Charles Blagden and Banksian Science, 1770-1820

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Science and Technology Studies

Abstract

This study will explore the eight-volume diary of Charles Blagden (1748-1820), physician, natural philosopher and secretary to the Royal Society between 1784 and 1797. Blagden's diary is a potentially rich source of information about the workings of English science, but has not been used by historians owing to its rather illegible handwriting. This project will involve transcribing a section of the diary, using it to explore the workings of the 'Banksian regime' in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century London, as well as opening up this key source for the use of historians.
Exploration of the diary will reveal perspectives on Blagden as well as Joseph Banks, who, despite his long tenure as president of the Society is relatively unknown in comparison to contemporaries. The diary will reveal the networks of personnel and institutions which Banks worked with to cultivate scientific activities, as well as key areas of research, such as the exploration of the Pacific between 1780 and 1820. The diary may also expose Blagden's role as a go-between among scientific and political protagonists during the period, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Butler-Eyles travel grant
Amount £127 (GBP)
Organisation British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 04/2017
 
Description Research expenses (for postgraduate students)
Amount £375 (GBP)
Organisation Royal Historical Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 06/2017
 
Description Research expenses (for postgraduate students)
Amount £400 (GBP)
Organisation British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 06/2017
 
Description 'Curiosi-tea' interactive workshop at UCL Art Museum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A group of retired adults attended a hands-on workshop I developed and organised based on my PhD research at the UCL Art Museum, as part of their 'Curiosi-tea' programme. I gave a short talk on my research, followed by an interactive activity where participant re-enacted some eighteenth-century science experiments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Blog posts on my research for the UCL Researchers in Museums Blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I blog for the UCL researchers in museums project website about my PhD research. The aim of this is to disseminate my findings, and to raise the profile of the research I do. The outcome has been that my research reaches a large audience from around the world.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/researchers-in-museums/category/c-e/hannah-wills/
 
Description speaker at 'Materials and Objects: What do researchers at UCL study?' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I spoke at an afternoon of public talks at the UCL Art Museum about the main subject of my PhD research. The aim was to reveal to the general public the breadth and depth of PhD research conducted at the university. Participants reported afterwards that they had found the talks engaging, and that they had increased their understanding of what research students do.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/researchers-in-museums/projects-exhibitions/materials-objects/