Prof Richard Grayson

Staff details

Position Professor of Twentieth Century History, Head of History
Department History
Email r.grayson (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7490
Prof Richard Grayson

Richard Grayson’s current interests are Ireland and the 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 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. He had a career outside academia as Liberal Democrat Director of Policy (1999-2004, including as Charles Kennedy's principal speechwriter for two years), and standing for Parliament in Hemel Hempstead in 2005/2010. He joined Labour in 2013. His political papers are archived at UEA and the LSE.

Academic qualifications

  • 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

Research interests

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) focused on battalions with West Belfast connections in 1914-18, the 9th Royal Irish Rifles and the 6th Connaught Rangers, but also other units of the army, navy and Royal Flying Corps in which West Belfast men served. It analysed stories of the 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. His latest book, '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.

He works closely with community groups, especially in Northern Ireland, including the 6th Connaught Rangers Research Project, and was an associate member of the First World War Centenary Committee in Northern Ireland. His key memory work was co-edited with Fearghal McGarry, 'Remembering 1916: The Easter Rising, the Somme and the Politics of Memory in Ireland' (2016).

Earlier in his career, he wrote two monographs on inter-war British foreign policy, while he has published on subjects ranging 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 into issues in public policy. These include a comparative study of European secondary (co-authored with Nick Clegg) which led to the ‘pupil premium’ policy; and an analysis of policies developed in Newark, New Jersey during Cory Booker’s tenure as Mayor.

Publications

Book

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. British Politics: A Beginner's Guide. Oxford: One World. ISBN 9781851687688

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

Edited Book

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

Book Section

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.. 2002. Austen Chamberlain. In: Thomas G. Otte, ed. The Makers of British Foreign Policy: From Pitt to Thatcher. London: Palgrave, pp. 150-172. ISBN 0333915798

Article

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. Ireland. 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War,

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

Grayson, Richard S.. 2010. Localism the American Way. Public Policy Research, 17(2), pp. 75-79. ISSN 1744-5396

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. Analysing the Liberal Democrats. Political Quarterly, 78(1), pp. 5-10.

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.

Report

Clegg, Nick and Grayson, Richard S.. 2002. Learning from Europe: Lessons in Education. Working Paper. Centre for European Reform, London.

Further profile content

Professional projects

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.

Currently co-editor of the British Journal for Military History and IrelandWW1, and a former co-editor of Irish Political Studies (2010-12).

Media engagements

2019: UVF members from East and West Belfast, 1913-18
An interview with NVTV on a digital mapping project.

2016: Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel
A virtual reality history experience made for the Occulus Rift, with Richard Grayson as historical consultant.

2016: Perspectives on 1916
An interview with NVTV on the Battle of the Somme and the 16th (Irish) / 36th (Ulster) divisions.

2016: Life in the Trenches
Richard Grayson’s research on soldiers’ daily lives in WWI received extensive media coverage including this BBC piece.

2015: 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.

2018: BBC 2018 Armistice Day website
Historical consultant for the project.

Conferences and talks

2019: 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.

2019: 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.

2018: 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.

2015: 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.

2014: 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.

2014: 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.

2012: Schools and Academic Historians: New Collaborations?
Keynote lecture at conference of London History Network / University of Roehampton.

2012: 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).

2011: 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.

2011: Ireland and the Great War: Memory, History and Politics
Paper at Canadian Association of Irish Studies conference at University of Western Ontario.

2011: 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.

2010: Governing without a majority. What consequences in Westminster systems?
Paper given at workshop at the University of Montreal.

2010: Veterans as Victims: the Experiences and Rediscovery of Irish Nationalists in the British Military in 1914-1918
Papet at 'Ireland and Victims' conference, University of Rennes 2.

2009: The Place of the First World War in Contemporary Irish Republicanism
Paper at Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Manchester.

2008: 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

2008: 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.

2007: The Evolution of Liberal Democrat Values, Politics and Policy since 1999
Paper at British Liberal Political Studies Group Annual Conference, University of Birmingham.

2006: Liberalism and social democracy: ideological influences on Liberal Democrat policy
Paper at British Liberal Political Studies Group Annual Conference, University of Wales.

2005: The political history of international policy in Britain, c. 1900-1939
Paper at New Directions in British Political History Conference, Institute of Historical Research.

2003: Austen Chamberlain and Foreign Policy
Paper at 'The Chamberlains of Birmingham' conference, University of Birmingham.

Grants and awards

2015: AHRC Engagement Centre (Gateways, University of Kent)
Principal investigator for Francophones in London during the First World War.

2014: AHRC Engagement Centre (Living Legacies, Queen's University Belfast)
Co-investigator in AHRC Engagement Centre on First World War Centenary.

2013: Small Research Grant: Dublin’s Great Wars
British Academy award for research costs.

2007: Small Research Grant: West Belfast and Military Service, 1914-1918
British Academy award for research costs.

1992: 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)

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