Concert Life in 19th-Century London
Database and Research Project


Drawing of Jullien's concert at Drury Lane, 23 November 1850 (Illustrated London News)The 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.

Contact Details:
Professor Rachel Cowgill