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The Centre for Economic History in collaboration with the Centre for Institutional Performance at the University of Reading is pleased to announce a one-day meeting to celebrate the retirement of its founder and first guiding figure, Dr Margaret Yates. We have drawn together a number of colleagues and friends to speak on themes with which Margaret has engaged in her own work – or which we hope will simply amuse her.

Registration and coffee from 10.00 in Room G04 Henley Business School

Session 1 (10.45)

Jane Whittle (Exeter), ‘Estate management and agricultural labour, 1328-1630: the case of Hunstanton, Norfolk’.

Ralph Houlbrooke (Reading), ‘Tithe disputes in Robert Kett’s Norfolk’.

Session 2 (12.00)

Richard Smith (Cambridge), ‘Could English towns reproduce themselves without immigration before 1700?’.

Chris Dyer (Leicester), ‘A town in its country: Alcester in the fifteenth century’.

Lunch (1.15) G04

Session 3 (2.00)

Chris Briggs (Cambridge), ‘Peasant possessions in Berkshire escheator’s accounts, c.1350-1450’.

Harriet Mahood (Reading), ‘Begging for bread and asking for alms, the efficacy of monastic charity in towns’.

Tea (3.00) G04

Session 4 (3.30)

Danae Tankard (Chichester), ‘The acquisition of textiles and clothing in seventeenth-century Sussex’.

Jameson Wooders (Reading), ‘Preliminary Observations on the Consumer Revolution and the Rise of Gentility in Town and Country in Early Modern Berkshire, c.1650-1750.

Session 5 (4.45)

Richard Hoyle (Reading), ‘Robin Hood in the sixteenth century: one outlaw or several?’

As is the custom of our meetings, we will move on for some early dinner in Reading town centre. All are welcome to join us there.

Registration, including lunch, coffee and tea, is free for all who register their intention to attend with the Centre’s Administrator, Amanda Harvey, a.h.harvey@reading.ac.uk, by Friday 9 May 2014.

Any academic enquiries should be directed to Professor R. W. Hoyle at r.w.hoyle@reading.ac.uk.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Public Lecture: The Making of the Modern British Home
The suburban semi and family life between the wars

You are invited to join us for a stimulating Public Lecture, part of Henley Business School’s Engaging Business events programme, bringing together world-class academic experts and industry leaders to explore pressing topical issues. 

This lecture by Professor Peter Scott, Director of the Centre for International Business History, examines the ways in which housing, aspirations, and local social norms interacted to produce one of the most fundamental changes in British family life.

During the 1920s and 1930s almost a quarter of urban working-class families migrated from cramped terraces to new suburban estates of semi-detached housing. 

The social impacts were considerable, transforming family life from a ‘traditional’ community-orientated pattern, to a characteristically ‘modern’ pattern, based around ‘private’ and domesticated lifestyles, ‘keeping up with the Jones’s,’ and smaller, but better resourced, families. 

Times Higher Education: “Scott’s well-grounded and comprehensive account will be the definitive book on this subject for years to come.”

Please register via email if you wish to attend, stating guest names and number of tickets required.

We do hope you will be able to join us.

Your response will be appreciated by email to henleyevents@henley.ac.uk

6:15pm – Refreshments
7:00pm – Lecture and Q&A
8:30pm – Close

Henley Business School

For enquiries:

Charlotte Zittel
Events Manager
+44 (0)1491 418777



Words, numbers and rationality: The effect of accounting systems and language on economic and business decision-making

November 8, 2013

A one-day workshop sponsored by the International Research Network ‘Structural Determinants of Economic Performance in the Roman World’ [http://www.rsrc.ugent.be/sdep]


The Economic History Society [http://www.ehs.org.uk]



Mick Stringer (U. of Reading): Sales, Costs and … Confusion? : Linguistic and accounting constraints on decision-making in Roman agriculture.

Alisdair Dobie (U. of Stirling): Medieval Man, Accounting and Economic Rationalism

Richard Macve (London School of Economics): A genealogy of myths about the rationality of accounting in the West and in the East

Oscar Gelderblom (Utrecht U.): The public support of private accounting as the key to understanding the commercial expansion of Europe before the Industrial Revolution

Gregory Waymire (Emory U.): The Impact of Hard Information on Self-Dealing, Soft Communication, and Social Gains in an Investment-Trust Game.

Sudipta Basu (Temple U.): Knowledge, mental memory and accounting transaction records. 

Final Round Table Discussion led by Mark Casson, Koen Verboven, Annlisa Marzano and Daniel Mullins


There is no fee to attend this event, but places are limited; you are kindly requested to register by emailing Mr Mick Stringer (mick_stringer@btinternet.com)


The Centre for Economic History is pleased to announce a meeting on the new history of European plague on Friday 20th September 2013 in G11 at the Henley Business School, University of Reading.
The science of genetics has developed at a considerable pace in past two or three decades. Whilst it has wrought major advances in medical science, the application of this new science to history has produced unexpected results, answering some old questions and prompting others. One of the most sensational is the extraction of Y. pestis DNA from skeletons associated with the plague epidemics of the fourteenth century. This seems to settle for one and all a perennial question – What was plague? – whilst throwing up others – Where did plague come from?  Why did it die out? How was it communicated? Indeed, is the Y. pestis of the fourteenth century the same as that found in Asia today, or have other genetic changes in pestis or its hosts taken place?

 The Centre has convened a meeting on 20 September to consider these developments and review recent work of a more traditional sort being undertaken on plague in the centuries when it was a real but unwelcome force in European history.

Please find below the provisional programme for the day.

 10.30   Registration and coffee

 11.00   Welcome

 11.05   Barbara Bramanti (Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), University of Oslo), ‘The medieval plagues: how genetics and ecology can help in understanding our history’

 12.00   Bruce Campbell (Queen’s Belfast), “The Black Death in Eurasia, some unanswered questions”.

 1.00     Lunch

 13.50   Jim Bolton (QMW), ‘Scientists, historians and the plague in medieval England: a new history?’

 2.45     Marco Bonetti (University of Bocconi), ‘The 1630 Plague in Nonantola: a Lifetime Data Analysis’.

 3.30     Tea

 4.00     Morgan Kelly and Cormac O’Grada (TCD), ‘Birth and death in London in a plague era, 1560-1665’.

 5.00     Afterword, Paul Slack (Linacre College, Oxford)

 5.15     Conference ends/drinks reception/dinner in Reading for those staying over.

 Whilst there is no charge for attendance at this meeting it is recommended that you register early to secure a place.  Please contact Amanda Harvey by email on a.h.harvey@reading.ac.uk.

 Lunch and refreshments are included for people registering by 13 September 2013.

The Centre for Economic History is pleased to announce an upcoming workshop:

Centre for Economic History, University of Reading and Centre for Institutional Performance, University of Reading

 Joint workshop on Large Data-sets in Economic History Research

Friday 22 February 2013

Room 102, Palmer Building, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading

 The workshop will explore the scope for applying new statistical methods to the analysis of large historical data sets. Wide-ranging papers will examine many different applications of ‘big data’ to mainstream issues in historical research. Discussion will focus on formulating an emergent agenda for research in the field.

The workshop comprises ten papers of 30 minutes each (20 minutes presentation and 10 minutes discussion)

 9.15     Registration and coffee

10.00   Welcome and introduction: Mark Casson (Reading) and Nigar Hashimzade (Reading) (speaker MCC)

10.10   Statistical methods for the analysis of large data-sets: Nigar Hashimzade (Reading)

10.40   Long run price dynamics: the measurement of substitutability between commodities Mark Casson (Reading), Nigar Hasimzade (Reading) and Catherine Casson (Birmingham and Oxford) (presenter MCC)

11.10   Coffee

11.30   The Quantity Theory of Money in Historical Perspective: Nick Mayhew (Oxford)

12.00   Medieval foreign exchange and interest rates Adrian Bell (Reading), Chris Brooks (Reading) and Tone Moore (Reading) (presenter TBA)

12.30   Local property values in fourteenth and fifteenth century England Margaret Yates (Reading)

13.00   Lunch

14.00   The dynamics of social networks: The Liverpool Africa Committee Sheryllynne Haggerty (Nottingham), John Haggerty (Salford) and Mark Casson (Reading) (presenter JH)

14.30   Railways and local population growth: Mark Casson (Reading), Leigh Shaw-Taylor (Cambridge), A.E.M. Satchell (Cambridge) and E.A. Wrigley (Cambridge) (presenter TBA)

15.00   Women’s land ownership in nineteenth-century England: Janet Casson (Oxford)

15.30   Coffee

15.45   The diffusion of steam technology in England: Ploughing engines 1860-1930: Jane McCutchan (Reading)

16.15   Industrious burglars: funding consumption from property crime Jane Humphries (Oxford) and Sara Horrell (Cambridge) (presenter TBA)

16.45   Concluding discussion

17.00   Drinks reception

 18.15 Dinner at the Oracle

Whilst there is no charge for attendance at this workshop it is recommended that you register early to secure a place. Please contact Amanda Harvey by email a.h.harvey@reading.ac.uk.

Lunch and coffees are included. Please advise us if you plan to attend the dinner. Dinner is free for visiting speakers (i.e. non-Reading paper authors and co-authors).

The Centre for Economic History is pleased to announce an upcoming conference:

Centre for Economic History, University of Reading Royal Statistical Society, History Group

History of Business and Economic Forecasting

Friday 22 March 2013

University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading

Forecasts have had a profound impact on economic behaviour. Optimistic forecasts can generate booms, whilst pessimistic forecasts can tip an economy into recession. In the twentieth century forecasting has become big business, with governments, banks and private consultancies all producing regular annual, monthly or even weekly forecasts. Forecasts cover commodity prices, equity prices, interest rates, inflation rates, gross domestic product, and so on.  Forecasts influence the policies of governments, the strategies of firms and the positions taken by speculators.

This conference reviews that growth of the forecasting industry, with special reference to the US and UK. It addresses the philosophical roots of forecasting, the development of practical forecasting methods, the evolution of the commercial market for forecasts, and the impact of forecasting on business consultancy. The conference brings together experts from a range of relevant disciplines, including business and economic history, economics and econometrics and mathematics and statistics.

Whilst there is no charge for attendance at this conference it is recommended that you register early to secure a place. Please contact Amanda Harvey by email a.h.harvey@reading.ac.uk

 Draft Programme


  • From 9:30

Session 1 Chair: Professor Peter Scott (Henley Business School, University of Reading)

  • 10.00  Professor Walter Friedman (Harvard Business School) ‘The rise of business forecasting in the United States’

11.00   Coffee

Session 2 Chair: Mr. John Aldrich (Department of Economics, University of Southampton)

  • 11.30  Professor Kerry Patterson (Department of Economics, University of Reading) and Professor Terence C. Mills (School of Business and Economics, University of Loughborough)‘The development of econometric techniques and their influence on economic forecasting in Britain [provisional]
  • 12.15  Professor Mark Wardman (Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds) ‘Forecasting railway passenger demand’

1.00 Lunch

Session 3: Chair: Dr. Eileen Magnello (Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London)

  • 2.00 Professor Marcel Boumans (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam) ‘Model-based expert consensus in economic forecasting’
  • 2.45 Professor Nick Bingham (Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London) ‘The impact of probability and statistical theory on the development of forecasting’ [provisional] 

3.30     Tea

Session 4: Chair: Dr. Lisa Bud-Frierman (Centre for Institutional Performance, University of Reading)

  • 4.00 Dr Christopher McKenna (Said Business School, University of Oxford) and Mr Antonio E. Weiss (Birkbeck College, University of London) ‘Management Consulting and Market for Economic Forecasting’ [provisional]

4.45     General discussion

5.00     Drinks

6.00    Dinner

Centre for Economic History

Workshop on Research in Progress

Friday 23 November 2012, 2pm – 6pm

University of Reading, Whiteknights, Palmer building, Room G04


2.00 Annalisa Marzano: Harvesting the sea: the exploitation of marine resources in the Roman Mediterranean

2.30 John Creighton:   The velocity of circulation and the movement of coin in the Roman provinces

3.00 Tony Moore: State finance and government debt in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries

3.30 Coffee break

4.00 Richard Hoyle: The school as firm: Writing the history of Giggleswick School, 1512-2012

4.30 Joel Felix:  Fiscal origins of the French Revolution

5.00 Andrew Godley: The German origins of research capabilities in the US pharmaceutical industry


6.00 End of workshop


For further details contact Mark Casson m.c.casson@reading.ac.uk

On 23rd March 2012 a distinguished group of over 50 delegates and speakers from the US and Britain gathered for the launch of the new Centre for Economic History.

Events included a lively conference ‘Crisis and Change in Historical Perspective’ during the day, followed by a reception and the formal launch of the Centre by the Vice Chancellor Sir David Bell.

For further details please read the full Centre for Economic History Launch Report here.

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