Richard Grayson’s current interests are Ireland and the global First World War and the Irish revolution, and memory of both. He co-edits the British Journal for Military History and has published across 20th century history. His most recent book covered the First World War from Gallipoli to Salonika, and the Middle East to the Western Front. His public policy work includes US local government and the co-authored research which led to the ‘pupil premium’.
Born and brought up in Hemel Hempstead, where he lives, he is a dual British and Irish citizen. Now in his third spell as Head of Department at Goldsmiths, he also has extensive leadership/management experience from a career outside academia working in politics at a national level. He leads on research impact and public engagement with a wide range of public and community bodies, and contributed impact case studies to the REF in both 2014 and 2021, with Goldsmiths History coming 15th nationally in the latter.
- Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in English and American History (University of East Anglia) 1991
- Doctor of Philosophy in Modern History (University of Oxford) 1995
- Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy 2018
Teaching and Supervision
Richard Grayson’s current research is on Ireland's First World War and the Irish revolution, along with contemporary British/Irish remembrance. His book 'Belfast Boys: How Unionists and Nationalists Fought and Died together in the First World War' (2009) developed a 'military history from the street' methodology to analyse stories of West Belfast men who fought, the experiences of those who returned, the work of women and children on the home front, and the controversies which have surrounded remembrance of the war in Belfast. 'Dublin’s Great Wars: The First World War, the Easter Rising and the Irish Revolution' (2018, paperback in 2020), included men who served in the IRA after service in the British army. He is now writing the County Cork volume of the Four Courts Press county histories of the Irish Revolution. His key memory work (co-edited with Fearghal McGarry) is 'Remembering 1916: The Easter Rising, the Somme and the Politics of Memory in Ireland' (2016).
He authored impact case studies for REF 2014 and 2021. His public engagement and impact work includes projects with schools, the Imperial War Museums and UK National Archives, plus community groups in Northern Ireland, including the 6th Connaught Rangers Research Project, and he was an associate member of the First World War Centenary Committee in Northern Ireland.
Earlier in his career, he wrote two monographs on inter-war British foreign policy, and has published on subjects from the history of the Channel Tunnel and youth culture in the 1960s, to the history of British liberalism. He has also carried out research in public policy, partly during a career outside academia as Liberal Democrat Director of Policy (1999-2004) and Director of the Centre for Reform (1998-9). These include a comparative study of European secondary education (co-authored with Nick Clegg) which led to the ‘pupil premium’ policy; and analysis of public policy in Newark, New Jersey during Cory Booker’s tenure as Mayor.
Publications and research outputs
Grayson, Richard S.. 2018. Dublin’s Great Wars: The First World War, the Easter Rising and the Irish Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107029255
Grayson, Richard S.. 2010. Belfast Boys: How Unionists and Nationalists Fought and Died Together in the First World War. London and New York: Continuum. ISBN 9781441105196
Grayson, Richard S.. 2009. Belfast Boys: How Unionists and Nationalists Fought and Died Together in the First World War. London and New York: Continuum. ISBN 978-1847250087
Grayson, Richard S.. 2001. Liberals, International Relations and Appeasement: The Liberal Party 1919-1939. Frank Cass. ISBN 0714650927
Grayson, Richard S.. 1997. Austen Chamberlain and the Commitment to Europe: British Foreign Policy, 1924-29. London: Frank Cass. ISBN 071464319X
Grayson, Richard S., ed. 2022. The First World War Diary of Noël Drury, 6th Royal Dublin Fusiliers: Gallipoli, Salonika, the Middle East and the Western Front. Martlesham: Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 9781838387716
Grayson, Richard S. and McGarry, Fearghal, eds. 2016. Remembering 1916: The Easter Rising, the Somme and the Politics of Memory in Ireland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781316509272
Grayson, Richard S., ed. 2012. At War with the 16th (Irish) Division, 1914-1918: The Staniforth Letters. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 9781848846340
Grayson, Richard S.. 2021. Irish Identities in the British Army during the First World War. In: Douglas E Delaney; Mark Frost and Andrew L Brown, eds. Manpower and the Armies of the British Empire in the Two World Wars. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, pp. 28-42. ISBN 9781501755842
Grayson, Richard S.. 2012. Veterans as Victims: The Experiences and Rediscovery of Irish Nationalists in the British Military in 1914-1918. In: Lesley Lelourec and Grainne O'Keeffe-Vigneron, eds. Ireland and Victims: Confronting the Past, Forging the Future. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 43-57. ISBN 9783034307925
Grayson, Richard S.. 2010. The Historiography of Inter-war Politics: Competing Conservative World Views in High Politics, 1924-29. In: William Mulligan and Brendan Simms, eds. The Primacy of Foreign Policy in British History, 1660-2000: How Strategic Concerns Shaped Modern Britain. Palgrave, pp. 277-290. ISBN 978-0230574724
Grayson, Richard S.. 2009. Social liberalism. In: Kevin Hickson, ed. The political thought of the Liberals and Liberal Democrats since 1945. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 48-64. ISBN 978-0719079481
Grayson, Richard S.. 2016. A Life in the Trenches? The Use of Operation War Diary and Crowdsourcing Methods to Provide an Understanding of the British Army’s Day-to-Day Life on the Western Front. British Journal for Military History, 2(2), pp. 160-185. ISSN 2057-0422
Grayson, Richard S.. 2014. Military History from the Street: New Methods for Researching First World War Service in the British Military. War in History, 21(4), pp. 465-495. ISSN 0968-3445
Grayson, Richard S.. 2014. Ireland’s New Memory of the First World War: Forgotten Aspects of the Battle of Messines, June 1917. British Journal for Military History, 1(1), pp. 48-65.
Grayson, Richard S.. 2014. From Genealogy to Reconciliation: Public Engagement with Remembrance of the First World War in Ireland. Nordic Irish Studies, 13(2), pp. 99-114. ISSN 1602-124X
Abbott, Lynda and Grayson, Richard S.. 2011. Community engagement in local history: a report on the Hemel at War project. Teaching History(145), pp. 4-12. ISSN 0040-06109
Grayson, Richard S.. 2010. The Place of the First World War in Contemporary Irish Republicanism in Northern Ireland. Irish Political Studies, 25(3), pp. 325-345. ISSN 0790-7184
Grayson, Richard S.. 2007. Social Democracy or Social Liberalism? Ideological Sources of Liberal Democrat Policy. Political Quarterly, 78(1), pp. 32-39. ISSN 0032-3179
Grayson, Richard S.. 2006. Leo Amery's imperialist alternative to appeasement in the 1930s. Twentieth century British history, 17(4), pp. 489-515. ISSN 0955-2359
Grayson, Richard S.. 2006. Imperialism in Conservative defence and foreign policy: Leo Amery and the Chamberlains, 1903-1939. Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 34(4), pp. 505-527.
Grayson, Richard S.. 2005. Change and continuity in the Liberal Democrat election campaign of 2005. Political quarterly, 76(3), pp. 393-401. ISSN 0032-3179 ; 1467-923X (online)
Grayson, Richard S.. 1999. The Liberal Party and International Affairs, c.1919-1988. Contemporary British History, 13(1), pp. 186-197.
Grayson, Richard S.. 1998. Mods, Rockers, and Juvenile Delinquency in 1964: The Government Response. Contemporary British History, 12(1), pp. 19-47.
Grayson, Richard S.. 1996. The British Government and the Channel Tunnel, 1919-39. Journal of Contemporary History, 31(1), pp. 125-144.
Grayson, Richard S.. 1996. The British Government, the Channel Tunnel and European Unity, 1948-64. European History Quarterly, 23(3), pp. 415-436.
Further profile content
Dublin’s Great Wars: The First World War, the Easter Rising and the Irish Revolution
The story of the Dubliners who served in the British military and in republican forces during the First World War and the Irish Revolution as a series of interconnected 'Great Wars'.
British Politics: A Beginner’s Guide
A text book / introductory guide, analysing Britain's changing political landscape, and exploring the role of the media, the European Union and the UK's ‘special relationship' with the US.
Belfast Boys: How Unionists and Nationalists Fought and Died Together in the First World War
A new story of men from either side of West Belfast's sectarian divide during the Great War, which challenges popular perceptions of the war and explains why remembrance is so controversial today.
Liberals, International Relations and Appeasement: The Liberal Party, 1919-39,
This book examines the importance of the 'low' politics of areas that have traditionally been dominated by "high" politics, including the Liberal Summer School and the Women's Liberal Federation.
Austen Chamberlain and the Commitment to Europe: British Foreign Policy, 1924-29
A study of Austen Chamberlain's term of office as Foreign Secretary, arguing that Chamberlain's priority was a two-stage policy in Western Europe, which aimed at pacifying both France and Germany, as
A wide range of work with community groups in Northern Ireland, including: being an Associate Member of the First World War Centenary Committee in Northern Ireland (a sub-committee of the wider UK government committee on the centenary); working, since 2007, with the 6th Connaught Rangers Research Project; collaboration with Shankill Area Social History; providing materials for use by the Community Relations Council; advising the East Belfast and the Great War project; and advising on a mural series in the Greater Village area of Belfast.
Ongoing work with schools, including, since 2008 Hemel at War and since 2014 Streatham at War, along with taking part in [The Great War Debate[(https://www.hopscotchconsulting.co.uk/our-thinking/posts/2018/march/unlocking-history-with-the-great-war-debate/) for A Level students, and being a member (in 2013-18) of the Institute of Education’s advisory group for the school battlefield visits run for the Department for Education and Skills.
Chairing the Academic Advisory Group for the Imperial War Museums' digital centenary projects, including Lives of the First World War and Operation War Diary, as discussed in a case study by the National Archives and Universities UK
Extensive AHRC-funded work during the First World War Centenary, including: in 2014-2016, being a co-investigator of the AHRC-funded Living Legacies 1914-1918 First World War Engagement Centre; being a member of the Research Networks for two further Engagement Centres, Gateways and Everyday Lives in War; and in 2015-16, being principal investigator (working with Dr Charlotte Faucher) on the AHRC-funded project Francophones in London during the First World War.
Year '21: Episode 46, The Presence of the Past
Armistice Day and commemoration in Belfast in 1921.
Year '21: Episode 29, The Truce and the Twelfth
A discussion of the role of the Orange Order in Unionist politics.
Year '21: Episode 28, The Bloodiest Day in Belfast
A discussion of the 5th anniversary commemorations of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and the place of Somme commemoration in Unionist identity.
Year '21: Episode 26, The King's Speech
The centenary of King George V's visit to the Northern Ireland Parliament on 21st June 1921.
Year '21: Episode 23, The Burning of the Custom House
A programme about the May 1921 burning of the Custom House in Dublin by the IRA.
Discussion with Chris Bryant MP on the anti-appeasers of the 1930s known as the 'Glamour Boys'.
A discussion of Bryant's book 'The Glamour Boys: The Secret Story of the Rebels who Fought for Britain to Defeat Hitler', hosted by NOTCHES the collaborative international history blog on sexuality.
Year '21: Episode 19, The Big Day
A discussion of the formation of Northern Ireland.
Year '21: Episode 12, The Beautiful Game
A discussion of the split in Irish football at the time of partition
Year '21: Episode 3, The Backstop
A discussion of Unionist perspectives as part of the BBC series on the centenary of Northern Ireland.
Podcast on Belfast Boys
Part of the Historical Belfast Podcast series.
UVF members from East and West Belfast, 1913-18
An interview with NVTV on a digital mapping project.
BBC 2018 Armistice Day website
Historical consultant for the project.
Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel
A virtual reality history experience made for the Occulus Rift, with Richard Grayson as historical consultant.
Perspectives on 1916
An interview with NVTV on the Battle of the Somme and the 16th (Irish) / 36th (Ulster) divisions.
Life in the Trenches
Richard Grayson’s research on soldiers’ daily lives in WWI received extensive media coverage including this BBC piece.
Ireland’s Great War
BBC 1 Northern Ireland’s two-part series on how the island took part in and was affected by the war.
Conferences and talks
Conflict in Ireland, 1916-23
Keynote lecture at ‘Ends and Beginnings: Legacies of the Great War’, British Commission for Military History / National Army Museum / Western Front Association.
Dublin's Great Wars
Paper at 'Ireland, the Revolution and the First World War: Continuities, Ruptures and Legacies (1913-1919)', Irish Cultural Centre, Paris / Embassy of Ireland, France.
Irish Identities in the British Army during the First World War
Keynote lecture at Manpower and the Armies of the British Empire in the Two World Wars, Royal Military College of Canada.
Expressions of communal and individual identities in First World War Centenary Commemorations in Ireland in 2014-15
Paper at 'Ireland: Shared Futures?' conference, University of Rennes 2.
Is the story of the 16th (Irish) and 36th (Ulster) divisions fighting ‘side-by-side’ at Messines a myth, and if so does that matter?
Paper at 'Perspectives on the First World War' conference, Queen Mary University of London.
Myth and the Battle of Messines, June 1917: Building a New Memory of Ireland’s Great War
Paper at Anglo-American History Conference, Institute of Historical Research, London.
Schools and Academic Historians: New Collaborations?
Keynote lecture at conference of London History Network / University of Roehampton.
Commemorating the Great War: Myth, Memory and ‘Military History from the Street
Keynote lecture to University of Ulster / St Patrick’s College (Drumcondra) SCOTENS (Standing Conference on Teacher Education, North and South).
The Politics and Commerce of Facts, Stories and Story Tellers: Challenges for History in the UK Today
Keynote lecture at the conference of the History Teacher Education Network.
Ireland and the Great War: Memory, History and Politics
Paper at Canadian Association of Irish Studies conference at University of Western Ontario.
From Genealogy to Reconciliation: Public Engagement with the Reinterpretation of the First World War in Ireland
Paper at Nordic Irish Studies Association conference, Dalarna University, Sweden.
Governing without a majority. What consequences in Westminster systems?
Paper given at workshop at the University of Montreal.
Veterans as Victims: the Experiences and Rediscovery of Irish Nationalists in the British Military in 1914-1918
Paper at 'Ireland and Victims' conference, University of Rennes 2.
The Place of the First World War in Contemporary Irish Republicanism
Paper at Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Manchester.
The Place of the First World War in Unionist/Loyalist and Republican/Nationalist Narratives: A Case Study of West Belfast
Paper at Political Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference, National University of Ireland, Galway
The place of international policy in inter-war British party politics
Paper at 'Primary of Foreign Policy in British History' workshop, Scottish Centre for War Studies, University of Glasgow.
The Evolution of Liberal Democrat Values, Politics and Policy since 1999
Paper at British Liberal Political Studies Group Annual Conference, University of Birmingham.
Liberalism and social democracy: ideological influences on Liberal Democrat policy
Paper at British Liberal Political Studies Group Annual Conference, University of Wales.
The political history of international policy in Britain, c. 1900-1939
Paper at New Directions in British Political History Conference, Institute of Historical Research.
Austen Chamberlain and Foreign Policy
Paper at 'The Chamberlains of Birmingham' conference, University of Birmingham.
Grants and awards
County Cork and the Irish Revolution, 1912-23
British Academy / Leverhulme Small Research Grant for research costs.
AHRC Engagement Centre (Gateways, University of Kent)
Principal investigator for Francophones in London during the First World War.
AHRC Engagement Centre (Living Legacies, Queen's University Belfast)
Co-investigator in AHRC Engagement Centre on First World War Centenary.
Dublin’s Great Wars
British Academy Small Research Grant for research costs.
West Belfast and Military Service, 1914-1918
British Academy Small Research Grant for research costs.
Major State Studentship
British Academy award for doctoral study at the University of Oxford.
Areas of PhD supervision
Richard Grayson is currently willing to supervise research on the First World War and the Irish revolution. Students he has supervised have successfully completed PhD theses on:
• Women's Representation and the Liberal Democrats (Elizabeth Evans)
• Feminism and the Challenge of War: Responses of the British Women’s Suffrage Movement to the Outbreak of the Great War (Marc Calvini-Lefebvre)
• 'Our Historic Mission': Party Political Pasts and Futures in Contemporary Britain (Emily Robinson)
• Social Enterprise Policy under New Labour, 2001-2006 (Alibeth Somers)
• ‘Miserable conflict and confusion’: Definitions and Understanding of the Irish Question in British Newspapers, 1917-21 (Erin Scheopner)
• The British Diaspora? Imperial Identity and Return Migration in Twentieth Century Britain (Níamh Dillon)
• ‘Improperly and Amorously Consorting’: Post-1945 Relationships between British Women and German Prisoners of War Held in the UK (Mary Ingham)
He is currently the supervisor for the following postgraduate MPhil/PhD students:
• Andrew Whittaker, 'The effect of military participation in the First World War on British public day school alumni: a study of Colfe's School' (lead supervisor)
• Des Felix, 'The impact of sport on Black British identities in the West Indian diaspora between 1945 and 1993: a critical approach' (secondary supervisor)
• Sarah Slaughter, 'Finding Minds: exploring the impact of displacement of vulnerable people during national crisis through the study of civilian asylum patients, 1915-19' (lead supervisor)