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Professor Paul Readman

Professor Paul Readman


Paul ReadmanProfessor in Modern British History


Vice-Dean for Research

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 1573
Address Department of History
King’s College London
Room S 8.12
London WC2R 2LS
Paul Readman was educated at Newpark Comprehensive School, Dublin, and Christ’s College, Cambridge. After a Junior Research Fellowship at Christ’s, he joined King’s College London as Lecturer in Modern British History in 2002, becoming Senior Lecturer in 2008 and Professor in 2015. He was Head of the Department of History between 2008 and 2012, and was made Vice-Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Arts & Humanities in 2014. Paul is Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded project, The Redress of the Past: Historical Pageants in Britain (, and his latest book is Storied Ground: Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity (Cambridge, 2018). He has served on the Advisory Council of the Institute of Historical Research and is a member of the AHRC Strategic Peer-Review College. In 2017, he was elected to the Council of the Royal Historical Society.   
Research interests and PhD supervision
  • The cultural and political history of modern Britain
  • British national identities
  • The British landscape in history
  • Historical pageants in twentieth-century Britain
  • The politics of patriotism in modern Britain
Paul’s research interests lie in modern British political and cultural history. He has published articles and essays on a wide range of subjects, including electoral politics, the British ‘land question’, landscape preservation, the politics of patriotism, foreign policy, historiography and historical methods, mountaineering, historical pageants, and the place of the past in late Victorian and Edwardian culture. He is author of Land and Nation in England (2008), which examines political debates about Englishness, agriculture and land reform. More recently, he has published a major study of English National identity and its relationship to landscape, Storied Ground (2018). He has also published, as co-editor, The Land Question in Britain, 1750-1950 (2009), By-elections in British Politics 1832-1914 (2013), Borderlands in World History, 1700-1914 (2014), and Walking Histories, 1800-1914 (2016).
Paul would particularly welcome applications from research students interested in working on topics relating to:
  •  Nineteenth- and twentieth-century British national identities
  • The place of the past in nineteenth and twentieth-century British culture
  • The ‘Land Question’ in British politics, c. 1750-1950
  • Landscape and the rural in British culture since c.1750
  • Electoral politics c. 1860-1945
Selected publications
  • Storied Ground: Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 335pp.
  • (ed. with Chad Bryant and Arthur Burns), Walking Histories, 1800-1914 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillian, 2016), 345pp.
  • (with A. Bartie, P.N. Caton, L. Fleming, M. Freeman, T. Hulme, and A. Hutton), The Redress of the Past: Historical Pageants in Britain, 1905-2016 (2016).
  • Land and Nation in England: Patriotism, National Identity and the Politics of Land, 1880-1914 (Woodbridge: Royal Historical Society, 2008), 242pp.
  • ‘The place of the past in English culture, c.1890–1914’, Past & Present, 186 (2005), pp. 147–99
Much of Paul’s teaching reflects his research interests. He teaches modules in modern British history, nations and nationalism, electoral politics, and the politics of patriotism.
Expertise and public engagement
Paul’s work on historical pageants has involved public exhibitions, film screenings, talks and workshops with a wide range of external partners (e.g. Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle). For further details of this work, please see the Redress of the Past project website:
Paul has appeared on BBC Radio 4, BBC local radio and, in the US, National Public Radio. He has reviewed books for a variety of publications, including the Irish Times and the BBC History Magazine.
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