About Emma Dwyer

Emma is currently a postgraduate research student at Leicester University's Centre for Historical Archaeology, having previously worked for commercial archaeology units and museums across the UK. She is the social media liaison for the SHA 2013 conference in Leicester, and treasurer of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, which she encourages you all to join: http://www.spma.org.uk/

SHA 2013: Support the Conference!

There are number of ways in which you and your organization can support the Society for Historical Archaeology’s annual conference at Leicester in January 2013.

There are several opportunities for organizations to sponsor elements of the conference; a great opportunity to showcase your work and products, and network with an international audience comprising c.1000 academics, students, field archaeologists, consultants, museum and heritage professionals, and staff and representatives from government and other agencies.

Sponsorship opportunities range from principal sponsorship of the conference, delegate bags, social events, the public archaeology session, and plenary session, to conference bag inserts and branded tea and coffee breaks. As well as the opportunity to raise awareness of your organization among the profession, your logo will also feature on the conference website and program, and those offering higher levels of conference sponsorship will receive one or two tickets to the Thursday night reception at Snibston Discovery Centre, or the Friday night SHA Awards banquet.

Further information about conference sponsorship opportunities is available in this document on the SHA 2013 conference website. This sets out the range of sponsorship packages, but if you would like to discuss any other possibilities, or combinations of packages, contact Conference Chairs Audrey Horning at a.horning@qub.ac.uk or Sarah Tarlow at sat12@leicester.ac.uk. Sponsorship commitments must be made by October 31, 2012 to include your organization in all relevant conference publications.

SHA 2013: Opportunities for volunteering and floorspace

The costs of attending an international conference can add up. Happily, the SHA 2013 conference committee in Leicester has information about two ways in which you could save some money, and get to know other archaeologists.

Volunteers are essential to the smooth operation of an SHA conference. By assisting with a variety of duties – from registration and Book Room set-up to the special events and the sessions themselves – volunteers are a key component of every conference.

The SHA is looking for volunteers to give eight hours of their time during the SHA Conference in exchange for free conference registration. Student attendees will be given priority for volunteer positions, but if you are not a student and would like to volunteer, please do get in touch anyway.

For further information please contact the Volunteer Co-ordinator, Sarah Newstead (srn5@le.ac.uk). Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until December 14, 2012. A limited number of volunteer openings are available, so don’t delay!

If you looking to save some more money, the Leicester conference committee has also set up a Facebook page for those who can offer free floorspace in their home to student delegates, and those who would like to split the cost of their hotel room by sharing with another delegate. Do keep checking the page for offers of accommodation, or consider advertising for a room-mate of your own!

SHA 2013: Coming and Going

Planning for SHA 2013 in January continues here in Leicester. Conference registration opens at the beginning of October, and information about how you can help by volunteering at the conference will be available soon.

In the meantime – don’t forget to arrange your travel to Leicester! The conference team has put together this guide to travelling to the city and we have now arranged a special deal with East Midlands Trains, who operate trains between London St Pancras and Leicester. Advance return travel between the two cities will be available from £27 standard class, and £42 first class for travel during the conference; a significant saving on the cost of train tickets purchased at the station on the day. Train fares will increase from 1st January 2013, so make your booking before this date to get the lowest fares. You can find out more about how to take advantage of this deal by downloading this document.

An express train leaving London St Pancras for Leicester in 1957. Modern engines and rolling stock are used now; sorry about that.

London St Pancras is something of a visitor destination in itself. The station opened in 1868 as the southern terminus of the Midland Railway, which ran services between London, the East Midlands, and Yorkshire. The train shed was designed by the Midland Railway’s own engineer, William Barlow, and with an arch span of 240 feet, over 100 feet high at its apex, the train shed roof was the largest single-span roof in the world.

The station facade was completed with the construction of the gothic Midland Grand Hotel, which opened in 1873 and was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott. The hotel was a pioneering building at the time, ornately decorated and boasting hydraulic lifts, fireproof concrete floors, revolving doors and a fireplace in each of the 300 bedrooms.

The Midland Grand Hotel

By the 1930s, the hotel had become outdated and the building was used for railway company offices. After the Second World War, the station too was deemed to be outmoded, and during the 1960s it was proposed that the station should be closed, and demolished along with the hotel. This caused uproar among the growing conservationist movement; the neighbouring Euston Station had been demolished in 1961-2, amid much public outcry. The poet Sir John Betjeman spearheaded a campaign to protect the station, and in 1967 St Pancras station and the former hotel were listed Grade I, protecting the complex from demolition.

The statue of Sir John Betjeman and the restored train shed roof at St Pancras

In 1996 St Pancras was selected as the location for the permanent terminus for the Eurostar trains travelling through the Channel Tunnel to continental Europe, and a long programme of reconstruction and restoration work began; the station fully re-opened in 2007, and the restored Midland Grand Hotel followed in 2011.

So if your journey to Leicester involves taking a train from St Pancras, do stop to take a look around.

Image 1 by Ben Brooksbank via Wiki Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Image 2 via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Image 3 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)