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Prof. Vanessa Harding (Birkbeck, University of London) will give the inaugural Derek Keene London Lecture, from the Centre for the History of People, Place and Community, Institute of Historical Research, on Wednesday 13th July 2022. This new series of annual public lectures will offer new perspectives on key questions in London’s history, from leading experts on the city’s past.  

How long was London a ‘medieval’ city? Derek Keene’s first London project, The Social and Economic Study of Medieval London (1979-87), explored the profusion of records of property holding in the City of London, and established their potential for reconstructing property histories and thus charting economic and social change over several centuries. Despite its name, the project extended from the thirteenth century, when such records become numerous, up to the Great Fire of 1666. This lecture will examine the justification for taking the Fire as a terminal event for a study of ‘medieval London’, and consider alternative ‘periodisations’ and phases in the study of early London.  

The lecture series commemorates the work of Prof. Derek Keene (1942-2021), a leading scholar of London and comparative urban history, and founding director of the Institute of Historical Research’s Centre for Metropolitan History. Co-founded by the Institute and the Museum of London in 1988, the Centre carried out numerous research projects in the history of London and other cities, as well as pioneering work in environmental history and digital humanities. The Centre’s work is now continued by the Centre for the History of People, Place and Community.  

The lecture sits alongside the IHR’s new London Summer School running from 11th to 14th July 2022. The IHR London Summer School offers a unique opportunity to explore London’s stories and historic places from our home here at Senate House in the heart of Bloomsbury. Guest lectures from world-renowned experts and interactive workshops will focus on topics from London’s earliest history to the present day – as well as visions and policy debates around its future. Site-specific work will take us out to archives and museums, as well as offering special access to some of London’s most fascinating historic sites. Students will have access to the remarkable London collections in the IHR’s Wohl Library, including maps, rare books and a range of important primary and secondary sources. Alongside programmed content, IHR academic and library staff will be available informally for consultation and bespoke support. In its first year, workshop and lecture content will be organised around the broad theme of ‘renewal’. 


All welcome- This event is free to attend, but booking is required.