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12th Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain Conference 2019

The twelfth Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain conference will take place at Canterbury Christ Church University from 3 to 5 July 2019.

Welcome to the website for the 2019 Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain Conference.

We are looking forward to welcoming scholars from all over the UK, Europe, Australasia, and the USA to this World Heritage Site for the three days of the Conference, with topics covering a remarkable range of academic enquiry. We are particularly proud to be welcoming our two Keynote Speakers, Dr David Wright (formerly Reader in the Social History of Music at London’s Royal College of Music, and author of a soon-to-be-published history of that institution) and Dr Paul Rodmell, of the University of Birmingham.

Canterbury Christ Church University is a two-minute walk from the Quenin Gate, the opening in the ancient city wall leading directly into the Cathedral precincts through which delegates at the Conference will be able to wander freely. The Cathedral’s proximity is a daily reminder not only of CCCU’s origins as a Church of England teacher training college, but of the scholastic heritage we continually strive to preserve – and, given the extensive renovation work currently being undertaken in and around the ancient building, the work needed to preserve it. Happily, delegates will be able to savour the tranquillity of the place either before or after the tourists and the workforce take over in the middle of the day: in the stillness of early morning as the Cathedral wakes for the 8.00 am Communion service, or after the 5.30 Evensong, when the madding crowd has gone home.

Conference Dinner: An Evening with The Canterbury Catch Club, Thursday 4 July

Outside the precincts, most of the city wall is intact – and one medieval gate still stands – which means that the centre of Canterbury has retained its compact character. From the south-eastern end of Burgate (now, alas, only a pedestrian crossing) to the old Westgate at the London-facing end of the city is a leisurely twenty-minute walk, so long as you can ignore the shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants put there to beguile the visitor throughout the day and well into the evenings. The Conference Dinner on Thursday 4 July will take place at one of Canterbury’s best eateries: the Café du Soleil is a part of the city wall itself, accessed by footbridge over the river Stour, adjacent to the Westgate.

One slice of the city’s musical history will be a special feature of this particular MNCB Conference dinner: for almost a century (1779–1865) the city boasted a Catch Club. This quintessentially British institution offered its members a weekly concert of songs, catches, glees and instrumental music – accompanied by plentiful food and drink – throughout a winter season lasting thirty weeks from September to March. With the help of Cantuar, a group of Cathedral Lay Clerks who have made this convivial song repertoire their special study for the last few years, delegates will be able to savour something of this lost delight, in the evocative setting of the Café du Soleil’s timbered first-floor room built into the city wall. With the date in mind, this evening’s programme will not miss the opportunity to remind everyone present that the American national anthem started life as a drinking song (adopted by the Anacreontic Society as their club ditty) by the English composer John Stafford Smith.

The cost of £32 is for the Café du Soleil’s excellent buffet that evening, and will be payable on the night as you enter (please note that the cost of the meal does not include drink; there is a bar at one end of the room to serve whatever beverage you desire). You will also be given a beautifully produced copy of a book of glees and catches, transcribed from the Club archives now held in the Cathedral, to keep as a memento of an unforgettable cultural experience in a city which is still proud of its music-making. You may be invited, at various points in the evening, to use this volume to make your own vocal contribution to the general noise, but this will not be compulsory.

You will be asked to book your place at the dinner during the Registration process.

Conference Committee:

  • Professor Rachel Cowgill
  • Rachel Johnson
  • Dr George Kennaway
  • Dr Christopher Price (Chair)
  • Dr Paul Rodmell

Registration

Registration is now open - please see the section below for a note about accommodation. It is well worth booking in advance.

Registration

Please direct all enquiries about this conference to: mncb2019@canterbury.ac.uk 

The university is able to offer some student accommodation, as described here. If you’d like to book one of the rooms, please use this link to book. Enter the offer code MNCB2019 on the right-hand side of the booking screen and you will be able to book between the 2nd-7th July. If you need/would like rooms outside those dates, then please contact Abbie Betts (Conference and Events Summer Accommodation Coordinator; email abbie.croucher@canterbury.ac.uk), and she will be able to accommodate you. If you have any special requirements, please contact her directly and she will be able to respond to queries.

If you’d prefer a hotel, we have no particular recommendations, but here’s a quick overview. The Conference will be taking place on the main campus (postcode CT1 1QU) but the pedestrian entrance is in the south-west corner, by Lady Wootton’s Green (CT1 1NG). In order of proximity (not cost!), I might suggest the following:

Travelodge: 63 Ivy Ln, Canterbury CT1 1TU; budget pricing; https://www.travelodge.co.uk/hotels/499/Canterbury-Chaucer-Central-hotel

Cathedral Lodge: within the Precincts, right next to the Cathedral, lovely, but pricier; https://www.canterburycathedrallodge.org/

Premier Inn: mid-price; https://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/england/kent/canterbury/canterbury-city-centre.html?cid=GLBC_CANDOV

Ebury Hotel, New Dover Road: mid-price; https://www.ebury-hotel.co.uk/

Abbots Barton Hotel, New Dover Road: mid-higher price; https://www.bestwestern.co.uk/hotels/best-western-abbots-barton-hotel-83796/in-2019-02-14/out-2019-02-15/adults-1/children-0/rooms-1

But as you will see the moment you start browsing ( https://www.canterbury.co.uk/site/scripts/places_to_stay.php) there is a range of places available. 

Travel to Canterbury

Travel advice

Even if you are giving a lecture recital or plan to give any kind of performance, no matter how informal, do not share this with the immigration officials. They are prone to misinterpret any mention of the word ‘performance’ as ‘work’. There are horror stories, so please take care.

Arriving from abroad

Airports

From London Gatwick you can take the train to Canterbury either via London St Pancras (one change) or changing at both Redhill and Tonbrige (no lift at Tonbridge!). Don’t waste your money on the ‘Gatwick Express’ (plus, it will only take you to Victoria anyway). This will take at least two hours from door to door. If you are with a group, you might consider hiring a private taxi to Canterbury for around £75.

From Heathrow you have several options. The easiest is to take the Piccadilly line all the way to London St Pancras, then take the direct, high-speed service to Canterbury West (see below)—only one change. It’s usually just under an hour on the Tube, then 52 minutes to CBW. If you hate the Tube and love changing trains, you can take the Heathrow Express (more money) and then take the Circle Line from Paddington to St Pancras and then the high-speed direct to Canterbury West. If you are with a group, you might consider hiring a private taxi to Canterbury for around £100.

London Stansted. Buy your ticket from the window and ask for a ticket all the way to Canterbury West. If you are returning via Stansted, go ahead and buy a return that will work for your date. You’ll need to change at Tottenham Hale and then take the Tube to St Pancras, then the high-speed to Canterbury West. Count on a minimum of two hours travel time

Luton Airport. Take the train from Luton Airport Parkway to London St Pancras, then catch the high-speed service to Canterbury West. If you time it right, this can be done in under two hours.

From within the UK

From London: The fastest and easiest train is from London St Pancras station. The trains leave from platforms 11–13, which is upstairs near the entrance to the station (King’s Cross side). The Margate trains go directly to Canterbury West, otherwise you may need to change at Ashford International. Some busy trains will split at Ashford, so listen for announcements (or ask the guard) and make sure you are in the correct part of the train by the time you reach Ashford. There are lifts at all of these stations. The direct train on the high-speed service is about 52 minutes.

You can also leave from London Victoria and arrive at Canterbury East. If you are staying at St George’s (see above, Accommodation) this station is closer than Canterbury West, but the journey takes about 40 minutes longer.

Arriving on Eurostar. You are very wise to arrive via Eurostar! If you can, book a train that stops at Ashford International (not all trains stop there, so best to check before you book). It’s about 2 hours from Paris to Ashford, and an hour and a half from Brussels. From Ashford, you can catch a train to Canterbury West station, which is about a 15–20 minute journey, depending on which train you take.

This map will help you find your way between University accommodation and the main conference venues on the North Holmes Road campus.

What do you think of when someone mentions Canterbury? Chaucer (and/or his pilgrims), Christopher Marlowe (born here) and Canterbury Cathedral. Thought so. You’ll find that a great many shop owners feel the same. You’ll soon find just about every other shop or service called ‘The Chaucer…’ something, or ‘Pilgrim’s’ this and that. My current favourite is the ‘Chaucer Roundabout’. He’d be so proud. The author of Doctor Faustus is not left out of this kind of silliness either (though, at least our fine theatre bears his name). The Romans turned Canterbury from a wretched little market in Kent to a fine city. However, on their first attempt they failed to conquer all of Kent and so the motto of the county is ‘Invicta’; cue Invicta Paints, Invicta IT services, Invicta Coffee, and so on).

Canterbury is home to two large universities: Canterbury Christ Church University (ours) and The University of Kent. In addition to these, there are also several arts colleges and other training colleges. The result is that Canterbury has the highest student-to-townie population in all of Europe: of the 55,000 or so residing in Canterbury, around 27,000 of them are students. Unsurprisingly, we also have a lot of pubs—over 100 in the municipal area.

The website  MyCanterbury has many deals and offers at local shops, attractions and events. There is also a free app available. This may enhance your enjoyment of your visit to our lovely city and could save you money as well. 

Getting Around

Canterbury city centre is still largely surrounded by a medieval wall (itself built on top of the Roman one) which has, over the centuries, kept the centre compact. You can walk from one end of the high street to the other in about 10–12 minutes. I mention this so that if your hotel or B&B is not right near campus, you’re unlikely to be beyond walking distance away.

Eating and Drinking

Here is an off-the-cuff guide prepared by my excellent colleague Rob Rawson on good places for sensible people like you to go out to eat and/or drink.

Proper Restaurants

The Goods Shed. Not only the best restaurant in Canterbury, but rated one of the top 50 in the South and one of the top 100 in the UK. Situated in our best food market. If your budget can take it, go here. Spanish chef Raphael is a master. Mains about £14–£25.

Zeus. A new Greek (really?) restaurant on Orange Street. It’s not the cheapest place (mains are around £11–£20), but great food and service in a dignified atmosphere. You have to drink Greek or Cypriot wine. Make of that what you will.

A La Turka. Not a chain, but they do have two locations in Canterbury. The combination of quality and cost are excellent and A La Turka has quickly become very popular with locals. Main courses around £10–£15 (though Meze’s are less).

Boho. Very popular with seasoned locals, they don’t take reservations (very Boho…). Chance your arm if you’re nearby. I’ve never had a bad meal here. You can get away with two course here for under £20.

The Ambrette. Indian (and Indian-inspired) cooking at its finest. Their restaurant in Margate has a Michelin star. Mains £12–£25.

Cafe Mauresque. Andalucian/Moroccan. Wonderful. Tapas start around £3.75, mains around £10–£17. You can order giant platters to share—good way to save a few pounds (and yet gain a few…).

Osteria Posillipo. You can get a plate of pasta here for under £7 and pizzas from £6.

Kashmiri Tandoori. Want a curry? Go here. You can fill up for under a tenner.

Azouma. Excellent Moroccan food. If you feel like eating like a horse, I recommend the lunchtime buffet (around £9). About a two-minute stagger from Christ Church campus.

Café du Soleil. Have you been giving or hearing papers about Lully or Louis XIV? Then why not continue your day of ‘Sun’ references by eating here? There’s no reason not to.

Tomago.  All the Japanese students and staff go here—and for good reason. Miso soup from £2.

Pubs that serve food

The Shakespeare.  The beer is only OK here (it’s not terrible, it’s just OK), but the food is excellent and very good value. You can get a proper meal here for under £7.

The Foundry. Britain has imported the idea of brew-pub from America. This one is wonderful. The beers are generally excellent and the food is solidly good. Nice atmosphere and friendly service.

The Dolphin. As pubs go, this is Canterbury’s poshest. This is a go-to pub for locals in the Summer because it has a large and lovely garden at the back. Well-kept beer and table service (with waitresses and everything). The food prices are higher than your average pub, but the quality is high. Mains about £8–£16. (I’m getting hungry just writing these down!).

The Two Sawyers. Bored to tears of people prattling on about hand-rastrated paper or the influence of Silesian folk dancing on Irish pantomime? You’re only two minutes away from this little eighteenth-century oasis at the other end of the impossibly twee-sounding Love Lane. Have a burger and a pint, then make your way slowly back to the conference. You’re welcome. Warning: you might see me there.

The Parrot. This listed, 14th-century pub is a complete gem. If you go here, don’t tell too many tourists about it—I don’t want it ruined! Absolutely oozing with atmosphere, the food is excellent (same owners as The Shakespeare) and they have a lovely, higgledy–piggledy garden. If you’re tall, remember not to whack to your head on the countless beams and little doorways (note to self). Mains about £9–£17.

Finally, there are also familiar and perfectly fine chains (Pizza Express has a wonderful location on a Roman canal) and sandwich shops and cafes on the high street and around the town centre.

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Last edited: 19/06/2019 09:57:00