with LH Member Peter Berthoud. Blog summary.
25 November. Pub meet-up to celebrate Henry Mayhew’s bi-centenary.
7 December. 10,000 followers on Twitter

One of two group visits to the Parliamentary Archives.

One of two group visits to the Parliamentary Archives.

Behind the scenes at the National Archives, Kew.

Behind the scenes at the National Archives, Kew.

Oddities of the Strand guided walk.

Oddities of the Strand guided walk.

2013
13 January. Sold-out panel conference to celebrate 150 years of the Tube at London Transport Museum.
12 March. Behind the scenes member tour at the Wellcome Library.
21 March. Behind the scenes member tour of the Old Bailey
16 April. Member tour of Tower Bridge, including bascule chamber.
18 April. History in the Pub. Theme: Tudor London with Suzannah Lipscomb, Mathew Lyons and Andrew Maginley
20 June. Member guided walk of the Caledonian Road with LH Member Rob Smith. Flickr album.
27 June. Curator-led member tour of the Government Art Collection.
9 August. Member tour of London Transport Museum Acton Depot.
16 August. Awayday curator tour of Watts Gallery, Guildford, with lunch. Flickr album.
18 August. Guided walk of Jewish East End and Bevis Marks Synagogue with LH Member Clive Bettington.
2 September. Exploring the Thames forshore with Thames Discovery Programme.
7 September. Walk Every Street in Soho with LH Member Peter Berthoud.
12 September. Lecture and member tour of London Metropolitan Archives.
25 September. Coroner’s Inquest historical re-enactments at the George in the Strand with Univerisity of Herts.
26 September. Petty Sessions historical re-enactments at the George in the Strand with Univerisity of Herts.
8 October. History in the Pub. Theme: Sex and the City
10 October. City of London Slavery walk led by LH Member with LH Member Will Pettigrew.
18 October. Macdonald Gill curator private view at Pitzhanger Manor.
14 November. History in the Pub. Theme: London’s Street Poor.
19 November. Bollards, Breweries and Bullets. Conference at the National Archive, Kew.

Exclusive tour of London Transport Museum Acton Depot

Exclusive tour of London Transport Museum Acton Depot

At Bevis Marks Synagogue.

At Bevis Marks Synagogue.

2014.
FLICKR ALBUM OF 2014 HIGHLIGHTS

13 February. Member tour of the Royal Courts of Justice led by LH Member, Colin Davey.
26 February. Curator-led member tour of Georgians Revealed at the British Library.
5 March. Curator preview of Brits who Built the Modern World at RIBA.
14 March. Curator-led member tour of the Royal Institution with Charlotte New and Laurence Scales.
20 April. Behind the scenes at HMP Wandsworth and private museum, led by a serving prison officer and LH Member.
25 April. Curator-led tour of Bank of England Museum.
29 April. History in the Pub. Theme: Beer, Pubs and Breweries incl. LH Member Martyn Cornell.
16 May. Walking tour of St Katharine Docks and Royal Foundation led by LH Member Chris West.
29 May. Archivist-led member tour of Westminster School.
12 June. Behind the scenes exclusive member tour of British Library map collection with Peter Barber.
18 July. Member tour of Apothecaries’ Hall.
19 July. Walking tour of Industrial East London and House Mill led by LH Member Rob Smith.
22 July. Curator-led member tour of Dr Johnson’s House
29 July. History in the Pub. Shakespeare’s Local. Author talk at the George Inn, Southwark.
13 August. Member tour of the Government Art Collection.
22 August. Excl. member tour of Sutton House.
27 August. Walking tour of Smithfield and Bart’s Hospital and churches, led by LH Member Peter Twist.
4 September. LONDON HISTORIANS INAUGURAL LONDON LECTURE. Barnard’s Inn Hall, Gresham College. LH Member Adrian Tinniswood OBE on Christopher Wren, Extraordinary Genius.
3 October. Post Office Big Day Out. Storage Depot in Debden and Heritage Library, London.
12 October. History in the Pub. Theme: History OF the pub.
13 December. Member tour of BBC Broadcasting House. More on Flickr.
16 December. Private view and wine reception, Hogarth’s London exhibition, Cartoon Museum.

Tour of Apothecaries' Hall.

Tour of Apothecaries’ Hall.

Adrian Tinniswood about to deliver the inaugural London Historians Annual Lecture.

Adrian Tinniswood about to deliver the inaugural London Historians Annual Lecture.

2015
The theme for the year is the City of London’s Livery Companies.
8 January. Member tour of the College of Arms, led by the Windsor Herald.
16 January. Member tour of Merchant Taylors’ Hall.
24 February. Member tour of Cutlers’ Hall.
3 March. History in the Pub. Theme: Sport in London with Simon Inglis and Clive Bettington.
6 March. Member tour of Drapers’ Hall.
21 March. Supper at Yeoman Warders’ Club, Tower of London and Ceremony of the Keys.
17 April. Member tour of Stationers’ Hall.
21 April. Site visit to Crossrail archaeological site at Liverpool Street Station.
24 April. Derelict London walk and St Dunstan’s Stepney tour with Paul Talling and Dave Whittaker.
9 May. Member tour of Boston Manor and guided walk to historic Brentford.
20 May. Seminar at Information Technologists’ Hall. Heraldry and Regalia of the City of London and Livery, by LH Member Paul Jagger.
5 June. Member tour of Vintners’ Hall
12 June. Brixton tour. HMP Brixton and Brixton Windmill.
14 June. Walking tour. Battle of Waterloo commemoration.
20 June. Member tour of Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Our second visit.
29 June. Member tour of Watermen’s Hall.
11 July. Walking tour of industrial Woolwich with Laurence Scales.
21 July. History in the Pub. Theme: Inky Fingers – London and the Press.
24 July. Member tour of Armourers’ and Brasiers’ Hall.
26 August: 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF LONDON HISTORIANS

Brixton Windmill.

Brixton Windmill.

Armourers' and Brasiers' Hall.

Armourers’ and Brasiers’ Hall.

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sealOkay, let’s jump on the bandwagon. Instead of getting bruised in the ribs by the sharp elbows of the hordes of Christmas shoppers, why not stay right where you are and purchase your loved one(s) a year’s Membership to London Historians? Or a present to yourself even. We all do that, don’t we?

Here’s the scoop.
First go to our Join page here. Join them to London Historians using their details. Email me separately to let me know what message to put on the card and whether we should send the welcome pack directly to them or to you so you can do the grand handover (furnish your address that being the case). Also, we’ll only send their welcome email and initial Member’s monthly newsletter after 25 December.

That’s it. But please do this by 3rd December so we can get the Member card made up and turned around in time. Any questions, please email me or call on 07980 623 750. 

If you’re an existing Member reading this, you’ll know that you can do this with a £10 discount per November Members’ newsletter.

London Historians, Membership

London Historians welcome pack includes personalised Member card and the popular wax-sealed envelope.

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I’ve received many notifications the past week or two from dear friends, via LinkedIn, to congratulate me on my “work anniversary”. I must apologise to them for LinkedIn’s impertinance and, I suppose, thank them too for acquiescing to the bot. (book title? album title?)

But at least is served to remind me that London Historians has been going for four years. Already. So I’ve spent a little  (a lot) time going through photos of our events over this period. I’m struck by actually how many there have been: about a hundred, I reckon. But also, it’s reminded me that in London Historians we do actually have a jolly good time. Most of all, though, I’m humbled by the number of wonderful people who have “got” the London Historians thing, and backed us by becoming Members. That is what this is all about.

Rather than create another album on Flickr of grand palaces, livery companies, historic bridges and so on, I’ve made one that focuses on our Members. Each image has a caption about the event featured. Although we started in August 2010, these begin early in 2011 because it took us some months to get a little Membership going. We’re now over 500, if you’re asking.

The full album on Flickr is here.

By way of introduction, I’ve chosen one for each year to put here, but do go and see the full set which I think goes some way to answering the question: What are London Historians like? And if you fancy joining our gang, that’d be terrific. You can do so here.

London Historians Launch Party

16 March 2011. Scene from our official launch party at Georgian Group HQ, Fitzroy Square.

10 March. Tour of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, Britain's oldest business.

10 March 2012. Tour of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, Britain’s oldest business.

16 April. In a bascule chamber beneath Tower Bridge.

16 April 2013 . In a bascule chamber beneath Tower Bridge.

12 June. Checking out the King's Topographical Collection (K-TOP) at the British Librar with Head of Maps, Peter Barber.

12 June 2014. Checking out the King’s Topographical Collection (K-TOP) at the British Librar with Head of Maps, Peter Barber.

 

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