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BAHS Winter Conference: Neighbourliness in farming and rural society

We are excited to announce the programme for the Winter Conference, which will be held via Zoom on Saturday 5 December from 13:30 to 18:00. Registration is now open.

We are especially looking forward to receiving registrations from those who for one reason or another would not normally be able to take part in the Society's conferences and hope to see an audience from across the British Isles and further afield.

Thirsk Prize 2021

We are pleased to announce that we are looking forward to receiving submissions for the Joan Thirsk Memorial Prize 2021, which will be awarded for the best book in British and Irish rural or agrarian history published in the calendar year 2020. The closing date is noon on Monday 11 January 2021. Details of the rules and how to submit your entry...

BAHS Spring Conference 2021

In view of the on-going restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Society has decided that it will not be able to hold its Spring Conference in the usual residential format in April 2021. Instead, we propose to convene a number of half-day Zoom meetings in the Spring of 2021. We have the beginnings of a programme, but anyone who wishes to present a paper is invited to get in touch with the acting secretary ( 

The Society’s AGM for 2019-20 and 2020-21 will be held on the afternoon of Monday 12 April. 

Full details of these meetings will be circulated with Rural History Today at the end of January 2021. They will also be posted here on our website, further circulated in the EURHO newsletter and in our own email newsletter. 

The Society also wishes to elect a new secretary to come into office no later than the 2022 AGM but who might shadow the acting secretary during 2021. Again, anyone interested is invited to contact the acting secretary ( 

Wings over Britain: the relationship between the RAF and the landscape it flew over, 1939–49

Recorded talk by Gary Willis, given at the RAF Museum as part of its 'RAF in a World Transformed, 1945-1949' conference, on the competition for land between the Air Ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and amenity organisations like the Council for the Preservation of Rural England. To view the talk, click here to register (just type your email address; no password is required); the talk starts at 9 minutes 30 seconds.


The Online LIBrary of Rural and Agricultural Literature now comprises more than 800 digitized items, classified into over 200 categories. The LIBRAL Gateway enables you to exploit this classification to find literature you didn’t know existed. And once you have entered the library itself, you can use its magnificent full-text search capability.

This month’s eclectic additions includes quite a collection of books on milk and the milk trade. We might add that there are more of these to come. We hope that it encourages research into an important, albeit often overlooked, agricultural industry. 


It also occurred to us that we had published little by William Marshall (1745-1818) on LIBRAL. Marshall is often seen as Arthur Young’s great rival. Historians have disagreed over the merits of the two men’s writing, but with Young in the ascendant at the Board of Agriculture, Marshall made only a small contribution to the General Views: the only one he wrote was on the Central Highlands, researched whilst he was working for the Earl of Breadalbane at Taymouth in Perthshire. Just to show that we are both eclectic and impartial, we have scanned Marshall’s Rural Economy of the West of England. We had hoped to add his Rural Economy of Yorkshire this month, but the scanner has taken against one out of Marshall, Yorkshire or the book (perhaps all three), and the Rural Economy of Yorkshire will follow later. 

Amongst other curiosities we have added to LIBRAL this month are a New Zealander’s discussion of English agriculture at the end of the Second World War, an annual prospectus from Thornbers, a firm of supplying laying hens, from 1962-3, and a gorgeous illustrated book on grassland management by the Fison Fertilizer company from 1956. 


Please note, you can download a complete PDF of any item by clicking on the PDF icon PDF Icon in the item's toolbar.

The Agricultural History Review Garage Sale

The retiring editor has a large number of copies of past editions of the Review, some going back into the 1960s. They are, quite literally, in his garage. The car isn’t. (It ought to be emphasised that these are not the Society’s archive run of the Review, but oddments which have accumulated.) Yes, the Review is on the website, but we know that many of you still like paper copies. What’s available:

  • Set A: a complete run from vol 7 (1959) to vol 49 (2001): £125.00 plus carriage
  • Set B: covering vols 18 (1970) to to 44 (1996) with five missing parts (35 pt 1, 37 pt 2, 38 pt 2, 39 pt 1, 42 pt 1), £75.00 plus carriage
  • Lots of odds and ends

If you have a part missing from your run, this is the moment to plug the gap. Or if you would like to extend your run backwards beyond the date at which your joined the Society, then do it now as it is unlikely that the opportunity will arise in the future.

Prices will be £2.50 for a single part, £4.00 for a volume of two parts. Longer runs of five or more volumes (i.e. ten parts) at £3.00 per volume. No sensible offer refused for longer runs! Postage will be at cost, payment by cheque or Paypal. Please send details of what you would like using the contact form, and we will do what we can to meet your needs.

Contact (under Subject choose Garage Sale).

Agricultural History Forum

Apparatus for lifting hay

This image recently started a discussion on our Agricultural History Forum, although we still don’t have a name for it. The forum is the place where anyone can ask questions or start discussions on any subject related to agricultural history and the history of rural economy and society. We’ve noticed that far more people have signed up to receive our newsletters than have signed up for the BAHS forums. Some of you are missing out on some interesting discussions, and the world is missing out on a huge pool of rural history knowledge. We would really appreciate it if more of you could sign up and be ready to join in the discussions! You can register here.


And if you have trouble remembering to look at this web site, sign up for our email newsletter. We send one out about once a month when the content on the web site changes. We promise not to bombard you with spam, and you can un-subscribe whenever you like, from a link at the bottom of each newsletter.

Work in Progress

Work in Progress is a list of researchers working in the field of agricultural history and the history of rural economy and society – and related disciplines. Researchers listed here have reported contacts being made with them as a result of their entry, making it a valuable resource. This month we have redesigned the facilities for filtering the list. In particular, we used the keywords in your entries to make a drop-down list to choose from. And from the same list we made the word art below.

Word cloud for WIP keywords

If you don’t already have an entry in the list please use the contact form to let us know your research interests, keywords, and period and regions of interest. If you already have an entry, please check that it’s up to date and use the contact form to let us know what changes you want to make.

Support Agricultural and Rural History

It’s easy to join the BAHS and by doing so you will be supporting the work of the Society in promoting rural history.

But please note that due to the closure of university buildings during the COVID-19 outbreak, we are currently unable to access any incoming post.

Alternative Agriculture in Europe (sixteenth-twentieth centuries)

Alternative Agriculture In Europe (Sixteenth-Twentieth Centuries), by Gérard Béaur, is published by Brepols.

The issue of long-term agricultural transformations remains a hot topic in historiography. The texts of this book intend to take this debate seriously into account by putting several models of alternative crops to facts. This book can be purchased at a discounted price of 64 Euro until 31 May. For details use the contact form (select Other for Subject).

Seventeenth-century Lancashire Restored: The Life and Work of Dr Richard Kuerden, Antiquary and Topographer, 1623-1702

Seventeenth-century Lancashire restored: the life and work of Dr Richard Kuerden, antiquary and topographer, 1623-1702, edited by Bill Shannon, is published by the Chetham Society.

Bill Shannon has celebrated the end of his term as Treasurer by publishing this fascinating study of the seventeeth-century Lancashire doctor and antiquarian, Richard Kuerden. The special launch price is £25.00.

Peasant Perspectives on the Medieval Landscape: A study of three communities, by Susan Kilby, is published by Hertfordshire University Press.

This compelling new study forms part of a new wave of scholarship on the medieval rural environment in which the focus moves beyond purely socio-economic concerns to incorporate the lived experience of peasants.
Read more on the publisher’s web site...

The Political Economy of the Common Agricultural Policy 
Coordinated Capitalism or Bureaucratic Monster?

The Political Economy of the Common Agricultural Policy Coordinated Capitalism or Bureaucratic Monster?, by Fernando Collantes, is published by Routledge.

What is the balance of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy more than half a century after its birth? Does it illustrate the virtues of the European model of coordinated capitalism, as opposed to US-style liberal capitalism? Or is it an incoherent set of instruments that exert diverse negative impacts and, like Frankenstein’s monster, seems to have escaped the control of its designers?
Read more on the publisher’s web site...