Dr James Gregory

Dr James Gregory

Associate Professor of Modern British History

School of Humanities and Performing Arts (Faculty of Arts and Humanities)


Dr Gregory was educated at the University of Oxford (awarded a First in B.A. Hons in Modern History in 1996), the University of Cambridge (awarded an M.Phil. in Historical Studies in 1997), and the University of Southampton (awarded a Ph.D. in History in 2002).

Research interests

My published research has included:

Reform movements and cultures, ranging from Chartism, to vegetarianism and temperance and medical unorthodox (lifestyle reforms), to anti-violence efforts organized around capital punishment abolitionism.

High political reform (moral, social and cultural) in the context of the reform activities and transatlantic / European reform networks of William Cowper-Temple and Georgina Cowper-Temple.

The meaning and uses of eccentricity in British culture over the ‘long nineteenth century’.

Histories of mercy in Britain and the British world from c.1760.

Interdisciplinary interests are reflected in my membership of the Plymouth University Nineteenth-Century Studies group (PUNCS, established 2014). See https://plymouthuniversitynineteenthcenturystudies.wordpress.com/

Key publications are highlighted


‘“Some account of the progress of the truth as it is in Jesus”: The White Quakers of Ireland’ Quaker Studies, September 2004, pp.68-94

‘“Local Characters”: Eccentricity and the North East in the Nineteenth Century’, Northern History, March 2005, XL (1), pp.136-186

‘Eccentric Biography and the Victorians’, Biography 3: 2, 22 June 2007, pp.342-361


Of Victorians and Vegetarians. The Vegetarian Movement in Nineteenth Century-Britain (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, International Library of Historical Studies, 27 June 2007)

Reformers, Patrons and Philanthropists. The Cowper-Temples and High Politics in Victorian England (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, International Library of Historical Studies, 2010)

Victorians Against the Gallows. Capital Punishment and the Abolitionist Movement in Victorian Britain (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2011)

The Poetry and the Politics. Radical Reform in Victorian England (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2014)

Libraries, Books and Collectors of Texts, 1600 - 1900 edited with Annika Bautz (Routledge Studies in Cultural History, 2018)

Judgment in the Victorian Age edited with Daniel Grey and Annika Bautz (Routledge 2019)

Union and Disunion in the Nineteenth Century edited with Daniel Grey (Routledge, forthcoming)


'The operation and representation of art judgment', ch.9 in Judgement in the Victorian Ageedited by James Gregory, Daniel Grey and Annika Bautz

'The "Fancy for Fine Printing": Collecting Whittaker's Golden Magna Carta', ch.12 in Libraries, Books, and Collectors of Texts, 1600-1900,
edited by Annika Bautz, James Gregory

‘Eccentricity and Empire’, in S. Aymes-Stokes and L. Mellet, eds, In and Out: Eccentricity in Britain (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2012)

‘A Lutheranism of the Table’: Religion and the Victorian Vegetarians’, in D. Grumett and R. Muers, eds, Eating and Believing. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vegetarianism and Theology (London and New York: T&T Clark, 2008), pp.135-151

‘Vegetable fictions in a kingdom of roast beef’: The representation of the vegetarian in Victorian literature’ in N. Hassan and T.S. Wagner, eds, Consuming Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century (Lexington Books, 2007)    

‘After Palmerston: The Mount Temples and Christian Higher Life at Broadlands’, in David Brown and Miles Taylor, eds, Palmerston Studies vol.1 (Hartley Library, University of Southampton, 2007), pp.173-196

‘Eccentric Lives: character, characters and curiosities in Britain c.1760 – 1900’, in Waltraud Ernst, ed., Histories of the Normal and the Abnormal. Social and Cultural Studies of Norms and Normativity (London and New York, Routledge, 2006) pp.73-100

‘“Local characters” and local, regional and national identities in Nineteenth-Century England and Scotland’, in Alyson Brown, ed., Historical Perspectives on Social Identities (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006), pp.45-60. Paperback edition, 2008

Reports & invited lectures

Statesmanship and integrity in Britain in the Age of Reform, c.1829 c.1850', at the international conference on 'Integrity Lost, Integrity Gained: social conditions and institutional pressures', Newcastle, 11 April 2014.

'"What's my motivation?" Personal integrity and other "springs of action" in the lives of nineteenth-century reformers', 'Histories of Activism' workshop, University of Northumbria, 16 December 2013.

                                Audiofile at http://integrityproject.org/events/activism-and-integrity/

Plenary speaker, international conference on Excentricité /Eccentricity, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, 5 - 6 November 2010.

Plenary speaker, PLACE [People, landscape and cultural environment of West Yorkshire] conference, Knaresborough, 27 March 2010.

Conference paper (by invitation), Darwin international conference, University of Bradford, 24 - 26 September 2009.

Conference paper (by invitation), ‘Digitally trawling ‘that great ocean of material’. Researching the Cowper-Temples and other Eminent Victorians in a Digital Age’, at the ‘Languages of Politics: Mapping Britain’s Long Nineteenth Century’ conference, Van Mildert College, University of Durham, 3 April 2009.

Seminar paper (by invitation), ‘A Lutheranism of the Table’: Religion and the Victorian Vegetarians’, at the seminar for the AHRC-funded research project ‘Vegetarianism as Spiritual Choice in Historical and Contemporary Theology’, Department of Theology, HuSS, University of Exeter, 23 May 2007.

Conference paper (by invitation), ‘After Palmerston: The Mount Temples and ‘Christian Higher Life’ at Broadlands’ at the international Palmerston Conference, University of Southampton, 11-13 July 2003.

Other academic activities

Other conference papers
'Researching a History of Mercy' at the inaugural conference for PUNCS (Plymouth University Nineteenth-century Studies', University of Plymouth 7 March 2015.

Conference paper, ‘Protecting the legacy of Lord Palmerston: writing and reviewing the official life of Lord Palmerston, c.1865 – 1901’, Conference on Modern British History, 19 - 20 June 2007, Glasgow.

Conference paper, ‘A “grotesquely heart-breaking sight”: The vegetarian restaurant in Victorian Britain’, international conference on ‘Food and History: Health, Culture, Tourism and Identity’ University of Central Lancashire, July 2006.

Conference paper, ‘Local Characters: The role of the Eccentric in the Creation of Local and Regional Identity, c.1800–1901’. A paper for ‘Identities’, the second conference of the Centre for Liverpool and Merseyside Studies, Edge Hill, 31 March - 1 April 2005.

‘Sensational Characters: Victorians and eccentric biography’. A paper for ‘Victorian Sensations’, the 5th annual conference of the British Association for Victorian Studies, Keele University, 2 - 4 September 2004.

Conference paper, ‘The Coming Race? Modernity and the Representations of Vegetarianism in Victorian Fictions’ in the ‘New Currents’ strand of ‘Victorian Modernities’, a conference at the University of Reading, 1 May 2004.

Conference paper, ‘“Some account of the progress of truth as it is in Jesus”: The White Quakers of Ireland, 1835–1 854’, ‘Popular Culture and Religion Conference’, University of Northumbria, 12 -14 July 2001.