Dr Simon Morgan, Head of Subject

Dr Simon Morgan

Head of Subject

Dr Simon Morgan is Head of History at Leeds Beckett University. He specialises in nineteenth-century British History, with particular reference to the histories of radical politics, gender and celebrity.

Dr Simon Morgan holds degrees from the Universities of Oxford, Warwick and York, and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. His most recent book is Celebrities, Heroes and Champions: Popular Politicians in the Age of Reform, 1810-1867 (Manchester University Press, 2021), explores the role of the popular politician across a range of political movements in Britain and Ireland. He is also co-editor of the Letters of Richard Cobden, 4 vols. (Oxford University Press, 2007-2015). 

Simon's research centres on nineteenth-century political culture, and touches on areas including radical politics, gender and the history of celebrity. In the latter field he has been something of a pioneer. His essay on celebrity as a historical concept, published in Cultural and Social History (2011), has been widely cited and has inspired a number of scholars around the world to further research in the area. He is currently planning a project to digitise the remaining unpublished Cobden letters, and is starting work on a short biography of early Leeds feminist Ellen Heaton.

Simon would welcome interest from potential research students in the fields of nineteenth-century public and political culture, with particular reference to political pressure groups; the public role and experience of women; and aspects of Victorian celebrity culture.

Current Teaching

Society and Culture in Modern Britain

  • BA (Hons) History
  • BA (Hons) History & Media

Britishness: Nation and Identity Since 1707

  • BA (Hons) History
  • BA (Hons) History & Media
  • BA (Hons) History & Politics

Fame, hero-worship and celebrity culture, c. 1750-1914

  • MA Social History

Research Interests

Dr Morgan's focuses on nineteenth-century political culture in the British Isles, and touches on areas including radical politics, gender and the history of celebrity. He has been a pioneer in the history of celebrity, and his research has been credited by a number of scholars around the world with inspiring them to research in this area.

Simon's most recent monograph examines the role of the popular politician across a number of movements for political, economic and social reform including Chartism, the Anti-Corn Law League, Catholic Emancipation and anti-slavery. Building on recent developments in the study of historical and contemporary fame, it argues that popular politicians were revered as heroes by their followers and became synonymous with the aims and values of the causes they espoused. However, through the commercialisation of their images and the burgeoning markets for information and entertainment they also became part of an international culture of celebrity.

Simon is currently planning a project to digitise the remaining unpublished Cobden letters (around 7,500) in order to use them as a resource for teaching in secondary schools. He is also starting work on a jointly authored biography of early Leeds feminist, art collector and social reformer Ellen Heaton.

Dr Simon Morgan, Head of Subject

Ask Me About

  1. Gender
  2. History
  3. Politics
  4. Popular Culture

Selected Outputs

  • Morgan SJ (2013) The Political as Personal: Transatlantic Abolitionism. In: Mulligan W; Bric M ed. A Global History of Anti-Slavery Politics in the Nineteenth Century. Palgrave Macmillan,

  • Morgan SJ (2013) America, Protectionism and Democracy in British Free Trade Debates 1815-1861. In: The American Experiment and the Idea of Democracy i-n British Culture, 1776-1914. Aldershot: Ashgate,

  • Morgan SJ (2006) From Warehouse Clerk to Corn Law Celebrity: The Making of a National Hero. In: Howe A; Morgan S ed. Rethinking Nineteenth-century Liberalism. Ashgate Publishing,

  • Morgan SJ (2000) Domestic Economy and Political Agitation: Women and the Anti-Corn Law League. In: Gleadle K; Richardson S ed. Women in British Politics, 1760-1860: The Power of the Petticoat. Palgrave Macmillan,

  • Morgan SJ (2021) Celebrities, Heroes and Champions Popular Politicians in the Age of Reform, 1810-67. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

  • eds. Howe A; Morgan S (2015) The Letters of Richard Cobden: Volume IV: 1860-1865. Oxford University Press.

  • Howe A; Morgan S eds. Howe A; Morgan S (2012) The Letters of Richard Cobden. OUP Oxford.

  • Morgan S (2007) A Victorian woman's place. I. B. Tauris & Company.

  • Howe A; Morgan S (2006) Rethinking Nineteenth-century Liberalism. Ashgate Publishing.

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