Professor Helen Berry
Professor of British History
I specialise in British history circa 1660 to 1800, and have a particular interest in social, cultural and economic history. My research and teaching are closely linked, and cover a wide range of themes, from the history of how a new kind of consumer society emerged in Britain during the eighteenth century, to how global trade and economics shaped personal experiences, families and communities. The following areas are my pet subjects: the history of the mass media - the rise of newspapers and periodicals that reflected and informed public debates from the late-seventeenth century onwards; coffee house sociability and politeness; the history of gender and sexuality, particularly in the shifting definitions of marriage over time. Having benefitted from working for several years with fellow historians and archaeologists at Newcastle University who have particular expertise in World History, I am passionate about encouraging people to think more broadly about British history in a global context. My most recent book, The Castrato and His Wife (Oxford: OUP, 2011) is a microhistory that - among other things - explores the impact of Italian culture in the British Isles. My next book, Orphans of Empire: the Fate of London's Foundlings (Oxford: OUP, 2019) considers the connection between philanthropy, child welfare and the socio-economic development of Britain in an era of colonial expansion. In addition to my books and articles which explore various national and international perspectives on British history, I have also published widely on the history of North-East England, on subjects ranging from high-design glassware and regional identity, to architectural style and taste in Newcastle. An ongoing interest in transdisciplinary research, landscape history and the Tyne river system has led to my participation in the 'Rivers of the Anthropocene' project (see 'Projects').
I have supervised and continue to supervise PhD students on a range of topics, from the history of women and the newspaper press in Georgian England, to the development of the architectural profession in eighteenth-century Newcastle. I welcome inquiries from prospective PhD applicants with interests that fall within my areas of research expertise.
BA (Hons) History - University of Durham
PhD History - University of Cambridge
Memberships and Honorary Appointments
FRHistS - Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
FRSA - Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce
International Scholar, School of Liberal Arts, Indiana University, IUPUI
Roles and Responsibilities
Head of School, School of History, Classics and Archaeology (from February 2019)
Former Dean of Postgraduate Studies (2015-2018) and Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor (2018), Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS)
For previous research, see Publications.
My next book, Orphans of Empire: the Fate of London's Foundlings (OUP, April 2019) will explore the history of welfare in Britain in the first era of global British imperialism. Little is currently known about the fate of the children of London's Foundling Hospital, from its foundation in 1739, through to the Poor Law Act of 1834. This book will trace what happened to those who survived the experience of being raised in Europe's first secular corporation designed to 'save' children for the nation, funded at first by private philanthropy, then state aid, and finally the profits of investment and venture capitalism. The book will explore the broader issue of whether the vision of the Hospital's founder, Thomas Coram, was eventually realised, and the historical parallels between this early experiment in charitable welfare provision and current debates in our own time about the role of the state versus private philanthropy in caring for the most vulnerable members of society.
HIS1044 Aspects of British History
HIS2031 Between Revolutions: Britain 1688-1789 (Stage 2, module leader)
HIS2123 Family, Sex and Society in Early Modern England (Stage 2, module leader)
HIS3278 The Birth of a Consumer Society: England 1714-1820 (Stage 3, module leader)
HIS3010 Writing History (Stage 3)
HIS8026 Pathways in British History
HIS8104 Ideas and Influences in British History
Semester 2 2015/16
Please note: I am working in the Faculty Office and so do not have office hours. Please email me if you would like to make an inquiry about postgraduate study: Helen.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Berry H. Orphans of Empire: the Fate of London's Foundlings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. In Press.
- Berry H. The Occupational Destination of Foundling Hospital Children, c. 1750-1834. 2019. In Preparation.
- Berry H. The Great Tyne Flood of 1771: Community Responses to an Environmental Crisis in the Early Anthropocene. In: Kelly J; Scarpino P; Berry H; Syvitski J; Meybeck M, ed. Rivers of the Anthropocene. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2018, pp.119-134.
- Berry H. Gertrude Bell: Pioneer, Anti-Suffragist, Feminist Icon?. In: Gertrude Bell and Iraq: a Life and Legacy. 2017, London, UK: Oxford University Press for The British Academy.
- Berry H. The Pleasures of Austerity. Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 2014, 37(2), 261-277.
- Berry H. Gender, Sexuality and the Consumption of Musical Culture in Eighteenth-Century London. In: Hindle, Steve; Shepard, Alexandra; and Walter, John, ed. Remaking English Society: Social Relations and Social Change in Early Modern England. Woodbridge and Rochester, NY: The Boydell Press, 2013, pp.65-87.
- Berry H. Queering the History of Marriage: the Social Recognition of a Castrato Husband in Eighteenth-Century Britain. History Workshop Journal 2012, 74(1), 27-50.
- Berry H. The Castrato and His Wife. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
- Faulkner T, Berry H, Gregory J, ed. Northern Landscapes: Representations and Realities of North-East England. London: Boydell and Brewer, 2010.
- Berry H. William Hutchinson and the Creation of British National Identity. In: Faulkner, T., Berry, H. and Gregory, J, ed. Northern Landscapes: Representations and Realities of North-East England. London: Boydell and Brewer, 2010.
- Berry H. Regional Identity and Material Culture. In: Harvey, K, ed. History and Material Culture: A Student's Guide to Approaching Alternative Sources. London and New York: Routledge, 2009, pp.139-157.
- Berry H, Foyster E. The Family in Early Modern England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
- Berry H. 'Lawful Kisses? Sexual ambiguity and platonic friendship in England c.1660-1720'. In: Karen Harvey, ed. The Kiss in History. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005, pp.62-79.
- Berry H. Women, consumption and taste. In: Hannah Barker and Elaine Chalus, ed. Women’s History: Britain, 1700-1850. London: Routledge, 2005.
- Berry H. Creating Polite Space: The Organisation and Social Function of the Newcastle Assembly Rooms. In: Helen Berry and Jeremy Gregory, ed. Creating and Consuming Culture in North-East England, 1660-1830. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004, pp.120-140.
- Berry H. Crimes of Conscience: the Last Will and Testament of John Dunton. In: Robin Myers, Michael Harris and Giles Mandlebrote, ed. Against the Law: Crime, Sharp Practice and the Control of Print. New York and London: Oak Knoll and the British Library, 2004, pp.81-102.
- Berry H. Sense and singularity: the social experiences of John Marsh and Thomas Stutterd in late-Georgian England. In: Barry, J. and French, H.R, ed. Identity and Agency in England, 1500-1800. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, pp.178-199.
- Berry H. Gender, Society and Print Culture in Late-Stuart England : The cultural world of the Athenian Mercury. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003.
- Berry H. Prudent Luxury: the Metropolitan Tastes of Judith Baker, Durham gentlewoman. In: Rosemary Sweet and Penelope Lane, ed. Women and Urban Life in Eighteenth-Century England. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003, pp.131-56.
- Berry HM. Polite consumption: shopping in eighteenth century England. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 2002, Sixth series(12), 375-394.
- Berry H. Promoting taste in the provincial press: national and local culture in eighteenth-century Newcastle upon Tyne. British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 2002, 25, 1-17.
- Berry H. Rethinking Politeness in Eighteenth Century England: Moll King's Coffee House and the Significance of 'Flash Talk': The Alexander Prize Lecture. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 2001, 6(11), 65-81.
- Berry HM. 'All Englands Rarityes Are Gathered Here': the World of the Athenian Mercury. Biblion 2000, 8(2), 23-44.
- Berry HM. An Early Coffee House Periodical and its Readers: the Athenian Mercury 1691-1697. The London Journal 2000, 25(1), 14-33.