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Article contents

Research in urban history: recent Ph.D. theses on heritage and the city in Britain

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 July 2018

TOSH WARWICK
Affiliation:
Urban Studies, University of Glasgow, Bute Gardens, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

Extract

Writing in Urban History in the spring of 1991, Peter Borsay considered how the gap between the ‘popular presentations of the urban past’ produced by the growing heritage industry and ‘the booming academic study of urban history’ might be bridged. Heritage, he argued, was ‘deeply bound up with the meanings and functions of towns’ and urban historians should play a crucial role within communities ‘engaged in a complex discourse with the past . . . that for many was fundamental to their livelihood and identity’. Borsay's concerns 27 years later continue to be mirrored in academic discussions surrounding heritage and materiality, echoing wider questions that surround the relevance of urban history beyond the academy. Recent conferences have also demonstrated the continued salience of Borsay's argument, considering the potential of the study of cities to shape approaches to their management through work with local communities, heritage partners, cultural institutions and professional groups. This emphasis on knowledge exchange and partnership has also attracted the support of funding bodies through collaborative doctoral awards that have sought to ‘increase opportunities for all researchers to develop their work in collaboration with public, private and third sector partners that increase the flow, value and impact of world-class arts and humanities research from academia to the UK's wider creative economy and beyond’. This has included the author's own work on the heritage of Middlesbrough's iron and steel industries, which has involved working collaboratively with local archives and heritage partners.

Type
Review of recent theses
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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References

1 Borsay, P., ‘History or heritage: perceptions of the urban past: a review essay’, Urban History, 18 (1991), 3240CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2 Ibid., 39.

Ibid

3 For discussion of approaches to materiality and heritage in urban history, see Fennelly, K., ‘Materiality and the urban: recent theses in archaeology and material culture and their importance for the study of urban history’, Urban History, 44 (2017), 564–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 ‘Urban History Group Conference Programme 2016’, www2.le.ac.uk/departments/urbanhistory/uhg/past-conferences/2016/uhg-booklet-2016 accessed 2 Dec. 2017; European Association of Urban History Conference 2016: Session Papers, https://eauh2016.net/programme/sessions/ accessed 4 Dec. 2017.

5 ‘Knowledge Exchange and Partnerships’ AHRC, www.ahrc.ac.uk/innovation/knowledgeexchange/ accessed 21 Nov. 2017.

6 T. Warwick, ‘Middlesbrough's steel magnates: business, culture and participation’, University of Huddersfield Ph.D. thesis, 2016.

7 S. O'Connor, ‘Architecture, power and ritual in Scottish town halls, 1833–1973’, University of Bath Ph.D. thesis, 2016.

8 Ibid., 2.

Ibid

9 Ibid., 141.

Ibid

10 Ibid., 143–4.

Ibid

11 Ibid., 164–5.

Ibid

12 D. Georgiou, ‘From the fringe of London to the heart of fairyland: suburban community leisure, voluntary action and identities in the Ilford Carnival, 1905–1914’, Queen Mary University of London Ph.D. thesis, 2016.

13 Ibid., 236.

Ibid

14 Ibid., 237.

Ibid

15 Ibid., 253.

Ibid

16 For example, see the AHRC-supported ‘The redress of the past: historical pageants in Britain, 1905–2016’ project which has produced a number of articles, exhibitions and digital resources offering insights into ‘the role of heritage in leisure activities, the interaction between local, national and imperial identities, and the changing character of community life in twentieth and early twenty-first century Britain’: www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/about/ www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/about/ accessed 12 Dec. 2017.

17 Colenutt, B., Shabetiz, S. Coady and Ward, S.V., ‘New towns heritage research network’, Planning Perspectives, 32 (2017), 281–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The network is timely given the changes to the new town urban landscape posed by debates around refurbishment, renewal and threat of demolition coupled with a number of significant anniversaries.

18 L. Piko, ‘Mirroring England? Milton Keynes, decline and the English landscape’, University of Melbourne Ph.D. thesis, 2017.

19 Ibid., 119–20.

Ibid

20 Ibid., 138–9.

Ibid

21 Ibid., 296.

Ibid

22 D. Matless, Landscape and Englishness (London, 1998).

23 Piko, ‘Mirroring England?’, 297–300.

24 McClelland, A., ‘A “ghastly interregnum”: the struggle for architectural heritage conservation in Belfast before 1972’, Urban History, 45 (2018), 150–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

25 A. McClelland, ‘Contesting destruction, constructing heritage: the social construction of architectural heritage values in Belfast, circa 1960–1989’, University of Ulster Ph.D. thesis, 2014.

26 Ibid., 32–3, 152–4.

Ibid

27 Ibid., ch. 5, 155–88.

Ibid

28 Ibid., 244–5.

Ibid

29 B. Rosa, ‘Beneath the arches: re-appropriating the spaces of infrastructure in Manchester’, University of Manchester Ph.D. thesis, 2013.

30 Ibid., 147.

Ibid

31 Ibid., 149.

Ibid

32 Ibid., 152.

Ibid

33 Ibid., 161–3.

Ibid

34 Ibid., 168.

Ibid

35 S.A. Murray, ‘Bankside Power Station: planning, politics and pollution’, University of Leicester Ph.D. thesis, 2014.

36 Ibid., 32, 248.

Ibid

37 Ibid., 248–54.

Ibid

38 Ibid., 257.

Ibid

39 Ibid., 272–8.

Ibid

40 Ibid., 292

Ibid

41 H.V. Connelly, ‘Ground-breaking: community heritage on Glasgow's allotments’, University of Glasgow Ph.D. thesis, 2017.

42 For more information on The Heritage Consortium, visit http://www.heritageconsortium.ac.uk/ accessed 12 Dec. 2017.

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