Professor Peter King

Professor of English Local History

Professor Peter KingContact Details

  • Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2760
  • Email:
  • Office: Room 25, Marc Fitch House, 3/5 Salisbury Road
  • Office Hours: Email to arrange




I have been working as an academic for over 25 years, holding full-time posts at Middlesex University, Liverpool University, the University of Northampton, the Open University and, since 2010 Leicester University. Before becoming an academic I was employed as, and obtained a qualification in, Social Work. My research interests reflect this early involvement with people who often live on the margins. I work primarily on crime, justice, poverty and welfare 1680-1850. However, I have also successfully supervised Ph D students across a much wider range of social history topics and am willing to consider taking on graduate students across and beyond all the broad areas listed below under research interests. I have enjoyed supervising PH D students over the last 20 years and was delighted recently to realise that all the full time Ph D students I have taken on who wished to have academic careers now have full time posts in universities either here or in North America.


PhD Supervision

Topics have included:

  • ‘Policing the Factory. Appropriation and its Control in the West Riding Textile Factories 1840-80.’
  • ‘Government in an English Provincial Town. The Corporation of Ipswich 1720-95.’
  • ‘Poverty, Politics and Poor Relief in the Brixworth Union, Northamptonshire 1870-1900.’
  • ‘Changing Patterns of Female Employment in Rural England 1790-1890.’
  • ‘Charitable Provision for the Rural Poor: A Case Study of Policies and Attitudes in Northamptonshire 1800-1850.’
  • ‘Gender, Crime and Discretion in the English Criminal Justice System 1780-1830’
  • ‘The Summary Courts and Social Relations in Eighteenth-Century London’ 

Most Recent Publications

  1. ‘Urbanization, Rising Homicide Rates and the Geography of Lethal Violence in Scotland 1800-1860’ History, forthcoming (July 2011)
  2. ‘The Impact of Urbanization on Murder Rates and on the Geography of Homicide in England and Wales 1780-1850’, Historical Journal, 53 (2010), pp.1-28.
  3. ‘Making Crime News: Newspapers, Violent Crime and the Selective Reporting of Old Bailey Trials in the Late Eighteenth Century’ Crime, Histoire et Societes/ Crime, History and Societies, 13, (2009), pp.91-116
  4. Crime and Law in England 1750-1850.  Remaking Justice from the Margins  (Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp.1-348

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British Library project awarded new accolade

British Library project awarded new accolade

A digital project that showcases the lives of remarkable British scientists has won a second prestigious accolade.

‘Voices of Science’, created by a team including Dr Sally Horrocks from the School of History has been awarded the Ayrton Prize, after a vote by members of the British Society for the History of Science (BSHS). This new prize, being awarded for the first time recognises outstanding web projects and digital engagement in the history of science, technology and medicine. More information on this award can be found here.