How the corn merchants claimed my summer

Hello everyone! It’s some time since I updated here, but there are a few things I’d like to share.

Framlingham Corn Merchants Project

Before the summer holidays, I began researching and writing about corn merchants in Framlingham. I say ‘began’…because I’m not finished! I think there is much more to discover and record.

However, I submitted a 3000-word essay on the subject to the IHGS Diamond essay competition, covering the ‘early years’ of a single business. On the same night, I submitted an abstract based on the same research (but from a different angle) to the call for papers for the RQG Conference.

I went to bed after submitting both, thinking that was the last I would hear about either.

I was wrong.

My essay came runner-up in the competition and is available on the IHGS website. If you are related to any of the families I’d love to hear your stories. The winner’s essay, written by Marie Palmer, is wonderful, and that’s available, too.

My abstract was accepted, and today I am presenting about the importance of researching business history at the first-ever RQG Conference. This post goes live just after my talk finishes, so you can download a (not grammatically perfect!) transcript until such time as the talk is removed from the RQG website where you can now view it.

What I’m up to now

I spent my summer doing almost zero research but attending evening sessions for CPD whenever possible. Unfortunately, it turned out to be impossible to do anything much while working a full-time job with no childcare through the school summer holidays.

I’m now snatching a few minutes here and there to get back to my number one project, a book on the inhabitants of a former manor house in Suffolk. It’s slow going, but I have 80,000 words of notes, which is at least something to polish going forward!

This year my most active website has been my One-Place Study of Badingham and Cransford. You can read these relatively recent articles there:

Mrs Pepper of Badingham White Horse

Under-recording of women’s worth in the census 1841-1881

One-Place Tragedy (a sad tale of Badingham’s school teacher, Annie Backhouse)

I’d also like to mention a book written by my cousin Adrian Stevens and compiled with the help of Jonny Cracknell. It’s my Uncle Steve’s story; he was a Lancaster pilot during the war. You can find out more about Tomorrow May Never Come on the publisher’s website.

What next?

Well, I’m still not taking on any paid research work for individuals, and I’m unlikely to do so for the foreseeable. However, I will probably have a few blogs – maybe some articles – surfacing over the next few months.

I also have a couple of talks pencilled in for next year, and I may well be on the radio on Monday next week, which is always fun! I still love to enthuse people about historical research, and I continue to throw myself into the research community whenever possible.

Oh! And I’m completing my first marathon next Saturday (I hope!) I’m doing it for Tommy’s and you can sponsor me here.

There are no firm goals when it comes to finishing my next book. Life is unpredictable right now!

More news as I have it.

Until then, take care, and I’ll see you on Twitter!

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