project was established in 1997 by Dr Christina Bashford, Dr Rachel Cowgill,
and Professor Simon McVeigh, advised by the late social and economic historian
Professor Cyril Ehrlich. The desire was to stimulate sustained research
into the structures and patterns of nineteenth-century London concert
life, developing innovative methodologies and drawing on interdisciplinary
approaches. The first step was the building of a database capable of capturing
and analysing a broad range of data on London concerts. This was done
using Oracle software by Civic Computing, Edinburgh, working to a design
specification produced by the academic partners (1998).
Our research methodology is based on a
technique called ‘slice history’, and involves the thick description
of London concert life in selected years across the century.
Phase I of the research took place 1999-2004, and comprised
the formation of a number of discrete datasets for selected years in raw
form – 1815, 1835, 1855, 1875, 1895.
Phase II will commence shortly, and will be concerned
with the editing, classification, and critical interpretation of those
data into a format which can be searched, interrogated, and analysed electronically.
Phase III will be concerned with the writing of a collaborative
study of London concert Life, provisionally entitled Music in the Metropolis:
perspectives on concert culture in nineteenth-century London. At this
point the database will be prepared for public access.