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Gates Cambridge Annual Lecture 2024

A global turning point: how to escape the permacrisis: Reid Lidow, Michael Spence and Mohamed A. El-Erian

Imperial Mud – The Fight for the Fens

Tue 14 February 2023

The Mill Road History Society February talk welcomes award winning historian James Boyce.

James is the author of Imperial Mud: The Fight for the Fens (2020) amongst many other historical books and in this talk he will tell us about the history of the Fens and how it related to Cambridge and Cambridgeshire.

The synopsis for his book is as follows:

Between the English Civil Wars and the mid-Victorian period, the proud indigenous population of the Fens of eastern England fought to preserve their homeland against an expanding empire. After centuries of resistance, their culture and community were destroyed, along with their wetland home – England’s last lowland wilderness. But this was no simple triumph of technology over nature – it was the consequence of a newly centralised and militarised state, which enriched the few while impoverishing the many.

In this colourful and evocative history, James Boyce brings to life not only colonial masters such as Oliver Cromwell and the Dukes of Bedford but also the defiant ‘Fennish’ themselves and their dangerous and often bloody resistance to the enclosing landowners. We learn of the eels so plentiful they became a kind of medieval currency; the games of ‘Fen football’ that were often a cover for sabotage of the drainage works; and the destruction of a bountiful ecosystem that had sustained the Fennish for thousands of years and which meant that they did not have to submit in order to survive.

This event will take place on Zoom. The Zoom link will be sent to our mailing list a few days before the talk, and again on the afternoon of the talk for any last minute subscribers. It will also be streamed to Facebook at https://facebook.com/millroadhistory

Join the emailing list at https://millroadhistory.org.uk/mailing-list/


Cost: Free

Enquiries and booking

No need to book.


Available on Demand Live Stream

All times

Tue 14 February 2023 7:30PM - 9:00PM


Please note: the venue is to be confirmed