Volunteer role: mapping the history of London’s shopping centres 

The University of London’s Institute of Historical Research (IHR), in collaboration with the National Archives, Historic England, the British Library, Museum of London Archaeology, London Metropolitan Archives, Birkbeck University and other partners, is currently delivering a project called Layers of London. This will engage with hundreds of thousands of Londoners from across the city’s 32 boroughs and provide them with the tools to explore and share their histories and identities through our state-of-the-art website (layersoflondon.org). The website enables Londoners contribute to developing a record of our great multicultural city, using layered historic maps to record hundreds of thousands of stories, recording fresh voices, perspectives, memories and histories. 

The role: 

We are interested in increasing the amount of content on our site that tells the history of retail in London and we are recruiting a volunteer placement to develop a collection on this theme.  Using resources like the British Library Newspaper Archive, the Survey of London, British History Online and any other sources deemed useful the volunteer will research stories relating to London’s shopping centres and create records on Layers of London. The volunteer can adjust the research to their interests. Examples of potential records could be:  

These are just suggestions and anything interesting history related to shopping centres would be welcome.  

The result of this volunteer placement will be a collection of at least 10 records on Layers of London which should be completed by the end of August. These records will feature images and written information.  

The volunteer will be able to set their own schedule and working hours. They will send a brief fortnightly report on their work and we will schedule a series of meetings to ensure you have all the resources you need. 

Requirements for the role:  

  • Applicants should be confident in communication and writing for websites. 
  • Applicants must be confident using computers and doing research online.
  • Must have access to a computer and the internet.
  • Interest in London and its history.

What we can offer you: 

  • We will provide training on how to use the website and add content, including an introduction to the project and project team.
  • We will provide access to online resources like the British Library Newspaper Archive, the Survey of London, British History Online and academic journals where possible. 
  • We will provide feedback on work and will be happy to discuss ideas if desired. 
  • References for future work on request.

 Email [email protected] to express your interest.