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School of History

Dr Robert Henderson


Honorary Research Fellow



I gained an MA in Russian and a Diploma in Slavonic Languages at the University of Glasgow before taking up the post of Russian Curator at the British Library. Some twenty years later I returned to academic studies at Queen Mary and in 2009 completed my doctoral research into the Russian political emigration in late nineteenth century London.

Membership of professional associations or societies

  • Member of BASEES (British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies) Study Group on the Russian Revolution


Research Interests:

I am currently undertaking further research into the Russian revolutionary emigration in Edwardian London.  I have a keen interest in library history and an extensive knowledge of Russian academic libraries and archival repositories. I am also actively involved in school outreach projects helping pupils in their study of local history, and also giving regular presentations on life in late Soviet Russia. Other research interests include:

  • history of collaboration between Russian and European political police forces
  • development of  radicalization in nineteenth century Europe
  • British labour history


  • The Spark that Lit the Revolution: Young Lenin in London and the Politics that Changed the World. London: IB Tauris, March 2020.
  • Divergency in Russian Emigré Publishing in Late Victorian Britain: The case of the Narodovolets and the Anglo-Russian’. In Monolingualism, pluralism and rivalling languages: language choice and identity framing. London: Bloomsbury, 2020 [forthcoming].
  • Vladimir Burtsev and the Struggle for a Free Russia: A Revolutionary in the Time of Tsarism and Bolshevism. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017.
  • Liberty Hall: Apollinariya Yakubova and the East London Lecturing Society’, Revolutionary Russia, London, vol. 28 (December 2015), pp. 1–24.
  •  ‘The Hyde Park Rally of 9 March 1890: a British Workers’ Response to Russian Atrocities.’ In Laqua, D. and Alston, C. (eds.) Transnational Solidarities and the Politics of the Left, 1890—1990, European Review of History, August 2014, pp. 451‑466.
  • ‘“For the Cause of Education.” A History of the Free Russian Library in Whitechapel, 1898–1917.’ In Beasley, R. and Bullock, P. (eds.) Russia in Britain, 1880-1940: From Melodrama to ModernismOxford: OUP, 2013, pp. 71 - 86.
  • ‘A. L. Teplov and the Russian Free Library in Whitechapel’, Solanus, New Series, vol. 22 (2011), pp. 5 -26.
  • ‘Русская бесплатная библиотека в Ист-Энде’ in Morgunova, O. (ed.) Русское присутствие в Британии. Москва: Современная Экономика и право, 2010, pp. 59–68.
  • ‘International Collaboration In The Persecution Of Russian Political Émigrés: The European Pursuit of Vladimir Burtsev’, Revolutionary Russia, London, vol. 22, issue 1, (June 2009), pp. 21 - 36.
  • ‘Sanctuary: Russian Revolutionary Associations with the British Museum Library’, The Staircase, Journal of the Sir Frederic Madden Society, No. 12 (1) (January 2007), pp. 12–22.
  • ‘William Plate, An Unknown Acquaintance of Karl Marx at the British Museum: a biographical sketch’, The British Library Journal, London (2005)
  • ‘Watts, Panizzi and Asher: the Development of the Russian Collections, 1837-1869’, The British Library Journal , vol. 23, no. 2 (Autumn 1997), pp. 154–175. (co-authored with Dr Christine Thomas).
  • ‘Russian Political Émigrés and the British Museum Library’, Library History , (December, 1991), pp. 59–68.
  • ‘Ленин в Библиотеке Британского музея’, Вопросы истории КПСС, №. 4 (1991), pp. 118–126.
  • ‘Lenin and the British Museum Library’, Solanus, New Series, vol. 4 (1990), pp. 3–15.
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