We held our 2021 annual conference online over two weeks from 28 June-9 July.

Instead of trying to replicate a physical event online, we adapted by spreading events over a longer time-frame and opening up cutting-edge research to as wide an audience as possible. To maintain our community of research in a remote setting, we also emphasised discussion, with 15 minute papers to avoid Zoom fatigue!

A selection of recordings are available below and you can link to recordings of our 2020 events here.

Plenary Panel: Women and Work

In March 2021, the Office for National Statistics highlighted important differences in men and women’s experiences of life in lockdown.

While more men than women have died from COVID-19 in the UK, women’s wellbeing has been more negatively affected. During the first year of the pandemic, women reported higher levels of anxiety and loneliness than men, were more likely to have been furloughed, took on more unpaid domestic duties and took a significantly greater share of responsibility for childcare and homeschooling.

Our annual conference placed these findings in their historical context with a specially convened plenary on Women and Work. The panel spanned the early modern and modern periods, featuring three leading scholars:

Emma Griffin is Professor of Modern British History at the University of East Anglia.  She is the author of five books, most recently Bread Winner: an Intimate History of the Victorian Economy (2020).  She is the co-editor of the journal History and President of the Royal Historical Society.

Helen McCarthy is Reader in Modern and Contemporary British History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St John’s College. She is the author of three books, including Women of the World: The Rise of the Female Diplomat (2014) and Double Lives: A History of Working Motherhood (2020). She is currently developing a new project on the socialist intellectual and writer, Beatrice Webb, and her biographer, Margaret Cole.

Jane Whittle is professor of Economic and Social History at Exeter University. She is author of numerous books and articles including most recently, Consumption and Gender in the Early Seventeenth-Century Household (2012), ‘A Critique of Approaches to “Domestic Work”’ Past and Present 243 (2019), and ‘The Gender Division of Labour in Early Modern England’ Economic History Review 73:1 (2020). She currently holds a European Research Council Advanced grant to study ‘Forms of Labour: Gender, Freedom and Experience of Work in the Preindustrial Economy’.

Watch the plenary panel on YouTube now (55mins)

Programme and Recorded Content

Our conference is centred on eight thematic strands, which range across time and space. We recorded a selection of the presentations, which you can watch at your convenience by clicking the titles below.


The full programme including abstracts is available to download here (pdf).


Bodies and Emotions – Intimate Emotions (1hr 1min)

Rachel Smith, Bath Spa University and Cardiff University, Emotions of Death: Grief and Anxiety in the Canning Family Correspondence, 1760-1830

Gabriel Lawson, QMUL, Dream Analysis in the Stalag: The PoW Dream Diaries of Major Kenneth Hopkins

Catherine Phipps, University of Oxford, ‘Disgusting and intolerable’: Anxieties about interracial relationships in Morocco in the 1940s and 1950s and the sexual policies of a late colonial state

Penny Summerfield, University of Manchester, Love, Jealousy, Sex and the Self in World War Two Correspondence  


Deviance Inclusion and Exclusion – Deviant Women (33mins)

Susan Woodall, The Open University, ‘Hiding Places of evil’: policing morality in the dormitory spaces of nineteenth-century institutions for ‘fallen’ women

Maria Isabel Romero-Ruiz, University of Malaga, Cambridge Spinning House and the Proctoral System: The Case of Beatrice Cooper (1892)

Craig Stafford, University of Liverpool, Policing Women in Victorian Rochdale  


Diversity Minorities and Others – Representation Display and Alterity (51mins)

Agni Agathi C. Papamichael, University of Birmingham, Loyal Barbarians and Wealthy Heroes: Byzantine and Norse Attitudes towards the Varangian Guard

Joanna de Groot, University of York, Inside and outside the tent: ‘speaking back’ to orientalist images of nineteenth century Iran

Anna Cusack, Birkbeck, Displaying Criminal Cadavers in London, c.1600-1800

Kate Brooks, Bath Spa University, Art in the archives: young people in care today respond to Victorian orphanage records  


Environment Spaces and Places – Emotions Place and Health (55mins)

Ella Sbaraini, ‘For I am a going I know not where’: Suicide in Place and Space, 1750-1850

Barbara Crosbie, Durham University, The body on Killhope Moor: doing public history during a pandemic

Natalie Massong, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, The Mobile Woman: Getting Around during the 1630 Plague in Bologna  


Environment Spaces and Places – Movement Mobility and Landscape (55mins)

Ben Jackson, Queen Mary, University of London, Elite Masculinity, Sporting Paraphernalia, and the English Country House c.1600–1800

Sean Nixon, Landscapes of Loss: Silent Spring and the Geography of Environmental Crisis, 1956-65

Murray Seccombe, Lancaster University, Managing people, managing space: constables, highways and connectivity in seventeenth-century Halifax  


Life Cycles Families and Communities – Families Laws and Conventions (1hr 7mins)

Dominika Katarzyna Brzezinska, University of St Andrews, Et O. dixit quod B. non fuit frater suus – Sibling bond between bastards and non-bastards in the land litigations of the 13th-century England

Hazel Vosper, Lancaster University, Who Do You Trust? A Case Study of a Victorian Marriage Settlement From Between the Married Women’s Property Acts

Hannah Telling, Institute of Historical Research, ‘Living as Man and Wife’: Cohabiting Couples and Fatal Violence in Scotland, 1850-1914

Taylor Aucoin, University of Exeter, ‘To pay the futball and banquet’: Ball-money, Hen-silver and Communal Marriage Dues in Premodern Britain  


Life Cycles Families and Communities – Unconventional Families (1hr 6mins)

Emilly Webb, University of Leeds, ‘I Must do my Duty by these Innocents’: Raising a Mixed-Race Family in Blechynden’s Calcutta Diaries, 1782-1822

Katharina Simon, Philipps-Universität Marburg, What to do with a ‘bastard child’? – Practices of conflict management in Eighteenth Century Yorkshire Communities

Katie Donington, London South Bank University, The bonds of family: Slavery, commerce and culture in the British Atlantic world

Michael Lambert, Lancaster University, “Neighbours with a more Bohemian way of life”? Denouncing “problem families” in working-class communities, 1945-70


Life Cycles Families and Communities – Women Doing It for Themselves (30mins)

Alice Blackwood, University of Oxford, Defining ‘Local Politics’ for Men and for Women in Early Modern England

Honor Morris, King’s College London, High-Rise Motherhood: The impact of 1970s council housing on working-class mothering  


Politics Policy and Citizenship – Constructing Citizenship (1hr 12mins)

Ian d’Alton, Trinity College, Dublin, Building citizenship in an alien State – the Protestant search for place and loyalty in post-independence Ireland

Kate Bradley, University of Kent, Creating legal cultures: Citizenship, class, and the Poor Man’s Lawyer in Interwar England

Eureka Henrich, University of Hertfordshire, ‘Medical Aid Free to All Immigrants’: the Migrant Medical Centre in Sydney’s King’s Cross (1961) and the paradox of Australia’s post-war immigration programme

Farah Mendlesohn, Historical Fictions Research Network, Constructing Citizenship: Fiction and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms 


Politics Policy and Citizenship- Describing Us and Them in Early Modern England (34mins)

Amy Louise Smith, Lancaster University, Libellous Song and the Community in Early Modern England, c.1600-1642

Brodie Waddell, Birkbeck, Parochial Petitions, Social Identity and Popular Mobilisation in Early Modern England  


Welfare Humanitarianism & Social Action – Charity Childhood and War in Western Europe (44mins)

Raquel Caçote Raposo, Protect, Educate and Instruct: Poor and Vulnerable Children Shelters in Portugal, 1834-1910

Marjorie Gehrhardt, University of Reading, Charity, fundraising and the state in WW1 France: from research to teaching  


Welfare Humanitarianism & Social Action – Charity Retail in Modern Britain & Ireland (1hr 25mins)

This panel was chaired by Georgina Brewis and featured presentations from Ruth Macdonald (Salvation Army International Heritage Centre), Sarah Roddy (Maynooth University), George Campbell Gosling (University of Wolverhampton) and Robin Osterley (Charity Retail Association)  


Welfare Humanitarianism & Social Action – New Directions in the History of Poverty (1hr 7 mins)

Dave Hitchcock, Canterbury Christ Church University, Plus ca change?’ New approaches to the history of vagrancy, 1500-1800

John Morgan, University of Bristol, Poverty and environment in early modern England

Julia McClure, University of Glasgow, Poverty and Empire  


Work Leisure and Consumption – Film Media and News (43mins)

Linda Pike, University of Worcester, Leisure and Film Consumption in the Midlands

Talita Souza Magnolo, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, The intersections between the history of the North American and Brazilian press: a comparative study between the magazines TV Guide and Intervalo

Lena Liapi, Keele University, ‘True’ news and their readers: credibility and news reporting in early modern England