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The BAHS wishes Happy 100th Birthday to our US sister organisation, the Agricultural History Society, founded in Washington DC on 14 February 1919! We tweeted an image of farming in the old country around that time:

The AHS is holding their annual conference on ‘Power in Agricultural History’ in Washington DC this year.

Spring Conference

‘Historical Perspectives on Rural Economies, Societies, Landscapes and Environment’

The BAHS Spring Conference 2019 will be held at the Jubilee Conference Centre, University of Nottingham, 8 to 10 April. We have a packed programme, including a field trip to the Laxton Open Field system (above). The trip will be led by John Beckett and will include a visit to the Laxton Visitor Centre. Book for the Conference here.

[We regret that there were errors in the booking form distributed with Rural History Today, which we have corrected here. (The prices for ‘Resident Mon-Tues’ and ‘Resident Tues-Wed’ were incorrect.) We apologise for any inconvenience caused.]

Latest BAHS publications

Cover of current issue of Rural History Today

Agricultural History Review Volume 66 part 2 is now available.
Rural History Today issue 36 is now available.

Cover of current Agricultural History Review

New Reviews Editor for AgHR

We are pleased to announce that Dr John Morgan of the University of Manchester is taking over as Reviews editor, starting with Volume 67 Part I. John is an environmental and social historian of early modern Britain. He is particularly interested in the history of water, and the relationships between preindustrial agriculture and flooding. John Morgan
John says, ‘I am excited to be joining the team that makes the Agricultural History Review happen. The Review has published many of the seminal articles in my field, and I am looking forward to helping continue this tradition. Book reviews are an essential part of any academic journal, and I hope to follow in the footsteps of outgoing reviews editor Dr Briony McDonagh in making a success of the reviews section.’

The editorial team thanks Briony for her contribution.

What is the BAHS?

The BAHS is the national society for the study of the history of agriculture, rural society and the landscape of Britain and Ireland. The Society regularly updates this web site, with it online Library of Rural and Agricultural Literature (LIBRAL), online discussion Forums, Work in Progress list, and Related Links. In addition we publish a magazine, Rural History Today, as well as a scholarly journal, Agricultural History Review (both of which are available online), and our conferences provide opportunities for historians (professional and non-professional) to meet, mix and exchange views in a friendly and sociable atmosphere.

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

email newsletter

Do you have trouble remembering to look at this web site? Would you like a reminder now and again? We plan to send out email newsletters about once a month (on average) 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.

BAHS forums

Do have a look at BAHS forums, where you can ask questions or start discussions on any subject related to agricultural history and the history of rural economy and society. Even if you don't have a question in mind right now you might be the one person able to answer one of the questions that are there! So please register now and subscribe to the ‘Agricultural history’ forum so that you will be notified by email about any new posts.
Membership Subscription Renewal Time!

If you have not done so already, it's time to change your standing order to reflect the change in subscription rates, as described on the membership page (‘Amending your Standing Order’). Unless you pay by PayPal, your membership subscription is due for renewal on 1 February. [If you pay by PayPal we have either written or will write to you about renewing your membership. You should need not take any action until advised by the Society.]

Lumberjills: celebrating International Women’s day

The Timber Trade Federation has been around for over 125 years and the timber industry has been a vital part of the UK's history.

As part of International Women’s Day, they are hosting the launch of the book, Lumberjills: Britain's Forgotten Army. The author, Joanna Foat, discovered the story of the Lumberjills while she was a PR consultant for the Forestry Commission. She spent four years researching and travelling the country to meet over sixty Lumberjills. The Lumberjills were groups of women who replaced the men who answered the call to war in WW2. The odds were stacked against them and had great difficulty in finding billets due to prejudice.

Many people regarded the work in the timber trade as ‘a man's job’. Life out in the forests was physically demanding, walking and cycling miles between forests. Illness and injury rates were high, health and safety was low and women had to take welfare into their own hands. These women carried out the arduous tasks of felling, shedding, loading lorries and trains and sawmilling timber all over Scotland. A large percentage of this was mining timber, used to keep Britain's engine turning during these difficult times.

Some daughters of the Lumberjills will be in attendance at the book launch (which is part of a half-day conference) on 6 March and there will be opportunities to ask Jo questions about her book. Book here.

Fenland Landscape and Society: Past and Present

Spalding Gentlemen’s Society is holding a symposium on Saturday 13 April, at Broad St Methodist Church, Spalding, on ‘Understanding Fenland Landscape and Society: Past and Present’.

The aim of the symposium is to increase the academic profile of the society and to introduce the resources available at their museum. As you can see from the Programme, they have an interesting selection of speakers, including Dr John Morgan from the BAHS, and will be covering topics from Roman to Early Modern. Book via Eventbrite | Registration form.

Ford Lectures

The BAHS is pleased to announce that Professor Mark Bailey (University of East Anglia) will be giving the Ford Lectures 2019. His theme is After the Black Death: Society, economy and the law in fourteenth-century England. The lectures take place each Friday from 18 January to 22 February.Full details. Mark Bailey
Skeletons dancing


The online LIBrary of Rural and Agricultural Literature now has over 450 digitized items uploaded to it. We have recently added two more parts of the Library of Useful Knowledge (published in the 1830s) and three books on a common theme: setting up in small-scale farming after the Second World War, together with other individual titles. To browse the collection sign up for LIBRAL here.

We continue to digitize new items and add them to the library, and to work with TannerRitchie Publishing to improve their MEMSOshell platform that hosts it. We welcome your suggestions for titles you’d like us to add and any other improvements you’d like to see.

(The LIBRAL 2.0 site has now closed, superceded by LIBRAL 3.0.)

Publicity leaflet

The Society has a publicity leaflet. If you would like copies of the leaflet to distribute to potential members, or to leave at a location likely to be frequented by potential members, please contact us.

Work in Progress

If you don't already have an entry in the list do fill in the online form to create one. If you already have an entry, do check that it’s up to date and contact the Web Weaver to amend it. Researchers listed here have reported contacts being made with them as a result of their entry, making it a valuable resource.

New Boydell & Brewer Series

Boydell & Brewer, the leading independent publisher of academic works in History and the Humanities, announces the launch of a new series, Boydell Studies in Rural History, under the editorship of Professor Richard Hoyle.
Read more... Adobe PDF icon.

Funding opportunities

We have a fund available to support otherwise unfunded Conferences and Initiatives. If you are considering holding a conference, workshop, special meeting or something similar, why not apply?   We also offer bursaries to student members who want to attend our conferences and other meetings supported by the Society.

Bursary Announcement

The Richard Jefferies Society has established a bursary to support work on Jefferies or related topics: highly suitable for agricultural history applicants.