The Cities project at Durham seeks to capture the complexity and vitality of the urban experience in the medieval and early modern world through the documentary, visual and material culture generated by and about cities between 1100 and 1700.
At the heart of the project is this site, which will serve as an ever-expanding scholarly resource for researchers and teachers, and which will make available a range of images and transcriptions of key urban documents and objects, alongside scholarly commentary and debate. It will be of use to those interested in the history of a single city, but its strongly thematic structure is designed to encourage comparative urban studies. A comparative approach is essential to understanding the distinctiveness of the urban experience. How did urban inhabitants view their cities, and how did they describe, draw and remember them? How did they negotiate the buildings and spaces of the city, and how did their encounters in the marketplace and with religious institutions, town authorities, ritual and drama shape their perception of the world around them?
Initially, documents and images relating to the individual and interlinked histories of the neighbouring cities of Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne in North-East England will be the focus of this website, but it will expand to include sources from other cities, both within the British Isles and beyond.
As the project grows more information will be added to this site. Other key areas we shall be focussing on are:
Building; Fuelling and Feeding; Making and Selling; Defending; Living and Dying; Praying; Learning; Working; Seeing; Performing.