Volunteer Research Project

Using local archives and records, researchers have been delving into the long-forgotten lives of the people connected to Wren’s city churches.

A City Full of People has been an exciting new project running through 2023 as part of Wren300. The focus has been investigating the lives of the people who lived and worked in the City of London during its rebuilding after the Great Fire of 1666 up to 1726.

A City Full of People has been carried out by a team of volunteer researchers. Recruited especially for Wren300 and with no prior experience required, many have come to research for the very first time. All they needed was a deep interest in their local history and city’s heritage that they wanted to nurture. A programme of training sessions into historical investigation, working with manuscripts and accessing archives was provided by leading social historians Dr Susan Skedd and Rebecca Preston.

With visits to archives and hands-on access to old records and manuscripts, it has been an opportunity to gain a whole new set of skills and experiences. Researchers have been encouraged to pursue their own areas of interest and lines of investigation, uncovering details – their trades and occupations, births, deaths and marriages, and much more. There has also been an opportunity to examine questions of contested heritage and involvement in the expansion of Britain’s colonial interests.

Find out what they have uncovered

Researchers will be sharing their findings and the stories they have uncovered. Through written narratives they will breathe life back into long-forgotten people in a pop-up exhibition to be held across four churches in 2023. These stories will also form an online exhibition.

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