Most of my time is spent researching and teaching aspects of nineteenth and twentieth century British history. I am also the BA History Course Leader with overall responsibility for the pastoral and academic support of undergraduate students enrolled on this degree.
I work on British political and social history in the ‘long nineteenth century’ with research specialisms in the history of popular politics and protest, and the visual and material culture of politics.
I remain passionate about nineteenth-century Britain, and believe that we still have much to learn about this fascinating period and that it can tell us a great deal about the nature of contemporary Britain. Whether it’s the Luddites, the Chartists or the evolution of the electoral system, 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.
My early research examined popular Conservatism and subsequently formed the basis of a larger synoptic work, entitled: Political Movements in Urban England, 1832-1914 (Palgrave, 2009). In the course of writing this book I also became interested in popular radicalism and protest politics, especially Luddism and Chartism, and parliamentary reform. This has crystallised into a developing interest in labour history, and I am currently establishing links with scholars with a view to producing a global/comparative history of machine breaking/resistance to technology. More recently, I have become interested in 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.
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
Social Sciences and Arts
Roberts, M. (2021). Women and Late Chartism: Women's Rights in Mid-Victorian England. The English Historical Review.
Roberts, M. (2019). Politics, Performance and Popular Culture: Theatre and Society in Nineteenth-Century Britain. PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY, 38 (2), 299-301. http://doi.org/10.1111/1750-0206.12422
Roberts, M. (2018). Richard Oastler, Toryism, Radicalism and the limitations of Party, c.1807-1846. Parliamentary History, 37 (2), 250-273. http://doi.org/10.1111/1750-0206.12364
Roberts, M. (2018). Daniel O'Connell, repeal and Chartism in the age of Atlantic revolutions. The Journal of Modern History, 90 (1), 1-39. http://doi.org/10.1086/695882
Roberts, M. (2017). Rural Luddism and the makeshift economy of the Nottinghamshire Framework Knitters. Social History, 42 (3), 365-398. http://doi.org/10.1080/03071022.2017.1327644
Roberts, M. (2015). Archive Report: Labouring in the Un-digitized Chartist Archive. Labour history review, 80 (2), 195-200. http://doi.org/10.3828/lhr.2015.8
Roberts, M. (2013). Chartism, Commemoration and the Cult of the Radical Hero c.1770-c.1840. Labour history review, 78 (1), 3-32. http://doi.org/10.3828/lhr.2013.2
Roberts, M. (2013). Election Cartoons and Political Communication in Victorian England. Cultural and Social History, 10 (3), 369-395. http://doi.org/10.2752/147800413X13661166397229
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. http://doi.org/10.3366/jshs.2012.0034
Roberts, M. (2011). Resisting “Arithmocracy”: Parliament, community, and the Third Reform Act. Journal of British Studies, 50 (2), 381-409. http://doi.org/10.1086/658188
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. (2019). Chartism, Commemoration and the Cult of the Radical Hero.
Co-book reviews editor for Labour History Review