Archive for October, 2011

Sport and Leisure History
20 June 2011
Football and National Identity in Post-War England
Christoph Wagner (De Montfort University)
Huns vs Inselaffen: Anglo-German Football Rivalry, 1954-2000

In the 1950s and 1960s how was the rivalry between England and Germany in football described by the national press?  With the Second World War still fresh in English minds a lingering enmity between the countries cannot have failed to have an impact.  Today football fans focus on England’ victory in 1966 as a symbol of victory over the Germans but before that World Cup the rivalry was equally poignant.  Christoph Wagner uses various newspaper reports to show how games against Germany drew out the military metaphors and imagery with much more clarity than was generally the case in other matches.  The words chosen in the reports too presented a comedic representation of Nazi Germany as symbolism for English rivalry (and the necessity for victory) against their German foes.

Dr DIlwyn Porter (De Montfort University)
English Football and the State of the (British) Nation, c. 1980-2000

Continuing from Wagner’s discussion of English rivalry with Germany in the game of football, Dilwyn Porter emphasises how it was necessary for English victory to be seen to have occurred on the pitch even after a loss.  A requirement for victory over the German ‘threat’ may well be a hangover from the Second World War but it is one that has remained in the English consciousness (perhaps to its detriment) ever since.  However, Porter goes further in his analysis of this rivalry.  The 1966 victory over the Germans at the World Cup Final is seen as a golden moment in recent English history because it represents a blip in an otherwise story of decline.  After the Second World War Britain’s Empire collapsed and the rise of Europe as an entity revealed more noticeably how England was declining in economy and political power in opposite to its European cousins.    The financial success story of post-war Germany highlights an inferiority complex in England.  The English desire to see victory in football against the Germans represents a much wider cultural identity that focuses on a decline in state and culture.  The war metaphor discussed by Christoph Wagner  is, Porter believes, a continuing symptom of that cultural identity crisis. 


The latter part of Porter’s paper refocuses on to the source material itself – namely how the historian can use the tabloid press as evidence (this discussion begins 28 minutes into Porter’s paper).  Porter notes the need to address fabrication of detail in the reporting and (especially in journalism from the mid-twentieth century) the stylistic preference to insert the reporter into the report itself.  Porter also emphasises the need to be careful of the sensationalism that overwhelms journalistic reporting in the tabloid press.  Secondly, Porter notes a warning to historians of Sport history.  Often research on this subject over-emphasise the importance of Sport on national culture.  Not everyone enjoys football, for instance, and not everyone reads the back pages of tabloid papers.  Even those that do will see different things in what they read depending on various factors related to their standing in society and their daily lives. 

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Locating London’s past: a geo-referencing tool for mapping historical and archaeological evidence, 1660-1800

Part of the 1746 John Rocque map of London

Today History SPOT will play host to a live stream of this workshop on Locating London’s Past.  This should prove an interesting and exciting event for anyone interested in early modernLondon, in database and GIS practices, and mapping in general. 

So please join us at 2pm and 4pm for the following talks:

2pm     Introduction to the Locating London’s Past project

4pm     The future of the past – the role of historical mapping

If you would like to follow on Twitter the hash tag is #llp

 click on the logo to access the Live Stream Page for this event

Project Information

 Locating London´s Past will create an intuitive GIS interface that will enable researchers to map and visualize textual and artefactual data relating to seventeenth and eighteenth-century London against a fully rasterised version of John Rocque´s 1746 map of London and the first accurate modern OS map (1869-80). More than this, it will make these data and maps available within a Google Maps container, allowing for the analysis of the data with open source visualization tools. The interface will be readily expandable to include additional data sets and maps (both modern and historic).

Building on the partnerships created through the JISC funded Connected Histories project, and through a new collaboration with the Museum of London Archaeological Service (MOLA), Locating London´s Past will produce a working GIS-enabled public web environment that will allow existing electronic historical data about London to be repackaged and organised around space. The project incorporates four elements. First, a fully rasterised and GIS-enabled version of John Rocque´s 1746 map of London will be created and tied to a GIS enabled version of the first reliable modern OS map (1869-80). Second, standard geo-referencing will be incorporated into some 4.9 million lines of data drawn from the Old Bailey Online, London Lives, 1690-1800, datasets created by the Centre for Metropolitan History, and MOLA´s extensive database of archaeological finds. Third, using an API methodology, the historical GIS will be presented for public use and re-use both online and as downloads, within a Google Maps `container´ (giving access to satellite images, `street views´ etc), to facilitate `mash-ups´ with modern datasets (geological, flooding, land use, etc). This in turn will create an environment in which additional external historical datasets and GIS enabled historical maps can be added. Fourth, a series of open source visualization tools, with examples and documentation, will be made available through the interface to allow datasets with multiple variables about crime, social policy, taxation and material culture to be represented and analysed in conjunction with the three layers of GIS-enabled mapping (Rocque, OS, Google Maps).

By bringing within a single framework archaeological evidence of pipes and shards, and historical trial records, voting lists, insurance files and taxations records, this project will contribute to the `spatial turn´ in humanities and social science scholarship, not just by making geographical analysis possible, but by making it readily accessible.


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Today History SPOT is one month old.  I can’t believe that it has been that long already.  Of course the platform is still in beta mode as we iron out some outstanding bugs and issues.  We still need to implement the search engine throughout the site and there are various theme issues still to be resolved.  For a while there was a minor issue with the log-in system which (I hope) has now been fully resolved.   However, we are rapidly heading towards a full launch which is fantastic news. 

In the meantime History SPOT is doing well.  In this one month period we have had 1,175 visits of whom have spent an average of 5 minutes on the site at any given time. 

Part of the point of History SPOT is to better achieve our mandate as a national and international institution by bringing our core activities to a wider audience.  So far we have had visits from (in order of most visitors to least) the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Greece, Mexico, New Zealand. 

So far the least visited part of the site is the Collaborate section, however, to be fair this section is yet to be fully utilised in-house so hopefully in time that situation will begin to change.  I would, however, recommend spending a bit of time in the Collaborate section.  Creating a profile for yourself is easy and there is the opportunity to discuss seminars further in the Groups portion of the site as well as on the podcast pages themselves.   

The launch in September of course also coincided with the beginning of a new semester and thus we have been churning out seminar podcasts at the rate of about four a week (give or take).  These have so far ranged from a discussion on the freedom of information in relation to archives and libraries to sessions on London (specifically the Survey of London project and a discussion of the Bishop of London’s fund).  We have also had two talks on historiographical matters – specifically about the eighteenth century and Mexican Nationalism.  We have also added podcasts from this year’s Anglo-American conference on the topic of Health in History which can also be found on the ever popular i-Tunes U site. 

In two days time History SPOT will play host to our first live stream of the new semester; two sessions from a workshop on the topic of Locating London’s past: a geo-referencing tool for mapping historical and archaeological evidence, 1660-1800.  Last year the live streams were highly successful and fun to take part in and we therefore plan to do many more this year.  We also have plans to improve the service in the near future now that proof of concept has been validated (more on that when I can).

I’m rapidly working my way through this year’s seminar podcasts and a few stragglers from last year to post up as the focus for future SPOT Newsletters.  Please bear with me as I get back into a rhythm with these.  The launch of History SPOT alongside some exciting work connected to our upcoming November conference Novel Approaches: from academic history to historical fiction, is keeping me busy.  It is probably worth stating that there are still spaces available for that conference, which should be both interesting and fun.  I can’t think of many topics for historical conferences that quite inspire the imagination like one on the topic of historical fiction and its relationship to academic history.  So if you have not already done so please do have a look at our conference programme!

That’s all from me for now.  If anyone has any thoughts or comments on History SPOT that they would like to share please do so here (or on History SPOT itself).  All comments are very welcome especially at this early stage.

click the logo above to access History SPOT

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British History in the Long 18th Century
30 March 2011
Sarah Lloyd (Hertfordshire)
Ephemeral Lives: On writing a ticket-centred history of 18th-century Britain

Tickets: lottery tickets, theatre tickets, turnpike tickets, admission tickets and so forth.  In the eighteenth century tickets were common if not everywhere.  So what might a history of the ticket tell us about print and culture?  What was their function?  What was their meaning?  How were they circulated?  What contractual obligations did they imply?   In this paper Sarah Lloyd discusses a variety of ticket types and the purposes given to those tickets she also presents one particular example: London charity tickets.  These give us an idea about charity activities and methods of advertisement and control.  Distinction between a ticket and an invitation is not clear and there is much difficulty in being able to identify which is which (if indeed in some circumstances there was a difference).  Tickets were also commercial ephemera which didn’t belong to any particular class or group.  They helped to regulate activities and promote products.  Finally tickets were souvenirs and collectors’ items which help to explain why some tickets survive better than others.     

Click the logo below to access the podcast

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