Terry Gourvish, the long-standing director of the Business History Unit at the LSE, has announced that the unit is closing. This is sad news, as the Unit has been an important centre for business historical research since its establishment in 1978. The Unit’s seminar series has served a very important role in the business history community. In part because of its location in central London, the seminar series had attracted large numbers of excellent speakers and very engaged attendees. It’s a great venue for feedback on papers that are about to be submitted. The BHU has long had strong ties with private industry and government, thanks again to its central London location (it’s just a few Tube stops from the City).
[The only bad thing about the BHU unit was that access to it was through a labyrinthine route that included the bridge seen in the picture above].
Although the news of the closure of the unit is sad, there may be an opportunity here for another university in central London. It seems to me that the Institute of Contemporary British History at King’s would be the ideal new home for the seminar series previously run by the BHU. King’s is just across the street from the BHU. The head of the Institute, Richard Roberts, is a business/financial historian. I think that a business history seminar series would complement the Institute’s thriving oral history programme. (A number of years ago I attended a fascinating oral history session in which finance professionals spoke about the Big Bang deregulation reforms of 1988).
The management school at Queen Mary, University of London, is also home to business historians. It could potentially take over the operation of the BHU seminar.
Anyway, these are just suggestions from a sympathetic outside observer up in Liverpool.
P.S. Here are some of Terry’s publications:
Gourvish, Terry (2011) The financing of a large infrastructure project: the case of the Channel Tunnel In: Amatori, Franco and Millward, Robert and Toninelli, Pier Angelo, (eds.) Reappraising state-owned enterprise: a comparison of the UK and Italy. Routledge international studies in business history. Routledge, New York, USA, 100-118. ISBN 9780415878326
Gourvish, Terry (2008) Britain’s railway 1997-2005: Labour’s strategic experimentOxford University Press, Oxford, UK. ISBN 9780199236602
Gourvish, Terry (2006) The official history of Britain and the Channel TunnelGovernment official history series. Routledge, London, UK. ISBN 9780415391832
Gourvish, Terry (2006) What can business history tell us about business performance? Competition and Change, 10 (4). 375-392. ISSN 1024-5294
Gourvish, Terry (2003) Introduction: the business-government relationship In: Gourvish, Terry, (ed.) Business and Politics in Europe, 1900-1970: Essays in Honour of Alice Teichova. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1-14. ISBN 0521823447