2016 Congress

2016 Congress

The Canterbury Tales on a Southwark electrical maintenance box, 2015. Photo: Anthony Bale

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The New Chaucer Society values diversity, and is committed to building a supportive and positive professional environment for the participants at our 2016 London Congress. We will strive to ensure that all our members feel included, and that everyone is treated fairly and with courtesy. Our statement of professional ethics can be found here:
If you wish to talk about an incident of bullying, harassment, discrimination, or disrespectful behavior at the Congress, please contact Ruth Evans (revans19@slu.edu), Susan Crane (sc2298@columbia.edu), Ardis Butterfield (ardis.butterfield@yale.edu), or Anthony Bale (a.bale@bbk.ac.uk).

The Local Arrangements Committee is chaired by Anthony Bale (a.bale@bbk.ac.uk) and Lawrence Warner (lawrence.warner@kcl.ac.uk); please contact them for information about the Congress site, accommodation, and events. The Program Committee is chaired by Kellie Robertson (krobert@umd.edu) and Emily Steiner (steinere@english.upenn.edu); please contact them if you have queries about the Congress program.

Registration and pre-conference information:

Registration is now open for the New Chaucer Society Congress 2016 (#NCS16). The Congress will take place at the Mile End campus of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). We are very grateful to Queen Mary for the support it has given.

Please read the notes below BEFORE completing your online registration, which is available by following this link.

Delegates must register via Queen Mary’s e-shop facility; all visitors to the Congress MUST register in advance, and should do so by 15 June 2016 (registration fee: £165; concessions: £85). After this date, a late registration fee shall apply. There are no day rates and no walk-in registrations. A discounted registration fee is available for graduate students, retired academics, independent scholars, unsalaried delegates, and secondary school teachers. Partners/spouses who wish to attend receptions and other events may also pay the discounted fee. The registration fee includes paper sessions, lectures, receptions, tea and coffee breaks, and many plenary events. In addition, on the registration site, you will have the option of signing up for some events, for lunches, and for the Congress Banquet on the evening of Thursday 14th July. Please note that the Congress Banquet will be held in the same location (“The Brewery”) as the Biennial Chaucer Lecture and the final reception. Full details of the Congress Program are available by following this link.

Some members wish to bring guests to the Congress Banquet (14th July). Please note that if one wishes to attend any other parts of the Congress, including other receptions, one must register via the normal route via this link. For those who wish to attend the Congress Banquet only they may register via this link, at the cost of £100 plus processing fee; this ticket includes a drinks reception with canapes, Stephanie Trigg's biennial Chaucer lecture, and a full multi-course seated dinner with drinks. Please note that this registration option is not intended for those who wish to attend any other part of the Congress.

On the e-shop registration site, you will also be asked about dietary requirements. All meat served at Queen Mary is halal. Other diets - such as vegan and vegetarian - can be easily catered for. If you require certified glatt kosher food prepared under supervision an extra charge will apply, payable in cash at the Congress; contact Anthony directly if this applies. Lunch will be a full meal (with starter, main course, pudding) and we recommend that delegates take lunch at the Congress - other options nearby are likely to be busy at lunchtime.

Activities on the afternoon of Wednesday 13th July:

All these excursions are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so early booking is encouraged. Please sign up for only one excursion. You must sign up for these activities separately via the following links to eventbrite.com pages. We will also circulate a list of suggested events and walks for those of you who would rather explore independently. Sign up here by clicking the link with your chosen event, all of which will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday 13th July and will finish by 5pm, in good time for that evening’s plenary events.

Please sign up for only one of the following 

In addition, we have organised an evening of medieval music with the acclaimed group Opus Anglicanum, on the evening of Wednesday 13th July, at 8pm (following the performance of The Pride of Life). You can sign up for this very special ticketed event by Opus Anglicanum here.

Excursion to Canterbury

On Friday 15th July, we will provide bus transport to Canterbury, to see this beautiful medieval city and its wonderful Cathedral. We will leave in the morning and plan to be back in London by about 7pm. Please book your place for this excursion by following this link.

We understand that some delegates may also wish to travel independently and take the (faster, but more expensive) train from London Stratford to Canterbury. We will provide an itinerary of sights to see in Canterbury to all Congress delegates.

Additionally, London, Southwark, Westminster, and the surrounding area have a wealth of attractions for the medievalist, and we hope that you will explore some of them independently. We will circulate a list of recommended attractions in the Congress pack.

Venue information:

Mile End is in the east (‘East End’) of the city; the campus can be reached easily by the Underground (‘tube’), via the Mile End station, on the Central, District, and Hammersmith & City Lines. Stepney Green tube station is also only a short walk away (District Line and Hammersmith & City Line).

Congress sessions will take place in a cluster of buildings, all of them proximate to each other and with disability access, at Queen Mary; the registration desk will be in the Arts2 building. This is just a few minutes’ walk from Mile End tube station.

Travel to and from the Congress:

London is served by six airports. You should allow a journey time of at least 70 minutes from any London airport (apart from London City) to Mile End. When making your travel arrangements, be aware that most airfares are considerably cheaper if you stay on a Saturday night.

For intercontinental flights, you are likely to land at either London Heathrow (LHR) or London Gatwick (LGW). Heathrow is to the west of the city, Gatwick to the south. From Heathrow, the easiest way to Queen Mary is to take the Heathrow Express to Paddington, and then the Hammersmith & City Line tube to Mile End. From Gatwick, the easiest route is to take the Thameslink train from Gatwick to Blackfriars, and then the District Line tube to Mile End. It is usually cheaper to buy train tickets online in advance.

International and domestic flights may also land at London City (LCY), London Stansted (STN), London Luton (LTN), or London Southend (SEN). City airport is by far the most convenient airport for Queen Mary: from here, you can take the Docklands Light Railway to West Ham, and then change to the District Line tube for Mile End, a journey which should take about 25 minutes from airport to Congress venue. From Stansted, you can take the National Express bus A8 directly to Mile End; alternatively, you can take the Anglia train to Liverpool Street and then the Central Line tube to Mile End. From Luton, take the Thameslink train to Farringdon, and then the Hammersmith & City line tube to Mile End. From Southend, take the Anglia train to Stratford, and then the Central Line tube to Mile End.

If you are arriving in London by domestic train, Mile End is served by direct tube connections from Liverpool Street, Cannon Street, Paddington, Victoria, and King’s Cross St Pancras mainline stations; all other railway stations are easily accessible via tube network connections.

If you are arriving in London via Eurostar from Belgium and France, you can take the tube from St Pancras International directly to Mile End on the Hammersmith & City/District lines.

Licensed taxi (‘Black cab’ with a Hackney Carriage License) services are abundant in London, but are expensive for longer journeys; a black cab to Queen Mary will cost in the region of £65 (one-way) from Heathrow, or £110 (one-way) from Gatwick. Not all black cabs accept credit cards. We cannot recommend taking unlicensed minicabs.

For planning your travel around London, we recommend using the Transport for London (TfL) web service available at www.tfl.gov.uk or the Google Maps app. Fares on buses, tubes, and overground trains are paid either by Oyster card or with a ‘contactless’ debit/credit card; cash tickets for the tube and for trains can be bought at ticket machines at stations, but cash is no longer accepted on London buses.  


As all sessions (except the Biennial Lecture/banquet) will take place at Queen Mary’s Mile End campus, we recommend staying in the residences at Queen Mary. These are single rooms only, many of them with an attractive view over the Regent’s Canal, inside Queen Mary’s secure campus. They are excellent value. They are just £57 per night ensuite, or £45 with shared bathroom, and include breakfast. Your accommodation in the residences at Queen Mary, at the Mile End campus, can be booked at https://book.qmaccommodation.co.uk/; early booking is advised and delegates should enter the promotion code Chaucer16. Rooms can be booked in groups, and have simple shared kitchenettes (microwave, kettle) but no utensils, and you can book a room for a few days either side of the actual Congress itself. 

Other options outside the campus include shared and individual lets available at www.airbnb.com and local hotels (we recommend www.booking.com). We have also had good reports of www.accomable.com, a platform for disabled-accessible rentals, although at the time of writing it does not have many listings in London. Queen Mary is located in Mile End, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets; to assist you with searching for accommodation, the postal code is E1 4NS.

There are no hotels within a short walk of the campus. If you want to stay in a medieval foundation (albeit in a modern building), The Royal Foundation of St Katharine, set up by Queen Matilda in 1147, is one of the oldest charitable foundations in Great Britain and has simple rooms in quiet grounds available at its residence in Limehouse, a 20 minute bus ride from Queen Mary. If you’re looking for something different, and more expensive, distinctive luxury hotels in the East End include the Montcalm at the Brewery (the location of the closing plenary and the Congress banquet), the Ace Hotel Shoreditch, and Batty Langley’s Folgate Street; hotels in this area are likely to be pricey, but will provide an excellent base for exploring the city. Another option is to look in the Docklands and Canary Wharf area, which has some large, good quality hotels to suit a range of budgets (e.g. Four Seasons Canary Wharf; Ibis London Docklands) and is only a short bus ride to Mile End from there. London is a big, and expensive, place, and can often seem daunting - please contact Anthony or Lawrence if you’d like advice on accommodations or finding your way around.

Please contact Anthony or Lawrence directly if you have questions about childcare. There will be an unsupervised ‘family room’ available during the Congress, for nursing and to allow parents a space to which to meet and relax with their families. Additionally, an informal Facebook-based childcare circle has been set up here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/623717291100451/.

Special events:

When perusing the program, please make sure to note the special events we have arranged in addition to the academic sessions. One of these is ticketed, so make sure to book when you register if you are interested: An Evening of Medieval Music by Opus Anglicanum (8-9 pm, 13 July) (see program). The others are free events: a reading by the poet Lavinia Greenlaw, whose most recent book is A Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde (5:30-7 pm, followed by reception, 12 July); a performance by Poculi Ludique Societas of The Pride of Life (6-8 pm, 13 July); and an appearance at the Global Chaucers meeting by Patience Agbabi, author of Telling Tales (8-9 pm, 13 July).

Safety and insurance:

On the whole, London is a safe city. If you have any questions about personal safety please let Anthony or Lawrence know. All delegates are urged to take out their own travel insurance, or use their institution’s policy; delegates from European Union countries should bring their EHIC card which entitles them to NHS medical treatment.

Off-campus food and drink:

Coffee and tea is included in the Congress registration, and finger-food and drinks will be provided at the Congress receptions. There are further cafes and restaurants available on campus, and, for essentials, there are two small supermarkets nearby (The Co-Operative, near Mile End tube station, and Sainsbury’s Local, across the road from Queen Mary). Further information about local coffee shops, pubs, restaurants, and other facilities will be included in your Congress pack.


There are 3 stages to making your booking for the Congress 

  1. Register for the Congress
  2. Register for activities and special events
  3. Book your accommodation


The 2016 New Chaucer Society Congress has received generous support from the following:

Queen Mary University of London: www.qmul.ac.uk

English Department, University College London: www.ucl.ac.uk/english

Department of English & Humanities, Birkbeck, University of London: www.bbk.ac.uk/english/

Department of English, King’s College London: www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/english/

Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies, King’s College London: www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/ahri/centres/clams/index.aspx

English Heritage