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HCA Tasters: Migrants in London from the Tudors to the twentieth century

Venue: Online

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Migrants in London from the Tudors to the twentieth century

Dr Brodie Waddell and Dr Julia Laite

How can the history of migration help us rethink our ideas about it in the present? In this session we will explore how today’s London was built by a steady stream of newcomers over the past five centuries. We will touch on famous examples such as the Huguenot refugees in the 1680s and the Windrush generation in the 1940s and 50s, but we will broaden and deepen this story through discussion of other waves of new arrivals and some of the remarkable individuals who were among them. Specifically, we will discuss the ways that migrants shaped the metropolis and the reactions – both positive and negative – they faced. The session will demonstrate that London was a city of migrants throughout this period, and we will discuss why this longer history is not well known among many Londoners today. The session will include a short introductory lecture from Julia Laite and Brodie Waddell, a conversation between the two historians about changes and continuities over these centuries, an extended period to ask questions and discuss some specific examples, and closing remarks from Matt Cook, the Head of Department, about how this fits into Birkbeck’s broader teaching and research.

Booking is essential so that we may send you the joining link.



This event is part of a series of six 60-minute on-line taster events exploring histories of London, of migration, of sex and sexuality and much else besides, designed to give a flavour of studying at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in our department.

You can join one session or the whole series. Video introductions to the topic will be available ahead of most sessions and each one will conclude with a short question and answer session about the department and opportunities for studying with us.

All are welcome – from offer holders and those thinking of applying to those simply interested in the topics.  

Taster 1: Mon 24 January 6:00 - 7:00pm, Migrants in London from the Tudors to the twentieth century

Taster 2: Tue 22 February 6:00 - 7:00pm, Migration and Citizenship in the Mediterranean: From Ancient Times to the Present

Taster 3: Thu 24 March 6:00 - 7:00pm, London: the world in a city

Taster 4: Mon 28 April 6:00 - 7:00pm, Sex and Sexualities in Modern and Contemporary History

Taster 5: Thu 26 May 6:00 - 7:00pm, Historical Approaches to the Climate Crisis: from Mennonite farmers to modern Consumers

Taster 6: Thu 30 June 6:00 - 7:00pm, Ancient and Modern Selves


This taster series is part of the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology's Discover the Past events series, open to the public and students. To see the full list of events, visit the Discover the Past web page.

The Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck has a distinguished tradition as an international centre of excellence. We are the only university department in London to include archaeologists, classicists and historians investigating every period from prehistory to the early twenty-first century. Join us to discover the past and engage with the present across continents and cultures.

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