Economic and Social History seminars

The Economic and Social History research seminars take place throughout the academic year and are open to all.

Event schedule

Location: G16 (University of Edinburgh), Old Medical School, Teviot Place Quad, Doorway 4, 13.00-14.00 unless stated otherwise.


Date/time Speaker Title Notes
Wednesday 18 Jan Graeme Acheson (University of Stirling)

Business and financial history seminar: ‘Common Law and the Origin of Shareholder Protection’

Abstract: This paper examines the origins of investor protection under the common law by analysing the development of shareholder protection in Victorian Britain, the home of the common law. In this era, very little was codified, with corporate law simply suggesting a default template of rules. Ultimately, the matter of protection was one for the corporation and its shareholders. Using c.500 articles of association and ownership records of publicly-traded Victorian corporations, we find that corporations afforded investors with just as much protection as is present in modern corporate law and that firms with better shareholder protection had more diffuse ownership.


Tuesday 14 Feb

Lunchtime seminar ‘work in progress’

Joseph Curran (Edinburgh) ‘Common Ground? Charity, Catholicism, and Shared Values in Dublin c.1815-c.1845’ 

Paul Kosmetatos (Edinburgh) TBC

Wednesday 1 Mar   

Helen Paul (University of Southampton)

Business and Financial History seminar: 'Female contractors to the Royal Navy in the long 18th Century’

Abstract: Naval historians have researched dockyards and their role in supporting operations at sea. However, the focus has not been on government contractors themselves, but on naval power. The ‘contractor state’ approach considers how contractors carried out a wide range of activities for the state. The two approaches have occasionally been linked. Recently, Roger Knight and Martin Wilcox analysed the Victualling Board. They only found two female names amongst the contractors. This paper uses Navy Board records to analyse the role played by female entrepreneurs in a range of different businesses in naval supply. Women were not absent from the business world, nor were they merely playing a caretaker role until a son could inherit a business. There are many examples of women who were successful entrepreneurs. They were accepted by the Navy Board as contractors in their own right. Their contribution to the maintenance of the Navy has generally been overlooked, except in exceptional cases such as the Crowley Ironworks family.


Tuesday 2 May  

Lunchtime seminar ‘work in progress’

Alastair Learmont (University of Edinbugh) ‘The Scottish West Indian Planter Class in Distress 1800-1815’

Gayle Davis (University of Edinburgh) ‘A biography of the 1967 Abortion Act’

Tuesday 6 June Workshop

'Speaking when they're spoken to? Re -integrating the experiences and perspectives of children into historical research of children into historical research'

Further information

Co-ordinators: Semester 1, Louise Jackson ; Semester 2 Martin Chick 

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