The historians who shaped the profession over the last 100 years


A. F. Pollard

The IHR’s Making History project, completed in 2008, covers the history of the study and practice of history in Britain over the last hundred years and more, following the emergence of the professional discipline in the late 19th century. A major part of the project involved building up biographical profiles of leading British historians, selected according to various criteria: producing a seminal work that reshaped the field (E. P. Thompson’s Making of the English Working-Class springs to mind), helping to establish a new sub-discipline (see the work of W. G. Hoskins on local history or Eileen Power in the field of economic history), or contributing to the institutional organisation of the profession (A. F. Pollard with the Institute of Historical Research, T. F. Tout with the Manchester School of History).

Conrad Russell

Some became synonymous with a particular era (G. R. Elton and the Tudors) or served as the public face of history (though A. J. P. Taylor’s achievements were not limited to his television lectures), and although most worked in higher education, others worked in the museum sector (Sir Roy Strong) or had spells advising governments (Sir Alexander Cairncross). Some, like Raphael Samuel, were university lecturers but did much of their work outside academia. Living historians were generally not included unless it was possible for their careers to be judged in perspective. A full list can be found here.

Who else would you like to see included? Who have we overlooked? Let us know below.

Danny Millum

One thought on “The historians who shaped the profession over the last 100 years

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *