London’s Baking archival exhibit

Our French correspondent, Céline Fernandez, was kind enough to write a post on her trip the London Metropolitan Archives to visit the exhibit “London’s Baking! Bakers, cakes, breads and puddings, from 1666.”

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to spend a cultural weekend in London, following a study day on promoting heritage collections in Paris (it is way more convenient to reach London from Paris than from mountainy Grenoble and as we say in French l’occasion fait le larron – opportunity makes a thief). I had a long list of things I wanted to see, including the UK National Archives and the British Library where I have never been yet, despite a few trips to London over the past years.

But it was before seeing the British Museum and the V&A exhibition program…and the London Metropolitan Archives current exhibition, carrying such a promising title: “London’s baking! Bakers, cakes, bread and puddings from 1666”.

Nothing to do with the thousand-years-old British-French historic rivalry but…as a French chef’s daughter and active baking archivist, I knew I had to pay them a visit or I wouldn’t forgive myself.

Funny coincidence, during my study day in Paris I heard a presentation about Happy Apicius, a blog promoting the Fonds gourmand, a gastronomical books and archives collection held at the Dijon Municipal Library.

The London Metropolitan Archives are conveniently located near King’s Cross station (it’s only a 20 minutes walk). They are usually closed on weekends but open on Monday mornings, and thanks to my unusual traveling hours I had time to go there before heading back to France.

The small but colourful exhibition “London’s baking! Bakers, cakes, bread and puddings from 1666” is displayed in the exhibition area and in the staircase, both leading to the reading room, and tells the story of London’s bakers and their production from 1666 to the 20th century.

All the documents and images presented are from the collections held at London Metropolitan Archives.

Information about bakers and baking can be found in a range of municipal archival sources such as inventories (of shops and houses for instance), cadastral maps, order or payment receipts, commercial ads, to name only a few, but also in private or corporate collections.

The exhibition, using these archival sources and material, covers several themes, ranging from the existence of bakery shops in the 17th century, to bakers in training, through the food served in public premises (such as schools, hospitals, etc.).

A part of the exhibition is dedicated to the famous London company J. Lyons & Co. and some interesting display panels tell the story of a few cakes that somehow might have played their part in history.

Much to my surprise, I learned that the Great Fire of London started in…a bakery. Not because of a loaf of bread or a cake inadvertently forgotten in the oven, no, it was allegedly a criminal gesture and the presumed felon was hanged for the crime.

I also learned that a pastry might have played a significant role in the love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn…

Icing on the cake, the LMA staff tried some of the recipes and present their work with comments in the “Blind Bakes” gallery (unfortunately not for you to taste but on digital screens). You can download their recipe book on the LMA website.

The Henry VIII-Ann Boleyn cake is of course the first I am going to try back home, and see about its royal power…

Sorry British Library, but you couldn’t beat an exhibition combining archives and cakes! If you happen to be in London before February, do not hesitate and go see it.

As for my next trip, it will be in January. I can’t wait to see what kind of #archivescake California has to offer. Though I already know all about See’s candies toffee-ettes and they better have lots and lots of boxes in stock.


Weekly News Roundup – January 27, 2017

Our weekly roundup of archives-related news from around the globe.

  • What archivists dream of? Obscure paper trails in their collections becoming instruments of change in our understanding of the past and our institutions’ roles in shaping it, we are told in this report on a new history published using the archives of the Authors’ Club in London.
  • News article from the NATO archives features NATO’s three wise men and their contributions to the non-military cooperation among the organization’s members.
  • Fresh interest spurred by his digitized archival materials now available on-line in a man of many personalities who himself was an archivist in his own right, in addition to being a detective in Italy.
  • It is hard to imagine archival description without extended markup language now – as we are reminded by the upcoming conference XML Prague 2017.




Weekly News Roundup – January 20, 2017

Our weekly roundup of archives-related news from around the globe.

Weekly News Roundup – January 13, 2017


Our weekly roundup of archives-related news from around the globe.

  • Article focusing on the Syrian Archive, and initiative launched by a collective of human rights activists dedicated to preserving open source documentation relating to human rights violations and other crimes committed by all sides during the conflict in Syria. “Das Archiv der Kriegsverbrechen,” in: FAZ, December 28, 2016.
  • A new archives law in France grants the Red Cross a wide range of rights to access personal data in public records for tracing purposes.

New resources

  • Wiener TAU Archive Online – Supported by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany:  “We are pleased to announce the uploading of the “Online Wiener Archive” – the digitization project of Wiener Library for the Study of the Nazi Era and the Holocaust at Tel Aviv University, Supported by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
  • The project provides the public with online access to thousands of documents kept in the library’s archive. This documentation, collected by Dr. Alfred Wiener and his team before, during and after the Second World War and the Holocaust, includes official correspondences of the Nazi authorities in the 1930s and 1940s; official records from concentration camps; official records of Jewish organizations; personal letters which shed light on the condition of the Jews in occupied Europe and more (…)”
  • For more information, please visit —Source: H Digital History.
  • France adds African perspective to colonial period archives: La Grande Collecte is France’s National Archives initiative to harvest documents and images held by individuals and families. The first stage was focused on World War I memorabilia. Now, “France’s National Archives have invited people in some 100 cities nationwide to donate memorabilia – such as letters, photos and notebooks – linked to France’s role in West Africa in the 19th and 20th century…. More than 350,000 documents were digitalised as a result and can now be consulted on their website. … it is definitely about providing an African perspective and as such they’re keen to work with archivists on the African continent. ” Source: H-HistBibl, original source: Alison Hird, RFI, November 21, 2016.

Calls for Papers

Deadline January 15th

  • The ICA Section on University and Research Institution Archives (SUV)
    is pleased to announce that its 2017 Conference will be in Riga,
    Latvia, in August 2017.


21 – 27 AUGUST 2017, RIGA LATVIA

2017 SUV conference calls for sessions or single paper proposals on
the following topics:





Abstracts and panel session proposals should be submitted to the ICA-SUV 2017 Conference Scientific Committee via email to:

JANUARY 15, 2017

Information on the full call for proposals and submission guidelines
is available on the website:

  • The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research invites proposals for its 2017 International Conference “Digital Approaches to Genocide Studies” that will be co- sponsored by the USC Mellon Digital Humanities Program

International Conference: “Digital Approaches to Genocide Studies”,  co-sponsored by the USC Mellon Digital Humanities Program
October 23-24, 2017 at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research ( is dedicated to advancing new areas of interdisciplinary research on the Holocaust and other genocides. One of the Center’s primary research themes is Digital Genocide Studies. “Digital technologies have begun to significantly influence contemporary scholarship, theories, and methods in the social sciences and humanities. The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research invites scholars from all disciplines to examine the relationships between digital methodologies, practices, ethics and contemporary Holocaust and genocide studies. How can digital humanities shape, challenge, or complement contemporary genocide studies and vice versa?

The two-day international conference “Digital Approaches to Genocide Studies” will be held on October 23-24, 2017 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. The conference will investigate the ways in which digital tools and methods, new media, and information technologies can help us to challenge conventional wisdom regarding Holocaust and Genocide Studies by raising new questions, improving our understanding, deepening our analysis, widening our field of view, or pioneering new approaches. Especially of interest would be how digital humanists from a range of disciplines and methodologies can broaden our methodological approaches to the study of the causes, consequences, and prevention of genocide. (…)”

We welcome proposals for single paper presentations and for theme-specific panels comprising no more than three presenters.

Please send a CV and a one-page abstract of the proposed paper or an abstract of the proposed panel plus an abstract of each paper of the proposed panel before January 15, 2016 to

* Information Technologies Indigenous Communities & Australian Society of Archivists conference 2017

Join us for Diverse Worlds, the 2017 National Conference of the Australian Society of Archivists, held alongside the Information Technologies Indigenous Communities Symposium at the University of Melbourne, September 25-28. Please submit your proposal by completing the Call for Papers proposal form below.

The Call for Papers are now open and close on the 30 January, 2017.

We will be questioning the diversity of our collections, our profession and our audiences, as well as exploring the impact and potential of information technologies in Indigenous communities and on traditional knowledge.

  • The journal of the Australian Society of Archivists, Archives and Manuscripts, will produce a theme issue in November 2017.


“The concept of radical recordkeeping is broad in scope: it can encompass recordkeeping of radical acts, as well as radical approaches for the formation and use of records and archives. Radical recordkeeping serves to disrupt traditional recordkeeping paradigms in revolutionary or profound ways using different approaches that inform practice, scholarship and teaching.”

Papers are due April 1st with a maximum 5000 word limit.

If you have any questions, please contact



Weekly News Roundup – January 9, 2017

Our weekly roundup of archives-related news from around the globe.