Matthew Roberts

Matthew Roberts BA, PhD, FHEA, FRHistS

Associate Professor


I am an historian of nineteenth-century Britain and the British Atlantic World, and currently Associate Professor (Reader) in Modern British History. I have taught at Hallam since 2005.



I work mainly on nineteenth-century British political and cultural history, with research specialisms in the history of popular politics and protest, the visual and material culture of politics, and the history of emotions. I remain passionate about nineteenth-century Britain, and believe that we still have much to learn about this fascinating period. Whether it's the Luddites, the Chartists, or the lives of artisans and millworkers - groups at the centre of my research - it is important that we as historians continue to research and reflect on these topics and communicate our findings to a wide range of audiences.


Specialist areas of interest

Political and social history of modern Britain; radical politics and protest.

Popular radicalism and protest politics, especially Luddism and Chartism, and parliamentary reform

How perspectives and methodologies drawn from visual and material culture can be used to cast new light on established areas of historical enquiry like parliamentary reform and protest


Department of Humanities

College of Social Sciences and Arts


BA History

Revolutions in the Atlantic World; Communicating History; Chartism



For details of my current research projects, see my personal website:



Roberts, M. (2021). E.P. Thompson, Shirley, and the Antinomian Tradition in West Riding Luddism and Popular Protest. Labour History: a journal of labour and social history, 86 (2), 187-214.

Roberts, M. (2021). Tory-Radical Feeling in Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley, and Early Victorian England. Victorian Studies, 63 (1), 34-56.

Roberts, M. (2019). Politics, Performance and Popular Culture: Theatre and Society in Nineteenth‐Century Britain. Edited by PeterYeandle, KatherineNewey and JeffreyRichards. Manchester: Manchester University Press. 2016. xiv, 279 pp. £75.00. ISBN 9780719091698. Parliamentary History, 38 (2), 299-301.

Roberts, M. (2018). Richard Oastler, Toryism, Radicalism and the limitations of Party, c.1807-1846. Parliamentary History, 37 (2), 250-273.

Roberts, M. (2018). Daniel O'Connell, repeal and Chartism in the age of Atlantic revolutions. The Journal of Modern History, 90 (1), 1-39.

Roberts, M. (2017). Rural Luddism and the makeshift economy of the Nottinghamshire Framework Knitters. Social History, 42 (3), 365-398.

Roberts, M. (2015). Archive Report: Labouring in the Un-digitized Chartist Archive. Labour history review, 80 (2), 195-200.

Roberts, M. (2013). Chartism, Commemoration and the Cult of the Radical Hero c.1770-c.1840. Labour history review, 78 (1), 3-32.

Roberts, M. (2013). Election Cartoons and Political Communication in Victorian England. Cultural and Social History, 10 (3), 369-395.

Nixon, M., Pentland, G., & Roberts, M. (2012). The material culture of Scottish reform politics, c.1820-c.1884. Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 32 (1), 28-49.

Roberts, M. (2011). Resisting “Arithmocracy”: Parliament, community, and the Third Reform Act. Journal of British Studies, 50 (2), 381-409.

Book chapters

Roberts, M. (2021). Catholicism and Constitutionalism in William Cobbett’s English and Irish Medievalism. In Subaltern Medievalisms. Medievalism "from below" in Nineteenth-Century Britain. (pp. 19-38). Boydell & Brewer:

Roberts, M. (2015). '"The Feast of the Gridiron is at hand" : Chartism, Cobbett and Currency'. In Grande, J., & Stevenson, J. (Eds.) William Cobbett, Romanticism and the Enlightenment : Contexts and Legacies. (pp. 107-121). London: Pickering and Chatto

Roberts, M. (2013). 'A terrific outburst of political meteorology’: by-elections and the Unionist electoral ascendancy in late-Victorian England. In Otte, T.G., & Readman, P. (Eds.) By-elections in British politics, 1832-1914. (pp. 177-200). Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer


Roberts, M. (2022). Democratic Passions The Politics of Feeling in British Popular Radicalism, 1809-1848. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Roberts, M. (2019). Chartism, Commemoration and the Cult of the Radical Hero. Abingdon: Routledge.

Theses / Dissertations

Stanley, J.W. (2020). The Yorkshire miners 1786-1839: a study of work, culture and protest. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Roberts, M.

Other activities

Co-book reviews editor for Labour History Review

Cancel event

Are you sure you want to cancel your place on Saturday 12 November?