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The University of Southampton
Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century ResearchResearch projects

Fluid geographies and global mobilities: recovering Southampton’s translocal book trade networks 1840-1914

From  August 2018 to January 2019 Sydney Shep (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) and Mary Hammond (English, Director of SCNR) will be collaborating on this British Academy funded project, hosted by English and SCNR, as the next phase of their international Printers on the Move project.

Colleagues from History, ECS, and the Southampton City Archives will be involved as parts of an advisory team, and we will be working closely with Ed Fay, Leader of Digital Projects and Scholarship in the University Library, who will coordinate the digitization component and host the project's digital assets. This project will be a test bed for the Library's emerging Digital Scholarship support service.

Project abstract:

Nineteenth-century mass industrialisation disrupted the traditional structures, economies, livelihoods, and collective identity of many skilled occupations. The book trades were no exception. Printers, bookbinders, engravers, and papermakers, for instance, who may have been travelling journeymen in their early days, reinvented themselves as imperial careerists and colony hoppers. They arrived in port cities, like Southampton, on the cusp of migration, and helped fashion dynamic, albeit temporary, spaces for professional, social, and cultural exchange. This research project aims to map Southampton’s book trade networks using local archives and digitized newspapers, and recover the little-known stories of these transient bookworkers and the places they inhabited. It builds upon a previous international collaboration with Professor Mary Hammond and explores new digital humanities approaches, methods and tools in conjunction with faculty in history, computer science, and the library. Anticipated outcomes include an interactive digital portal, content for a heritage tour smartphone app, and exhibition proposal.

To learn more about the project, contact Professor Mary Hammond (Email:, Room: 65/2022; Phone: 02380 595065) or Professor Sydney Shep (Email:, Room 65.2025; Phone 02380 593517).

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