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About the Cambridge Group

The Cambridge Group for the History of Population & Social Structure was founded in 1964. In the fifty years since then, members of the Group have made a spectacular series of discipline-transforming contributions to social science history. These include work on historical demography and household structure, on the interdependence of these elements with welfare systems, and on occupational structure.

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The occupational structure of Britain 1379-1911

This research program directed by Leigh Shaw-Taylor and Tony Wrigley aims ultimately to reconstruct the evolution of the occupational structure of Britain from the late medieval period down to the early twentieth century. The project has been designated as a British Academy Research project since 2007 (renewed for a further five years in 2016).

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Historical epidemiology and determinants of mortality

Infectious disease mortality is a major cause of death in historical populations, but the age, social status and gender of those most susceptible has shifted markedly over time and between regions. Urbanisation and population growth have led to altered geographies of mortality. Our research makes use of demographic sources such as population listings, parish registers and the Census to investigate the changing pattern of mortality in Britain from the medieval period to the early 20th century.

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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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Welfare, economy and 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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Inaugural meeting of ENCHPOPGOS network

19th September, 2017


The inaugural meeting of the ENCHPOPGOS network will take place on 25th to 27th September at Robinson College, Cambridge. ENCHPOPGOS, the European Network for the Comparative History of Population Geography and Occupational Structure, brings together scholars from all over Europe who are or plan to work on similar projects and are committed to working in a commensurable and common framework over the period 1500-1914 to create datasets not merely of national occupational structures but scalable datasets at the local and regional levels.

The network is co-ordinated by Dr Leigh Shaw-Taylor, Director of CAMPOP, and Dr Alexis Litvine.

Sebastian Keibek wins new researcher's prize at the Economic History Society Conference

18th April, 2016


Congratulations to Sebastian Keibek, a PhD student at CAMPOP, who was joint winner of the new researcher's prize at the Economic History Society 2016 Annual Conference, held on 1-3 April at Robinson College, Cambridge. The title of Sebastian's paper was: 'The regional and national male occupational structure of England and Wales, 1600-1820'.

Eve Also Delved: Gendering Economic History

5th January, 2016


The Ellen McArthur lectures in economic history, to be held at the Law Faculty at 5pm on 23rd & 24th February and 1st & 2nd March 2016, will be given by Professor Jane Humphries, University of Oxford.

Women from all times and regions will be seen about their daily lives, at work and at home, in these 4 lectures. New sources will be used to reconstruct and analyze their many productive contributions to their families and communities. Snapshots in time and micro studies underpin a more general account which can then be related to the grand narratives of British economic history. Jane Humphries will argue that we need to acknowledge the productive activities of women and children to build not only a more complete but a more correct economic history.

Journeys that show John was our king of the road

10th June, 2015


The Times features a full-page article ('Journeys that show John was our king of the road', 10th June 2015) about research undertaken by members of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure.

Max Satchell and Ellen Potter used GIS to map the locations of John, Henry III, and Edward I from place and date clauses of thousands of royal letters and charters from 1199 to 1305. This created extremely detailed itineraries, enabling the day to day movements of each king to be reconstructed. By tracking the movements of King John and his successors through England and Wales it is possible to learn a great deal about medieval transport and travel.

New book on Population, Welfare and Economic Change in Britain published

19th February, 2015


A new book edited by Chris Briggs, P.M. Kitson and S.J. Thompson has been published: Population, Welfare and Economic Change in Britain, 1290-1834 (Boydell & Brewer, 2014). This book grew out of a conference on 'Population, economy and welfare, c.1200-2000' held in Cambridge in 2011.

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  • 18th January 2018:
    Whom to trust to moralise the market. Details…
  • 23rd January 2018:
    Were nonconformist occupations different? A comparison with fathers' occupations from Anglican baptisms in six Welsh hundreds, 1813-20. Details…
  • 24th January 2018:
    The exceptional case of the late medieval English economy: comparing price, wage and rent trends to Scotland and the Southern Low Countries. Details…
  • 1st February 2018:
    Elite women and the agricultural landscape . Details…
  • 6th February 2018:
    The Mid-Twentieth Century Babyboom and the Role of Social Interaction. An Agent-Based Modelling Approach. Details…
  • 7th February 2018:
    Architecture and the English economy, 1200-1500: a new history of the parish church over the longue durée. Details…
  • 15th February 2018:
    Religion, revelry and resistance in Jacobean Lancashire. Details…
  • 21st February 2018:
    Coinage in the later medieval countryside: single-finds and the evidence from Rendlesham, Suffolk. Details…
  • 1st March 2018:
    Debtors’ schedules: a new source for understanding the economy in 18th-century England. Details…
  • 6th March 2018:
    Environmental shocks and demographic consequences in England: 1280-1325 and 1580-1640 compared. Details…
  • 13th March 2018:
    160 years of occupational structure: Late Imperial China and its regions. Details…
  • 26th April 2018:
    Title to be confirmed. Details…
  • 3rd May 2018:
    Title to be confirmed. Details…
  • 8th May 2018:
    Title to be confirmed. Details…
  • 10th May 2018:
    Title to be confirmed. Details…