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# The enduring geography of mortality and its social causes

BBC News

"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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# Did industrialisation really raise mortality rates in English cities?

And why is this question so difficult to answer? A new paper by Romola Davenport, published in a special issue on health and industrialisation in the International Journal of Paleopathology, provides a succinct summary of the state of historical knowledge about urban mortality patterns during the Industrial Revolution and highlights where collaborations between archaeologists and historians are vital to new understanding.

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# Census 2021 public engagement podcasts

Alice Reid and Sophy Arulanantham from the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure have teamed up with Year 8s from South Wales to co-produce census-related public engagement material. Check out our podcasts in which year 8s interview census experts. This public engagement project is funded by the AHRC and ESRC in conjunction with The National Archives and the Office for National Statistics.

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# Engaging the public in the Census 2021

Dr Alice Reid and colleagues have been awarded one of 15 projects by the AHRC/ESRC to engage the public in Census 2021. This project will inform KS3 students about the relevance of the Census, provide insight into being a data-driven social scientist and enhance the school curriculum. Using Census returns from the early nineteenth century to the present day, students from South Wales state schools will co-produce school resources that explore aspects of Census taking and Census data.

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# (When) are you going to have children?

An article in the new issue of the Cambridge University research magazine, Horizons, explores decisions about if and when to have children, considering what influences come into play and how these have changed over time. The article brings together research from across the University, featuring Campop member Dr Alice Reid.

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# The Changing Geography of Ill Health

The Chief Medical Officer of the UK Chris Whitty's recent lecture on 25th November on the Geography of Ill Health will be of interest to all geographers, but it is particularly pleasing to see it featuring some maps from our interactive online atlas, www.PopulationsPast.org. Whitty uses the maps to illustrate the fact that the areas with particularly high infant mortality in the past still have high levels of ill health today.

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# Height and health in late eighteenth-century England

'Drawing for the Militia' (sketch, 1847) by John Phillip (1817-1867) Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums (CC-BY-NC)

A new paper by CamPop members Hanna Jaadla, Leigh Shaw-Taylor and Romola Davenport, published Online Early in Population Studies, analyses a very unusual sample of representative data on adult male heights, recorded in militia ballot lists in the county of Dorset in the years 1798 and 1799.

The paper confirms the tall stature of English men relative to other European populations in this period, and reports evidence of a positive social gradient in height. However the gradient was small, and labourers were on average only 2 cm shorter than farmers and gentlemen.

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# Re-introducing the Cambridge Group Family Reconstitutions

A new paper has been published on the Cambridge Group Family Reconstitutions by George Alter, Jim Oeppen and Gill Newton. English Population History from Family Reconstitution 1580–1837 was important both for its scope and its methodology.

The volume was based on data from family reconstitutions of 26 parishes carefully selected to represent 250 years of English demographic history. These data remain relevant for new research questions, such as studying the intergenerational inheritance of fertility and mortality.

To expand their availability, the family reconstitutions have been translated into new formats: a relational database, the Intermediate Data Structure (IDS) and an episode file for fertility analysis. The paper describes that process and examines the impact of methodological decisions on analysis of the data.

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# COVID-19 related information

The history of mortality, infectious diseases and long-term improvements to life expectancy is the focus of a major Wellcome funded project led by Richard Smith and Romola Davenport. Davenport and co-authors have recently published papers on: smallpox, the early history of public health from an evolutionary perspective and mortality and urbanisation.

Leigh Shaw-Taylor has published a beginners' guide to the history of disease, epidemics and long-term improvements to mortality in a special issue of Economic History Review. This is one of three free-to-download special issues on the history of disease published by leading journals on the subject.

Chris Briggs, Romola Davenport, Leigh Shaw-Taylor and Samantha Williams have contributed to podcasts in Chris Clark's History of Now series.

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# Atlas of Entrepreneurship launch

Entrepreneurs in the past were twice as numerous than today with women particularly strongly involved in running their own businesses. The newly launched Atlas of Entrepreneurship covering 1851 to 1911 for Britain show how their businesses developed across the country - with particularly high rates in many rural areas as well as the large cities.

This is the result of the major ESRC project led by Bob Bennett over the last 4 years. Martin Lucas-Smith as web developer, and the main team on involved with the research Harry Smith, Carry van Lieshout and Piero Montebruno have now been able to release the Atlas; and the database deposit form the research has just been released at the UK Data Archive.

The database covers about 2 million employers and 14 million self-employed people. They have been found by algorithm and desk searches from the 180m people who lived in Britain and were recorded in the censuses between 1851 and 1911. Various statistical models and machine learning have been used as tools find, parse and code these data. This unique resource has already seen various journal publications and a research book. Now the Atlas provides opportunities for researchers, students, schools, and the general public to explore the data in an accessible way.

The research book, The age of Entrepreneurship shows how entrepreneurship rates of 16-18% were achieved in the 1880s compared to 10% today, whist economically occupied women were twice as likely to be self-employed then than now. Despite the changes since the 1980s which have seen rapid growth of self-employed and the Gig-economy, large and small business proprietors were relatively much more common then, and more widely spread around the country.

The censuses were originally encoded and deposited as a digital record by Kevin Schürer, Eddy Higgs and their team as I-CeM. The software for the Atlas was originally developed by Martin Lucas-Smith and Alice Reid as part of the Populations Past project. The new output shows how the Geography Department is contributing to cutting edge economic and social research.

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# The geography of smallpox in England before vaccination: A conundrum resolved

Quarantine and isolation measures against plague are well known, but similar more local measures were used in eighteenth century England against endemic smallpox, with success in southern but not northern England. Romola Davenport and co-authors at CAMPOP explore this in a recent article published in Social Science & Medicine.

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# The early history of public health from an evolutionary perspective

Attempts to curb COVID-19 draw on long-established preventive measures, in the absence of vaccines or cures. These measures were surprisingly effective against some of the most lethal diseases. Romola Davenport and Richard Smith explore the history and evolution of public health in a recent article.

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# Urbanisation and mortality in Britain, c.1800-50

A new paper by CAMPOP member Romola Davenport has been published in the Economic History Review (online early). The paper addresses the question of whether mortality worsened specifically in industrial and manufacturing towns in the middle decades of the nineteenth century in England.

Using comparative data for British, European, and American cities and selected rural populations, the study finds good evidence for widespread increases in mortality in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. However this phenomenon was evident in rural as well as urban populations, and so it is unlikely to represent a simple trade-off between health and wealth during industrialisation. The paper suggests that documented changes in scarlet fever virulence may have contributed to the rise and subsequent fall of mortality.

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# LPSS Roger Schofield Memorial Conference postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak

Unfortunately, due to the uncertainties surrounding the developing COVID-19 outbreak, the LPSS Committee have taken the difficult decision to postpone the Roger Schofield Memorial Conference, which was due to take place on 4th April.

The committee will now work to rearrange the conference for later in the year. The date and venue will be confirmed once arrangements are in place and it is clear that speakers and attendees should be able to travel easily and freely to the conference.

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# 'Plagues and Peoples Revisited' workshop cancelled due to COVID-19 outbreak

The 'Plagues and Peoples Revisited' workshop has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We hope to reschedule the event at a later date. Further details will be posted on the website when they become available.

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# 'Plagues and Peoples revisited' workshop

An interdisciplinary workshop, 'Plagues and Peoples Revisited', (to be held in Cambridge, March 23-24 2020) celebrates the conclusion of the Wellcome Trust-funded project 'Migration, mortality, and medicalisation: investigating the long-run epidemiological consequences of urbanisation'.

It will showcase multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of historical mortality patterns, and encourage the development of new interdisciplinary research projects.

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# Urbanization and mortality in Britain, c. 1800–50

A new paper by CAMPOP member Romola Davenport has been published in the Economic History Review (online early). The paper addresses the question of whether mortality worsened specifically in industrial and manufacturing towns in the middle decades of the nineteenth century in England.

Using comparative data for British, European, and American cities and selected rural populations, the study finds good evidence for widespread increases in mortality in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. However this phenomenon was evident in rural as well as urban populations, and so it is unlikely to represent a simple trade-off between health and wealth during industrialisation. The paper suggests that documented changes in scarlet fever virulence may have contributed to the rise and subsequent fall of mortality.

Read more …

# New journal article by Alice Reid and Hanna Jaadla

A new paper has been published in Population Studies (online early) by CAMPOP members Alice Reid, Hanna Jaadla and Eilidh Garrett. The paper presents a methodological advance in the form of two new variants of the Own Children Method, an indirect method of calculating fertility from cross-sectional census data. These new variants allow for the presence of non-marital fertility and permit the more robust calculation of fertility rates for social sub-groups of the population, and will be important for anyone interested in calculating fertility from census data.

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# Roger Schofield

It is with great sadness that we learn that Roger Schofield has passed away.

Roger was a key member of the Group from its very early days, and although his recent years were blighted with disability, he retained a strong interest in and connection with the Group.

Roger was born in 1937 and received both undergraduate and PhD degrees in history from the University of Cambridge. In 1966 he was appointed as Research Assistant at the Group - which was then only two years old itself. He quickly began to play a major role in corresponding with and encouraging 'le secret weapon anglais': the small army of amateur local historians who collected and counted baptisms, burials and marriages from parish registers around the country in an early crowd sourcing exercise. He played a major role in the analyses of these data, offering important and novel interpretations of the course of British population history published in numerous journal articles and books. He was Director of the Cambridge Group from 1974 to 1994, and played a significant role in British and international historical demography: among other roles he was President of the British Society of Population Studies, 1985-87, and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1988. He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge since 1969.

In the prime of his life, before the major stroke he suffered in the late 1980s or early 1990s, he was a man of immense energy and razor-sharp intellect. He was also unfailingly kind, generous, and encouraging towards young and visiting scholars at the Group.

In recent years his health suffered further setbacks, but he continued to live at home with the help of carers, and was always interested to hear news of the Group and of old friends and colleagues. He was a key member of the Group in all sorts of ways: in its ground-breaking work, its direction, and its collegiate and enabling atmosphere. Those of us who knew him will miss him greatly, and we all have much to thank him for.

# New paper from CAMPOP member Romola Davenport, 'Infant-feeding practices and infant survival by familial wealth in London, 1752–1812'

A fashionable mother wearing a dress with slits across the breasts in order to feed her baby before she dashes off to the carriage waiting outside. Coloured etching by J. Gillray, 1796. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

A new paper has been published by CAMPOP member Romola Davenport, 'Infant-feeding practices and infant survival by familial wealth in London, 1752–1812', published in History of the Family (Online Early).

The paper demonstrates that infants mortality was initially higher in wealthier families in eighteenth century London, but declined across the social scale over the period 1752-1812.

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# The surprising geography of smallpox in England before vaccination: a conundrum resolved

Sources visible in Appendix 1, Table S1, of the article, available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953618301862#appsec1

A new paper by CAMPOP members, Romola Davenport, Max Satchell and Leigh Shaw-Taylor, demonstrates a strong north-south divide in the impact of smallpox in Britain before vaccination. Mining c. 7 million burial records for evidence of smallpox deaths, the study established that smallpox was an endemic childhood disease in northern Britain, but remained a relatively rare epidemic disease affecting adults as well as children in southern England. This was an unexpected finding, because compared to most of Britain southern England was relatively densely settled and economically developed with good transport connections, factors expected to promote disease circulation.

The study, published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, provided evidence that very local public health initiatives in southern England, especially in the form of isolation of sufferers in pest houses, and later mass immunisation, were the main factors in establishing the north-south pattern. This study demonstrates the surprising efficacy of uncoordinated and small-scale interventions to control the most lethal disease of eighteenth century Europe.

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# New interactive website, PopulationsPast.org, now live!

PopulationsPast.org, a new online interactive Atlas of Victorian and Edwardian Population, is now live!

Explore regional and local variations in a range of demographic and household indicators and how these changed between 1851 and 1911, zoom in to focus on particular areas, compare two maps side-by-side, and download the underlying data much of which has been calculated from individual level census data. More resources will be added over the coming months.

Created by a team led by Dr Alice Reid of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure (Campop) at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, with help from colleagues at the Universities of Essex and Leicester and funding from the ESRC and the Isaac Newton Trust. The site coding was implemented by Geography's own Webmaster.

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# Inaugural meeting of ENCHPOPGOS network

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.

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

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'.

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# Eve Also Delved: Gendering Economic History

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.

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# Journeys that show John was our king of the road

Max Satchell and Ellen Potter

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.

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# Sebastian Keibek awarded JRF at Queen's College, Cambridge

Many congratulations to Sebastian Keibek, a PhD student at CAMPOP, who has been awarded a Junior Research Fellowship at Queen's College, Cambridge, starting on 1 October 2015.

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

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 at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in September 2011 to celebrate the scholarly achievements of Richard Smith on his retirement as Professor of Historical Geography and Demography in the Department of Geography. The book is thus an 'unofficial' festschrift for Richard and features work by his colleagues, friends and students, many of them associated with the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure.

Population, Welfare and Economic Change presents the latest research on the causes and consequences of British population change from the medieval period to the eve of the Industrial Revolution, in town and countryside.

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# CAMPOP featured by ESRC as one of greatest achievements in social science research

Today the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure (CAMPOP) is featured by the ESRC for its achievement in transforming our knowledge of Britain's demographic past. This is part of a year-long celebration of the social sciences and how they have contributed to society by the ESRC to mark their 50th anniversary.

Work undertaken at CAMPOP means that we know know a great deal more about the demographic and family history of England than we do of any other nation. It has also provided important knowledge about the demographic transition in Britain in more recent times, analysing census data from Scotland, England and Wales. The group's research has shed light on areas ranging from child mortality and family structures to housing and employment, and was crucial in revolutionising our understanding of how industrialisation first occurred in world history. The research group has been innovative in its methods of data collection and analysis, involving amateur and family historians in data gathering. A recent development has been an expansion of work using GIS (Geographical Information Systems), which is already producing many new insights.

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# Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure: 50th Anniversary Conference

A conference, Population Histories in Context: Past achievements and future directions, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, will be held on 16th-18th September 2014 at Downing College, Cambridge, UK.

The conference will consist of six themed sessions, with invited speakers covering topics related to the Group's past work and to emerging issues: population and economy; mortality and the urban penalty; household formation systems; marital fertility and celibacy; ageing; and 'the West and the Rest'.

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# Can Europe reproduce itself?

Across the EU, people are having fewer children. However, fertility rates vary widely between countries. This panel event considers the factors causing regional fertility differences and will debate Europe's reproductive future.

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# The national census

Members of The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, part of the Department, have been undertaking research on the census over the last 200 years:

# All poor, but no paupers: a Japanese perspective on the Great Divergence

A set of Leverhulme lectures to be held at the Law Faculty on 5pm on 1st, 3rd, 8th and 10th February 2010, to be given by a Visitor to the Department, Professor Osamu Saito, Cambridge Group and Hitotsubashi University.

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# 25 years of Family Forms and beyond

Conference: 25 years of Family Forms and beyond