"History Today" Annual Awards Party (UK)

Historians in the News

Some of the country’s most eminent historians mingled with the rising talents of the historical world yesterday evening at the History Today Annual Awards Party.

Last night’s event saw the presentation of the Royal Historical Society - History Today prize for Undergraduate Dissertation of the Year and the Longman - History Today awards for Book of the Year, Historical Picture Researcher of the Year and the prestigious Longman -History Today Trustees award.

Peter Snow, Lady Antonia Fraser and Bettany Hughes were among the noted guests who watched Adam Tooze pick up the Book of the Year prize for his book entitled Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy.

Other leading historians, who came together to celebrate another year of excellence in the field of history included Mary Beard, Nick Barratt, Guy De La Bedoyere and Dr Simon Thurley.

Barry Coward, President of the Historical Association (HA) expressed his delight at accepting the Longman -History Today Trustees award on behalf of the HA;

“Everyone in the HA is absolutely delighted by it. A few months ago the HA was awarded a royal charter. There’s no doubt in my mind which of these two awards I value most!” Said Coward.

Professor Coward went on to comment on the importance of the work of the HA in three major fields of history.

“Firstly, it’s promoted history by acting as a bridge between the academic/educational world of history and the world of popular, public’ history, via its publications and its local branches from Carlisle in the north to the Isle of Wight in the south.

“Secondly it’s promoted history by living up to its claim to be ‘the voice for history’, And thirdly, the HA has promoted history by playing a central role in discussions with government ministers and government bodies emphasising that history should have a central place in the school curriculum.”

He pledged is intention to build on these roles in the future and thanked everyone who had contributed to the important work that the HA has done in promoting history for just over a hundred years since its foundation by A.F. Pollard, C.H. Firth in collaboration with London schoolteachers in May 1906.

In particular he praised the work of The HA’s CEO Madeline Stiles, who will shortly be retiring form her position.

The Awards in full

Royal Historical Society - History Today Undergraduate Dissertation of the Year prize


Edward Swift, (Durham University) Furnishing God’s Holy House: John Cosin and Laudian Church interiors in Durham.

A study of the way in which a key Laudian divine redecorated parish churches in Durham, and his use of the decorative scheme, medieval features and other church furnishings and rituals to express his theological, social and political vision. The judges said: The project requires the handling of a range of diverse sources, architectural, liturgical and theological. His work is mature and confident in expression and in the handling and explanation of difficult material. Sophisticated, sensitively interdisciplinary, seriously researched, visually imaginative, and learned.


Matthew Neal, (The Queens College Cambridge) ‘The Fall of Walpole’.

James Williamson, (University College London) ‘To what extent, if at all, did the Marshall Plan impose limits on the postwar Labour government’s policies of nationalisation and the creation of the Welfare State?

Historical Picture Researcher of the Year prize

The prize was awarded to Wendy Gay of Thames & Hudson, for two books, The Seventy Great Journeys in History, (edited by Robin Hanbury-Tenison), and for Gay Life and Culture: A World History (edited by Robert Aldrich).

Both books rely hugely on their fascinating, appropriate and surprising section of images, and the obvious engagement of the researcher with the topic

Wendy worked for many years at Thames & Hudson, but last July tragically was killed in a bicycle accident on the Euston Rd. She was described by her colleagues both as a picture researcher of great skill, determination, knowledge, and resourcefulness.

Her partner Marc Kitchen-Smith received the prize on her behalf, and announced his intention to donate the prize money to the London Library, where Wendy had often worked, in order to develop their collection of illustrated books.

Longman – History Today Book of the Year prize


Adam Tooze – Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy (Penguin)

This ambitious and well-written study of the economic, political and even cultural origins of the Second World War attempts with great success to understand the economics of the processes of government , and presents a real global history, bringing the US into Hitler’s decision-making process in a new way, and shows the Nazi war effort as the last big landgrab, the last terrestrial empire. This is particularly impressive given that many people must have thought there was little more to be said about this whole subject.


Kate Fisher - Birth Control, Sex, and Marriage in Britain 1918-1960 (Oxford University Press)

Kate Retford – Art of Domestic Life: Family Portraiture in 18th-century England (Yale)


Nicola Humble – Culinary Pleasures: Cookbooks and the Transformation of British Food (Faber)

Julian Luxford - The Art and Architecture of English Benedictine Monasteries, 1300-1540: A Patronage History (Boydell)

Giorgio Riello – A Foot in the Past: Consumers, Producers and Footweare in the Long 18th Century (Oxford University Press)

Longman – History Today Trustees Award

This year the prize was awarded to the Historical Association; an organization that has been promoting history for a hundred years through its many branches across the country, in its educational work where it continually works with government to improve the quality of the history curriculum, and in developing and facilitating the spread of best teaching practice in the history classroom, from 5 to 19. Links between the Historical Association and History Today have been particularly close, since the very first issue of History Today which carried a Historical Association advertisement on the inside back cover.

For further information and images please contact Charlie Cottrell on 0207 534 8000 or email c.cottrell@historytoday.com

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