York History Fringe sessions

As well as our main lectures series, York History Weekend visitors can enjoy our exciting History Fringe sessions. Taking place at King's Manor, part of the University of York, in October, these free 15-minute sessions are hosted by scholars from the University of York and are guaranteed to keep you occupied and informed...

Audience members at York History Weekend 2017.

Engineering the exemplary: the heroic identities of George Stephenson and Richard Trevithick

Since the mid-19th century, George Stephenson and Richard Trevithick have been celebrated as important engineers whose work was instrumental in shaping the modern railway industry as we know it today. In this talk, Sophie Vohra will look at the role of commemoration in shaping and maintaining their public identities as technological heroes, while also showing what these tools of remembrance say about the ‘worshippers’ who choose to preserve their memory’.

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Time: 11.10am-11.25am

Date: Saturday 20 October

Location: King’s Manor

Speaker: Sophie Vohra


Bankruptcy in England, 1680-1750

Between 1680 and 1750, bankruptcy was a criminal offence and failure to comply with the legislation of the time could result in death by hanging. In this session, Aidan Collins reveals how attitudes to debt and debt recovery have changed since then.

Time: 1.30pm-1.45pm

Date: Saturday 20 October

Location: King’s Manor

Speaker: Aidan Collins


Labouring bodies: reassessing women’s work in early modern Yorkshire

How did Yorkshire women make a living for themselves and their families in the early modern period? In this talk, Amy Creighton explores how women adapted their bodies and became associated with certain skills in the pre-industrial economy.

Time: 3.15pm-3.30pm

Date: Saturday 20 October

Location: King’s Manor

Speaker: Amy Creighton


James Field Stanfield: freemason, abolitionist and actor on the Northern Georgian Stage

The Dublin-born actor James Field Stanfield (1749-1824) spent most of his career performing in theatres in the north of England. To some, his profession made him little more than a vagabond. However, as Declan McCormack reveals, he also used his theatrical persona for political ends and was one of the earliest examples of an actor who was also an activist.

Time: 4.55pm-5.10pm

Date: Saturday 20 October

Location: King’s Manor

Speaker: Declan McCormack


Who did the work? Scientific instruments in 17th-century London

In this talk, Joshua Scarlett examines the scientific instruments made by natural philosopher Robert Hooke’s network of collaborators and argues that the years 1660-1700 witnessed a gradual change from one-man, one-workshop towards collaboration. He also explains how the past can be reconstructed using artefacts as evidence rather than papers, and what benefits this has in the world of history today.

Time: 11.40am-11.55am

Date: Sunday 21 October

Location: King’s Manor

Speaker: Joshua Scarlett


Fear in history: why does it matter?

What ties history and fear together, and why should we care? In this session, Catherine-Rose Hailstone provides some answers to these questions, exploring what fear is and why it is vital for historians to study it.

Time: 1.30pm-1.45pm

Date: Sunday 21 October

Location: King’s Manor

Speaker: Catherine-Rose Hailstone


A craftsman of the past: the story of Orderic Vitalis

In 1141, at the age of 67, Orderic Vitalis set down his quill for the last time. Thus he concluded his monumental Historia Ecclesiastica, a sprawling work to which he had devoted nearly 30 years of his life. Orderic’s history is in many ways perplexing to the modern reader; it is structured loosely around stories, replete with digressions, and evolved organically over decades. And yet, the Historia is one of the most important sources for the century after the Norman Conquest. In this talk, Tom Powles explains why. 

Time: 3.15pm-3.30pm

Date: Sunday 21 October

Location: King’s Manor

Speaker: Tom Powles


The British political response to the arrival of Spanish Refugees during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

Why did the British government allow 4,000 Spanish Civil War refugees to enter the country in May 1937? Britain had kept out of the war, but can this intake of refugees be seen as a political act in itself? James Baker analyses the context behind the decision.

Time: 4.50pm-5.05pm

Date: Sunday 21 October

Location: King’s Manor

Speaker: James Baker



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Locations correct at time of publication. Please double-check the location printed on your ticket for final locations to make sure there haven’t been any changes since this programme was first published.