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Professor Matthew Davies

Matthew Davies is Executive Dean, School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy and Professor of Urban History. He was previously Director of the Centre for Metropolitan History and Pro-Dean of the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Research highlights

Professor Davies’ research interests focus on the history of medieval and early modern London, and cities more generally. He is particularly interested in questions relating to the roles of the guilds, known as 'livery companies', in connection with trade and production, regulation (economic as well as moral) and religious culture. His recent work has focused on the ways in which the guilds developed and articulated ideas about their own histories, from the medieval period up to the mid seventeenth century. He has directed a number of major research projects, many of which have involved using digital tools such as GIS and databases to study cities.

Research supervision

    Professor Davies welcomes applications from prospective PhD students and visiting students wishing to work on topics in late medieval and early modern history, especially the history of London and other urban centres. Recent students include:

    Catherine Wright, 'Social and Cultural Connections between the English and Dutch, 1660-1720' (2016)

    Laurie Lindey, 'The London furniture trade 1640-1720' (2015)

    Samantha Harper, 'London and the Crown in the reign of Henry VII' (2015

    David Carmichael, 'Feeding and supporting the poor of London in the early seventeenth century: the city's response to crisis and the effects upon the poor' (2014)

    Jordan Landes, 'The role of London in the creation of a transatlantic Quaker community in the late 17th and early 18th centuries'  (2010).

Professional roles

  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • ESRC Peer Review College member
  • Chair of the Editorial Committee of The London Journal
  • Council Member, British Record Society
  • Trustee, Historic Towns Atlas Trust
  • Chair, Isobel Thornley Fund Committee

Recent books

    Medieval Merchants and Money (ed. With M. Allen) (London, 2016)

    The London and Middlesex Hearth Tax of 1666 (ed. with V. Harding, J. Price and A. Wareham) (British Records Society Hearth Tax Series, IX, 2014)

    London and Beyond: Essays in Honour of Derek Keene (ed. with James A. Galloway) (London, 2012)

    London and the Kingdom: Essays in Honour of Caroline M. Barron (ed. with Andrew Prescott) (Donington, 2008)

    People in Place: Families, Households and Housing in Early Modern London (with V. Harding, P. Baker, M. Merry, O. Myhill, G. Newton and R. Smith) (London, 2008)

    Recent book chapters

    ‘Writying, making and engrocyng’: clerks, guilds and identity in late medieval London’, in Medieval Merchants and Money (ed. With M. Allen) (London, 2016), pp. 21-42

    ‘City and Suburbs: London 1400-1700’, in Evolução da Paisagem Urbana: Cidade e Periferia, ed. M. Do Carmo Ribiero and A. Sousa Melo (Braga, 2014), pp. 205-28

    'Crown, City and Guild in Late Medieval London', in London and Beyond: Essays in Honour of Derek Keene, ed. M. Davies and J.A. Galloway (London, 2012), pp. 241-61

    '"Monuments of Honor": clerks, histories and heroes in the London livery companies',  in Parliament, Personalities and Power. Papers Presented to Linda S. Clark, ed. H. Kleineke (Woodbridge, 2011), pp. 145-65

Research Projects

Professor Matthew Davies, Executive Dean

Contact details

School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy
Birkbeck, University of London
26 Russell Square

tel: +44 (0)20 3073 8065