A Room for the Night

An invesigation into the historic provision of hospitality in Henley-on-Thames

Department: Real Estate & Planning

Supervised by: Henry Russell

The Placement Project

One student is required for this project. S/he will build on two previous UROP projects ‘Tale of Two Cities’(2019) and ‘Drawing a Pint’ (2020) which identified the general phases of development of the Brakspear brewery site in Henley. S/he will also worth concurrently with another UROP project titled Liquid history: the impact of the river on the history and development of Henley-on-Thames(if both are funded). The student will investigate the development of tourism and hospitality businesses and locations in the town, and assess its impact on the town over time. The relevant data is held in 1. Oxford Archives (the country record office), 2. English Heritage Archive at Swindon 3. National Archives at Kew. 4. Historic census data online 5. 19th and 20th century trade directories online 6. 19th and 20th century Ordnance Survey maps online The student will prepare a fully referenced report citing relevant data with illustrated mapping showing the locations and changes of hospitality venues, tourist facilities and changing emphases of tourist attractions.


Archival and documentary research at Oxford Archives, the English Heritage Archive, the National Archives and online resources such as C19 and C20 census data to understand the economic history of the town with a focus on the hospitality Industry. This will involve the following steps: 1. Catalogue search to identify relevant documents 2. Scrutiny of documents to prepare a chronological description of locations Involved In the hospitality and leisure Industry. 3. Scrutiny of C19 and C20 censuses and trade directories to understand what activities were pursued and by whom. 4. On site fieldwork to understand the context of the town and relevant individual buildings. Preparation of a fully referenced report including data presentations, images where relevant and mapping to show the development of the town facilities. To assist the student, the induction will comprise an initial supervised visit to local and national archives and MERL, Covid-19 restrictions permitting. During the induction we will support the student by: • Explaining the scope of the project • Setting up short exercises to - interrogate online catalogues, - read historic handwriting from samples held by the project team, - discover and analyse planning applications made in a town. - interrogate census data - prepare a written summary of findings • Inviting MERL to provide an introduction to archives and collections for the student • Providing feedback to train the student in the above archival skills. • Providing carefully selected and limited reading to be carried out in the first week which will then be discussed with the project team. • Preparing a time schedule of activities.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

• The willingness to enquire and follow the trail of documents. • Interest and ability to read and understand historical documents of the 18th and 19th centuries • Skills to interpret drawings and plans • Drawing and mapping skills to illustrate site development

Skills which will be developed during the placement

• Practical skills of archive-based research, including identifying relevant documents. • Knowledge of what local and national archive holdings comprise. • Skills to query online and hard copy catalogues to source relevant documents. • Skills to analyse an archive and prepare a fully referenced and coherent narrative of a site’s history. • Skills in presenting a wide variety of information Including census derived data, visual documents such as photographs and spatial data such as maps

Place of Work

Henley Business School Oxford Archives, English Heritage Archive and National Archives at Kew. Oxfordshire libraries, especially public library at Henley Henley Town Centre for site familiarity and observations

Hours of Work

6 hours /day for 30 days

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Thursday 15 July 2021 - Thursday 30 September 2021

How to Apply

The post will be advertised centrally on the UROP website between 22nd February and 9th April 2021. Students should submit their CV and Cover Letter directly to the Project Supervisor (click on supervisor name at the top of the page for email). Successful candidates will be invited for an interview.

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