School of History


The School has externally-funded research projects ranging across its research specialisms, and has also developed strong research partnerships and collaborations in the UK and beyond.

Project highlights 

The Borromei Bank Research Project(link is external)

This ESRC-funded research project focused upon the Borromei, one of Italy’s most ancient families. From the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century, the Borromei became prominent bankers across Europe, with branches in Barcelona, Bruges, Genoa, Venice and London. At Queen Mary, historians Professor Jim Bolton and Dr Francesco Guidi Bruscoli produced the world’s first analysis of the Bruges and London bank ledgers, and entered their fascinating detail into a publicly accessible database.

The History of the British Film Institute

Funded by the AHRC, the history of the British Film Institute(link is external) (BFI) project produced the first study of one of the UK’s oldest and most distinguished government-supported cultural institutions. Its researchers, led by Professor Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, also catalogued the BFI’s own archives (1933-2008) for use by the public.

The Popular Sovereignty Project

This AHRC-funded network project investigates the emergence of "popular sovereignty", a key concept in modern political discourse. The project will trace for the first time the complex and controversial career of popular sovereignty across ancient and modern history. Led by Professors Richard Bourke and Quentin Skinner, it brings together researchers from both sides of the Atlantic. Find out more on the Centre for History of Political Thought's project page.

Psychiatric Epidemiology

This five-year Wellcome Trust-funded project drew on the School of History’s strengths in twentieth century medical and political history, to trace the development of the new discipline of psychiatric epidemiology in the UK. Led by Dr Rhodri Hayward, it explored six inter-related investigations: mapping the social, intellectual and institutional origins of the discipline; its use in mediating industrial relations; the management of morale during the Second World War; urban planning; the organisation of mental health services; and the reconstruction of psychiatric classification. 


Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and led by Professor Colin Jones CBE, this international network explored the history of physiognomy in Europe. Initially concentrating on the period from the Renaissance to the emergence of Darwinism, the project then extended beyond and also to non-European physiognomical traditions.

Who Were the Nuns?

The project was funded by the AHRC to research the membership of the English convents in exile 1600-1800 and their supporting family networks. Researchers on both sides of the channel, led by Dr Caroline Bowden at Queen Mary, developed a widely used and publicly accessible database alongside a series of print publications. These include English Convents in Exile 1600-1800(link is external) and The English Convents in Exile, 1600-1800: Communities, Culture and Identity(link is external)

Staff partnerships and collaborations

Colin Jones CBE has combined with Waddesdon Manor(link is external) on the eighteenth-century Saint Aubin book of caricatures, also funded by the AHRC(link is external) and involving a Collaborative Doctoral Award.

Julian Jackson is working with the Institut Francais(link is external) in London on an AHRC(link is external) funded Collaborative Doctoral Award with one of his PhD students on the history of the Institut since 1900.

Helen McCarthy, with James Ellison and Amanda Vickery, supervises two AHRC(link is external) Collaborative Doctoral Awards with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office(link is external).

Amanda Vickery (with Miles Ogborn in Geography) has a Collaborative Doctoral Award with the National Maritime Museum(link is external), on masculinity and the navy in the eighteenth century.

Christina von Hodenberg advises the Volkswagen Stiftung(link is external) on historical studies.

Find out more about our research groups and our research centres.