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About the Cambridge Group

About the Cambridge Group

The Cambridge Group for the History of Population & Social Structure turns 60 this year. Since its founding in 1964, members of the Group have made a spectacular series of discipline-transforming contributions to social science history. These include: reconstructing the population history of England over the last 500 years; delineating occupational change in the English economy over the same period; and reconfiguring our understanding of historical household structures, welfare systems, transport, and energy use.

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The occupational structure of Britain 1379-1911

The occupational structure of Britain 1379-1911

This research program directed by Leigh Shaw-Taylor and Amy Erickson aims ultimately to reconstruct the evolution of the occupational structure of Britain from the late medieval period down to the early twentieth century.

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Population

Population

Our research seeks to understand the demographic pressures and choices people in past societies experienced, from the medieval period to the recent past. We focus primarily on the population history of the world's first industrial nation, Britain, understood within the context of European and global developments.

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Economy

Economy

Radical changes in the form and location of economic activity, income and wealth have occurred in Britain and Europe in various phases from Medieval times up to the present. These affected personal economic opportunity, the occupational choices of the population, their welfare, mobility, skills, consumption and demographic structures. These in turn influenced the development of business growth and innovation, and the economies of localities, regions and nations.

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Society

Society

Welfare systems both past and present rely upon a combination of support supplied by kin and charity, either legally enforced or voluntary. This research theme is concerned with exploring the demographic, legal and economic underpinnings of past welfare regimes in order to throw light on the different strategies which societies have adopted to support their most vulnerable members. More broadly, this research theme encompasses the economic and social implications of demographic change.

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Integrated Census Microdata (I-CeM) launch

19th June, 2024

 

The Integrated Census Microdata (I-CeM) is a collection of individual-level census data for Great Britain covering the period 1851 to 1921. The underlying raw census data have been enhanced through the creation of multiple coded and standardised derived variables which have been specially designed to facilitate comparative analyses over time.

By making available to academic researchers detailed information about everyone resident in the country, collected at decennial censuses from 1851 to 1921, the I-CeM data collection – one of the largest of its kind in the world – has transformed the landscape for research work in the economic, social, and demographic history of this country during a period of profound change in the wake of the industrial revolution.

A multi-criteria simulation of European coastal shipping routes in the ‘age of sail’

29th May, 2024

 

Alexis D. Litvine, Joseph Lewis, and Arthur W. Starzec, have a new article in the publication Nature. It introduces a new method to model sailing routes before the age of steam, based on real-world sailing conditions. Using a broad range of historical meteorological data, it offers monthly routing predictions for historical shipping corridors, and tests them against historical evidence.

New publication: Built-up areas of nineteenth-century Britain

15th May, 2024

 

"Built-up areas of nineteenth-century Britain: An integrated methodology for extracting high-resolution urban footprints from historical maps" has been published in Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History.

Using both "off the shelf" remote sensing software, machine learning, and computational algorithms, this article details a new methodology to extract building and urban footprints from historical maps. The developed methods can now be applied to other maps and regions to provide useful quantitative data for analysing long-term urban development. The code and data created are made available with the article.

Open call to help map out London history

25th April, 2024

 

A new easy-to-use website designed with the University of Cambridge has been launched to help place fire insurance policies from 1700s to 1865 onto a digital map. After more than two years of digitisation – covering around 550,000 policy entries – this vast resource is now helping to build a clearer picture of how London looked hundreds of years ago. "This project is both important from a heritage perspective and a scientific one", said project lead and Campop senior researcher Dr Alexis Litvine.

Launch of Economies Past website

5th April, 2024

 

The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure has launched a new interactive website www.economiespast.org which allows user to map occupational structure from 1600-1911 and 2011.

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There are no seminars scheduled at present, but you can view the archive of previous seminars.