Professor Roey Sweet

Professor of Urban History

Roey SweetContact Details

  • Tel: +44 (0) 116 252 2837
  • Email:
  • Office: Room 14 Marc Fitch House, Salisbury Road
  • Office Hours: Mondays 2pm - 3pm and Tuesdays 12pm - 1pm
  • Dissertation Office Hour: Thursday 12pm - 1pm


For most of my career I have been a historian of eighteenth-century British urban and cultural history but recently I have begun to move into the nineteenth century. I was brought up in Cambridge but moved to Oxford to study history as an undergraduate.  After studying History at Oxford where I was awarded my D Phil and held a junior research fellowship, I joined the Department of Economic and Social History at Leicester in 1998 and I have been here ever since, based in the Centre for Urban History.  I’m particularly interested in how eighteenth-century society understood, interpreted and made use of the past – a question that I’ve explored in the context of urban culture and identity, the culture of antiquarianism, and in my most recent book in the context of the Grand Tour and travel in Italy.  I am now extending this interest into the nineteenth century to think about the ‘invention’ of the historic town in Britain and the development of domestic tourism.

I also have an interest in the history  of the country house in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries  and am currently the Director of the East Midlands Research Initiative (EMRI): a partnership between the University of Leicester, Boughton House and Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire which exists to further academic research into the history of these houses and their families and to provide opportunities for students to gain work experience and skills in situ.

In this film Professor Sweet talks about her research into the 'Grand Tour' and how people understood their own relationship to classical antiquity.


PhD Supervision

I am happy to supervise topics in any aspect of urban social and cultural history from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.  I am currently supervising students the following students:

  • Gervase French ‘Chapbooks and national identity in the eighteenth century’.
  • Philippa Mapes (CDA with English Heritage), ‘Wallpaper in the eighteenth century’.
  • Megan Leyland(CDA with Lamport Hall Preservation Trust), ‘Gender, architecture and patronage in the nineteenth-century country house’ co-supervised with Prof Phillip Lindley, History of Art and Film.
  • Janice Morris ‘The role of elite women in the reception of French émigrés in England, 1789-1815’.
  • Emma Purcell (CDA with Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust), ‘A great household and its management’.
  • Helen Bates (CDA with Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust), ‘The impact of John, 2nd Duke of Montagu’s colonial, industrial and commercial ventures on his national estates’
  • Qadir Mohammed, ‘British travellers in Kurdistan in the nineteenth century’ co-supervised with Dr James Moore.
  • Adnan Mohammed, ‘British representations of Kurdish –Armenian relations in the nineteenth century’ co-supervised with Dr James Moore.
  • Liz Jones, ‘The growth and development of Usk in the nineteenth century’
  • Richard Bates, ‘British politics, diplomacy and espionage at Spa during the American War of Independence’
  • Brenda Mortimer, ‘Robert Peel and his recommendations for mercy as Home Secretary from 1822-7, 1828-30’
  • Joe Harley 'Material lives of the English poor: a regional perspective, c. 1670-1834'


My teaching covers eighteenth-century social, cultural and political history and also urban history more widely defined and I teach at all levels of the undergraduate and postgraduate degree programme.   I have taught modules on gender history, eighteenth-century urban history, politics and society under Robert Walpole  and on ‘polite society’ in the eighteenth century. At MA level I contribute to the core module the City in History and have taught options on representation and reality in eighteenth-century towns and on the Grand Tour.

Examples of modules I teach:


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