RHS News

Society holds AGM and 2023 Presidential Lecture

On Friday 24 November the Royal Historical Society held its Anniversary General Meeting (AGM) at Mary Ward House, London. The AGM was followed by the 2023 Presidential Lecture, ‘European Exploration, Empires, and the Making of the Modern World’, given by the Society’s President, Professor Emma Griffin (Queen Mary University of London).

The AGM saw the appointment of following to the Society’s governing Council: Professor Clare Griffiths (Cardiff) as Vice President; Dr John Law as Treasurer; Professor Barbara Bombi (Kent) as Secretary for Research; Professors Mark Knights (Warwick) and Iftikhar Malik (Bath Spa University) as members of Council.

The meeting also noted the departure from the RHS Council of the following, on completion of their terms of office: Professor Jonathan Morris (Hertfordshire) as Vice-President (Research Policy); Professor Jon Stobart (Manchester Metropolitan) as Honorary Treasurer; Professor Julian Wright (Northumbria) as Secretary for Professional Engagement; and Professor Thomas Otte (UEA) as a member of Council.

In her 2023 Presidential Lecture, Professor Griffin considered British industrialisation in global and European perspective. The lecture compared approaches to innovation and the handling of raw materials, sourced in colonial territories, in Britain and France, tracing the origins of English entrepreneurialism to the early modern period.

Our thanks to all those who attended the event in person and online. A video and audio recording of the lecture will be made available shortly.


RHS Workshop Grants – new call now open

The Royal Historical Society is pleased to announce the next call for its RHS Workshop Grants for projects taking place in 2024. This scheme provides funding of £1,000 per Grant to enable historians to undertake activities, broadly defined, to pursue historical research, study and discussion. In this round, the Society will make up to six awards for Workshops held in 2024.

This is the second round of RHS Workshops Grants; further details of the four projects awarded funding in 2023 are listed below.

Applications are now invited via the Society’s online application portal, before the closing date: 23:59 on Friday 19 January 2024.

About the Call

RHS Workshop Grants enable historians to come together to pursue projects of shared interest. Projects are purposefully and broadly defined, and may focus not only on academic research but also on a wider range of activities relating to historical work. These may include but are not limited to:  

  • discussion of a research topic or project by collaborators;  
  • evaluation of historical methodologies, theories or practice; 
  • workshopping and manuscript review of a proposed edited collection; 
  • beginning and testing a research idea, leading to a future project;  
  • piloting work relating to the teaching, research or the communication of history; 
  • planning and writing a funding proposal;  
  • undertaking networking and building of academic communities; 
  • activities that combine, where appropriate, historians from a range of professional and other backgrounds, including higher education, related sectors of the historical professional, and community history groups. 
  • Workshops may be open to an audience or closed to invited attendees according to the organisers’ preference.

The Society is particularly keen to support activities for which alternative sources of funding are very limited, or do not exist. The Society seeks to provide grants to those in greatest need of funding, where options for institutional support are minimal or not available.  

Each Workshop receives £1,000 from the Royal Historical Society to cover attendance and the costs of a day meeting. In this round the Society looks to provide up to six projects with Grant funding.

Workshops will be supported by the Royal Historical Society, with updates on outcomes reported via the RHS blog and social media. Projects leading to publishable work are warmly encouraged to submit content to the Society’s journal, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, for consideration.

Applicants are welcome to consider hosting Workshops at the Society’s offices at University College London, if desirable.


The Society looks to award up to six Grants to projects in this latest round. Eligible applications will be for projects that: 

  • have applicants / lead organisers who are current members of the Society. For more on how to join the Society, please see here;
  • request funds to support travel, venue hire, hospitality and overnight accommodation when required, as well as travel bursaries for public events; grants will not be awarded to support paid work; 
  • may include participants travelling from Europe in line with the Society’s carbon policy; attendance by participants from further afield will not be supported by the grant; 
  • remain in contact with the Society before and after the Workshop and agree to contribute an article on their project to the RHS blog, where appropriate. 

How to apply

If you have an idea for a workshop and would like to submit a proposal, please provide a 750-1,000 word statement. This should outline:

  • the academic focus of the Workshop and the topic / activity under consideration
  • the purpose and proposed outcome from the Workshop
  • costings for holding a one-day event
  • the location of the proposed Workshop, and whether this may be the RHS Office at University College London
  • the lead organiser(s) and proposed participants who would be involved in the Workshop
  • the proposed date of the Workshop, to be held in 2024

Proposals should be submitted via the Society’s online application system by the deadline of 23:59 on Friday 19 January 2024.


Recipients of RHS Workshops Grants, 2023

The following four projects were awarded funding in the first round of Workshops held in 2023:

  • ‘Early Modern Error’ — lead organiser: Alice Leonard (Coventry)
  • ‘Women and Plantations: New Directions in Tudor and Stuart Colonial History’ — lead organiser: Lauren Working (York)
  • ‘Beyond the ‘Good’ / ’Bad’ Migrant Dichotomy: ways forward for early modern and contemporary history’ — lead organiser: Kathleen Commons (Sheffield)
  • ‘Unboxing the Family Archive: New Approaches to Intergenerational Collections’ — lead organiser: Imogen Peck (Birmingham)


The Last Days of English Tangier: new Camden Series volume

We are very pleased to announce publication of the latest volume in the Society’s Camden Series of primary scholarly editions: The Last Days of English Tangier. The Out-Letter Book of Governor Percy Kirke, 1681–1683, edited by John Childs (Fifth Series, Volume 66 ,November 2023).

Governor Percy Kirke’s Out-Letter Book, here transcribed verbatim and annotated, covers the terminal decline of English Tangier, ending just before the arrival of Lord Dartmouth’s expedition charged with demolishing the town and evacuating all personnel.

The volume contains 152 official letters mostly addressed to the Tangier Committee, the subcommittee of the Privy Council responsible for Tangerine affairs, and Sir Leoline Jenkins, Secretary of State for the South. Kirke’s correspondence traces the decay of both the town’s military fabric and the soldiers’ morale and effectiveness, and the impossibility of reaching a satisfactory modus vivendi with the leaders of the besieging Moroccan armed forces.

The Last Days of English Tangier. The Out-Letter Book of Governor Percy Kirke, 1681–1683 is edited by John Childs, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Leeds.

The Last Days of English Tangier. The Out-Letter Book of Governor Percy Kirke, 1681–1683 is available online and in hardback print. Fellows and Members of the Society have online access to this latest volume, and all 400 Camden volumes of primary sources, dating from 1838 to 2023.

RHS Fellows and Members may also purchase The Last Days of English Tangier in hardback print at a discounted rate of £16 per volume. To order a copy, please contact: sabiqah.zaidi@royalhistsoc.org, marking your email ‘Camden vol. 66’.

About the RHS Camden Series

The Royal Historical Society’s Camden Series is one of the most prestigious and important collections of primary source material relating to British History, including the British empire and Britons’ influence overseas.

The Society (and its predecessor, the Camden Society) has since 1838 published scholarly editions of sources—making important, previously unpublished, texts available to researchers. Each volume is edited by a specialist historian who provides an expert introduction and commentary. Today the Society publishes two new Camden volumes each year in association with Cambridge University Press. You’ll find details of recent volumes below.

The next volume in the series is: An Australian at Edwardian Oxford: Allen Leeper’s Letters Home 1908–12, edited by David Hayton (June 2024).

If you’d like to learn more about the Camden Series, and how you can propose a new edition, please see our recent panel event ‘Scholarly Editing for Historians’ (July 2023), hosted by the Series Editors, Richard Gaunt and Siobhan Talbott.


Royal Historical Society AGM, Friday 24 November 2023

The 2023 Anniversary General Meeting (AGM) of the Royal Historical Society will take place at 6pm on Friday 24 November 2023 at Mary Ward House and will also be streamed online. 

All elected Fellows and Members of the Society are welcome to attend, however in line with the Society’s By-Laws, only Fellows of the Society may vote upon resolutions put before them. Fellows will receive a direct email with details of how to cast their votes on 8 November 2023. Copies of the Agenda and papers are available here. 

All those wishing to attend must pre-register via the below links. Please note that space at Mary Ward House is limited, therefore if your registration to attend in person is unsuccessful, you will be moved onto the online registration list, and will receive a notification to that effect.  

Fellows who have not received their email with voting details are asked to write to: governance@royalhistsoc.org in the first instance. Please mark your email ‘AGM’. We also encourage you to check your spam/junk folder for this email in advance of contacting the Society. 

The Society’s AGM will be immediately followed by the 2023 RHS Presidential Lecture — ‘European Exploration, Empires, and the Making of the Modern World’given by Professor Emma Griffin, President of the Royal Historical Society. Registration to attend the lecture online is still available.



Tom Holland gives 2023 RHS Public History Lecture

On Tuesday 7 November, Tom Holland gave the 2023 RHS Public History Lecture, in association with Gresham College. Tom’s lecture — Pilgrimages, Pandemics and the Past’ — explored the experience of walking across London during the Covid pandemic of 2020. How, Tom asks, might this experience inform historians to better appreciate and understand the perspectives and expectations of those who undertook pilgrimages in the past?

Our thanks to Tom for his excellent lecture; to Gresham College for hosting the event; and to all those who attended the event in person or online.

Tom’s lecture is now available to watch via the Gresham College website.


New members of the RHS Council, from November 2023

The Royal Historical Society is pleased to announce the appointment and election of four new members to its governing Council. All four will take up their posts following the Society’s AGM held on 24 November 2023. Their appointments follow open calls, earlier this year, for the new post of Vice President and that of Treasurer; and the recent election of two new Councillors from the Society’s Fellowship.

As Treasurer, Dr John Law will replace Professor Jon Stobart, who steps down in November after his four-year term. As Councillors Professor Mark Knights and Professor Iftikhar Malik replace Professor Barbara Bombi and Professor Thomas Otte who also end their four-year terms in November. From November, Barbara Bombi takes on the post of RHS Secretary for Research and Chair of its Research Policy Committee, replacing Professor Jonathan Morris who steps down after five years in this role.


Professor Clare Griffiths (Cardiff University), Vice President of the Royal Historical Society


Clare Griffiths is Head of History and Professor of Modern History in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University. Prior to taking up her current position in Cardiff, she taught at the University of Sheffield, Wadham College, Oxford, and the University of Reading, and she has held visiting fellowships at the Huntington Library, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Museum of English Rural Life.

Clare’s research focuses on the political and cultural history of Britain in the twentieth century, with a particular interest in the history of the countryside, agriculture and landscape. She is the author of Labour and the Countryside: the Politics of Rural Britain, 1918-1939 (Oxford University Press, 2007) and co-editor of Class, Cultures and Politics (OUP 2011). Her published articles and essays include work on political debates in Britain during the Second World War, the commemoration and historical memory of early nineteenth-century radicalism, and many aspects of British farming and rural life. She has also written extensively for the Times Literary Supplement, particularly on visual art.

Clare was a member of the Society’s Council from 2018 to 2021, during which time she served on, and subsequently chaired the Research Support Committee.


Dr Michael John Law, Treasurer of the Royal Historical Society


John Law was, until his retirement, a Research Fellow in History at the University of Westminster. He joined the academic world later than is usual, completing his PhD when he was 54 years old. John’s work considers the experience of modernity in Britain in the mid-twentieth century. He is the author of several academic books. His latest, A World Away, was published by McGill Queen’s University Press in 2022, and examines the impact of holiday package tours on the people of Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. John was a council member and trustee at the University of Sussex from 2011 to 2017.

Prior to academia, John was a partner at PwC and an executive at IBM. In these roles, he provided consulting advice to the world’s largest financial institutions. He is also a qualified Chartered Accountant.


Professor Mark Knights (University of Warwick), RHS Councillor


Mark Knights is Professor of History at the University of Warwick. His research focuses on early modern political culture in Britain and its empire, and on the history of corruption.

Mark’s most recent publication is Trust and Distrust: Corruption in Office in Britain and its Empire 1600-1850 (OUP 2021). He is currently working on a cultural biography of a seventeenth-century merchant philosopher; a book charting the history of corruption in Britain and its empire from the 1620s to the 2020s; and the Oxford Handbook of the History of Corruption.

Mark is a member of the editorial boards of Boydell and Brewer’s ‘Eighteenth Century Studies’ series and of the journal Parliamentary History. He has held numerous posts in his department and University.


Professor Iftikhar H. Malik (Bath Spa University), RHS Councillor


Iftikhar H. Malik is Professor-Emeritus at Bath Spa University, where he taught history for 27 years, following his five-year fellowship at St Antony’s College, Oxford. Presently, a member the Common Room at Wolfson College in Oxford, his Curating Lived Islam in the Muslim World: British Scholars, Sojourners and the Sleuths with Routledge came out in June 2021.

In November 2022, his The Silk Road and Beyond: Narratives of a Muslim Historian (Oxford University Press, 2020), received the UBL Award for the best non-fiction work in English in Pakistan.

Iftikhar’s other studies include Pashtun Identity and Geopolitics in Southwest Asia: Pakistan and Afghanistan since 9/11 (Anthem, 2016 & 2017); Crescent between Cross and Star: Muslims and the West after 9/11, (OUP, 2006); and Islam and Modernity: Muslims in Western Europe and the United States (Pluto, 2003).



RHS President’s Lecture and AGM, 24 November 2023


This year’s RHS President’s Lecture takes place at 6pm on Friday 24 November 2023:

‘European Exploration, Empires, and the Making of the Modern World’

Professor Emma Griffin (Royal Historical Society and Queen Mary, University of London)

Brewer and Smith Hall, Mary Ward House, 5-7 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9SN, and Online for those unable to attend in person

The President’s Lecture will be preceded by the Society’s Annual General Meeting, and followed by a drinks reception at Mary Ward House. All are very welcome to attend. Further details of the AGM will be sent to Fellows and Members of the Society in early November.

  • To register to attend the Lecture and reception in person at Mary Ward House, London, please see here.
  • To register to watch the Lecture online, please see here.


About the lecture

The British industrial revolution has long, and rightly, been regarded as a turning point in world history, and the question of why it all began in Britain has produced a large and lively literature.

In the past twenty years, our understanding has been considerably enhanced by the repositioning of events in eighteenth-century Britain within global history frameworks. Yet this has resulted in some unwieldy comparisons between Britain, a small island, on the one hand; and very large, continental land masses – India, China, and North America – on the other. Not only do these comparisons involve a significant switch in scale, there is the added complication that some of these regions were themselves bound in complex colonial relationships with Britain.

In this lecture, Emma Griffin suggests a far more meaningful comparative approach may be developed by turning to some of Britain’s nearest neighbours in continental Europe. By looking at European nations, similar in size, existing outside Britain’s empire, and indeed in some instances with imperial holdings and ambitions of their own, it is possible to shed new light on the complex and contested relationship between empire and industrialisation, and offer new answers as to why Britain industrialised first.

Emma Griffin is President of the Royal Historical Society and Professor of British History and Head of School at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research covers the social and economic history of Britain during the period 1700-1870, with a particular interest in gender history, the industrial revolution, and working-class life.


Applications now invited for the 2024 RHS Alexander Prize

The Royal Historical Society’s Alexander Prize is awarded for an article or chapter based on original historical research, by a doctoral candidate or those recently awarded their doctorate, published in a journal or an edited collection of essays.

Applications are now invited, from those meeting the following criteria, for the 2024 Alexander Prize before the closing date of 31 December 2023.

  • Candidates must be doctoral students in a historical subject in a UK institution, or be within two years of having a submitted a corrected thesis in a historical subject in a UK institution at the time of the closing date for entries.
  • The article or essay must have been published in a journal or edited collection during the calendar year 2023 (for the 2024 prize round). Advanced access publisher versions are also eligible, but an item cannot be entered more than once in subsequent years
  • An electronic copy of the publisher’s version the article or essay will need to be uploaded to the entry form.

All submissions are via the RHS Prize Applications Portal.

Winners of the 2024 Alexander Prize will receive £250. Please see here for more on the Prize, which was first awarded by the Society in 1898.

RHS first book prizes, 2024

In addition to the Alexander Prize, books are now being received for the Society’s Whitfield and Gladstone Book Prizes. The 2024 Whitfield Prize is for a first monograph, published in 2023, on the subject of British and Irish History. The 2024 Gladstone Prize is for a first monograph, published in 2023, on a subject other than British and Irish History.

Submissions for the RHS Book Prizes, 2024 are by publishers only. Eligible authors should contact their publishers if they would like their book to be submitted for the 2024 prizes. All submissions should be made by the publisher via the RHS Prize Applications Portal.

The closing date for submissions of books for the 2024 Whitfield and Gladstone Prizes is 31 December 2023.

If you have any questions about the RHS Prizes, please contact administration@royalhistsoc.org.


RHS Council members visit historians at the University of Hertfordshire

On Monday 16 October, members of the Society’s Council visited historians in the School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire. The Visit is the latest in this autumn’s series of meetings with historians at universities across the UK.

The day brought together historians from the School with members of the Society’s Council. An opening session explored how the RHS can best work with and support historians. Topics included advocacy for history with politicians and policy makers; promoting the value of a history degree to prospective students, and their parents; employability for history graduates, and the importance of skills acquired for professional life in the mid-late 2020s; and the relationship of history to heritage studies.

The latter was central to a second session discussing distinctive features of Hertfordshire’s history programme. These included the department’s close relationships with external heritage groups, via its Heritage Hub, led by Katrina Navickas. This session also discussed the university’s Professional Doctorate in Heritage (DHeritage), run by Grace Lees-Maffei, which enables heritage professionals to undertake doctoral research; and the university’s pioneering MA in Folklore Studies, led by Owen Davies, Ceri Houlbrook and Leanne Calvert.

The visit concluded with a public lecture by our guest speakers — Elaine Farrell (Queen’s University Belfast) and Leanne McCormick (Ulster) — on ‘Naming and Shaming? Telling Bad Bridget Stories’. Elaine and Leanne’s lecture considered historians’ moral responsibilities to individuals discovered in institutional records who gave no consent to being remembered or discussed in historical research.

Many thanks to Elaine and Leanne, and all those who attended their lecture. Our thanks also to Jen Evans and William Bainbridge, and colleagues from the history department, for organising and hosting the visit.

Hertfordshire is the fifth visit by the Society this year, following previous events at Edge Hill, Northampton, Kent and Canterbury Christ Church and the Highlands & Islands.

RHS visits resume in 2024 with days at the universities of York and York St John (13 March) and Brunel (23 May) which include public lectures by Fay Bound Alberti (King’s College London) and Corinne Fowler (Leicester) respectively. Further details of these visits will be released in due course.


‘History and Archives in Practice’ 2024 partners with Cardiff University: Call for Papers now open

The Royal Historical Society — with partners The National Archives and Institute of Historical Research — is pleased to announce details of its ‘History and Archives in Practice’ Conference for 2024. HAP24 will take place on Wednesday 6 March at Cardiff University. The partnership with Cardiff comes after an open call earlier this year, inviting UK archives to host the 2024 conference.

HAP24 will be the second year for ‘History and Archives in Practice’ and the first when the core group partners with a UK university / archive. We look forward to working with colleagues in Cardiff now that the Call for Papers for HAP24 is open. For more on the theme for next year’s conference, and how to submit a panel proposal, please see below.

History and Archives in Practice, 2024: Call for Papers

HAP24 takes place at Cardiff University on Wednesday 6 March 2024 on the theme of ‘Historical Legacies: collecting history, historical collections and community voices’.

‘HAP24: Historical Legacies’ looks to the future (through the past) to discuss the impact of legacies past, present, and future. The event provides opportunities to reflect on the durability of legacies (historical, physical, digital), the democratisation of history, and our collective responsibility in working with communities to ensure that our collections and our practices are rooted in co-creation and collaboration.

With co-creation and collaboration in mind, we now invite proposals for ‘History and Archives in Practice, 2024’ on this theme.

We welcome submissions from historians, archivists, and heritage organisations alike. We are particularly keen to highlight and support smaller organisations, underrepresented collections, and marginalised voices as well as new and emerging research. This year we especially welcome submissions on the theme from projects in Wales.

Please submit an abstract (300 words) by Friday 15 December 2023 using this form

‘History and Archives in Practice’ encourages a wide range of formats that best showcase a collection and the experience / lessons of collaborative working between archivists and historians on shared projects. Suggested formats include:

  • 20-minute papers
  • Interactive workshops
  • Full panels on a chosen topic (3-4 speakers with chair, 15-20 minutes per speaker)
  • Introductions to specific collections and their potential for historical research
  • Demonstration and handling sessions, introducing attendees to selected items from your collections, and their potential in research
  • Other proposals and formats for communicating activity, experience and research are also welcome as we look to move on from traditional conference models

In the coming weeks and months, further information on HAP24 will be circulated on RHS, TNA and IHR social media, mailing lists and newsletters. Please do consider submitting a paper or panel proposal.

If you have any questions about HAP24 and submitting a proposal, please email: research@nationalarchives.gov.uk

About ‘History and Archives in Practice’

A partnership of The National Archives, Royal Historical Society, and the Institute of Historical Research, ‘History and Archives in Practice’ (HAP) is where historians and archivists come together to consider shared interests in archive collections, their interpretation and use.

History and Archives in Practice (HAP) is an annual event, building on its partners’ long experience of bringing archivists and historians into close conversation. Our first event ‘HAP23’ took place on 29 March 2023 at the Institute of Historical Research, London, and explored the theme of ‘Collecting Communities: working together and with collections’.

You can find out more and watch videos from the event here: History and Archives in Practice, 2023

From 2024 and beyond, HAP endeavours to partner with UK archives and institutions who similarly specialise in bringing together archivists and researchers. Each year, we draw on aspects of UK collections and emerging research being undertaken, integrating these into the annual event programme. This new format enables a formerly London-based conference to take place at archive centres across the UK.

In 2024 we partner with historians and archivists from Cardiff University who will both host HAP24 and collaborate with us in the planning and organisation of the day, showcasing their collections and the breadth of innovative and exciting research that is being undertaken across the institution and Wales itself.