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Going Underground

Conference and UCL Lunch Hour Lecture commemorate 150th anniversary

Going Underground

On 17th and 18th January Sam Merrill co-organised, with Dr Carlos Galvis, a public conference to mark the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. Going Underground: Travel Beneath the Metropolis 1863-2013 was hosted by the Centre for Metropolitan History of the Institute of Historical Research in association with the London Transport Museum.

During the two days a range of new academic perspectives were advanced on the world’s first urban underground rail network, emphasising its lesser known histories, geographies, cultures, politics and social characteristics. Twenty four participants, from home and abroad, presented papers representing a range of disciplines, including history, geography, architecture and urbanism, design, cultural studies, literature studies and art history. Some later attended an exclusive late-night and crowd-free canapé reception at the London Transport Museum. Public attendance at the conference numbered over 100.

Sam also presented a paper entitled The London Underground’s Commemorative Genealogy and Counter Pasts a distilled version of an article entitled Looking Forward to the Past: London Underground’s 150th Anniversary, to be published shortly in the Journal of Transport History.

Audio pod-casts of some of the papers will be made available through the IHR’s website and a proceedings publication is being planned.

Professor Richard Dennis has also been active on the Underground front. He gave the opening plenary lecture at the Going Underground conference: Letting Off Steam: the perils and possibilities of underground travel in Victorian and Edwardian London. Two days earlier he gave a UCL Lunch-Hour Lecture to a capacity audience in the Darwin Lecture Theatre on a more local theme: Gower Street to Euston Square: A local history of the Underground. For those who were turned away at the door, or who were unable to attend his lecture, there is now a video podcast:

See also:


Richard (left) and Sam enjoying the full Underground Heritage Experience

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