I was born in Enfield, England, in 1952 but emigrated to Canada as a youth. My early career included a couple of years as an archaeological conservation technician; by that time my creative interests in music, poetry, and photography were already established, but strictly amateur. My interest in medieval urban history began, thanks to Dr. Joan Greatrex, during my undergraduate days at Carleton University, where I received a first-class BA (Hons) in history. I chose to pursue it at Leicester University, in order to study under Professor Geoffrey Martin, and completed my Master of Philosophy thesis there.
Returning to Canada after obtaining my M.Phil. degree, I found employment as a researcher at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, where I developed an interest in museology and published widely in that field (for anyone interested, here is a list of my publications, references to some of which can also be found in Google Books and Google Scholar. I obtained a second Masters degree, in Library and Information Science (University of Western Ontario) and became involved in an international investigation of the Frobisher expeditions. I set up the Museum's Web site in 1994 and was its manager until ill health forced my retirement in 2008.
My involvement with the Web in its pioneer phase made me aware that medieval urban history is one of the fields for which there was (and remains) insufficient information freely accessible online. I therefore decided, in 1998, to create the non-commercial Web site you are now visiting, in hopes of encouraging others who have studied the history of medieval towns to share some of their knowledge through this medium. I later acted as the Urban Studies editor for the Online Resource Book for Medieval Studies (ORB), until that initiative became inoperative, as well as editor of the Canadian History section of the World Wide Web Virtual Library.
I derive no income from this site, whose information is provided for educational purposes only. I dedicate it to those giants upon whose shoulders I stand, some of whom I have been privileged to know personally. My journey through the urban terrain of medieval England is one I know I cannot complete; for the higher I climb the mountain of knowledge, the better able I am, looking back below, to appreciate the vastness of the landscape of my ignorance.
Quota pars operis tanti meo committitur?
If you know of any online information on the subject of English medieval
towns to which I do not have a link, I would be grateful to learn of it.
|Created: July 15, 1998. Last update: January 8, 2017
|© Stephen Alsford, 1998-2017