Dr John Price

Staff details

Position Senior Lecturer
Department History
Email j.price (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7489
Dr John Price

John is a social and cultural historian who takes a ‘People’s History’ approach to nineteenth and twentieth-century British history and the history of London.

John’s primary area of research is ‘everyday’ heroism, acts of life-risking bravery, undertaken by civilians in commonplace surroundings. He is also interested in social movements and popular protest, in particular, how popular manifestations of contentious politics, such as marches, demonstrations, strikes and riots, can be better understood and analysed by historians. John also researches urban walking and, more specifically, the relationships between historians, urban walking and urban/metropolitan history.

Public Engagement and Knowledge Exchange are at the heart of John’s work, including projects on the 1977 Battle of Lewisham and on the passengers who arrived on the Empire Windrush in 1948.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD History, King’s College London 2010
  • BA History (First-class), Roehampton University (University of Surrey) 2005
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society 2014
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2015

Teaching and Supervision

Research interests

John’s primary area of research is ‘everyday’ heroism, acts of life-risking bravery, undertaken by civilians in commonplace surroundings. His 2014 book, Everyday Heroism: Victorian Constructions of the Heroic Civilian, was the first full-length study of the concept. John is also the leading expert on the Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice in Postman’s Park in the City of London, a Victorian monument dedicated to acts of everyday heroism. He has published extensively on the subject, including the official history of the monument, Postman’s Park: G. F. Watts’s Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, and Heroes of Postman's Park: Heroic Self-Sacrifice in Victorian London, which documents the lives and deaths of all sixty-two people commemorated.

In addition to heroism, John also pursues research in a number of other areas. He is interested in social movements and popular protest; in particular, how popular manifestations of contentious politics, such as marches, demonstrations, strikes and riots, can be better understood and analysed by historians. He is also interested in various aspects of public memory, memorialization, and commemoration with a particular emphasis on the reception of commemoration and popular memory.

John also researches urban walking and the relationships between historians, urban walking and urban/metropolitan history. Based on the premise that “those who walked about the city, talked about the city”, this research encompasses those in the past who explored cities on foot and also examines urban walking as a methodology for investigating and understanding the modern city in a historical context. This research works in tandem with another of John’s interests, the social, cultural and political constructions and uses of public spaces.

John welcomes inquiries from people who wish to undertake a research degree in any aspect of modern British social and cultural history, particularly People’s History.

Publications

Book

Price, John. 2015. Heroes of Postman's Park: Heroic Self-Sacrifice in Victorian London. Stroud: The History Press. ISBN 9780750956437

Price, John. 2014. Everyday Heroism: Victorian Constructions of the Heroic Civilian. London: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781441106650

Price, John. 2008. Postman's Park: G. F. Watts's Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice. Compton: Watts Gallery. ISBN 0956102212

Book Section

Price, John. 2017. Bringing the past into the present: mobilising historical research through creative and digital collaboration. In: Morag Shiach and Tarek E Virani, eds. Cultural Policy, Innovation and the Creative Economy. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 31-44. ISBN 978-1-349-95111-6

Price, John. 2016. Everyday heroism in Britain, 1850-1939. In: Simon Wendt, ed. Extraordinary Ordinariness: Everyday Heroism in the United States, Germany, and Britain, 1800-2015. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag Gmbh. ISBN 3593506173

Price, John. 2016. Octavia Hill’s Red Cross Hall and its mural to heroic self-sacrifice. In: Elizabeth Baigent and Ben Cowell, eds. ‘Nobler imaginings and mightier struggles’: Octavia Hill and the remaking of British society. London: Institute of Historical Research, pp. 65-90. ISBN 9781909646001

Article

Price, John. 2010. Addy, Mark (1840-1890). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,

Price, John. 2010. Ayres, Alice (1859-1885). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,

Price, John. 2007. 'Heroism in everyday life': the Watts Memorial for heroic self-sacrifice. History Workshop Journal, 61(1), pp. 255-278. ISSN 1363-3554

Software

Price, John. 2013. The Everyday Heroes of Postman's Park: Mobile Application.

Further profile content

Professional projects

John is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a Member of the British Academy Hearth Tax Project Management Committee. He is the Chair of the Greater London Local History Committee of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, and Chair of the Friends of the Watts Memorial, an organization responsible for protecting an important piece of London’s history.

John’s research generates a high degree of public engagement; examples of this include the ‘Remembering the Battle of Lewisham’ project and the ‘Windrush: Arrival 1948’ Project. John is a member of the Goldsmiths Public Engagement Strategy Group and was Academic Lead for Public Engagement (2017-2020). The Public Engagement Strategy Group assists staff and postgraduates to understand and undertake public engagement linked to their research and teaching. John has participated in various public engagement activities including the Being Human Festival, the Brockley Society’s Festival of Ideas, Goldsmiths Showoff, Lewisham People’s Day, the Telegraph Hill Festival, and various talks, presentations and activities around the Watts Memorial.

Media engagements

2017: Interview with Robert Elms on BBC Radio London about the Battle of Lewisham

2016: Contributor to BBC London’s ‘Inside Out London’ TV programme about the Watts Memorial

2015: Contributor to London Live TV piece, ‘Postman’s Park: the saddest place in London’

2012: Contributor to BBC World Service documentary ‘No Greater Love’ about the Watts Memorial

Grants and awards

2018: Winner, Warden’s Annual Public Engagement Award for Community Engagement

2017: Winner, Goldsmiths Student-Led Teaching award for Outstanding Use of Research in Teaching

2014: Finalist, National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s Engage Competition

2016: Goldsmiths Annual Fund - Remembering the Battle of Lewisham
Award of £3,250

2012: Creativeworks London (AHRC) - The Everyday Heroes of Postman’s Park, Mobile App
Award of £15,000

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