The Whitfield Book Prize has become one of the most sought after book prizes for early career historians. It was established by the RHS in 1976 at the bequest of Professor Archibald Stenton Whitfield, who was a Fellow of the Society from June 1916 until his death in 1974. The prize offers an annual award of £1,000 for a work on British or Irish history that is the author’s first sole book publication.
The RHS is delighted to announce that the Whitfield Prize for 2017 has been awarded jointly to William M. Cavert for The Smoke of London: Energy and Environment in the Early Modern City (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and Alice Taylor for The Shape of the State in Medieval Scotland, 1124-1290 (Oxford University Press, 2016).
The judges commented:
William M. Cavert, The Smoke of London: Energy and Environment in the Early Modern City (Cambridge University Press, 2016)
This elegant and engaging book makes a major contribution to reshaping historical narratives of industrialisation. It is beautifully-written, deeply researched and integrates the approaches of economic, social and cultural history to demonstrate the varied impact of smoke pollution in London in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Methodologically sophisticated, it is eminently readable and never loses sight of the lives of ordinary (and some extraordinary) people. It will act as a model for the study of environmental history, particularly in eras when scientific and hard data are hard to find.”
Alice Taylor, The Shape of the State in Medieval Scotland, 1124-1290 (Oxford University Press, 2016)
The Shape of the State in Medieval Scotland is a work of great scholarship and insight. Through its penetrating analysis of detailed evidence and complex sources, it builds a picture of the gradual development of the state in early Scotland, drawing upon fresh approaches and evidence to yield a textured and nuanced understanding of the growth of royal government in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Scotland. Situating its analysis in a European perspective, it makes an important contribution to the study of medieval kingship, statecraft and the aristocracy. This is a groundbreaking book which will set the debate for many years to come.”
You can read the shortlist for the 2017 prize here.
2018 Whitfield Prize
To be eligible for the prize the book must:
- be its author’s first solely written history book;
- be on a subject within a field of British or Irish history;
- be an original and scholarly work of historical research by an author who received their doctoral degree from a British or Irish university;
- have been published in English during the calendar year 2017.
Publishers are invited to nominate their books. (Please note authors cannot submit their own work.) For further information on how to enter, including the entry form, please refer to the Guidelines.
Closing date for entries: 31 December 2017
All enquiries about the Prize should be addressed to the Administrative Secretary, Melanie Ransom, at: firstname.lastname@example.org