Abstracts and speakers' biographical details for forthcoming talks

March / April 2019

By Gill Girdziusz

For further details of the Society's lecture programme click here.

Tuesday 19 March
“Five Days of Tumult”- the 1810 mutiny of the Local Militia in St Albans and its unforeseen consequences
John Morewood

In May 1810 the Local Militia, equivalent to the Territorial Army, mutinied in St Albans. The government controlled newspapers stated that order was speedily restored. Other newspapers however told a very different story — the St Albans magistrates had had to call in additional troops, men were flogged and disturbances continued for five days. This talk will look at who the local militia were, the reasons for the mutiny and what happened, as well as the incident’s impact in the national debate to reform the punishment culture in the armed services. It is also a tale of local rivalries, bad communications and leadership and damage to the Abbey Gateway!

John read Modern History at Oxford University. He specialises in the late 18th/early 19th century specifically the period of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He is Secretary of the Waterloo Association dedicated to increasing knowledge of the period and helping preserve the Waterloo battlefield. He is currently studying at the Institute of Historical Research for his PhD on ‘The Abolition of the Slave Trade and Slavery Emancipation and the pivotal role of Lord Brougham’, He is also a qualified St Albans Guide and is responsible for co-ordinating the exhibition to commemorate the Arc and Arc’s 175th anniversary.

Tuesday 2 April
Jim Forrester (later 5th Earl of Verulam) and the unemployed in South Wales, 1931-1947
John Cox

Jim Forrester was the eldest son of the 4th Earl of Verulam. Whilst at Oxford University [1929-1932] he discovered that in South Wales in the summer of 1931, there was an international work-camp to get rid of a coal spoil-heap and to replace it with an open-air swimming pool. He volunteered and took part for a fortnight and every year until 1939. In 1936 he interviewed 900 unemployed men to take part in a Subsistence Production Company that provided many services for the men and their families, without having to pay out money!

John is a Chartered Librarian and worked in various libraries from 1958 to 2004. From 1989-2009 he was part-time archivist at Gorhambury, sorting papers etc including the papers of the 5th Earl of Verulam. He has published eight books under the imprint of ‘Eddington Press’ and compiled a draft memoir for the daughters of the 10th Earl of Cavan [1865-1946], a Hertfordshire man.

Tuesday 9 April
The East India Company at Home: in and beyond Hertfordshire
Professor Margot Finn

This lecture locates Hertfordshire, its country houses and the families that inhabited them at the heart of the British Empire in the era of the East India Company, c.1757-1857. Focusing on specific sites and families, it asks us to think about the role of the English country house as an icon of national identity in England, arguing that instead – behind their neo-classical facades – stately homes are products of global and colonial regimes. Hertfordshire’s history is especially rich in links to India – it rivals in many respects the history of Berkshire, known in the Georgian era as “the English Hindoostan” due to the conspicuous presence of retired East India Company men and their families.

Margot Finn is Professor of Modern History at UCL and President of the Royal Historical Society. She has published books on topics that include 19th century radical politics, imprisonment for debt and public history. Following a three-year Leverhulme Trust funded project exploring the connected histories of the British country house and the East India Company, c. 1750-1850, she published (with Dr Kate Smith) The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 with UCL Press. The book is available to download open access without charge from www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/browse-books/theeast-india-company-at-home.


This page was added by Jonathan Mein on 24/12/2018.

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