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Durham University

Research & business

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Dr Henry Miller, BA, MA, PhD

Senior Research Fellow (Modern British History) in the Department of History

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My main research interests are nineteenth century politics and culture in Britain. My first book, Politics personified: portraiture, caricature and visual culture in Britain, 1830-1880 (Manchester University Press, 2015), explores the extraordinary proliferation and remarkable popularity of the political likeness in a crucial period of political modernisation and media development. It examines a diverse range of contemporary photographs, engraved portraits, cartoons and paintings, as well as material culture, studying how they shaped public perceptions of politics and politicians. 

My current and future research revolves around the history of petitioning, and developed out of my 2012 English Historical Review article. Alongside Richard Huzzey, I lead the 'Re-thinking petitions, Parliament, and people in the long nineteenth century, 1780-1918', research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust (£367,072). Petitioning was the most accessible, popular form of political activity for ordinary people in this period. Yet compared to the early modern periods, America and Europe, petitioning has attracted remarkably little attention. Our project is the first to examine the huge scale and diversity of petitioning and petitions to Parliament from people, men and women, rich and poor, from the U.K. and the British Empire.

I am Principal Investigator for the AHRC Research Network on Petitions and Petitioning from the Medieval Period to the Present (2018-19, £44,253). This is a comparative, interdisciplinary, international network examining the univeral, but infinitely diverse, practices of petitions and petitioning. The network benefits from a partnership between Durham, Leiden and Birkbeck and the participation of scholars from across the humanities and social sciences from the UK, Europe, the U.S.A. and Australia. The network developed out of an earlier symposium in 2015 I organised on Transnational Cultures of Petitioning, held at the University of Manchester. I also co-edit the Humble Petitioners network, an informal list of the growing number of scholars examining petitions from different periods and places, as well as different disciplinary perspectives.

Before joining Durham I was Research Fellow on the History of Parliament Trust’s 1832-1868 House of Commons project (2009-13) and then Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century British History at the University of Manchester (2013-16), where I taught on modern British social, cultural and economic history, 1750-2000. I completed my doctoral research at Queen Mary, University of London. 

Research Groups

Department of History

Research Projects

Department of History

Research Interests

  • Modern British History
  • Petitions in the United Kingdom, c. 1780-1918
  • Popular Politics and Social Movements
  • Print Culture
  • Visual Culture

Indicators of Esteem

  • Fellow, Royal Historical Society:


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited Journal

Journal Article


Selected Grants

  • 2018: Research Network on Petitions and Petitioning from the Medieval Period to the Present (£44,253 from AHRC)
  • 2016: Re-thinking Petitions, Parliament and People in the Long Nineteenth Century (£312745.00 from Leverhulme Trust)