Conference: London and the Nation

east from M Bridge

 London and the Nation, Birkbeck, Friday 10th July, 2015

The Raphael Samuel History Centre and London Studies Network are delighted to announce ‘London and the Nation’, a conference exploring the many dimensions of London’s complex and ever-evolving relationship to the rest of the United Kingdom. The cultural, demographic, socioeconomic, geographical, and political connections between the metropolis and the nation have appalled, excited, perplexed, and fascinated commentators for centuries and have played a decisive role in shaping British history. This conference seeks to illuminate the nature of these connections and the organizers are particularly interested in continuities and ruptures in the way that the relationship between London and the nation has been perceived and portrayed over time.

This event is free, but booking is essential.

Click here or go to

The Birkbeck  ‘London and the Nation’ conference is sponsored by the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the London Studies Network, and is hosted by Birkbeck, University of London.


Friday 10th July, Room MAL B36, Birkbeck, University of London

9.00 – 9.30am    Coffee and registration

 9.30 – 10.00      Welcome and Introduction, Professor Jerry White (Birkbeck)

 10.00 – 11.30     Panel 1:  Cultural Tensions between London and the Nation in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Chair: David Glover (Southampton)

  • Simon Jarrett (Birkbeck) – ‘“A Welshman Coming to London, and Seeing a Jackanapes…”: how Eighteenth-Century Londoners Saw the Rest of Britain through Jokes and Slang’
  • Jeremy Crump (De Montfort) – ‘“Our Struggle in London”: the Primitive Methodists and the Metropolis
  • Lucy Dow (UCL) – ‘“Hyde Park Corner Cakes”: Eating London and Thinking National in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries’

 11.30 – 1.00    Panel 2:  London’s Challenged Institutions in a National Context

Chair: Mike Berlin (Birkbeck)

  • Guy Collender (Birkbeck) – ‘’Learning from the Nation: How the Port of London Copied Success from Ports in the Regions in the Early Twentieth Century.’
  • Louise Hide (Birkbeck) – ‘A Disordered City? Mental Illness in London and Beyond, c. 1900’
  • Michael Ward (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) – ‘London: Population, Jobs and Growth, 1945-2030’

1.00 – 2.00    Lunch break

 2.00 – 3.30    Panel 3:  Postwar Economic Change in London and the Nation

Chair: Gareth Stedman Jones (QMUL)

  • Kim Smith (UEL),  ‘Heady Days: Mayfair’s Hairdressing “Gold Rush” into the New Frontier of Post-War Britain’
  • Aled Davies (Bristol), ‘Liability or Asset?  The City of London and the Politics of “Invisibles”, 1959-1979’
  • Peter Martyn (Institute of Art, Polish Academy of Sciences), ‘London: the Dystopian Dimension, 1950-1984-2015’

 3.30 – 4.00    Tea

 4.00 – 6.00    Panel 4:  Literary and Visual Representations of London and the Nation

Chair: Silke Arnold-de Simine (Birkbeck)

  • Ruth Livesey (Royal Holloway), ‘Writing the Stage Coach Nation: London and the Conduits of Cockney Mobility’
  • John Toohey (Concordia), ‘While the City Sleeps: an Edwardian Photographer in London by Night’
  • Jane Stokes (UEL) ‘Southbound Again: from5 Special to A Hard Day’s Night: London and the Pop Movie, 1958-1964’
  • Claire Allen (Northampton) – ‘Millennial London Literature: Utilising the Cultural Capital of London to Re-Locate Marginalised Perspectives in the Work of Bernadine Evaristo and Sarah Waters’

6.00 – 6.30    Concluding remarks

Sally Alexander (Goldsmiths)

David Feldman (Birkbeck)

David Glover (Southampton)

 6.30 – 7.30    Reception

This conference is partnered with a public event at the British Library on the following day.  For more information go to


Katy Pettit , Administrator, Raphael Samuel History Centre @RSHistCentre



Photo copyright Steve Blunn 2015. Used with kind permission.  

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