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About the Cambridge Group

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

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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Wealthy businesswomen, marriage and succession in eighteenth-century London

22nd February, 2024

 

A new article by Amy Erickson, 'Wealthy businesswomen, marriage and succession in eighteenth-century London' is published in Business History 66:1 (2024), on open access.

It starts from the business cards of individual women, and traces them over their lifespan. At this social level, marriage appears to have had no impact on women's business careers, and widows maintained proprietorship of the joint enterprises they had run with their husbands for decades after their sons' majority.

Award for Ying Dai

7th November, 2023

 

We are very pleased to announce that Ying Dai, a research associate at Campop, has been awarded the Narada Foundation Best Research Paper on Quantitative History 2nd prize. Ying's paper was selected from among the fifty speakers at the 9th International Symposium on Quantitative History in Shanghai in July 2023.

Professor Sir Tony Wrigley FBA (17 Aug 1931 – 25 Feb 2022)

16th March, 2022

 

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Professor Sir Tony Wrigley.

A leading scholar in a number of different social science disciplines and President of the British Academy, his first academic post was in the Geography Department and in 1964 he founded, with Peter Laslett, The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure and transformed knowledge of British population in the pre-industrial era. He remained actively involved in Campop throughout his career and into his retirement, and we will miss his gentle presence at coffee and his kindly encouragement as well as his considerable intellectual contributions.

A full obituary is available.

Dr Alice Reid elected President of the British Society for Population Studies

30th September, 2021

 

Congratulations to Dr Alice Reid who has been elected President of the
British Society for Population Studies.

The enduring geography of mortality and its social causes

7th July, 2021

 

"If you had a map of Covid's biggest effects now and a map of child deaths in 1850, they look remarkably similar" said Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer of England and Wales, recently. The BBC interviewed Alice Reid and used data from Populations Past, her interactive website on Victorian and Edwardian population, for a news article on the endurance of patterns in mortality and its social causes.

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