London Pride – a capital initiative

What’s it all about?

London Pride is an academic research project into the military, social, literary and cultural aspects of the London Regiment and London Territorial Force (TF) from its formation in 1908, through its service in the Great War, to its disembodiment in 1921.

The project aims to produce a scholarly volume of around 25 essays in an edited volume to be published by Helion & Co. in 2025.

Charles Fair, Richard Hendry and Dr Tom Thorpe manage the project. We all have a deep interest in the London Regiment as a result of relatives serving in constituent battalions during the Great War.

The name London Pride comes from a flower, Saxifraga × urbium, seen growing on graves of London Regiment soldiers in The London Cemetery, facing High Wood. As Terry Norman observed in his 1984 classic The Hell They Called High Wood, ‘Whoever chose [this flower] had chosen well.’

The project is in its early days and we are seeking authors who may want to contribute articles.

Why the London Regiment and London Territorial Force?

The London Regiment is a formation that has received scant scholarly attention even though it raised a record 88 infantry battalions during the Great War, the highest number for any corps during that conflict.[1] It was also distinctive in certain respects.

Each battalion was regarded as a regiment in its own right having distinct badges, uniforms and traditions reflecting their very different lineages from their predecessor volunteer battalions. The London Regiment was an integral part of metropolitan London’s history and involvement in the Great War, as 80% of the Regiment’s men were London residents.[2] [  Units also recruited men from distinct areas of London, occupational groups (for example, the Civil Service, the General Post Office and artists), social classes and ethnic minorities (notably Scottish and Irish).

The London Regiment cannot be considered independently from the formations and Territorial Force Associations (TFA) of which it was a part. The County of London TFA was the largest TFA in the country, and the City of London TFA was probably the next largest. Together they were responsible for two of the 14 pre-war TF divisions, or roughly one territorial soldier in seven nationwide.

The scope of the publication

The proposed book is a collection of scholarly chapters which cover aspects of the London Territorial Force from 1908 to 1921.

The definitive organisational ‘remit’ for potential inclusion in the book of a piece is its connection with any unit that was the responsibility of the City of London or County of London Territorial Force Associations between 1908 to 1921. Geographically, this is the area of the 28 boroughs which comprised the County and City of London in 1914.

Chapters featured will cover a specific military, social, cultural or historical aspect of a unit affiliated to the London Regiment, or the wartime TF divisions in which London Regiment units dominated, notably the 47th, 56th, 58th and 60th Divisions. We would welcome chapters about London’s Yeomanry, Royal Artillery, Royal Engineer, ASC and RAMC units – none of which has received any scholarly attention – demonstrating their links to the capital’s occupations, employers, educational institutions, hospitals or other organisations as appropriate.

Chapters may focus on particular units, specific events involving the London TF, individuals who served in those units, or cover broader themes that use London TF units as case studies, for example, morale or desertion.

Potential chapters, under five broad themes have been included in the current draft structure – London Pride – Outline of chapters for London TF book v20 – to give an idea of the range and type of desired input. Chapters are likely to take a comparative and analytical approach, either of individual units or of the London TF Divisions and as such will not fit easily within the scope of a traditional or academic unit or divisional history.

However, the editors are keen to hear from anyone who may like to submit a chapter, regardless of its specific focus, provided it comes within the organisational remit described above.

Submissions sought

The project is seeking papers from authors and expressions of interest are welcome.

Please first check London Pride – Outline of chapters for London TF book v20 to ensure that any proposed chapters do not clash with already planned submissions and, in particular, look at the author guidelines on page 4.

If you are interested, you are invited to submit a brief proposal covering:

  1. Your name/contact details
  2. Chapter title and short description (around 100 words) – this would appear in an updated draft document
  3. Your biography (no more than 100 words, this would sit in the front of the publication).

Please send the submission to me, Tom Thorpe – at londonpride@kensingtons.org.uk – with the title ‘London Pride’.

Once a submission has been accepted, an updated version of the plan will be posted.

Author guidelines

Below are terms and conditions for people choosing to submit chapters.

  1. Chapters are no longer than 10,000 words including footnotes.
  2. Chapters cover a specific military, social, cultural, or historical aspect of a unit(s) or formation(s) and are referenced.
  3. All chapters comply with prevailing Helion standards, currently set out in Helion Author Guidelines v1.3 January 2016 If any article does not comply (e.g. footnotes are not in the right format), they will be returned to the author for correction. Please read the guidelines before you submit your article. 
  4. Authors are invited to submit images to accompany their article but these MUST NOT be inserted as images into the document text. Please submit them separately. All images need to be copyright free and the LP project is unable to pay for image rights from archives (e.g. IWM). Images need to be of adequate resolution and be jpegs.
  5. If your article requires maps, please let the editors know, we can discuss how these may be produced.
  6. Chapters for inclusion are submitted by 23:59, 30.6.2024 to londonpride@kensingtons.org.uk.
  7. In any event, the editors reserve the right to amend and edit chapters to reduce duplication, obvious errors and other minor issues (e.g. offensive language).

Conference

A conference on the London Regiment during the 1908-20 era is planned for first six months of 2024 in conjunction with the London branches of the Western Front Association. The purpose of the conference is to generate chapters for the edited volume but also raise awareness and interest in the London Regiment and its history. This would be held in London.

Project timeline

The timeline of the project has slipped from previous versions of this document. This has been mainly due to the COVID pandemic. The current timeline is now set out below:

  1. Authors to indicate their interest to Tom as soon as they are ready (londonpride@kensingtons.org.uk).
  2. Conference to be held in first half of 2024. It is hoped that this will be held in conjunction with the London branches of the Western Front Association. If people would like to speak at the CONFERENCE, send abstracts (300 words) and a biography (200 words) by 30.9.2023.
  3. Chapters for inclusion submitted by 23:59, 30.6.2024.
  4. Editing of chapters: second half of 2024.
  5. Publication: 2024/5.

OTHER WAYS OF ENGAGING WITH THE PROJECT

In addition to the core element of expressions of interest from potential contributors of papers/chapters, we are seeking support and assistance for the project in a variety of other forms. They are:-

Conference venue

We are seeking from suitably-equipped institutions in London supportive proposals for accommodating a prestigious conference to be attended by 50 to 100 delegates and speakers in early 2024, the ultimate host venue being recognised by the inclusion of its logo/brand on the book cover.

Onward referral

We hope that you will disseminate this announcement and invitation to your own contacts by whatever media, whether electronic or face-to-face, are available to and used by you.

Suggestions for specific topics

We have a substantial list of prospective topics for development. Some are already attached to a name, a few are even the subject of limited work in progress. But others are just (hopefully, reasonable) ideas for inclusion that could be displaced by better ones that we hadn’t contemplated. We are interested to hear for you about anything you think might fit well into the project.

Suggesting contributors

Again, we have a list of people, some signed up, others still to be approached. And more will respond to this invitation directly. But we don’t pretend to know of everyone who might already have a good Londons story up their sleeve that really should be told or, even if they haven’t, has knowledge that would enhance the project’s output and might even fit one of our currently ‘homeless’ topics. Yet they might not have heard about this initiative. So, please let us know if you think we should know about someone.

Access to ‘in the shade’ archive material/photos

We know that, beyond the wealth of military and social data held, and often catalogued online, by the large, national/regional repositories, there will be so much relevant, important and interesting information held by smaller museums and associations which is not possible to access or assess in the same way. So, we would welcome ‘alerts’ from such bodies and especially invitations for us to visit or discuss with them their ‘stock’ overall or any specific resource that they feel is of particular note.

NOTES

[1] E.A. James, British Regiments 1914-1918 (Dallington, 1974), Table C.

[2] A. Gregory, ‘Lost generations: the impact of military casualties in Paris, London and Berlin’, in J. Winter & J. Robert (eds), Capital Cities at War (London, 1997), p.63.