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Department of History

Staff Profile

Professor Philip Williamson

Professor (Modern British History) in the Department of History
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41063

(email at

As a historian of twentieth-century British politics, political culture and government, Philip Williamson’s publications have ranged across the Labour, Liberal and Conservative parties, trade unions and big business, and financial, economic and imperial policies. Recent research and teaching specialisms include inter-war Conservatism, political leadership and popular politics in the 1940s and early 1950s, the modern monarchy and public values, and national acts of public worship since the 1830s. He is principal investigator - with Natalie Mears (Durham) and Stephen Taylor (Durham) - for the AHRC-funded project on ‘British state prayers, fasts and thanksgivings, 1540s-1940s’. Durham’s libraries give access to unusually rich historical sources for British politics, religion and public life, and its group of British historians offer wide opportunities for postgraduate study.

Research Projects

  1. British state prayers, fasts and thanksgivings,1540s to 1940s
  2. Royalty and religion in the British Isles since 1689

Research Groups

  • Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia
  • Intellectual Culture
  • Modern
  • Politics

Research Projects

Research Interests

  • British politics and government 1900-1960
  • The British state, religion and public values since 1830
  • The churches and national worship in the United Kingdom and the Empire since 1688
  • The modern British monarchy
  • The City of London and government since 1850


Books: authored

Books: edited

Edited essays

  • 2004 (co-edited with Ranald Michie) The British Government and the City of London in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, 381 pp.

Edited sources

Essays in edited volumes

  • 2010 'Maurice Cowling and modern British political history', in Robert Crowcroft, S.J.D. Green & Richard Whiting (eds.), Philosophy, Politics and Religion in British Democracy: Maurice Cowling and Conservatism, I.B. Tauris, pp. 108-152
  • 2010 'The Conservative party, fascism and anti-fascism 1918-1939', in Nigel Copsey & Andzrej Olechnowicz (eds.), Varieties of Anti-fascism. Britain in the Inter-war Period, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 73-97
  • 2007 'The monarchy and public values, 1910–1953', in Andrzej Olechnowicz (ed.), The Monarchy and the British Nation, 1780 to the Present, Cambridge University Press, pp. 223-257
  • 2004 '‘Margaret Bondfield’, ‘William Bridgeman’, ‘James Cecil, fourth marquess of Salisbury’, ‘Charles Cripps, first baron Parmoor’, ‘William Graham’, ‘Sir Ernest Harvey’, ‘Robert Horne’, Sir Donald Maclean’, ‘Montagu Norman’, ‘Ian Percy, eighth duke of Northumberland’, ‘Lord Eustace Percy’, ‘Vivian Phillipps’, ‘Noel Skelton’, ‘J.H. Thomas’', in (ed.), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press.
  • 2004 'The City of London and government in modern Britain: debates and politics', in Ranald Michie & Philip Williamson (eds.), The British Government and the City of London in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, pp. 5-30
  • 2002 'The Conservative party 1900-1939: from crisis to ascendancy', in Chris Wrigley (ed.), A Companion to Early Twentieth-Century Britain, Historical Association and Blackwell, pp. 3-22
  • 1993 'The doctrinal politics of Stanley Baldwin: essays in British history presented to Maurice Cowling', in Michael Bentley (ed.), Public and Private Doctrine, Cambridge University Press, pp. 181-208
  • 1984 'Financiers, the gold standard, and British politics 1925-1931', in John Turner (ed.), Businessmen and Politics: Studies of Business Activity in British Politics, 1900-1945, Heinemann, pp. 105-129

Journal papers: academic

Teaching Areas

  • British politics and policy from 1880 to 1960

  • the British monarchy and religion since 1688

  • Historical thought 1700-1800

Selected Grants

  • 2016: Royalty and religion in the British Isles since 1689 (£127569.00 from The Leverhulme Trust)
  • 2007: BRITISH STATE PRAYERS, FASTS AND THANKSGIVINGS (£330172.14 from Arts and Humanities Research Council)