Dr Henry Irving
About Dr Henry Irving
Henry Irving joined the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities as Senior Lecturer in Public History in 2015. He completed his PhD at the University of Leeds and has previously worked for the University of London, the University of Bradford, and the Workers’ Educational Association.
Henry is a specialist in mid-twentieth century British history. His research interests centre on the history of communication, and his most recent work has been undertaken alongside Professor Simon Eliot (Institute of English Studies, University of London) as part of an AHRC-funded project on ‘The Publishing and Communication History of the Ministry of Information 1939-45’.
He is committed to public history and occasionally tweets @drhenryirving.
Henry teaches BA students on the History and English and History degrees. He also contributes to the MA in Social History.
Henry’s research focuses on the history of communication, and the relationship between state and society in mid-twentieth century Britain. His most recent work has been undertaken alongside Professor Simon Eliot (Institute of English Studies, University of London) on an AHRC-funded project titled ‘The Publishing and Communication History of the Ministry of Information 1939-45’. This project is exploring the organisation set up by the British government to communicate news about the Second World War. Henry has conducted detailed research into the methods used to disseminate official messages, press censorship, and the use of opinion polling to measure the effect of campaigns.
He has previously written on the political debate that surrounded the prolonged use of state controls between 1945 and 1955. This allowed him to explore a diverse range of case studies: from the control of vacuum flasks to the post war rationing of bread. His work on Harold Wilson demonstrated how a lack of definition in debates about 'controls' allowed technical measures to be transformed into potent rhetorical devices by a political class keen to exploit their symbolic meaning. He is currently revising these conclusions for publication as a book-length study.
Henry also works for the History of Parliament Trust and is helping to produce and Oral History archive of life stories from former MPs.