Research Seminars

A forum for discussing members’ ongoing research projects

In Spring 2019, the Society introduced a new series of research seminars, coordinated by Kate Morris. The first programme ran from February to May 2019. Its success has led to the 2019/20 programme outlined below.

Each seminar covers a specific topic. No prior knowledge of the topic is required for participation – only the willingness of participants to join in discussion with questions or relevant contributions from their own research.

Seminars take the form of a short presentation on a topic currently being researched. This is followed by informal discussion and debate, which could lead to further individual or group research.

For those with little research experience, it is an opportunity to learn more about sources available for their own fields of interest as well as sparking interest in topics they may not yet have considered. It is also a good opportunity to meet others who are doing, or would like to do research into local history in its multitude of aspects.

Seminars take place at the Society’s Library at Sandridge Gate. They are held on Thursday afternoons, 2.30 to 3.30pm and are free to members. Non-members are welcome for a fee of £5.

2019/20 programme

This is the outline of the programme. For full details see the  ‘Forthcoming events‘.

19 September: People and property revealed in Sun insurance policies  Julia Merrick (Note: this is a change of topic to the one previously advertised)
24 October: Freight traffic on the St Albans turnpike – Fabian Hiscock
21 November: Maps – Frank Iddiols
12 December: Water pumps – Brian Adams
19 December: Maps – Frank Iddiols (Repeat of over-subscribed 21 November event)
23 January: Researching the early English press – Ruth Herman          20 February: Tax records – Jon Mein (Note: this is a change of topic to the one previously advertised)

In addition, a seminar planned for 19 March led by Tony Dolphin on the Poor Law in St Albans, from 1895 to 1914, was postponed because of the coronavirus epidemic.

Future seminars

Please send expressions of interest to These could include:

  • topics of interest to be covered
  • willingness to lead a future seminar on a topic you are researching, or
  • any questions or suggestions you may have about the form and nature of the sessions.

Details of the programme will appear on the website events calendar and this page. They will also be announced via enews.

Past topics covered by the programme

  • Life in St Albans during the Napoleonic Wars. Led by Kate Morris (24 January 2019)
  • The beginnings of state education and St Albans’ first Board School. Led by Philippa Hurst (21 February 2019)
  • Town gardens in St Albans, with The Vintry as a leading example. Led by Liz Rolfe (21 March 2019)
  • Why did the inn trade in St Albans decline so markedly between 1660 and 1850? Led by Jon Mein (25 April 2019)

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