The Centre & Project and the University of the Third Age are running a project on the local histories of urban communities in the late seventeenth century. Three Shared Learning Project teams explore  the histories of the City of London, Maritime Greenwich and towns of the West Midlands, covering the period of the Restoration, Great Plague, Great Fire, Popish plot, Exclusion crisis and “Glorious Revolution”.

This project reverses a familiar pattern whereby volunteers undertake the collection of data, which are then analysed by academics and published to meet research agendas. Instead, checked hearth tax data are being provided to the U3A SLP teams, which are conducting historical research at the local and personal levels to complement the county- and city-wide analyses in the hard-copy hearth tax editions. The aim of the project is to find out as much as possible about the people who lived and worked in these three areas, and the local character of metropolitan and suburban areas in comparison to market towns in the West Midlands.

A series of blogs on the Hearth Tax blog are highlighting the stories of notable people and communities, which both advanced and fell on hard times. Information on these publication of these blogs can be found by following the Hearth Tax Project & Centre on the Twitter account: Twitter.com/HearthTax. At the end of the series, the intention is to bring the research together into a pdf publication, which will be made available online on a free to access website.