School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Joan Allen

Visiting Fellow


Roles and Responsibilities

Director of Research, Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies, 2016 -


BA(Hons) University of Northumbria, 1988
Dip.CG University of Northumbria, 1989
PhD University of Northumbria, 1993

Previous Positions

Associate Lecturer in History, University of Northumbria, 1991-1999


Steering Committee, HistoryUK

Executive Committee, Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland

Library Committee, Institute of Historical Research

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

EC, Society for the Study of Labour History

Honours and Awards 

AHRC Research Fellowship, 2007

Moore Institute Research Fellowship, NUI Galway, 2015 


Research Interests

Victorian society and politics; nineteenth-century British Radicalism, especially Chartism; the Victorian press; the Irish in Britain 

Annual Chartism Day

I am a co-convenor of the annual Chartism conference. In July 2018, it was hosted by Professor Fabrice Bensimon at UCL with a special 1848 commemorative event at Kennington Common

Recent Publications

I am a contributor to The Revolution Papers, From Rising to Independence 1916-1923 : 'The Irish free State Constitution is passed' , No. 50, 26 October  2016

My most recent publications include a study of NE Co-operative politics  in Keith Laybourn and John Shepherd (eds) Labour and Working Class Lives (MUP 2017), a study of the Irish diasporic press in  Laurence Marley (ed.) The British Labour Party and Twentieth-Century Ireland (MUP, 2015) and a study of Mazzini and print culture in Nick Carter (ed.) Britain, Ireland and the Risorgimento (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

In 2013 I published an article on George Julian Harney and the Democratic Review in a special issue of Labour History Review which I co-edited with Owen R Ashton:  Radicals, Chartists, and Internationalism, 78.1 (2013).

Thus far, I have contributed 13 entries to Laurel Brake and Marysa Demoor (eds) Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism (British Library, 2010), including two new entries: 'The North East Press' and the Catholic Herald (see

Current Research

I am a contributor to the forthcoming Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press, Vol II, The Nineteenth Century. I am currently completing my  study of the Irish Catholic press in Britain and America (1870 -1934).

Postgraduate Supervision

I welcome proposals from postgraduates who are interested in any aspect of Victorian society and politics, from a national or a regional perspective.I would be particularly interested in projects which focus on the history of the popular press or the Irish in Britain.


PhD 2016 David Lowther (AHRC-funded)  for his work on the early 19th century Species Debate. David has recently taken up a Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellowship at Durham University; Terry Hurst was awarded his MLitt (with Merit) for his study of North-east Methodism.

MPhil 2014 Tanju Sen, for her thesis on Women in 19th Century Bengal; 

MLitt (with Distinction) 2012 David Lowther (AHRC-funded) for his work on the artist John Gould

PhD 2011  Marcella Sutcliffe,  for her study of British radicals and Italian nationalists. Marcella's monograph, Victorian Radicals and Italian Democrats, was published in 2014 by Boydell and Brewer ( RHS Studies in History)

 PhD 2009 Fred Milton (AHRC-funded)  for his work on Children's columns in the 19th Century Press

My current postgraduate students are:

Victor Harlow, NDDTC-funded PhD 2016-  'Educational provision in the 1870s',  co-supervised with Professor Pauline Dixon

Ayshah Johnson, CDA-funded PhD, 2015-, 'Poor Relief in Britain and the Caribbean',   a collaboration between Professor Diana Paton (Edinburgh University) and the National Archives

Bridget Harrison, PhD AHRC-funded (Queens UB) 2015- 'Women Religious in Nineteenth-century Britain and Ireland'

Guy Hinton, PhD 2015-  'War memorialisation in Britain with special reference to the NE of England, 1850-1910'. 

Susan Beaumont, PhD (PT) 2010- Women and Business in Newcastle upon Tyne in the early-19th Century


Esteem Indicators

Head of History, 2009-2012

Assessor, Australian Research Council 2014- 

Director of Research, Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies

Vice Chair, Society for the Study of Labour History, 2008-2011

Editor, Labour History Review, 2007-2011

Editorial Advisory Board Member, Northern History, 2006-

Editorial Advisory Board, Cogent, 2014-

Executive Member, Society for the Study of Labour History 1994-;

Executive Member, NPHFI (Newspaper and Periodical Forum of Ireland)

Director, North East England Historical Institute [NEEHI] 2009-2015

PG Director, NEEHI, 2001-2006


Undergraduate Teaching

HIS1044 Aspects of British History

HIS 3080 Victorian Society, 1832-1884
HIS 3079 Popular Politics and Reform, 1811-1850
HIS 2037 Progress and Plenty? British History 1815-1914
HIS 2112 Outsiders: Minorities in Modern Europe, 1600-2010
HIS 3000 Reading History [Module Leader]
HIS 3020 Writing History (Dissertation)

SELL 2218 English and History


Postgraduate Teaching

HIS 8104 Ideas and Beliefs

HIS 8105 Reform and Resistance in British History

HIS8025 Pathways in British History 

HIS 8037 The British Press [MA in British History]

MA Independent Study

MA Dissertations