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Professor Matthew Davies

  • Overview



    Matthew Davies is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Professor of Urban History. He was previously a Pro-Dean of the School of Advanced Study, University of London (2012-16) and Director of the Centre for Metropolitan History at the Institute of Historical Research.



    • BA, University of Oxford, 1990
    • DPhil, University of Oxford, 1994
    • SFHEA, Advance HE, 2018

    Professional activities

    ESRC Peer Review College member

    Member of the Academic Panel of the Museum of London

    Trustee, The London Journal Trust

    Trustee, Historic Towns Atlas Trust

    Chair, Isobel Thornley Fund Committee

    Honours and awards

    • Fellow, Royal Historical Society,
    • Fellow, Society of Antiquaries of London,
    • Visiting Fellow, Folger Library, Washington DC, February 2013
    • Visiting Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München , February 2011
    • William J. Ringler Fellow, Huntington Library CA, February 2011
    • SFHEA, Advance HE, December 2017


  • Research


    Research interests

    • medieval and early modern history
    • urban history
    • history of London
    • digital mapping and public engagement

    Research overview

    Matthew is an urban historian, specialising in the history of medieval and early modern cites and London in particular. He has published extensively on London's economy, government and people, including the city's trades and guilds. He has directed or co-directed numerous research projects with colleagues at Birkbeck and other institutions in the UK and other countries, working on themes in urban history as well as exploring the use of digital tools, especially maps and data, in understanding the development of cities. His current main project is 'Layers of London', working with partners at museums, archives and in London's boroughs to create a digital resource of layered maps combined with crowd-sourced content about people, places and communities.

    Research clusters and groups

    Research projects

    Layers of London: mapping the city’s heritage.

    Records of London's Livery Companies Online (ROLLCO)

    People, property and charity: the Clothworker' Company 1500 - 1750 (Clothworkers' Company)

    Locating London's Past: a geo-referencing tool for mapping historical and archaeological evidence, 1660-1800 (JISC)

    Life in the Suburbs: Health, Domesticity and Status in Early Modern London (ESRC)

    Londoners and the Law: Pleadings in the Court of Common Pleas, 1399-1509 (AHRC)

    Housing environments and health in early modern London 1550-1750 (Wellcome Trust, 2006-8)

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    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.

    Doctoral alumni since 2013-14

    • XU YANG
  • Publications



    Book Section