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15 September 2023 - 15 September 2023

9:00AM - 5:00PM

Hatfield College, Durham - The Birley Room

  • Free

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An in-person symposium hosted by Durham University’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

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J.M.W. Turner, Durham Cathedral with a Rainbow, c. 1817, © Tate. CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported).

The English Georgian North, 1714-1830: Rethinking Cultures and Connections

An in-person symposium hosted by Durham University’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

The Birley Room, Hatfield College, Durham,

15 September 2023

There will be no registration fee for this event. Teas, coffees, and a light lunch will be provided.


Registration for the symposium has now closed (due to venue capacity). 

There will be at least one online-only follow-up discussion, and additional news and events - to receive email notifications about these activities, please register your interest here


This symposium builds on conversations which have been taking place at Durham University over the last fifteen months as part of the IMEMS research strand ‘The Georgian North’, designed and led by Professor Fiona Robertson:

The symposium sets out to develop new approaches to the intellectual and creative cultures of the northern counties of England in the Georgian period, 1714-1830. Important contributions to knowledge, interpretation, creative practice, and scientific advance were made in the north country during this still largely rural and early industrial period in its history. They took shape in social, professional, and discursive networks of considerable complexity and reach, bringing together artists, abolitionists, antiquaries, architects, writers, theologians, musicians, astronomers, philosophers, mathematicians, botanists, landscape designers, linguists, clergy, social and political reformers, actors, and archaeologists. Yet there has been little connected cross-disciplinary exploration of these cultures, their significance, and their legacies.

Programme for 15th September, 2023

(Download the Georgian North Symposium Sept 15th 2023_Programme)

9-9.30: Registration (tea and coffee available)

9.30-9.45: Welcome and Introduction: Fiona Robertson (Durham)

9.45-11: Session 1

Gary Kelly (Alberta), ‘Popular Antiquities, the Georgian North, and the Invention of National Folklore’

Barbara Crosbie (Durham), ‘Print Networks and the Newspaper Trade in the Georgian North’

Honor Rieley (Glasgow), ‘”Truly Provincial”: The Mitchell Family and the Newcastle Literary Scene, 1802–32’

11-11.15: Coffee and Tea break

11.15-12.30: Session 2

Kate Retford (Birkbeck), ‘The Fashion for Print Rooms in County Durham’

Peter N. Lindfield (Cardiff), ‘Gothic in the Georgian North: Architecture, Wallpaper, and The Strawberry Circle’

Camilla Anderson (independent scholar), ‘Conversation and Exchange: Using Wallington Hall in Northumberland to illustrate the influences on garden design in the Eighteenth Century’

Stefano Cracolici (Durham), ‘”The High Road to Taste”: Rome in the Correspondence of Robert Wharton’

12.30-1.15: Lunch

1.15-2.30: Session 3

Martin Ward (Durham), ‘Thomas Wright: Influential Astronomer and Cosmologist of the North East of England’

Brian Tanner (Durham), ‘Magnets, Comets and Rings round the Earth: Later Scientific Speculations of Thomas Wright’

Amélie Addison (Leeds), ‘Notes and Networks: Multi-source Perspectives for Regional Musical-Historical Research’

2.30-2.45: break

2.45-4: Session 4

Sue Ward (Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne), ‘Radicalism and Rhetoric: Speeches, Broadsides and Songs in the General Election of 1774’

Nigel Aston (York), ‘Piety, Politics, and Cultures: Cathedrals, Chapters, and Communities in Northern England, c. 1680-1830’

Adam O’Taylor (Durham), ‘A life at what cost? Cultural Justification of Profits and Disasters on the Early Nineteenth- Century Northern Coalfield’

4-5: Roundtable discussion: Collections, Curators, and Rethinking Cultures