George Demidowicz BA, MSocSci

 

Honorary Research Fellow

Department of History

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Contact details

Qualifications

  • BA(Hons)
  • M.Soc.Sci  

Biography

George Demidowicz began his research in historical geography at the University of Birmingham with a study of late medieval colonisation and settlement in the north east region of Poland. He transferred his interests to the local scene whilst seeking gainful employment in a variety of careers, including social work. He continued to research and write and became increasingly involved in conservation issues and the protection and interpretation of the historic environment. In 1990 George was appointed by Coventry City Council as the City Conservation Officer, going on to lead the Conservation and Urban Design Team and later the Conservation and Landscape Architecture Team. He retired from the City Council in March 2011 as head of the Conservation and Archaeology Team, which he set up in the early 2000s following the completion of Coventry’s Millennium scheme, the Phoenix Initiative. This was the first city centre regeneration project to have the conservation of historic buildings and archaeology as a principle aim.

George was elected as Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of History in April 2011

Postgraduate supervision

George is willing to supervise work on building history, urban and landscape history and industrial archaeology.

Research

 

George’s main research field is the historic environment, employing a multi-disciplinary approach combining documentary history with field work and archaeological excavation. His particular interests are building history, rural landscape history, garden history, urban topography and industrial archaeology. He has concentrated his activities in the West Midlands, in an area extending from Sandwell to Coventry, but has worked on a number of projects elsewhere.

George’s principal industrial archaeological project has been the study of the Soho Manufactory, Mint and Foundry, acting as consultant to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. In 1996 the opening of Soho House as a museum provided the opportunity to invite Channel 4’s Time Team to undertake their first industrial archaeological dig. The sites of both the Soho Manufactory and Mint were successfully located and revealed. George is also a keen molinologist and has undertaken a detailed documentary and field study of Birmingham’s watermills. He initiated and advised on the excavation of the Hill Hook Mill in Sutton Coldfield, Lifford Mills in King’s Norton and Northfield Mill.

George is particularly pleased with his discovery of two hitherto unknown rentals of Birmingham, which have transformed our knowledge of the mediaeval borough. He has also produced a history of Kings Norton with Stephen Price.

Other activities

George has been a member of the Birmingham City Council’s Conservation and Heritage Panel (previously Conservation Areas Advisory Committee) for over 25 years and is a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation. He has recently joined Coventry Cathedral’s Fabric Advisory Committee.

He has contributed to a number of television and local radio programmes including the Time Team programmes on Soho and the Cathedral and Priory of St Mary’s, Coventry, Meet the Ancestors, History Hunters and a television film on the Soho Foundry.

Founder editor of The Birmingham Historian (1987-1993)

Publications

Forthcoming publications

  • George Demidowicz, ‘ The History of the North Court prior to Dudley’s works, and Appendix : ‘Source of Fountain Water Research’ in Anna Keay and John Watkins (eds.) ‘Worthy to be called Paradise’: Re-creating the Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle, English Heritage 
  • George Demidowicz, ‘The origins of the Soho Manufactory and its layout,’ in Sally Baggott and Kenneth Quickenden (eds.), Matthew Boulton – Enterprising Industrialist of the Enlightenment, Bicentenary Conference Papers to be published by Ashgate 
  • George Demidowicz, The Soho Industrial Buildings, Manufactory, Mint and Foundry An architectural, historical and industrial archaeological study of the Soho buildings
  • George Demidowicz, The Watermills of Birmingham: the Rea, the Cole and Hockley Brook (Vol 1)

Books

  • Recording, Excavation and Documentary Research in King’s Norton, Birmingham 2005-2007, Malcolm Hislop, George Demidowicz and Stephen Price, British Archaeological Reports British Series 529 (2011)
  • George Demidowicz and Stephen Price, ‘King’s Norton A History’ (2009) Tempus
  • George Demidowicz, A Guide to the Buildings of Coventry An Illustrated Architectural History, (2003) Tempus
  • George Demidowicz, A History of the Blue Coat School and Lych Gate Cottages, Coventry, (2002) Coventry City Council
  • George Demidowicz, (ed.), Coventry’s First Cathedral The Cathedral and Priory of St Mary, (1994) Paul Watkins of Stamford including contribution: ‘Coventry – a New Beginning?’1-15

 

Monographs

  • George Demidowicz, ‘Medieval Birmingham; the Borough Rentals of 1296 and 1344-5,’ Dugdale Society Occasional Papers, No 48 (2008)

 

Articles in books

  • George Demidowicz, ‘The Re-development of the Cathedral and Priory of St Mary after the Dissolution’ and George Demidowicz, ‘The Development of St Mary’s Hall, Coventry: a short history,’ in Richard Morris and Linda Monkton (eds),  Coventry: Medieval Art, Architecture and Archaeology, British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions, Vol XXXIII (2011)
  • George Demidowicz, ‘Power at the Soho Manufactory,’ in Malcolm Dick (ed.), Matthew Boulton A Revolutionary Player, (2009) 116-131
  • George Demidowicz, ‘A Walking Tour of the Three Sohos,’ in Shena Mason (ed.) Matthew Boulton Selling what all the world desires, (2009) Birmingham City Council and Yale, 99-107,
  • George Demidowicz, ‘ Soho House and Soho Foundry,’ in Andy Foster, Birmingham, Pevsner Architectural Guides, (2005) Yale,  282-288
  • George Demidowicz, ‘From Hermitage to Hunting Lodge: Stoneleigh Deer Park – A Landscape History,’ in Robert Bearman (ed.), Stoneleigh Abbey The House, Its Owners, Its Lands, (2004) 214-242

 

Journals

  • George Demidowicz, ‘The Lost Lint Brook. A Solution to the Hellerege Anglo-Saxon Charter and other explorations of King’s Norton History, Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society , Vol 107, ( 2003) 111-129
  • George Demidowicz, ‘The Hersum Ditch, Birmingham and Coventry; a local topographical term?’ Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society, Vol 106, ( 2002) 143-150
  • George Demidowicz, ‘From river Cole to river Rea,’ Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society, Vol 95, (1987-8) 81-84
  • George Demidowicz, Planned landscapes in north-east Poland; the Suraz estate, 1550-1760, ‘Journal of Historical Geography,’ Vol 11, 1 (1985) 21-47
  • George Demidowicz, ‘Hill Hook Mill, ‘ Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society’ Vol 93, (1983-4) 73-89

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