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Jon Lawrence

Jon Lawrence

Reader in Modern British History

Office Phone: 01223 7 42974


Dr Lawrence joined the History Faculty in October 2004 having previously taught at University College, London, the University of Liverpool and Harvard University (2002-3). He studied History at King’s College, Cambridge and completed his doctorate in 1989. He chairs the editorial board of Twentieth-Century British History (OUP), and is an editorial advisor to History and Policy. He has been awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for 2013-15 and will be on research leave during this period.

Faculties and Departments

Faculty of History:

Research Interests

Dr Lawrence works on British social, political and cultural history from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. He has published extensively on political language and the culture of public politics. His book Electing Our Masters: the Hustings in British Politics from Hogarth to Blair was published by OUP in 2009. To hear him discussing the book with Carolyn Quinn on BBC Radio 4 click here. He is currently working on the politics of social identity in Britain from the 1930s to the present, including a history of popular individualism (and its limits). In 2014 he wrote and presented a documentary on Radio 4 on 'The Unmaking of the English Working Class'.

Key Publications

Key Publications

  • 'Social-Science Encounters and the Negotiation of Difference in early 1960s England,' History Workshop Journal, 77 (Spring 2014).
  • David Feldman and Jon Lawrence (eds), Structures and Transformations in Modern British History: Essays for Gareth Stedman Jones(Cambridge, 2011), pp. xii, 331.
  • Electing Our Masters: The Hustings in British Politics from Hogarth to Blair (Oxford, 2009), pp. xvi, 328.
  • Speaking for the People: Party, Language and Popular Politics in England, 1867-1914 (Cambridge, 1998, [pbk., 2002]), pp. xiii, 289
  • Jon Lawrence and Miles Taylor (eds), Party, State and Society: Electoral Behaviour in Britain since 1820 (Aldershot, 1997), pp. xii, 207 (introduction translated as ‘Les historiens britanniques face à la sociologie politique,’ Politix: Revue des Sciences Sociales du Politique, 21, 81 (2008), 13-39.

Other Publications

Edited Books:

Jon Lawrence and Pat Starkey (eds), Child welfare and social action in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: international perspectives(Liverpool University Press, 2001 [hardback and paperback]), pp. viii, 294.

Chapters in edited collections:

‘Popular politics and the limitations of party: Wolverhampton, 1867‑1900’ in E. Biagini and A. Reid (eds.), Currents of Radicalism: popular Radicalism, organized labour and party politics in Britain, 1850-1914, (Cambridge, CUP, 1991), 65-85.

‘The First World War and its aftermath’, in Paul Johnson (ed.), Twentieth-Century Britain: economic, social and cultural change, (Longmans, 1994), 151-168.       

Jay Winter and Jean-Louis Robert (eds.), Capital cities at war: London, Paris, Berlin, 1914‑1919, vol. I, (CUP, 1997; pbk. ed. 1999); joint authorship of six chapters.                                                      

‘Labour – the myths it has lived by’, in Duncan Tanner, Pat Thane and Nick Tiratsoo (eds), Labour’s First Century (Cambridge University Press, 2000), 341-66. 

‘Contesting the male polity: the suffragettes and the politics of disruption in Edwardian Britain’, in Amanda Vickery (ed.), Women, privilege and power: British politics, 1750 to the present, The Making of Modern Freedom Series, (Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA, 2001), 201-26.

‘Political history’ in Stefan Berger, Heiko Feldner and Kevin Passmore (eds), Writing History: theory and practice (Arnold, 2003), 183-202; (revised 2nd edn., Bloomsbury, 2010), 213-31.

‘Public space, political space’ in Jay Winter and Jean-Louis Robert (eds), Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin, 1914-1919. Volume 2: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007), 280-312.

‘Class, paternalism and the British path to modernity’ in Simon Gunn and James Vernon (eds) The Peculiarities of Liberal Modernity in Imperial Britain (University of California Press, 2011).  

Jon Lawrence and Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, 'Margaret Thatcher and the decline of class politics' in Ben Jackson and Robert Saunders (eds) The Thatcher Revolution forthcoming (Cambridge, 2012)

Refereed journal articles:

‘Popular Radicalism and the socialist revival in Britain’, Journal of British Studies, 31, 2 (1992), 163‑86.

Jon Lawrence, Martin Dean and Jean-Louis Robert, ‘The outbreak of War and the urban economy, Paris, Berlin and London in 1914’,Economic History Review, XLV, 3 (1992), 564‑93. Reprinted in Michael S. Neiberg (ed.), World War One: International Library of Essays on Military History, (Aldershot, Ashgate, 2005), 221-50.

Jon Lawrence and Miles Taylor, ‘The poverty of protest: Gareth Stedman Jones and the politics of language ‑ a reply’, Social History, 18, 1 (1993), 1-15 [a reply to Mayfield and Thorne, Social History, 1992].

‘Class and gender in the making of urban toryism, 1880‑1914’, English Historical Review, CVIII, 428 (1993), 629-52. Reprinted in Benjamin Ziemann and Thomas Mergel (eds), European Political History1870-1913 (Ashgate, 2007)

Jay Winter, Jon Lawrence, and Jacqueline Arouiat, ‘The impact of war on infant mortality in London, 1910‑1923’, Annales de Demographie Historique, (1993), 329-53.

Jon Lawrence and Jane Elliott, ‘Parliamentary election results reconsidered, an analysis of borough elections, 1885-1910’, Parliamentary History, 16, 1 (1997), 18-29; (Special volume: E.H.H. Green (ed.), An Age of Transition: British Politics, 1880-1914).

‘The complexities of English Progressivism: Wolverhampton politics in the early twentieth century’, Midland History, 24 (1999), 147-66.

‘Fascist Violence and the Politics of Public Order in inter-war Britain: the Olympia Debate Revisited’, Historical Research, 76, 192 (2003), 238-67.

'Forging a Peaceable Kingdom: War, Violence and the Fear of Brutalisation in Post-First World War Britain ,' Journal of Modern History, 75, 3 (Sept. 2003), 557-89.

‘Why Olympia mattered: reply to Pugh’, Historical Research, 78, 200 (2005), 263-72.

'The Transformation of British Public Politics after the First World War,' Past and Present, 190 (2006), 186-216

‘Class, “affluence” and the study of everyday life in Britain, c.1930-1964,’ Cultural and Social History, 10 (2013), 273-99.

[with Jane Elliott] ‘Refining childhood social class measures in the 1958 British cohort study,’ CLS Working Paper, 2014/1, London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.

Review and policy essays:

‘State and society in the shadow of war’, Historical Journal, 36, 4 (1993), 993-1001.

‘The decline of popular politics?’, Parliamentary History 13, 3 (1994), 333-337

‘The British sense of class’, Journal of Contemporary History 35, 2 (2000), 307-18.

‘The politics of place and the politics of nation’, Twentieth-Century British History, 11, 1 (2000), 83-92.

'What Did Cook Want?’ London Review of Books, 26, 4 (19 February 2004).

Review essay on ‘The Politics of the Poor: the East End of London, 1885-1914’ by Marc Brodie Reviews in History (IHR on-line) c. 2,000 words (Jan. 2005) @

‘What is to be done with the second chamber?’ History and Policy [c. 4,000 words], Jan. 2007 @

‘The spirit of the hustings returns,’ OUP blog, May 2009,

‘The hustings, broadcasters and the future of British democracy’, History and Policy website paper [c. 4,000 words], May 2009

History & Policy opinion pieces: July 2009, ‘MPs’ Expenses’; August 2009,  ‘Open Public Primaries’.

‘A loss of face-to-face’ History Today, August 2009, 20-22 @

‘Changing Times: have we lost the spirit of the hustings?’ – an interview with Chris Bowlby, BBC History Magazine, January 2010.

‘Keeping the hustings alive,’ OUP blog, April 2010 @

‘When the wheels came off Brown’s campaign bus,’ History & Policy opinion piece, 29 April 2010 @