The Stenton Lecture and Symposium 2016


Thursday 17th November marks the date of this year’s Stenton Lecture which is preceded by the Stenton Symposium.

What is the Stenton Lecture?

The Stenton lecture is an annual lecture by an eminent historian, hosted by the Department and held in honour of its founders, Sir Frank and Lady Stenton, both of whom were responsible for building the reputation of the University of Reading as a centre for historical excellence.

The Stenton Lecture: ‘Britain’s Wars with France, 1793-1815 and their Contribution to the Consolidation of its Industrial Revolution’, Patrick K. O’ Brien (LSE and Saint-Antony’s College Oxford)

6.30-8.00pm, Henley Business School G11.

In 2015, Britain has been celebrating the 200th anniversary of its decisive victory over Revolutionary and Napoleonic France. When they consider the costs incurred to wage 22 years of warfare historians find little to celebrate and much to deplore about the burdens these wars placed upon society. My lecture will argue that their post hoc, liberal and negative appraisal of these final wars against the “old enemy” is entirely misplaced. Economic if not social progress was if anything strengthened and consolidated by the engagement in warfare. Britain’s famous and precocious transition to become the world’s First Industrial Nation was promoted by the French Revolution.


The Stenton Symposium: ‘War and economy, 1688-1815’

2.00-5.00pm, Henley Business School G03.

Preceding Patrick O’Brien’s lecture on Thursday is the Stenton Symposium which considers the theme of war and ecomomy between the late-seventeenth and early-nineteeth centuries.  The speakers are:

  • Dr Richard Blakemore (University of Reading), Warfare and labour at sea, 1580-1730
  • Dr Helen Paul (University of Southampton), tbc
  • Dr Aaron Graham (UCL), War and economy in the West Indies during the 18th century
  • Prof. Sylvia Marzagalli (Institut Universitaire de France), Coping with maritime warfare: merchants’ strategies and United States neutrality (1793-1812)
  • Dr Patrik Winton (University of Uppsala), The consequences of the Swedish default in 1812 and the Danish monetary reforms in 1813



Further details of both the Stenton Lecture and the Stenton Symposium can be found via the History department’s pages.

Attendance to the Stenton Lecture is free but registration is required.  Bookings can be made at, or you can contact (or 0118 378 6718).

Attendance to the Stenton Symposium is also free, but please confirm by email to Prof Joel Felix (or 0118 378 7336).

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